Middle School Students Spend Summer Days Serving the Community

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Student Riley Kelton helps her new friend with her color sheet

Liberty Christian Middle School students, along with teacher and alumni sponsors, traveled to Grand Prairie last week to work in area apartment complexes.

Partnering with Mission Arlington, an organization that has been helping those in need in the Arlington, Texas, area for more than two decades, 38 Liberty students knocked on apartment doors, inviting children to join them for games and a Bible story.

This year is the third for this mission retreat, as students arrived to school last Thursday, ready to learn and eager to serve children they hadn’t even met.

Student Ashleigh O’Neal poses with her new friends

Director of Technology Tom Shiflet is the team leader for the trip, and he said this retreat each year gives students the opportunity to experience hands-on community service while making a difference.

With the theme of “Heart Wash,” students listened to leaders at school on Thursday share how important it is to be close to their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ before embarking on the mission.

“If our heart isn’t right, we can’t love, serve, minister, and impact others,” said Shiflet.

“It was important that we spent the first day of our three-day time together talking about dealing with sin and temptation and checking our motives.

“We wanted all of us to ‘come clean’ before God, which made us ready to participate in the loving plan he has for each of us.”

Students took a bus to Grand Prairie on Friday and Saturday, ready for whatever was in store. At night, they came back to school for dinner and rest before the next day.

On Friday morning along with a prayer before the work began, Mission Arlington staff provided ideas for games and crayons with coloring sheets, and Liberty students were ready to go.

After knocking on many doors and inviting children to join them at the community area at the complexes, students welcomed children who came with caregivers and other siblings.

Student Paige Lytle said, “It was amazing to see the joy on the little kids’ faces when we came to play with them.”

Middle School students led in games then sang some children’s songs as a group. One student volunteer read a Bible story to the children, and then with the crayons, the children colored a picture and completed a word search and maze that went along with the story.

In addition to more games and songs, students shared with the children how they could know God’s love and plan for their lives.

Student Cole Hawkins said, “I had a wonderful experience showing love to these kids.”

On the trip back to school on Saturday night to see their parents and conclude their memorable and rewarding time on the retreat with a band that led in music, Middle School students reflected on what the trip had meant to them and the children they met.

Riley Kelton: “My favorite part was meeting every child; they warmed up to us so quickly. Not only did we impact them, but they impacted us.”

Rebekah Fife: “It was great to see all of the kids we met so happy and to see the Lord work through us this week.”

Hunter Mason: “It was so amazing to share our faith.”

Braedon Lindsey: “It isn’t what I am, but what I can become.”

Tyler Hunt: “Jesus is my friend.”

Lawrence Norton: “I thank Jesus for everything.”

John David Munera: “It was really cool hanging out with small kids I had never met before.”

John Pennypacker (alumni sponsor): “Seeing the smile on the little boys’ and girls’ faces was heartwarming. Watching the students at Liberty experience the joy of sharing their stories left ear-to-ear smiles on their faces as well.”

Sydney Duininck: “What impacted me the most was the way the kids’ faces lit up when we invited them to join us. I saw that a smile could turn a child’s whole world around.”

Ashleigh O’Neal: “It was so great to see the kids want to learn about Christ. It just makes me want to help all these people.”

Lauren Corradino: “It felt great to see all of the kids smiling and to teach them about God.”

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