Middleboro, Wareham church teens on a mission to make an impact

May 26, 2024

MIDDLEBORO — Young members of Church in the Pines are doing everything they can prepare for their first mission trips this summer. 

Church in the Pines is a church based in West Wareham that completed construction on an outdoor pavilion in Middleboro last summer.  

The church is organizing its first two missions trips this summer, to New Jersey and the Dominican Republic. 

Those going on the trips have been working hard to get ready, said the church’s Missions Committee Organizer Jenn Blake. 

On Saturday, June 8, the church will host a cookout fundraiser from 5 to 8 p.m. at its outdoor church in Middleboro, located at 30 East Street. There will be food, a live concert, a silent auction and a bonfire. Entry is free but donations are welcome. 

The group will also be collecting black shoes or sneakers for children ages 6 through 12 in the Dominican Republic to attend school. They are looking for youth sizes 11-13 and adult sizes 1-7. Collection bins will be at the event.

The goal of the cookout, Blake said, is to raise funds for the trips but also to establish connections with town residents. “We want to open up our mission work to the community and be able to share with them what we’re doing. And if that brings people in, that would be awesome.” 

Blake is working with the Church’s Youth Group Leader Nichole Mazzoli to organize the trips. For most of the participants, the experience will be a first, she said.

The New Jersey team is made up of four leaders and five youth. The group will spend five days in the Jersey Shore area in mid-July completing home improvement projects such as painting, roofing, repairing fences and building wheelchair ramps in low-income neighborhoods. They will work with World Changers, an organization that will team them up with other churches to work on specific projects in the community, mission members stated. 

The second group of six youth and seven adults will make a longer trek at the beginning of August to the Dominican Republic, where they will spend a week helping run a summer bible program at a rural Christian children’s school in the town of Cercadillo.

The school is run by missionary Ina York, who Church in the Pines has supported for many years, said Blake. York previously lived in the New Bedford area but moved to the Dominican Republic to do missionary work several years ago, she explained.

While there, mission members will work with local staff to organize the school’s Vacation Bible School program and engage with children in activities doing sports, crafts and music as well as teach them gospel and share personal stories with the hope of inspiring a love for God, said Blake. 

According to church members, the goal behind these trips is to teach teens about mission trips, working hard for others, giving and spreading the word of God, while providing service and helping others in need. 

To prepare for them, church youth have put on several fundraisers, attended bible studies and held monthly meetings to learn how to spread the word of God, said Blake. 

“The teens worked so hard. It’s been amazing to see how much effort they are putting into the fundraising,” she noted.

Regarding what the youth get out of the experience, she said, “My hope is that this is life changing for them — that their hearts and minds are open to the need that's out there and the impact they can have.”

She added, “Even small things can make a difference. God uses these small things in big ways and we don’t realize the impact that they can have.”