Student volunteers help communities ‘Bounce’ back after floods

Bounce volunteers from Lakeside Baptist Church in Granbury helped an elderly woman in Blanco pack her possessions and clean the inside of her house to move to a new home. (PHOTO / Olivia Williams)

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SAN MARCOS—Floods devastated parts of South Central Texas in May, but Texas Baptists’ Bounce ministry brought youth from six Texas churches to the area this summer to begin rebuilding communities. 

bounce sanmarcos cowboy4632 425Volunteers from Cowboy Fellowship in Pleasanton help rebuild the damaged skirting around a mobile home belonging to Joyce Adams, a member of First Baptist Church in San Marcos. (PHOTO / Olivia Williams)The flood affected areas along the Blanco River—especially San Marcos, Wimberley and Blanco—and two months later, extensive damage remains evident. Wimberley residents lost about 400 homes, and the town is still recovering, Bounce Director David Scott said.

Thanks to the resources and lodging needs met by First Baptist Church in San Marcos, the students were able to provide an example to the community and surrounding areas.

bounce bibleverses 4619 425Student volunteers with Bounce write Bible verses of comfort and encouragement on boxes they have packed belonging to an elderly woman in Blanco whose house was damaged by floods and who was moving to a new home. (PHOTO / Olivia Williams)Bounce is a Texas Baptists’ Disaster Recovery program focused on long-term disaster response that allows the youth of Baptist General Convention of Texas churches to help people with home renovations and rehabilitation after disaster.

In South Central Texas, students volunteered in projects that included clearing out homes for reconstruction, removing debris and painting. 

Joyce Adams, a member of First Baptist in San Marcos, is deaf. So, she didn’t hear the knock on her front door one night in May when the rest of her neighborhood was evacuated. After her house began to shift from rising waters, help finally arrived, but later, high and thick mud blocked entry to her home.

bounce joyceadams 4635 300Joyce Adams, who is deaf, did not hear the knocking on her door when her neighborhood was evacuated due to rising water. (PHOTO / Olivia Williams)Bounce volunteers helped Adams by removing damaged insulation and rebuilding the bottom skirting of her mobile home. 

“We’re giving strength and hope and happiness to these people by rebuilding what was lost,” said Kylee Myers, a 15-year-old member of Cowboy Fellowship in Pleasanton. “I want to rebuild these people’s spirits and make God happy by making them happy.”

Brock McKee, a 14-year-old from Lakeside Baptist Church in Granbury, was part of the group that helped an elderly woman pack and clean up the inside of her house to move to a new home.

“It’s a great way to spread God’s word,” Brock said. “I hope that others see what we’re doing here and are led to Christ.”

At a home in Wimberley, the Bounce students removed damaged electrical wires from the walls in preparation for eventual reconstruction. The father and son who live there fled to the attic when the river, only yards away, rose 60 feet. Melanie Burbey, a middle school student from Lampasas, worked on the project.

bounce davidcox4622 425David Cox and Preston Cave visit with David Scott, director of Texas Baptists’ Bounce program. (PHOTO / Olivia Williams)“I just really want to help these people,” Melanie said. “It’s helping my relationship with God, because it’s not about me; it’s about the people we’re helping.”

In addition to their volunteer service during the Bounce experience, the youth volunteers joined in a nightly worship service and participated in times of reflection.

Although Bounce is under the umbrella of Texas Baptists’ Disaster Recovery, it serves a unique purpose. The youth are able to glimpse a small sample of what could be a lifetime of mission work, and the Bounce staff hopes the experience sparks that desire. 

“We want to cultivate a love for Christ for these students,” Scott said. “My heart is for developing missionaries, and God creates love for missions at this age.”

Through other Bounce-related programs, students learn “how to be missional at home,” he added.

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