06/23/09 — Their mission will be at home

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Their mission will be at home

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on June 23, 2009 1:46 PM

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Samuel Leonard, on ladder, Jacob Palma and Isaiah Gibson of the Protestant Youth Ministry at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base cleaned buses at the Family YMCA on Monday as part of a weeklong effort around the county.

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Casside Elmore puts a shine on a bus window during Monday's cleanup at the Family Y, part of the youth group's mission at home.

Seymour Johnson Air Force Base Protestant Youth Ministry isn't heading to Africa or South America this year for its annual mission trip.

The youth members' week of service started on Parkway Drive in Goldsboro -- washing buses at the local YMCA.

"We are doing a missions trip at home," said D.J. Coles, chapel youth services coordinator and youth pastor.

Missions Over Wayne: "The Mission Possible Project 2009" kicked off Sunday with the arrival of Marietta Vineyard, a youth ministry from Marietta, Ga., who will partner with the local group in a series of stay-at-home projects.

The trip's title comes from the notion that "with God all things are possible," Coles said.

Beyond the fun and fellowship of sharing with another youth group, though, it's all about service.

The "real work" began Monday and will wrap up on Saturday, Coles said.

Youth will be serving in a variety of areas in addition to the Family YMCA. Also on the group's agenda are the MERCI Warehouse, Shiloh Animal Farms, Habitat for Humanity and other local places that help citizens in some ways. Daily tasks are expected to range from painting and washing workers' vehicles to serving youths at the Seymour Johnson AFB Vacation Bible School.

But Coles said the students' schedule will be a bit flexible, too.

They will work "wherever they can serve and learn how to work at a level of excellence," he said. "Some have never worked with animals before, and they'll be working with animals. Some have never worked at all."

The experience is all about being of service, and where better than their own hometown? Coles added.

"We have always gone everywhere, but we're actually the host (this time)," he said. "It's very amazing, but it's also a blessing. ... We are really excited about this collaboration and we want to serve Wayne County and its families as well as our families and squadrons here at Seymour Johnson. The main thing is to just watch these youths be a blessing in Wayne County."

An estimated 38 participants are taking part in the week's events -- 15 from Marietta, 23 from Protestant Youth Ministry plus five adults, Coles said.

But their efforts will extend beyond the next few days, the youth pastor says.

"This kind of outreach will not only affect our youth of today, but will pave a foundation for future outreach efforts," he said. "Wayne County, N.C., will hopefully be a better place because of smiling faces and hard-working youths."

To contact Coles about the week's projects, e-mail pymin3D@yahoo.com.