“We were able to make a difference in far more lives, in a wide variety of ways, more than I ever would have imagined,” exclaimed Stan Nash, director of the youth choir from Oakland Heights Baptist Church who came out to Clarkston for the week of June 8-15. In addition to singing in nursing homes, churches, and apartment complexes around the Clarkston area, this choir was involved in prayer walks, house visits with refugees, Backyard Bible Clubs, and various service projects. They did an excellent job in assisting RTN with reaching out to the community. The team also learned the importance of flexibility during the first few days of their trip when the rain prevented their prayer walks from happening, so they performed prayer drives instead. This group also had an opportunity to visit the giant Swaminarayan Hindu temple in Atlanta.
In the mornings, the groups had a chance to pray for the places where they would be working. Later each day, they saw their prayers answered in ways they could never imagine. During one of the house visits that week, a few of the students had an opportunity to visit several Kunama houses with Daniel, a member of Reach the Nations Community Church, and intern, Jordan Smith. During those house visits, the gospel was shared, and two women came to Christ that day. It was an answer to prayer. When reflecting on what she had learned about other religions, Morgan Walters said, “The Lord has changed my perspective to show me that they’re not necessarily scary like I thought. The people need love just like I did.” Louise Vasquez, a senior in the youth choir simply said, “Don’t force evangelism.” During the Backyard Bible Clubs, they were directly able to apply this lesson. Instead of directly sharing the gospel, they shared Bible stories such as Joseph and Abraham. They played games with the children, gave out candy, sang songs, and even brought out puppets. They were really able to build good relationships with the children.
During this trip, the youth choir from Texas really had their eyes opened to the world and its issues. They learned the reasons for many of the refugees being in the United States. They heard many more stories from the refugees themselves. “It’s become real,” said Sarah Snyder. “It’s not just something you hear on the news and then forget about at the end of the day. It puts faces to civil wars and need. It’s really changed me.” By the end of the week, the choir had transformed to an entirely different group of students. When they left, many voiced their wishes to return to Clarkston to visit those they had met and to continue aiding in the work God is doing here in Clarkston, Georgia.