Teenage volunteers help rebuild Gulfport church

By WLOX Staff

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - It doesn't look like a church just yet, but some teens are on their knees anyway. Instead of listening to a sermon, they're working hard to rebuild Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Gulfport.

Church leader JoAnne Warren said, "It was 101 years in existence before Katrina. It was torn, so we had to demolish it and rebuild from the ground up."

The volunteer group is part of World Changers. This summer, 23,000 teenage volunteers are working in more than 80 cities across North America. They concentrate on rebuilding homes and communities as a part of their mission to spread their faith.

"My youth group comes out every year, and we like to help out around the community and do what you can to show God's glory," volunteer Daniel Burns said.

Sometimes helping out can get physical

Volunteer Daphne Davies said, "Our hope is by meeting physical needs through the house by roofing or sheet rocking or painting, by meeting those physical needs that they have, hopefully we'll be able to go deeper and meet some spiritual needs."

The volunteers are doing some heavy work, and most have never hammered sheet rock. But they're learning as they go, and they're teaching. JoAnne Warren, a 50-year church member, is quick to tell you what she's learned from these young men and women.

"It's beautiful. You usually see elderly people, but for those young folks to give up their time and energy to come here in this heat and work with us and restore our church, it's a blessing," Warren said. "God works in mysterious ways, and it's a blessing that they are here."

While the new church is being built, the congregation is meeting at the Riley Chapel Methodist Church. The Mount Zion pastor hopes their church will be complete in September.

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