This Tuesday afternoon a group of young people spent their afternoon at the Winchester Community Center giving to others instead of just playing or relaxing during their summer break. 87 kids serving in the Mission Group for Pioneer Drive Baptist Church from Abilene, Texas visited Monroe, North Carolina to give 126 pairs of shoes to other kids. They brought with them a donation – enough to purchase 100 more pairs of shoes through Sole 2 Soul Mission outreach! Like S2S Mission, the Pioneer Drive Baptist Church Mission Group believes in giving to their neighbors in need, especially kids.
The Pioneer Drive Baptist Church Mission Group were accompanied by 11 parent volunteers, S2S Mission founder John Fagala, and 3 very important guests, program participants from Ground40, a discipleship program located in Monroe, NC that provides practical and spiritual needs to men transitioning back into the community. The three men that helped to lead the outreach are halfway through their 120-day program. Pastor Rick Brown is the Missions Director who arranged the partnership between the Pioneer Drive Baptist Church Mission Group and S2S Mission. The Mission Group was already in town to work with First Baptist Church Indian Trail, and Pastor Rick suggested that when the group was done, they could partner with volunteers from Ground40 and S2S Mission to give shoes to children in need.
Besides blessing the children with shoes, the men from Ground40 also shared their powerful testimonies with the Mission Group volunteers beforehand so that they could be better prepared to know what at-risk youth are up against: dropout, drugs, and even sometimes prison or death.
One Ground40 volunteer cautioned the volunteers of how real addiction can be by sharing his testimony. He wanted the volunteers to realize what the at-risk children might face:
“…Nearly 10 years [of my life] is a blur. I've got two children. I've never been a father, and God chased me down…I couldn't get sober. I kept going to rehab after rehab and I've died multiple times. I didn't care. I didn't care about anything but, but this girl from Monroe, her brother overdosed and died. There was a picture of him on Facebook. And she cared enough and reached out to me. Never met her in my life. She told me about Ground40 and what they do. And I pushed her off. I ended up overdosing again, and I came back. I got to see my kids even though I didn't really care. I was ready to die. And uh, she [reached out again], and she said, ‘nobody told you they love you. I love you and God loves you.’ And that just opened my heart.
I ended up at Ground40 two days later and I've been here ever since, and I can't thank her enough. Can't thank the Lord enough, getting to do an opportunity like this. So y'all take it in for real. It's scary out there. I promise you. It happens to a lot of people and you wouldn't even know it. So, take this in and help these kids out.”
Another Ground40 volunteer shared that before addiction, he had been a pretty good student, but he secretly drank on the weekends. But before he knew it, he was drinking a fifth of hard alcohol each night. He went on to graduate high school and even went to college, but without much guidance or drive to continue doing well in school, his life went really downhill after that. He blew through about $30,000 and he didn’t even graduate college. He had progressed from drinking to hard drugs. He returned home but couldn’t get settled into one place and his life was a blur, too. He was so lost that he couldn’t see his future and he didn’t even think he wanted any future. He shared that Ground40 changed his life and that he has never felt like God cared for him until he was a part of the ministry.
The Ground40 program participants helped the Mission Group from Pioneer Drive Baptist Church to understand what the children they were serving that day might be exposed to - loved ones who were addicted and lost. And how God could change their lives. And this outreach could share the Gospel in a way that they had never known before. The kids from the Pioneer Drive Mission Group shared these reactions:
“The impact of the stories that [the guys] shared are as impactful as anything I have ever heard. What they said is unimaginable in my world, but it is very real in many other people’s lives. I am so thankful for their testimony and their honesty today.” - Shannon
“I’ve never met an actual addict. To hear their stories makes me realize how much I’m blessed and that I will never take that freedom for granted.” – Tyler
“Blown away that God can work such miracles.” – Ashley
The Ground40 volunteers talked with the kids receiving shoes individually and related to them on their level. The outreach on this Tuesday was a full circle moment for the participants that will spur them on to continue their journey of recovery. Their example of discipleship was a blessing to all the volunteers.
S2S Mission works actively to secure partnerships between churches and groups like Ground40 in order to meet the needs of children in North Carolina, throughout the nation, and around the world. If you and your group would like to help with an outreach, either sign up for their outreach during LOVE Week that Elevation Church is hosting or contact S2S directly on their website at: https://www.sole2soulmission.org/get_involved.