Mission trips are a way for people to connect and serve with a community. Central’s mission team did just that while at the Henderson Settlement in Frakes, Kentucky June 4-10, 2017. While Summer Spectacular - VBS was blessing our community’s children, this group of five blessed the people of Kentucky.
The Henderson Settlement was founded in 1925 by Rev. Hiram Franks after witnessing the people of this community being treated harshly. His kindness and servant’s heart caused him to create an area of help, support, and grace. Located in the Appalachian Mountains, this community is very secluded. The nearest hospital is 45 minutes away!
“This particular area in Kentucky is a very poor community. Their homes are falling apart and decayed. Large families are living in them. The area is a lot different from the mountains here in our area. The mountains near the Henderson Settlement are extremely inhabited and far away from ‘civilization,’” said Skylar Williams, one of the youth that went on the trip.
A group of all women of varying ages, from 14 to 82, waterproofed a gazebo, sorted clothing in the settlement’s thrift store, did yard work, cleaned out a barn, sorted through school supplies, and so much more. They worked alongside other church groups, too. The settlement has so many different kinds of projects available for groups who come to do mission work.
“It’s a work camp that supports the community within a 20 to 30 mile radius. They help the locals stay in the homes and help them rebuild when they’re not financially stable...There were so many things to do up there; possibilities are endless,” said Stephanie Frizzell.
This Methodist organization receives donations from Central, and this year we were able to give $3,000! With this, they were able to use this donation for a specific project they needed financial help with.
“Our mission team has always supported the Henderson Settlement. It’s been there since the 1930s. We’ve always been financially supportive. I think years ago we used to go up there for mission trips,” said Frizzell.
Their thrift store (once the original school house) helps with various supplies to make it more affordable for those who live in the community. These families’ income is very low and some have to drive an hour and a half to work if they have a job. The settlement receives almost 500 applications each year and are prioritized by needs within the community. The project manager researches guidelines for the need and by priority level. A person might be on list for 1-2 years before a mission team has the skill level to adopt the project in need. Because of the Methodist roots, the safe sanctuary guidelines were practiced. The barn clean-out involved other youth from other churches.
“Meeting other churches youth groups was awesome! Brandi and I had a great time shoveling goat stalls with this group from Alabama. We stained a gazebo with another group from Ohio. Their youth leader was super fun! The last couple days we hung out with some college students from Kansas that were on a construction site and had worked their tails too,” said Skylar.
Their biggest task for the week was helping in the thrift store. The room where the clothing donations went was a large space full of bags of clothes that needed sorting. A craft store sells handmade items made by the locals. These items include jam, handmade art, cups with decals, and whistles carved out of antlers.
“I think God gave us an opportunity to work with the missionaries. They’re there long term. We were able to motivate them since we didn’t work with the locals,” said Frizzell.
The Henderson Settlement had a wishlist for the settlement. They’re hoping to build shelves for thrift store to hold more merchandise. They’re also hoping to receive donations for new toys for Christmas and receive household items, such as dishtowels, washcloths, and other kitchen supplies that would be made available for purchase at the store.
“I couldn’t be more proud of the team that went with us. And sometimes it's important to be still and enjoy the peace and serenity of the week. That was one of the messages we had up there. With all this technology today, everybody's on their phones. Up there, there's nothing but what you make out of it.”