A YOUTH GROUP from Wesley Freedom United Methodist Church in Eldersburg participated in a mission to Tecate, Mexico, as part of a religious outreach, and made a tremendous difference in the lives of two poor families.
The youth mission joined five churches at a camp in the hills surrounding Tecate as part of Mission Discovery, an organization that joins local churches and builds homes for needy families in that area.
The two families that were to receive the homes from the Wesley mission lived in half-trailers or shacks built from any materials they could find, including tarps. The region is arid, with temperatures reaching the 90s during the day and dropping to the 50s at night.
Twenty high school youths took part with the Rev. Travis Knoll, eight adults and youth directors Bob and Sally Jacoby.
Their day began at 6:30 a.m. and included prayer and singing before they boarded buses at 8:30 a.m. to go to the building sites.
Both families had chosen and prepared their building sites, clearing boulders, and laying a 15-by-17-foot concrete foundation to accommodate the simple structure of four walls, two windows, a roof and one door. The Jacobys split the group into two teams and each directed a team.
According to the Jacobys, their teams were immediately struck by the area's extreme poverty. Most of the adult and teen residents worked during the day, so the group mainly interacted with children younger than age 12.
Several children helped paint the structures aquamarine, the color used by Mission Discovery for its homes dotting the landscape from years of building in the area.
Each day, 10 people from the Wesley teams would go to the Bible school and spend the day teaching Bible studies, singing and making crafts.
By the end of the week, the homes were complete. According to Jenn Squires, 18, a dedication was held. Group members formed a circle and prayed for the families and homes. The town's children sat in the middle of the circle.
On July 31, the youth mission boarded the buses for the airport to return home. According to Squires and the Jacobys, group members almost felt as if they were abandoning the people they had helped and grown to love.
But they felt relieved when they ran into a mission group from Iowa in the airport with T-shirts declaring their destination -Tecate, Mexico.
Century High School events
Century High School on Ronsdale Road in Sykesville is the focus of two events this week.
An open house will be held from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., Thursday. The public is invited to see the new school.
Century High School PTSO is sponsoring a picnic from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday in Freedom Park on Raincliff Road in Sykesville.
Students, teachers and families of Century High are invited to attend to get to know one another. Participants are asked to bring a side dish. Students will sell beverages but free hot dogs, hamburgers and rolls will be available.
Debra Taylor Young's Southeast neighborhood column appears each Tuesday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.