By Rev. Rob Bruce
Well planned and executed short term mission trips prove to be one of the most effective paths of disciple formation. Living into Matthew 25:34–40 (NRSV) participants put “sweat equity” into their discipleship formation. This has been the case for McEver Road UMC and our work at Red Bird Mission Conference Work Camp.
Located in coal-rich southeastern Kentucky amidst some of the poorest counties in the US, mission work there takes participants out of their comfort zones and transforms them as they transform the people they serve. It is hands-on sanctification.
Red Bird Mission was founded in 1921 in the southeastern corner of Kentucky to provide education and Christian evangelism to the residents of that area. Chronic poverty, lack of jobs, poor housing, and rugged mountainous terrain provide obstacles to a fuller life for the residents of this area. Red Bird Mission and Clinic strives to meet these needs through ministry in five areas: Education, Health and Wellness, Community Outreach, Economic Opportunity, and Community Housing Improvement. The work camp in Beverly Kentucky hosts 2500 participants annually to provide community housing improvement.
McEver Road adopted the Red Bird Mission work camp as our “bridge” in 2011. Our first team consisted of ten folks and we sent 29 in July of 2019. We have fallen in love with the people and have been given a Spirit-led desire to help.
If you are considering a short-term mission trip we highly recommended Red Bird. The facility is first class, the food great, beautiful scenery, and the opportunity to help a deserving population. It is about a 5 and half hour drive by church bus from north Atlanta to Beverly, Kentucky where Red Bird is located. Be ready to be off the grid. The camp is located in the middle of the Daniel Boone National Forest, cell service is non-existent. However, the dining hall has wifi.
Our work this summer included installing a tin roof on a mobile home and repairing water damage in its interior, replacing and painting windows, finishing the front deck of aanother home, complete remodel of a half bath, and interior painting of another manufactured home.
The project I served on was for Betty, painting the interior of her manufactured home. When we finished on Friday, we gathered around her, laid hands on her, and prayed for her. She then prayed for us! There wasn’t a dry eye on our team. It was truly a Matthew 25:34-40 moment. Serving Betty was truly serving Jesus!
Contact Rev. Rob Bruce at firstname.lastname@example.org.