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Youth group gearing up for African mission trip

SOUTH POINT — It’s a chance to broaden the horizons of some of the young people in their church family while they spread the message of the Gospel.

Those are the goals of an upcoming mission trip to Africa for the youth group at Tri-State Baptist Temple.

This will be the first mission trip for the South Point church since Tim Jenkins took over the leadership about three years ago. Mission trips are nothing new for Jenkins who has spent time in Peru, Jamaica, England and Wales.

That’s why he wanted the teens at the church to share in the enriching experience such a trip can provide.

“I feel it gives them the opportunity to get outside the United States and see the reality of what the world is and the needs of the world,” Jenkins said. “You don’t see that when you are in the United States. Third world countries, their daily needs are never what we deal with in the U.S.”

There will be 16 in the group, including adult chaperones, who will leave on July 5 and return on July 19. Their destination is Tanzania in East Africa, known for the famous mountain range of Mt. Kilimanjaro.

But besides learning about a land seemingly alien to what they know, it is Jenkins’ wish that perhaps some of them may choose missionary work after they finish school.

“I pray it is a time they may open up their hearts to the Lord so he could use them possibly for full-time Christian work,” Jenkins said.

Right now, the teens and the church are working on raising the money for the trip through a variety of fundraisers.

“We have spent two years preparing because of the immense cost,” Jenkins said. “It will cost each individual $3,300.”

On Saturday, May 15, the church will host a pancake breakfast from 8 to 10 a.m. with all proceeds going to the trip. The church is also selling a cookbook with recipes of the members.

Each year the youth build a float for the Ironton-Lawrence County Memorial Day Parade and will be offering the cookbook as well as concessions of baked goods that Monday.

There will also be an ice cream social at the church at 5 p.m. Sunday, May 23, with homemade cakes, pies and ice cream.

Right now Sunday church dinners, the concession stand at the King’s Court basketball program and other donations have brought in $10,000. The teens are also responsible for part of their own expenses.

While they are in Africa, the youth will have double duty responsibilities as they do some physical labor for the mission churches they will visit. But they will also be spreading the Gospel in a variety of ways.

“We have a ministry project that will entail taking tracts in Swahili and distributing them in a mass-type distribution, maybe in the streets and marketplace,” Jenkins said. “And we have asked our children to write out their salvation testimony and our missionary has translated it into Swahili. They will read it themselves in the churches.”

There are three churches in Africa the youth group will be helping out.

“I want them to be able to come back to the states with a greater appreciation of our life that allows us to have such a wonderful country,” Jenkins said.