High school students from Beaverton Christian Church spent part of their summer vacation performing various community service projects for residents in Gleneden Beach, Lincoln Beach and Ocean Lake on the Oregon coast.
Their work was part of the Love My Neighbor free labor program hosted by the Gleneden Beach Christian Church and designed to help others.
Under the direction of Nathan Gelsinger, Beaverton Christians student ministry pastor, 26 teenagers and four adults spent a week donating their time and talents to do yard work, trim trees and complete home improvement projects for senior citizens.
A lot of people were surprised that our students actually paid in order to be able to come do this work for free, Gelsinger said. They were incredibly touched by the students, their attitudes and their willingness to help others.
Barbara Lounsbury, a 30-year Gleneden Beach resident, said she was overwhelmed by the community service the teenagers provided. I think its wonderful," said Lounsbury, who had her work shed painted. "They did a great job.
"I think they did a big service for people who cant get things done who need to, and I think thats a good thing for the students because its teaching them to give back to the community and how to be respectful and work together as a team.
The Beaverton students also installed shelves and alphabetized books in the library of the new Ocean Lake Elementary School.
Elisah Winikka, a 15-year-old Beaverton student, said the opportunity to help friends in Lincoln City was a rewarding experience.
Ive never really been on a missions trip before, she said, but I really wanted to have the opportunity to be able to spread the gospel and to share Christ with other people and to form relationships with each other and with God.
Pastor Gelsinger added, The week that we spent doing the work was to help teach the students about loving God and loving others through their actions. Our motto was serving others to make God famous. The students lived that incredibly well.
During their free time, the Beaverton group went swimming, hung out at a local mall and enjoyed barbecues on the beach.
On the final day, the group hosted a Bunco Night for all the people whose homes they worked on, where they shared stories of what God is doing in their lives.
The experience provides the students with a great opportunity to realize that there are people who need to know about Jesus here in Oregon, just like there are in the rest of the world, said Jim Marr, an adult volunteer from Beaverton.