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Commentary by Editor Pam Horne: Missions feeds the soul; stirs the heart

Will Wesson and Amanda Hyssong

These cooler than usual August days feel great. It’s providing me with a bit of a calming influence in the midst of the back-to-school frenzy.  Summer vacation is never long enough. Hopefully, you have had a chance, or will have a chance to take off for an end of summer trip between now and Labor Day. Whether for fun, work or service, packing up and heading out of town is good for the soul.

This week’s edition of the Herald features several examples of how Williamson Countians have fed their hearts through mission work, either in the distant past or, more recently, during the summer months.

The call to engage in service usually presents itself during teen years. More and more church youth groups seek to live out their religious faith by serving people living in another neighborhood, city, state, or country, as was the case for a group from Franklin’s Christ United Methodist Church.

When I heard that Sierra Leone had been the destination for these local Methodist youth, I could not imagine their story.
Images of scorched earth and child soldiers came to mind. 

This West Africa country is known for the torture and mayhem its people endured during a long civil war that began in the early ‘90s and lasted well into this new millennium.

I am grateful to have shared conversations with Matthew Minor, Elizabeth Ayers and Beth Stuckey. It was full of the highs and lows of service.

They all three expressed a desire to retain and refrain now that they are back in our material world. 

Beth Stuckey said when she noticed that people were actually living in the open landfill in Sierra Leone it broke her heart. She immediately considered how much we dispose and replace on a daily basis.

Mission work is life changing.

When I was a child in Louisville, Kentucky I had a good friend named Jana whose family was on furlough from the mission field of Laos.

I remember the first time I visited her apartment and Dorie and Norm Ford served me sticky rice.

When I think about my first “true “ friends in life, I am reminded of Jana. She was the one I missed the most when I moved to Williamson County in 1976.  Small in stature, her heart was huge.

This summer Carole Robinson had a chance meeting at the Martin Senior Center with a couple, relatively new to Brentwood. Stan and  Ginny Smith spent their life on the mission field overseas.

Carol has eloquently captured the essence of their family’s deep multi-generational commitment to Vietnam in her front feature this week.

While Carol and I focused on service abroad, Kerri stayed closer to home, taking in stories about Brentwood Baptist’s youth mission trip to inner city Chicago and St. Paul’s Episcopal’s trek to the Cumberland Mountains in Grundy County.

Her interviews with of BBC are revealing about the hearts of our young people.

Mission and service work stretches and refines. Sometimes it even makes you question your own desires to constantly have more.

Take a moment if you can and see how some of your younger and older neighbors have traded prosperity of wealth for spiritual prosperity and the bounty that accompanies it.

Pam Horne is Managing Editor of the Williamson Herald and long-time Williamson County resident.

Posted on: 8/14/2013


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