Written By TAYLOR SLOAN
A few months ago, 170 volunteers from across the Southeastern United States traveled to Oxford and its surrounding areas to help people with their home repair needs. The group consisted of volunteers ranging from elementary school students to senior citizens. They had one common goal: to lend a hand and better the lives of those in need while also growing in their faith and developing mission-minded lifestyles. The group spent a week in our local community assisting residents with home projects such as roof repairs, painting, improvements to homes' accessibility, and more.
According to Janice Sheitlin, the director of World Changers of Calhoun County, the volunteers completed 17 projects in the Oxford area.
"We called it the 'Oxford Project,’” Sheitlin said. "The ministry of World Changers includes three mission programs: construction projects, church planting projects, and urban projects. The Oxford Project was of traditional World Changers kind. We went in and did construction work to residents' homes in the area."
Sheitlin shares that the Calhoun Baptist Association began working with World Changers around 2004 and that the city continues to appreciate their help. "The City of Oxford works very well with us and is always eager to have World Changers come help its residents."
This year, churches from Kentucky, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Alabama sent volunteers to work on the Oxford Project and in other nearby communities. Upon arriving, teams of 10-12 were formed and given assignments based on their skills, expertise, and interests.
Scheitlin refers to the morning after arriving on site as the "great send-off." "Breakfast is served at 6:00 a.m., followed by a group prayer. We then spread out to the assigned projects. Before each crew leaves, they receive the homeowner’s name and address. Then, they work hard for the subsequent four days," Scheitlin said. "Those receiving help look at it as a blessing, and they are very appreciative of what the volunteers do–especially the elderly with health issues. Without our help, they are not able to be as independent as they would like. If we build them a ramp, for example, they can get in and out like they want to and move around more freely."
According to Scheitlin, Greenbrier Road Baptist Church graciously opened their church and hosted the volunteers working in Oxford. They provided food, lodging, and other necessities. Greenbrier Road Baptist Church will again be the host in 2018 when World Changers continues their Oxford Project in the third week of July.
To receive help, one must go through an application process with the City Clerk's office. Applicants must meet certain criteria and be unable financially to make the repairs on their homes themselves.
For more information, please visit www.lifeway.com/worldchangers.