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Mission friends spruce up area residences

A Cypress, Texas, youth group is working to show that the homeis where the heart is by fixing up four area homes for Brookhavenresidents.

The group from Cypress United Methodist Church, which consistsof 48 kids and adults, comes once a year to help people who mightnot have the time or the means to fix up their own homes. Theybegan the yearly trek to Brookhaven when church friend the Rev.Donald Peters moved here from Waveland. Peters pastors three areachurches whose members work with the children from Texas.

“We lifted a sinking bathroom,” said sophomore Kevin Faught, whowas painting the eaves of a home at 305 Industrial Park Road. “Butthe best part is getting to help others.”

“As a group, we just get closer on these trips,” said sitecoordinator Debbie Jordan. “It’s great to serve others and helpthose without the means to do these things for themselves. It’s achance to share the heart of God, and be a reflection of Him.”

The effort means as much to those serving as it does to thoseserved. Mamie Banks’ sister Blanche Cason couldn’t be there duringthe day while the young people were fixing up her home, but Bankssaid she was more than happy to stay at the home while Casonworked.

“It’s very heartwarming to see this,” she said. “They’re soyoung, yet so willing to work and help. It just makes me want tocry.”

Youth Director Christie Atnip said the group, which includesmostly junior high children, but some senior high as well, spendfour days on the projects, working with members of area churches tobetter the world for people without the means.

“We look forward to this every summer,” she said. “They love tosee the projects completed. And at the end of the week, we have afish fry with the homeowners, and the homeowners from previousyears.”

Banks said just getting to be with the kids and watching themwork hard and play harder had been a moving experience for her.

“It really amazes me that they said it was a pleasure to do it,”she said. “They work so hard, but they have so much fun. You’dthink they’d be so tired, but yesterday they weren’t too tired tohave an ice fight.”

Atnip said in order to get the kids to remember their focus, alltheir “electronic pacifiers” are taken away at the beginning of thetrip.

“They’re out of their comfort zone without their iPods and cellphones,” she said. “We encounter a little resistance at first, butwe remind them that their focus is to serve and fellowship witheach other.”

The group worked on Cason’s house at 305 Industrial Park Road,as well as two on Independence Street, one on Gulledge Road, andone on Kelly Street.

“A lot of these kids have never been on a mission trip,” saidJordan. “This is a great experience for them, too.”