August 4, 1999






Texas missions offering
helps reach state's inner cities

___By Ken Camp
___Texas Baptist Communications
___SAN ANTONIO--It's a long way from a small town in East Texas to the mobile home parks and low-income apartments of south San Antonio.
AMANDA ATOR of First Baptist Church in Lipan teaches an apartment Bible study for children in south San Antonio as part of the Youth Inner-City Evangelism Project. (Photo by Ken Camp)
___Four Acteens, two Girls in Action and their adult leaders from Fellowship Baptist Church of Athens made the cross-cultural trek this summer as part of the Youth Inner-City Evangelism Project.
___For four days, the girls conducted a mission vacation Bible school at Twin Lakes Mobile Home Park each morning and at Saddlebrook Apartments each afternoon.
___At the mobile home community near Brooks Air Force Base, they alternated locations for the Bible school between a public playground and the home of Twin Lakes resident Cynthia Metcalf, a member of nearby Harmony Baptist Church.
___Metcalf pointed out that about 300 children and youth live in the mobile home park, and few attend church.
___"The girls planted enough seed that they (the children at Twin Lakes) wanted to continue for the rest of the summer," Metcalf later said. She agreed to continue the half-day mission Bible school program three days a week until the start of school.
___At the Acteens IMPACT conference in March, Acteens leader Lisa Saine learned about the summer missions opportunity when she met Bill Howse, coordinator of visiting mission groups for San Antonio Baptist Association and resident minister at Saddlebrook Community Church.
___He introduced her to the Youth Inner-City Evangelism Project, a Texas 2000 emphasis of the Baptist General Convention of Texas. The project encourages youth groups that are planning mission trips to consider service in the inner-cities of Texas.
___Texas Baptists help to support the Youth Inner-City Evangelism Project, as well as the Acteens and GA programs sponsored by Woman's Missionary Union of Texas, through gifts to the Mary Hill Davis Offering for Texas Missions.
___Saine and her husband, David, are preparing for overseas missionary appointment by the Southern Baptist Convention's International Mission Board next spring. She said her work with Acteens in general and with the inner-city mission project in particular gave her a new perspective.
___"It was through working with Acteens that I came to realize my calling was to do missions," she said. "Working at the apartment ministry opened the eyes of all our group. We could see God at work here, even in the lives of kids whose parents are drug addicts."
___It was a testimony shared by many of the more than 200 church youth groups participating in Youth Inner-City Evangelism this summer in Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, El Paso, Austin and San Antonio.
___About 50 of those groups worked with San Antonio Baptist Association. Many scheduled their mission trips immediately before or after the Youth Evangelism Conference at San Antonio's Alamodome in late June.
___One was the junior high school youth choir from First Baptist Church of Arlington. Four adult sponsors and 22 junior high youth worked with Medical Center Baptist Church in northwest San Antonio. The volunteers helped the church with a landscaping project and led a Sunday worship service.
___"This is the first mission trip most of these kinds have been on," said Youth Minister Curt Grice. "We had been looking for a place in Texas to serve where we could take a long weekend, so we contacted San Antonio Association."
___It also was the first mission experience for the 18 youth from Jonesboro Baptist Church who came with five sponsors to work at a San Antonio church, according to Pastor Kevin Hall.
___The young people refinished the floor of a fellowship hall for Greater Good News Missionary Baptist Church, a predominantly African-American congregation on the city's south side.
___"These kids came right in here on fire for God and ready to work. They are a blessing," said Willie Turner, associate minister at Greater Good News Church. Noting the progress the youth made in just three days, he added, "That just shows what you can do when you get busy for God."
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