Youth Spend Spring Break Serving in Appalachia

April 28, 2010

High school student Allyson Smith described a recent mission trip to Henderson Settlement as “one of the most rewarding things I have ever done.”

“I didn't know putting up vinyl siding could make such a difference in so many people's lives including my own,” Smith said.

Smith is one of 18 people from Christ Church United Methodist (Louisville District) who spent their 2010 Spring Break serving in the Red Bird Missionary Conference in eastern Kentucky. Through the experience, she found she grew closer both to the people on the trip with her and to God.

 Sharing the journey were 14 high school students: Victoria Brown, Kayla Coile, Matthew Cook, Tyler Horne, Olivia Hurst, Alex MacDonald, Patrick MacDonald, Jody McCaffery, Allyson Smith, Shelby Spurgeon, Caroline Troutman, Sarah Wagner, Aria Watkins, and Nathan Williams. They were accompanied by four adult leaders: David Heyburn, Dana McCaffery, Andrea Ragsdale, and Marc Schwerin.

Schwerin, a director of youth ministry at Christ Church, talks about the trip, which took place April 5-10.

While at Henderson Settlement we had the opportunity to serve the people of Appalachia through helping meet some of their needs. Although we only served for a week, Henderson Settlement serves their community 365 days a year. While we were there, we installed vinyl underskirting on two houses and a trailer, installed soffits, pressure washed, and painted. We loved the opportunity to work in the community and fellowship with the people we served.

It was also a great cultural experience for the students, not the least of all because of the “Stone Mountain Band.” They are a local bluegrass band that the Henderson Settlement staff arranged to perform for the groups that were there working for the week. Our team was sad to leave, but we are excited to return and continue serving supporting our neighbors in Appalachia. We are also encouraged by the many opportunities there are to support Henderson Settlement without actually being there.

We have typically done an international mission trip over Spring Break. Through much prayer and discernment, we felt God was calling us to serve our neighbors within our own country. We also wanted to serve a ministry that the church was already connected with, which is how we got connected with Henderson Settlement. We had a wonderful resource in Dr. Charles Smith, a member of our congregation who is very involved with supporting the ministry at Henderson Settlement.

Christ Church Youth Spring Break Mission Trip to Henderson Settlement

Video by Marc Schwerin

Henderson Settlement is one of four mission institutions of the Red Bird Missionary Conference. Its mission is “Meeting Basic Needs in Appalachia.” Located in Frakes, KY, Henderson Settlement provides multiple programs for the community, including thrift stores, community library, tutoring, a senior center, children’s day care, and Fellowship Lunch. It serves people from Bell and Whitley counties in southeast Kentucky, and Campbell and Claiborne counties in northeast Tennessee. 
If you are interested in Henderson Settlement’s volunteer and work camp opportunities, click here.
To learn about the 2010 Conference Mission Offering, which benefits Henderson Settlement and other ministries of the Red Bird Missionary Conference, click here.