WACO—Construction sounds filled the air March 12 and 13 at 11 work sites in Waco—the tum, tum, tum of hammers; the scree of power saws; the clank of aluminum ladders being moved; the scratch, scratch, scratch of paint scrapers; the talk, talk, talk of teenagers.
Noah, a senior from First Baptist Church in Plano, has participated in seven Bounce trips. When asked why he keeps coming back, he said: “The obvious part, I love construction. It’s something I’m very passionate about, but the most rewarding part is seeing the community have hope again. It’s so much more than cutting wood or putting up some drywall. The biggest reason I do it is because it restores hope.”
On his first trip, Noah worked alongside a firefighter, who helped him overcome his fear of ladders. By the end of the trip, he knew he loved construction. Largely as a result of Bounce, Noah plans to pursue a degree in civil engineering.
Each spring break, Bounce Student Disaster Recovery deploys students and adults around a community for renovation and restoration of homes whose owners can’t afford the cost or who physically are unable to do such work. David Scott, Texas Baptists’ Bounce director, coordinates these spring break mission trips, as well as summer trips.
“Through Bounce, we want to make it easy for a church to mobilize their students for meaningful and challenging mission service, “ Scott said. “We take care of all the details—food, lodging, projects, program—so youth pastors or youth volunteers can provide their students with a significant hands-on experience.”
In the past, Texas public schools shared the same spring break week. This year, spring breaks were split between two weeks, resulting in two weeks of Bounce. Eight churches participated in the first week, and two churches were scheduled for the second week before it was canceled due to concerns about COVID-19. One church arrived in Waco early and completed a project for Bounce.
The student count was 114 students in the first week, and 20 students were scheduled for the second week. Adults numbered 54 in the first week, with 14 scheduled for the second week. In addition to the number of students and adults participating in construction projects, at least 16 volunteers helped in various ways.
Ministry partners support Bounce
Texas Baptist Men disaster relief volunteers prepared meals, and they also provided two shower units—one from Ellis County TBM and the other from First Baptist Church in Comanche, which is part of the Heart of Texas Baptist Area.
Meadowbrook Baptist Church in Robinson housed BOUNCE participants.
“We are grateful to partner with the students and adults serving through Bounce over spring break,” said David Cozart, executive pastor of Meadowbrook. “It has been a blessing to see the excitement of students serving in the Waco community, worshipping and connecting with others. We look forward to June when the summer Bounce teams will be here.”
Students removed and replaced rotten siding, repaired porches and painted. One house needed a window replaced and other windows resealed. Grassroots Community Development, a Waco charity whose mission is “to inspire and cultivate healthy neighborhoods,” provided materials.
During evening worship services, Carlos Montoya, the associate pastor of Fielder Church South Oaks Campus in Arlington, challenged participants to love their neighbor as they love themselves. Jesus saw the crowds and had compassion on them; “Jesus was in the ministry of seeing people,” he said. He challenged students to pay attention to people, pursue friendship and pray for opportunity to share life and the gospel with people.
Also during worship services, participants were introduced to the Cooperative Program, Texas Baptist River Ministry, Go Now Missions and Baptist Student Ministries. After the Thursday evening worship service, students and adults put together hygiene kits for River Ministry to give out to people they serve.
Students were able to choose ministry positions that included: an evangelism reporter—a person who kept track of conversations and contacts; lunch luggers, who made sure lunches made it to the work site; team docs to make sure everyone had sunscreen; hydration specialists to make sure everyone had enough water; and a team chaplain, who gave a devotional at the work site.
“There are any number of meaningful things I have seen happen at Bounce missions,” Scott said. “We see quality of life improved for the people we serve. In many cases, they have been victims of disaster or they live in a situation where they are unable to make needed repairs to their home, which can be a disaster for them. They live with a sense of hopelessness. We love being able to mobilize students to restore hope and reflect Christ. We also have a deep desire to cultivate a love for mission service and ministry in the lives of students. We want them to be missional beyond a week of Bounce.”