World Changers from five states assembled in Little Rock last week at Life Line Baptist Church to rehab homes and share the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
“I am proud of these guys that are working around here. Boy, they are doing a good job. They made my house look like a home, and that I’m appreciative of,” said Tommy Allen, a Little Rock resident whose home was restored.
Allen’s home was one of 12 projects completed by World Changers by the end of the week-long missions experience.
“This is the only hope that some of these people have,” said City Director Joan Adcock.
Adcock has partnered with Life Line Baptist Church through the city of Little Rock to host World Changers for 15 years. During what is described as a week-long “hands-on mission experience,” students are given the “tools and training…for a lifetime of missional living,” according to the World Changers website.
“World Changers started in 1990…It was one of the first organizations to meet the need within the church for hands-on missions opportunities for students,” James Caban of World Changers said in a press conference Tuesday. “World Changers continues to meet that need through construction and community missions experiences. And for over 33 years, World Changers has mobilized around a half a million participants, served more than 13 million volunteer hours, saved North American cities over $280 million in labor costs and ministered to over 30,000 homeowners.”
While World Changers provide the labor, “the city of Little Rock provides materials paid for from Federal Community Development Block Grant Funds” to help make this happen, according to the mayor’s office.
“The city’s longstanding partnership with World Changers, Life Line Baptist and other churches in our community is uplifting lives throughout Little Rock,” Mayor Frank Scott Jr. said. “I appreciate the servant hearts of the nearly 200 youth and other volunteers who braved the Arkansas heat and humidity to help improve our neighborhoods. Their commitment to service and the commandment to ‘love thy neighbor’ truly changes the world.”
This year, around 150 students from six churches in Missouri, Georgia, North Carolina, Mississippi and Arkansas called the corner of Baseline and Chicot home from July 10-15. After arriving for evening worship and a dinner prepared for them by Arkansas Baptist Disaster Relief (ABDR), the youth group students and chaperones made “Baptist pallets” in Life Line’s Sunday school rooms.
“Life Line has been humbled to host World Changers these fifteen years. It is our privilege to serve Jesus Christ as we serve Little Rock, Arkansas. It is also a blessing to partner with many other churches. I am so thankful for the ‘Life Liners’ who give their time, even their vacations to make this project a success. And I’m so thankful to God for protecting us and allowing us to finish each of the houses.” said Jeff Dial, senior pastor of Life Line Baptist Church.
Throughout the week, “Life Liners” daily cleaned the building, assisted ABDR in serving meals, washed dishes, prepared desserts and provided security for their guests. Several church members were even involved in the restoration process of the 12 projects, serving as crew chiefs. The church’s own youth group also opened a pop-up snack shack for the week, raising money for those in need to attend church camps and other activities.
“I love that Life Line offers many opportunities to serve as a church member,” said Suzette Weast, who has been attending Life Line for seven years. “Serving as a volunteer during World Changers week allows me to have a small part in the development of a servant’s heart for today’s youth.”
Thirteen churches in the community also daily assisted by bringing homemade lunches to the worksites, nourishing these hard-working students in record heat.
This was ABDR’s first time aiding Life Line in cooking breakfast and dinner, and they were encouraged by the eternal work of World Changers.
“It was our blessing to be able to serve, and our prayer is that this opportunity has lit a fire in the hearts of those who attended World Changers for missions [and] to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And it was our blessing to play a small part in that,” said Deb Norris, an ABDR volunteer.
Geyer Springs First Baptist Church, Ozark First Baptist Church and Mount Zion Baptist Association also provided shower units through ABDR.
Tuesday morning, these missionaries deployed on their worksites around the city to paint home exteriors, put on siding, build wheelchair ramps and complete various other projects. Each evening the students and their chaperones returned to Life Line for dinner and a time of worship, meeting in small groups and leisure. Their long days of hard work lasted until Friday, before cleaning and packing up on Saturday morning to return home.
“The city of Little Rock and World Changer’s partnership is one of the most enduring in the nation,” Caban said.
Because of this collaboration, lives are being changed.
“All you have to do is go to one of the homes that is being done and you see the impact it has on people,” Adcock said.
These World Changers truly were the hands and feet of Jesus as they shared about His love and saving grace over twenty times. Heaven, Life Line and and everyone involved are all rejoicing over the four hearts that were forever changed through salvation.
“The most amazing thing about World Changers is that Jesus is still in the saving business and changing lives,” Dial said.
This week, a different set of students have been changing the world in Pine Bluff, continuing Christ’s mission. The impact of their hard work and their Gospel reach will be reported on soon.
In the meantime, applications are currently open for Little Rock residents who would like their homes to be worked on by World Changers next year. For more information, call 501-371-6825 or visit www.littlerock.gov and click the Housing and Neighborhood Programs tab.
You can watch a recap video of the week here to see all of the World Changers’ hard work.