Students help West BOUNCE back

Student volunteers with Bounce paint a home in West, a Central Texas community still recovering from a fertilizer plant explosion last year.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Email

Ninety-degree weather, manual labor and full workdays—plus a passion for delivering restoration in the name of Jesus—are what Texas Baptists’ Bounce is all about.

bounce painting425As part of Bounce, a student-focused disaster recovery program, volunteers work on homes in West, a Central Texas community rocked by a fertilizer plant explosion in April 2013.“I just really like working hard to help people,” explained Kayla Kemp, a high school volunteer from First Baptist Church in Copperas Cove. “It makes me feel like I’m impacting people.”

Kemp joined nearly 200 volunteers to participate in Bounce, a student-focused disaster recovery program. It launched this month in West, where the community is recovering from an April 2013 fertilizer plant explosion. Churches from around the state, as well as Oklahoma, Georgia and New Mexico, contributed to the effort.

Students took part in a four-week training period that taught them skills needed to participate in the recovery. Then they spent a week repairing damaged roofs, replacing siding, and painting houses.

“The construction is an opportunity for us to encourage and love the community,” BOUNCE Director David Scott said.

bounce plywood425Bounce volunteers put a new roof on a West resident’s house. They replaced the old roof, cut boards, and cleared debris off the ground.Homeowner Jan Vaculik bought his house in 1974. He said that he had been waiting to see his house painted 30 years, but he was never able to get it finished.

As a BOUNCE team put the final coat of paint on his home, Vaculik looked around and said, “It’s a big blessing.”

Students used multiple gifts during the program. As her team’s chaplain, Kemp provided a devotional each afternoon for her fellow volunteers.

“It’s been a really good opportunity, because I think I do have a gift of teaching, and I got to use that gift,” she said.

In the evenings, the students gathered for worship. Dalton Cozart, a high schooler from First Baptist Church in Cisco, said each provided relevant insight into the work their teams were doing.

A lesson about the Old Testament leader Nehemiah defined why he decided to participate in BOUNCE, he said.

bounce logo400“Nehemiah wasn’t a wall-builder, but he went and rebuilt the wall of Jerusalem,” Cozart said, citing the lesson. He found joy in the fact that, while he and his team may not professional carpenters, God called them together to rebuild a house. “And it looks good,” he said with a grin.

Throughout the week, students experienced the impact God can make on people’s lives through their work. They witnessed Bounce’s three core values—to restore hope, to rebuild communities and to reflect Christ. Another goal is to shape the way students view missions.

“We want use Bounce to cultivate a love for missions and ministry in the lives of students,” Scott said. He hopes the weeks students spend serving help them see God’s call on their lives.

Bounce will work in West through June 28. The program will provide recovery assistance in Austin, where floods damaged parts of the city, July 7-12. And it will supply help in Moore, Okla., site of a 2013 tornado, July 14-19.

For more information, click here

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Email

Care to comment? Send an email to our interim opinion editor, Blake Atwood. Maximum length for publication is 250 words.