– By Alana Caddell –
Churches Changing Communities (CCC), a.k.a. “the best week of the summer,” lasted from July 12 to July 17. The host church – where we all lived that week – was Antioch Baptist. Youth from many Baptist churches nearby attended the event. This is an account of my personal experience with an added segment about construction at the end.
On Sunday afternoon, everyone who was staying at the church moved in. The church was filled with the sound of air mattress pumps. We also all received our group assignments for the week.
Monday was the first day of actual work for us. The construction and ministry teams left to get to the work sites early in the morning. I was on a ministry team, so we started our day by registering kids for the camp at W.E. Parker Elementary – there were ministry teams running camps in Johnston and McCormick also. We got to know the kids, played games with them in the gym (they really, REALLY liked octopus tag for some reason), read Bible stories to them, and when the Good News Club group arrived, we made sure that all of the kids behaved and participated. The school provided breakfast and lunch. Later that day, my group returned to the church and went over ministry project plans for the rest of the week.
Tuesday was great, probably my favorite day. The morning was spent running the camp at W.E. Parker again. After lunch, we helped with a few bingo games at the Senior Center. Then, we sang at Forest View, and half of the group did a devotion. That night, after worship, almost everyone at CCC went to Chick-fil-A for cow appreciation day. On the way there, we made makeshift cow costumes out of black trash bags and pieces of copy paper, so that we would get free food.
It seemed like the kids at the camp on Wednesday morning were even more hyper than usual, so when the Good News Club group arrived to do their Bible lesson, it was a relief to get to sit down and rest. Later, after the kids left, we went to the laundromat in Edgefield and preloaded several washers, dryers, and vending machines with quarters. We also gave quarters to the people who were already there and who arrived while we were there. Then, we rode around in the church bus and gave cold, bottled waters to the people that we saw.
Thursday started off the same as the other days – with camp. Once the kids’ camp ended for the day, we assisted with Bingo games at the Senior Center and Trinity Nursing Home. We also sang to some of the swing bed patients at the hospital, and half of the group – the half that didn’t do the devotion at Forest View – did a Bible lesson.
By Friday, we were tired to say the least. The last day of the camp for kids consisted of playing games (such as mustache tag, balloon tag, and caterpillar races), reading a Bible story, and – because of the amount of money donated to missionaries in the Turks and Caicos – the Good News Club group and all of the helpers from CCC got pied in the face by the kids. I can now say from personal experience that taking a pie to the face isn’t so bad…unless you accidentally inhale whipped cream. After washing the whipped cream off of our faces in the shower truck at the church, we cleaned up Antioch and packed up our stuff. That night, instead of worship, they had testimonies from people.
Construction is also a really big part of CCC that many of the youth participated in. Since I was on a ministry team, my knowledge of the constructions projects was limited. However, I found out that they did the following projects and more: replaced roofs, put flooring in a bathroom, bedroom, and kitchen, built handicap ramps, cleared brush from a driveway, and replaced walls. All of those projects and others that they completed benefitted people in or near Edgefield.
The youth on the construction crews were extremely efficient, completing many projects over the course of the week. They were very dedicated and hardworking. The work that they did helped the community a great deal.
There was also a prayer team. They would come to the different worksites and pray with us. Prayer was an important part of the week. It reminded us that God was with us and to give all of the glory to him.
CCC was a ton of fun this year. The music, food, and preaching was wonderful, as always. Most importantly, it really helped me to grow in my faith, and it allowed all of us to share the word of God with others through words and works.