Whitelaw Avenue Baptist Church mission team consisting of eleven members (8 adults and 3 teenagers) arrived in Mount Olive, Mississippi on June 16th. Our team came prepared to do tutoring, Vacation Bible School, and construct a kitchen at the Mount Olive Ministry Center (MOM). As the week progressed, we completed these projects and also received gracious hospitality and abundant blessings from Tony and Shannon Duckworth, the church, and the children.
During the morning hours, we tutored approximately 55 children ranging in age from 3 years to 8th grade at the ministry center. The children were divided by ages into 3-5year olds, k-1st grade, 2nd and 3rd grade, and 4th-8th grade students. Preschool students worked on colors, shapes, counting and letter recognition. They also enjoyed playing games and moving to music. The older students rotated between the subject areas of math, English, and computer skills. In math, the children were guided through a curriculum designed to evaluate any deficiencies and then provided instruction to fill those areas. The goal in English was to help with comprehension and to encourage lifelong readers. The older children were allowed to work on computers to build up science and math skills.
The afternoon was spent at the public school teaching a Vacation Bible School. “Amazing Wonders Aviation” was the title of the Bible School and the children enjoyed learning about 6 different natural wonders created by God. VBS started each day with an opening rally and then we divided into age groups for bible study. Afterwards, the kids rotated between music, crafts, and recreation/snacks.
The third project of our mission trip was to remodel the kitchen of the ministry center. Seven years ago the kitchen had been torn out to be remodeled but the project was never completed. Our church provided the cabinets and countertops to complete the kitchen so that it could be used to provide food for children. Several members of the team worked throughout the week to install all of the materials. It was very exciting to see the work progress and come to completion. The Saturday morning that our team was to leave the final project was revealed. The team and the Duckworths were very excited to see the final results. We had a time of prayer and dedicated the kitchen to the Lord’s work as it is used to minister to the community.
The Mississippi hospitality and fellowship were definitely a highlight of our trip! The catfish, ribs, fried chicken, salmon, rib eye steaks, and many other southern dishes were thoroughly enjoyed. Church members and others provided many wonderful meals, and their kindness truly blessed us. It was also a privilege to meet several of the supporters of this great ministry. Aunt Loretta showed us genuine hospitality as she opened her home to us and provided a wonder buffet full of amazing southern dishes and desserts.
Many times as plans are made for mission trips, there is an idea of “how can we serve and be a blessing to this ministry?” As usual, God’s plans are greater than our expectations. We found that we were the ones that received blessings beyond measure. As one of our team members stated, “If I lived here, I would feel comfortable and welcome attending this church.” God is doing great and mighty things through Mount Olive Ministry. The 10 hour trip from Illinois to Mississippi was definitely worth the time because it was a life changing experience for the team. We pray for continued financial support and future volunteers so that the center’s vision statement of “evangelizing, equipping and educating” the community may continue.