Shirley Hills Baptist youth headed to Jamaica

April 9, 2014 

Members of the Shirley Hills Baptist Church youth group will spend part of their summer vacation on a mission trip to Jamaica -- thanks in part to a group of mission-minded young women from their own church.

Girls in the Acteens group helped to raise money for the mission trip by cutting their hair and taking pledges for how much hair they cut. Then the hair was donated to organizations that make wigs for cancer patients. So far about $2,500 was donated and money was still coming. 95 inches of hair was cut -- the goal was 60 inches.

Acteens is a mission-oriented organization in Southern Baptist churches that gives teenage girls the opportunity to study about missions and missionaries as well as do mission project for others. The group at Shirley Hills Baptist Church meets twice a month.

Acteens leader Mandy Couey said that along with raising money for the trip and donating their hair, the day was about making a memory for the Acteens.

“They will remember all their life that they helped someone change a life,” Couey said.

Speaking to the Acteens prior to the beginning of the hair cutting, Couey asked the question, “Why are we doing this?”

She answered her own question with a retelling of the story from the Bible about the widow’s offering. In the passage from Mark, Jesus comments on the widow’s sacrificial gift.

“For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living,” the Bible says.

“She gave everything,” Couey said. “We want to serve in the way that the Holy Spirit convicts and to serve from the heart.”

Rachel Boyd, Rebekah Boyd, Elizabeth Beatty, Lucy Weatherall and Sarah Moll are members of the Acteens who will attend the mission trip this summer.

Acteens leader Debra Weatherall said the group from Shirley Hills Baptist will be joining a ministry team in Jamaica that works with orphanages, AIDS patients and the elderly.

“Mission trips like this are feet and hands to the Bible,” Weatherall said. “Going on this trip will provide them with a retreat from their normal life, a time to think about the whole planet and their part in it and to consider why God put them where they are.”

The mission trip to Jamaica along with the mission work that Acteens does is not just about giving to others but about taking away life lessons as well.

“Until you see need, until you see the impoverishment, it is hard to understand that the life of a middle class American is not the norm. It is hard to complain about the color of your iPod after you see the joy that others get in having food that day. It makes you appreciate what you have,” Weatherall said.

Contact Alline Kent at 478-396-2467 or allinekent@cox.net.

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