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On a mission: FBC youth work in Birmingham area

First Baptist Church of Demopolis youth took a week out of their summer vacations to focus on growing in their faith by serving others.

Thirty members of the FBC youth group attended “MissionFuge” camp at Samford University in Birmingham June 22-27.

M-Fuge is a mission-oriented youth camp that FBC youth attend every summer. Past destinations include Philadelphia, Nashville, St.Louis, Charleston, West Palm Beach, Mobile and San Marcos, Texas.

While this year’s location of Birmingham was closer to home — and therefore, may be perceived as less “glamorous” — it was an equally rewarding, if not more rewarding, experience for the youth involved.

“[Going to Birmingham] showed us that there is work to be done here at home,” said Leslie Spiller, minister of youth for First Baptist Church. “You don’t have to go across the country. There is mission work to be done right here in our own backyard.”

Each day, youth and chaperones alike set out to different missions sights around the Birmingham area dedicated to children’s ministry, painting and yardwork, social issues ministry, creative ministry or games and recreation-themed ministry. FBC youth and chaperones were assigned to a particular ministry and focused on that “track” for the whole week.

“Connie McPherson, Fallon Keen, Annie Jones and I volunteered at the Lovelady Center every day,” said Spiller. “It’s a center for women who have just gotten out of prison that tries to transition them back into society. [Another group] just went door-to-door down the street asking people if they needed their yards cut.”

Serving others certainly led to a great amount of spiritual growth among the youth.

“This year was probably one of the most impactful M-Fuges for the whole youth group we’ve had,” said Spiller. “There is always excitement, but I feel like this year there is more potential for change.”

M-Fuge attendees participated in daily Bible studies with the theme “Move: The Faith Journey.” Each day, FBC students, chaperones and other church youth groups discussed Moses leading Israel through the desert and how his faith helped him to take a stand, take risks, and wait for God’s timing.

“The teenagers really liked this Bible study better than they had in years past,” Spiller said. “The challenge is always how to keep the focus and how to apply what you learned there to here at home.”

Yet there seems to be little opportunity to lose focus this summer. Spiller and six youth, along with Fairhaven Baptist, will be attending Super Summer camp at Samford. Filled with rigorous Bible study and nightly worship, Super Summer is designed to be a leadership camp for the mature spiritual leaders in the youth group.

“It’s a more intense learning camp than any other camp,” said Spiller.

Super Summer is scheduled for July 13-17.