When the coronavirus canceled an out-of-state mission trip for members of the Saron United Church of Christ Youth Group, the members turned their focus to the local area, helping meet the needs of many in Linton and surrounding areas through “backyard missions”.
“Our typical mission trip takes us out of Greene County and that has great benefit — our kids are less distracted and we can come together as a group and really get to know each other. We go to these places and see real need and work hard for those who need help,” said J.D. Rose, senior pastor at Saron United Church of Christ. “Having a week-long mission in our back yard has made us aware there are people who need help in our own community and you don’t need a big group or a big project to be a big help.”
Rose said Saron is one church in a network of churches and non-profits that God is using to bless people and show love to people.
“This week our students got to know some of the ministry partners here in our area,” he said.
Throughout the week 45 kids — from grade six to sophomores in college — participated in the Saron Youth Group Backyard Missions.
They’ve completed many tasks during the week, including:
- Cleaned up, pressure washed, and landscaped at the Center for Women’s Ministries in Linton
- Painted inside and outside, landscaped, and built an herb garden box at Open Arms HEbron Home in Lyons
- Washed City of Linton municipal vehicles
- Moved furniture for an 85-year-old member of Saron
- Landscaped, pressure washed, and painted Pregnancy Choices new building in Linton
- Cleaned up a fence row of trash and debris for 84-year-old member of Saron
- Picked up trash and weeded downtown Linton
- Pulled weeds and poured wood chips for a trail to the Greene County Master Gardeners garden at the 4-H Fairgrounds in Switz City
- Cleaned up debris and building elements from a house fire that occurred several years ago on a lot in Linton
- Completed several projects at the Merom Camp and Retreat Center
- Cleaned windows and outside equipment at Glenburn Home in Linton
- Placed American flags throughout downtown Linton for the Fourth of July
- Completed small projects for elderly neighbors
“We’ve covered so much ground because these kids work really hard, and there are some amazing ministries in our area and great need that presents opportunities,” Rose said.