National Youth Gathering Features Mission Outreach

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National Youth Gathering Features Mission Outreach

WASHINGTON, D.C. (ABNS 7/27/12)—Many youth from across the United States and Puerto Rico served as the hands and feet of Christ by participating in mission outreach at various sites here on Wednesday as part of Immerse, the 2012 national gathering of American Baptist youth. Sponsored by Valley Forge, Pa.-headquartered American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS), Immerse began on Tuesday and concludes tomorrow.

Youth from American Baptist Churches USA (ABCUSA) Metro Chicago region painted and installed drywall in classrooms at a soon-to-be opened location of Centro Nia, a bilingual charter school that offers early childhood education and after-school programs.

At Emmaus Services for the Aging, youth played games and socialized with clients. They also packed shopping bags with groceries and delivered them to senior citizens. Tiara Cousins, 18, of Emmanuel Baptist Church, Charleston, W.Va., noted that interaction among youth and senior citizens is mutually beneficial.

“They [senior citizens] have so much to teach us, and we [youth] have ears to listen,” Cousins said, as she and an agency client bowled virtually on a Nintendo Wii gaming system. “We can benefit greatly by taking their wisdom and applying it to our lives.”

A group of youth from Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church, Anchorage, Alaska, collected litter along a street near Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, a national park.

“It’s important to do it [collect litter] because it makes it [the area] cleaner and nicer, and people will be able to appreciate it more,” said 17-year-old Tiana Blevins.

Shani Powell, 17, and LeRoya Simmons, 18, both of Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church, Palmer, Alaska, were among a group of youth who pulled bottles, Styrofoam and other debris from Nash Run, a tributary of the Anacostia River.

“It feels good that we’re helping the community and whatever [wildlife] lives in there [the tributary],” Powell and Simmons agreed.

Wednesday was the first of two days devoted to “Mission in the City.” Another was held yesterday.

In addition, Immerse features worship with nationally recognized guest speakers, small group discussion and a prayer walk on the National Mall. More than 1,000 youth and their adult leaders attended.

Immerse is open to youth of all ecumenical walks of faith who are ages 14-19 or entering at least freshman year of high school.

ABHMS—the domestic mission arm of ABCUSA—ministers as the caring heart and serving hands of Jesus Christ across the United States and Puerto Rico through a multitude of initiatives that focus on discipleship, community and justice.

American Baptist Churches USA is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with 5,500 local congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.