What does it take for a Fuller Center covenant partner to tackle 16 repair projects in a single week? A massive team of well-trained carpenters? An experienced group of adult volunteers with a little construction experience?
According to Tamara Danel, director of the Ginger Ford Northshore Fuller Center for Housing in Hammond, La., young helping hands do the trick — especially when those young helping hands come in the form of about 170 youths from World Changers.
“They are wonderful,” Danel gushed during the week. “They are a very hard-working, very dedicated, very happy crowd.”
Of course, Ginger Ford Northshore is among the nation’s busiest Fuller Center covenant partners when it comes to hosting youth groups. Many of those groups are college students, while the World Changers — an approach to youth missions by Southern Baptists and other evangelicals that involved more than 17,000 participants in 2012 — range in age from seventh-graders to college-age youth. Because World Changers are mission-driven, they are a perfect fit with The Fuller Center’s Christian housing ministry.
“It looks like the young ones are just as hard-working as the older ones,” Danel said. “They just came with the right mind-set. They came prepared to work, and they’re not complainers.”
What exactly is the right mind-set?
“You need a positive attitude even when it’s raining and hot and you’re waiting on supplies to get there,” she said. “You don’t complain; you just find something meaningful and productive to do or visit with your neighbor and sharing the Gospel and keep on plugging away until you have what you need.”
Chattahoochee Fuller Center Project Director Kim Roberts also had her first experience with World Changers this past week as about 250 participants came to work on 20 projects in Lanett and Valley, Ala., as well as West Point, Ga. Though the World Changers came to work with a CFCP partner organization, one group of World Changers worked directly with Roberts’ covenant partner.
“It was not that hard because we team up with that partner quite a bit, and they have brought them in before,” Roberts said of the World Changers. “So they called and asked if we could help. And, of course, we said yes.”
Though it was the first experience with World Changers for both covenant partners, each director expects it to be the first of many.
“I would like to be more engaged next year,” Roberts said.
Not only would Danel like to be engaged with World Changers again, but as a member of The Fuller Center’s International Board of Directors, she would like to see many more covenant partners reach out to World Changers and bring them into their communities for service projects to help the youth put their faith into action.
“I think that we should not only continue it, but we should promote it to all of our Fuller Center covenant partners and give everybody the opportunity to serve through The Fuller Center for Housing,” she said.
The World Changers’ visit to Hammond came the same week as Ginger Ford Northshore hosted St. Joseph’s Prep School in Philadelphia. "We did 18 Greater Blessing projects, 19 World Changers projects and 20 volunteer projects all together," Danel said.