“I’m grateful because God still has servants that are willing to be used. And it’s a blessing to know that you all have come to serve,” Bonita Karey said to a group of BOUNCE students as they laid flooring in her home.
Twenty-four students and leaders from First Baptist Church Kilgore spent the week laying new flooring and building a new roof in Karey’s home. Hers was one of many in Lake Charles, Louisiana, that were devastated by Hurricane Laura in 2020. After almost two years of being unable to live in her home permanently, Karey was able to move in at the end of the week.
Karey was one of seven homeowners whose homes were repaired by BOUNCE Student Disaster Recovery volunteers in Lake Charles this summer. A church was also repaired. Across the community, 124 students and leaders showed the love of Christ through their hard work.
BOUNCE Director David Scott explained that Lake Charles had been hit by a series of disasters between August 2020 and May 2021, including two hurricanes, a flood, an ice storm and a storm that produced multiple tornadoes. Hundreds of homes and businesses were damaged or destroyed. Many homeowners are still struggling to rebuild.
Across town from Karey’s house, a group of 14 students from Westwood Baptist Church in Tyler were reroofing a mobile home. Westwood Baptist first served with BOUNCE in 2021 in Waco, and the students fell in love with the sense of purpose it brought. Youth Pastor Logan Burgess explained that they used to do church camp, but they started doing missions through BOUNCE instead to create a more long-lasting impact, both in the students and in the community they work with.
“When the kids went last year, they came back with a big difference in their hearts and felt like they really made an impact,” Burgess said. “It’s the best of both worlds; you get to do missions, but it feels like camp with worship and fellowship and being fed spiritually.”
In the evenings, students and leaders gathered together to sing in worship and listen to keynote speaker Brian Pearce, student pastor at Kingwood First Baptist Church, share about the importance of sharing Christ and showing love. He encouraged students to be Kingdom-minded and to find ways to make disciples in their own communities when they return home from BOUNCE.
“The houses you’ve been working on have been devastated by the storms. It doesn’t take much to tear down what our human hands have built,” Pearce said. “But nothing can tear down what is built on the foundation of Jesus Christ.”
BOUNCE was hosted by Mount Olive Baptist Church. On Wednesday night, members of the church joined the students for a night of worship. Pastor Braylon Harris expressed his appreciation for the students' hard work.
As the students worked, they took to heart the Great Commission message Pearce preached. First Baptist Church in Fairfield students were approached by people in the neighborhood they were working in. The neighbors were curious about why teenagers from Texas were using part of their summer break to repair homes in Louisiana.
“Whenever we are out here working and trying to spread the Word, we are disciples,” a student said between hauling loads of old roofing to a dumpster.
The group made sure to explain to anyone who asked that they were being the hands and feet of Christ and told them about Mount Olive Baptist Church so they could get connected to a community of believers. It is that partnership of local churches and students from around Texas that makes such an impact during BOUNCE’s relief work.
“The task of taking the gospel to the world is too big for any one person, it takes all of us,” BOUNCE Mission Coordinator Shawn McDonald said. “This is what cooperation looks like.”
For more information about BOUNCE Student Disaster Recovery and to explore options for getting your youth group involved this summer or fall, go to txb.org/bounce or contact Director David Scott at david.scott[at]txb.org.
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