Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Feature Article: N2N Helps People in Siloam Springs

Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in the Wednesday, Sept. 22, issue of the Siloam Springs Herald Leader.

By Kaylea Hutson
For the Herald-Leader
For a few hours, on a Saturday afternoon, volunteers of all ages came together in Siloam Springs to simply be a neighbor to those in need.

Clearing brush, trimming trees, planting bushes, spreading ground cover for a playground and even cleaning toilets — were but a few of the jobs people completed during the second Neighbor2Neighbor day of service.

Hosted on Sept. 18 by First United Methodist Church, the N2N event brought together more than 60 people, ranging in age from preschool to adults.

Working in small teams, volunteers spread out to a variety of sites including: Hunger & Thirst Ministries and Friendship Community Care in Siloam Springs, and All ‘Bout Chalk, a Western Arkansas Child Development Center in Gentry.

Others stayed at the church to help install a safety groundcover under the church playground and to complete a landscaping project in front of the remodeled sanctuary.

“Our goal is to provide a service to people in our community, that may not otherwise be able to do it,” explained Madlyn Taylor, event organizer.

Taylor said she was amazed at how many things the teams were able to accomplish, in a short amount of time.

Jim Huggins, a N2N volunteer, said he took part in the project, because it is important for the church to serve the community.

“We need to quit talking about God and show people what he wants us to do,” Huggins said. “Hopefully they start to wonder if there’s something to all of that Christianity.”

Ultimately, said Randy Rowlan, the church’s senior pastor, the project shows people how to live out the mandate found in Micah 6:8: how to act justly, love mercy and walk humbly.

Rowlan said he hoped people of all ages, including several younger students, learned that there is something more to life than just what the world normally expects.

“Maybe life is more than just me,” Rowlan said. “Maybe there’s more to life than what I receive.

“It’s not all about us, and that feels good.”

Reaching Into The Community
One recipient said she was excited to have the volunteers.

“It’s hard to find people in any community who are willing to just help out — with no expectations in return,” explained Carla Sikes, director of the ABC center. “I think this is just wonderful.”

Sikes asked volunteers to complete landscaping projects — something the nonprofit center would normally have to pay to have completed.

Other projects included painting a playhouse and clearing debris and leaves from the playground.

“It’s just nice to have the extra hands,” Sikes said.

Serving Students
Jason Lanker, assistant professor of youth ministries at John Brown University, asked more than 35 upperclassmen students in his “Capstone” classes to roll up their sleeves and join in the event — as a way to put practical knowledge of the Christian faith into action.

In the next few weeks, Lanker’s classes will discuss serving and becoming a servant of Christ.

He liked how the N2N project not only connected his students with people in need, but also showed them how they can be part of the larger Christian community.

“The Christian life isn’t best lived just by one person going out to serve,” Lanker said, adding that good things happen when Christians pull together to serve together.

Jake Meinzer, a JBU student, said it was nice to be able to do something for the local community.

“I grew up in a small community, about the only way you can make a small community run is to help people out,” Meinzer said. “We [Christians] are called to do it, but it’s nice to do it too.”

Bridging the Generations
For Jennifer Haught, the day not only provided her with chance to volunteer, but also teach her sons about serving others.

The boys, Logan, 10, Luke, 9, Lawson, 7, and Layton, 6, worked alongside both parents, helping to lay ground cover under the church’s playground.

Luke Haught said he liked volunteering because it showed how he can use his gifts to help others in need, despite his age.

“It’s fun and I’m happy to actually help out the church and the community,” Haught said. “We did something.”

Olivia Myers, 11, agreed.

Myers spent her first N2N project helping at Hunger & Thirst Ministries — which included volunteering to clean the facilities bathrooms.

“I like helping people,” Myers said. “I think it makes people feel good to know that there is somebody out there [they] can depend on.

“And you can’t have a dirty bathroom.”

View Pictures From The Day

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...