On July 25th, 2023, at 9:00 a.m., a team of 25 people departed the White Oak Christian Church Colerain Campus in three vans. 19 Students and six adults from White Oak Student Ministry headed out full of energy to serve Jesus. On July 28th, at 5:00 p.m., that same team of 25 people returned to the same parking lot, tired and exhausted, but NOT weary.
White Oak Student Ministry went to Mountain Mission School in Grundy Virginia to serve in any way we could. As it turns out, our new friend Frank (one of the maintenance workers at Mountain Mission School) took the term “in any way we could” to the most literal sense. Our 25 people were divided into seven teams and sent in seven different directions! Everything from pulling weeds, to dismantling a basement room filled with shelves, cleaning and organizing a worship center, scrubbing bathroom floors, organizing donated teaching supplies, pressure washing a courtyard, weed eating a creek, painting handrails, moving desks, moving metal closets and dressers, clearing and entire hillside of brush (and Poison Sumac), and sorting socks.
Our first night there, we were served dinner then given a tour by Elly. Elly is a teacher, one of the two I.T. guys, the soccer coach, and a den dad. He lives on campus and provided an amazing tour. While on the tour of the campus, Elly told us that he was the first international student that had come straight to Mountain Mission School from a foreign country. All the other international students before him had been living in America for a short time before applying to attend the school. Elly told our team that he had attended his senior year at Mountain Mission School before going on to get his degree at Liberty University. After hearing Elly’s story from his senior year on, he was invited to attend our Devotional time on Wednesday night to share his story before his senior year! Our team was blown away by everything Elly has been through. His story was amazing, but his authenticity and openness about following God after a genocide of his homeland, the death of his dad because of the genocide, the death of his mother while he was a teen, and uncertainty of life through school and homelessness was inspirational and eye opening.
Speaking of Devotional times, our Student Leader Payton had organized students to lead Devotions. An encouraging Devotion to begin each day and a reflective Devotion to end each day. We encouraged the team to journal their thoughts and answers. What an amazing time and truly a highlight.
The team had embarked on this mission trip to One Another outside the walls of White Oak Christian Church. The idea of working to help prepare the school for the upcoming school year, serving young people who would never see us, and understanding the work we were doing would help bring young folks closer to God was immeasurable. The thought that we were the only ones One Anothering was far from true! Being met in the parking lot at the Colerain Campus before we left by Elders of White Oak for prayer, being texted and encouraged while we were away by more Elders and prayed for by the Principal of the school before our return home, reminded us that we were being One Anothered as well. Our Heavenly Father is so good to us.
One other task that was not listed earlier was the task of sorting toiletries. The assorted toiletries were a special delivery by the team itself. All the toiletries were collected at this year's Summer Bible Camp! It was truly a privilege to deliver and sort those supplies on behalf of White Oak Kid’s Ministry! Our team was told that there was more than a year’s supply of toiletries! Way to go Kid’s Ministry!
We literally left blood, sweat, and prayers in Grundy Virginia! We went to serve, to be shaken in our faith journeys, and to be vessels for God’s glory! I say again, we returned tired and exhausted, but not weary. God provided for us and provided using us! There is a standing invitation for our return by Mountain Mission School, and that is a direct result of the dedication and hard work of the amazing students of White Oak Christian Church.