Students headed to Houston, Austin, coast

Several thousand teens will be partnering with the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention and other Southern Baptist Convention entities to do mission work around the state this summer. There will be ample opportunities to serve whether a group wants to travel around the world or just down the road, said SBTC Missions Mobilization Associate Tiffany Smith.

One of those opportunities will be assisting a “PowerPlant” missions effort in Port Arthur, located in Jefferson County in southeast Texas.

PowerPlant has been around about five years and is an endeavor of World Changers, an ministry of the SBC’s North American Mission Board (NAMB). World Changers gives students an opportunity for hands-on mission work by building houses. PowerPlant gives students hands-on mission tasks assisting church plants.

“PowerPlant comes alongside of church plants,” Smith said. This year’s PowerPlant project will be June 24-30.

The groups who take part in the PowerPlant project in Port Arthur and Port Neches will work with Brent Sorrels and his wife Savannah, NAMB missionaries in Port Arthur. There will be plenty of opportunity for groups to serve, she said.

Sorrels said the Port Arthur area is becoming quite diverse. Although whites comprise about 75 percent of Port Arthur, the Hispanic and African-American populations are at 12 percent each and the Asian population is at about 4 percent.

“One goal that we have for our ministry is to get the gospel into every house in greater Port Arthur,” Sorrels said. “So, they’ll be distributing gospels in English, Spanish and Vietnamese.” Sorrels said he and his wife have been missionaries for several years but this is their first year to work with PowerPlant.

In addition to gospel distribution, groups will participate in prayer walks around the community while others will pick up debris still left in the wake of Hurricane Rita that ravaged this area on the Texas Gulf Coast last year.

Another ministry area will be the capital city of Austin. Some groups will be traveling to the Austin area to participate in “Target Austin” July 17-24.

The “Target” ministry was started by a group of youth ministers from around the state who were looking for an inexpensive way to encourage young people to do mission work. The focus city this year is Austin. Last year the group did mission work in El Paso. Next year the group plans to move down I-35 to focus on the city of San Antonio.

“They pick a city each summer and I try to help them orchestrate the details,” Smith said. Smith and the missions mobilization team work on matching groups with ministry needs to groups that want to minister. Groups will do typical mission projects such as Vacation Bible School or do construction and remodeling work.

Once a group is matched with a local church, it is up to each youth group to plan the type of ministry that it will do during the week. “I’m really just a matchmaker,” Smith said. After the match is made, youth leaders will get with the local church to discuss needs and plan from there.

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