Missionary work done locally

Photo by Crystal Ritz
The Texas County Mission Team campers and leaders join together in this 2019 group photo.
By Christy Porter
Managing Editor

The Texas County Mission Team Camp teenagers started early, getting up around 6:30 a.m. the mornings of June 16 – 23, with the exception of Sat. the 22nd. It was one intense week of physical labor, building relationships both with camp leaders and campers, and also building relationships with those they helped in their missionary work. These paying volunteers, leaders and teen workers were headquartered at the Simmons Baptist Camp outside Houston but spent a large part of their days in local communities helping those who needed assistance. TCMT does missionary work in Licking, Houston, Raymondville, Cabool, Roby and Bucyrus.
It was definitely a summer camp experience for these seventh through twelve graders, with breakfast and dinner at the camp and sleeping in the dorms. There was also swimming, games, sporting activities, down time and worship services each evening and on Sundays. The difference in this camp experience from what one would normally expect is two leaders and ten campers per work crew paid to spend large portions of their day at job sites. The finances collected support the program, which the organization views as all participants making an investment in the missionary work they’re doing. The work crews were comprised of combined members of the different participating churches to promote new friendships and socialization.
Photo by Crystal Ritz
Several campers worked hard cutting wood for one homeowner.

Beginning their missionary workday, they had a crew chat with a Bible devotional and discussion, which the homeowners at the site were invited to participate in; the majority did. The site coordinator and leaders taught and mentored the teens while keeping them on task throughout the day. Their day may have included power washing, painting houses, building decks or ramps, demolishing outbuildings (the guys especially enjoyed this), cleaning, general maintenance, yard work or cutting and stacking wood. A lunch break was provided by the host church at noon and they continued the work until around 3 p.m. each day. The campers also enjoyed visiting and the companionship they shared with the recipients at the job sites.
According to Delta Hernandez, Coordinator for TCMT, she and her husband Dusty had the privilege of working with a great bunch of teenagers this year. Many of the teen participants commented, “I can always feel God at camp.” Elizabeth Scott, college leader, concurs. Scott has participated in the organization for five years, both as a team member and a college leader.
The final weekend afforded the campers a Fun Day on Saturday when they got to sleep in and have more pool time at camp. They also got a trip to Fun City in Mtn. Grove, where they could participate in bowling, movies, laser tag and the video game arcade. Sunday was an opportunity for the campers to thank their host churches, share their experiences with a slide show, followed by dinner at their respective churches. A memorable occasion for those who were saved during camp was the choice to be baptized in the Big Piney while at camp.
Hernandez and Scott agree that TCMT is a really good way of introducing kids to how to help others, learning how to serve and be missionaries in their own communities surrounded and supported by church families in a non-stressful environment.
The TCMT program started in 2012, after Paul Posey and Scott Barton went to Jefferson City to participate in the 3MT camp in 2011. The organization has only missed one year, last year, in participation; that due to scheduling conflicts.
This year a majority of Texas County Baptist Association churches were involved. This included sending churches, which sent teen campers and adult leaders; host churches, which had a site coordinator finding missionary jobs of physical and/or financial need in their community and provided lunch for all working participants; and supporting churches, which helped with dinner preparation and serving dinner in the evening.
The TCMT is a group that works within the Texas County Baptist Association, with Mike Walker as Director of Missions, and is comprised of 25 Baptist churches in Texas County. The association includes a coordinated effort among the many churches for mission work done in the area, regionally, nationally and internationally. The focus locally is the mission team camps, as well as programs such as Vacation Bible School.

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