Mission Trip Report

Last week fifteen men, women and youth (and one toddler) from Graffiti 2 served on mission in the Princeton, West Virginia area. Below is the trip report, written by one of our summer interns, Jonathan Blackburn, and below are more pictures of their service on mission.

This past week was the first official mission trip for Graffiti 2 Baptist Church.  The group consisted of 9 youth, 6 adults, and 1 toddler who was our boss.  We traveled around 12 hours to the mountains of West Virginia to share the love of Christ by word and deed.  We were greeted with an outstanding spaghetti dinner by Immanuel Baptist Church located in Princeton, West Virginia.   This church accommodated us and provided us dinner every night along with massive amounts of ice cream.  This church is also the home church of Josh and Kerri Johnson.
Sunday morning we worshipped with Immanuel Baptist.  Josh brought the message about intercessory prayer.  Three of the group members also gave powerful testimonies of the Lord answering intercessory prayer.  After the service we spent the day at Pipe Stem State Park.  For a group of mostly Bronx natives this environment was very different from what they were used to.  We had a lot of fun enjoying nature, riding the cable car, and skipping rocks on the river.
Monday was our fist official day of ministry.  We went to the town of Bluefield and helped Meet Us at the Cross Church, which is a new church plant.  Andre, the pastor, is new to the area and really wanted to connect with his community.  Our group went around the town and knocked on doors inviting people to a block party and cookout later that day.  In spite of the short notice we had a good number of adults and children attend.  Our group interacted with the kids through various games and then capped it off with a water balloon fight.  Some of our older group members had some meaningful conversations with the adults that attended.  This block party was very beneficial to this new church because it connected the pastor with the surrounding community.
On Tuesday we went to the town of Hinton.  We went to help another new church plant called The Church at 3 Rivers.  We were hosted by a young couple Robert and Brie, and by Terrin, the praise leader.  This church is on a street that the town wants to shut down.  The town wants nothing to do with this street nor with the people who hang out on this street.  The church has a bar beside it and across the street there is another bar and the headquarter building for the pagan religion Wicca.
They have done a phenomenal job remodeling this church.  It was an old bank but they have turned it into a place of worship.  They have even utilized the old vault and made it into a prayer closet.  Most of our group worked in the basement for the day doing some dirty demolition work.  The rest of the group worked on the main floor doing some cleaning.  Our young group far exceeded the expectations as they worked diligently in a difficult environment.
Many people in this area suffer with drug addiction and mental illnesses.  During the down time some our group members got to interact with some of these people.
On Wednesday we went to the town of Matoaka to help The Bridge Church.  This was once a booming town because of the coalmines.  Now it is like a ghost town and poverty stricken.  The population a couple of years ago was 500 but now it’s even less.  Because of the lack of value of real estate in Matoaka, a man gave a whole building to the church.  The building consists of a storefront space and apartments on the second floor.  The church uses the storefront as a clothes closet.  Many clothes had been donated by churches from all over, and some of our group helped moved these boxes of clothes.  The other half of our group worked upstairs in the apartments scraping paint off the walls and cleaning.  The church wants to use those apartments to hold Bible studies.  Our group also got to interact with some people from the community.  Two brothers, ages 14 and 11, helped clean with our group.  It was good for our kids to see that although these kids were from completely different places geographically they were in some ways a lot alike.  We returned to Immanuel Baptist and had a cookout and smores with their congregation.
On Thursday the weather forced us to Plan B.  Immanuel Baptist, which was where we stayed, is currently building a wellness center and the men of the church welcomed our help.  So we helped them with some things while the ladies mopped the floors and bathrooms in preparation for our departure.  It was great that it worked out for us to be there because as we were finishing a pipe broke in their new kitchen and left about an inch of water on the floor.  It would have been very difficult for the older men to quit their work and get on their knees to mop the floor.  Our group also cleaned some brush and gravel from around the church.  We concluded our trip with games, ice cream, blueberry, raspberry, and apple cobbler with the youth group from Immanuel Baptist Church.
Friday morning we packed and were on the road by 9:00 heading back to New York City!  Around 8:30 we arrived back in the Bronx.  Our group had a great time together and were greatly impacted by this week.