Don't let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity. 1 Timothy 4:12 (NLT)
Micah Bernard, a member of The Fellowship at Cinco Ranch, and Morgan Roth, a member of Tallowood Baptist Church, are two teenagers who did not let being young deter them from accomplishing big projects. Both Micah and Morgan were moved by the plight of people who had lost much and were in desperate need of basic, everyday, survival items. They saw the need and took action.
Last summer, at the age of 17, Micah Bernard was touched when she saw the news reports from Joplin documenting the loss of homes, possessions, and lives after the tornado struck. "I admired the courage and trust in God that were displayed in interviews and in signs throughout the devastated area," says Micah, "So many had lost their homes and most of their possessions, and some had lost loved ones. God just placed on my heart the desire to do something to help." In response, she coordinated a two-week long donation drive in her church and neighborhood to collect items needs for the disaster relief, located a church in Joplin to work alongside, and traveled with her family to personally deliver the items. (video)
Morgan Roth, recently turned 13, responded to needs a little closer to home. She learned about the Loaves and Fishes Ministry, which serves Bhutanese refugee families in the Houston area, from her Mom. "When these people arrive in Houston," says Morgan, "they have nothing but the clothes on their backs. We have so much. I asked Miss Margie [editor's note: Margie Randall, who serves this community as a missionary] what they needed most, and she said 'everyday things,'" explains Morgan. She decided that the Bhutanese families needed presents more than she did and responded by having her friends bring "presents" for them instead of for her at her 13th birthday party.
Although Morgan describes her party as "a typical girl party - lots of laughing and fun," it was anything but a typical party. Instead of wrapping paper and ribbons from extravagant or un-needed gifts littering the floor, friends brought 'big bags of paper towels, toilet paper, dish washing soap, detergent, tooth paste, tooth brushes, [and] diapers." Two of her friends even cleaned out their closets and gave away some of their clothes. "It was really neat to see all that my friends brought! I was so blessed." says Morgan.
When asked to explain the hardest thing about her Joplin Relief project, Micah Bernard responds, "It was kind of scary for me to get on stage and announce the project in youth group since I can be a little shy." She was encouraged by lessons she had learned from a book, Do Hard Things: A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations, by Alex and Brett Harris which encourages teenagers to rise above our culture's low expectations and go beyond what is expected. "Without this 'Do Hard Things' mentality, I probably would not have believed that my desire to help could actually become a reality," says Micah
After a lot of hard work, Micah's desire to help did indeed become a reality. Word began to spread. Micah created flyers that explained the project and what items were needed. She enlisted the help of friends and family to pass out flyers at work and around the community; the pastor's wife, Gail Edmonson, put information about the project in the church newsletter; and big collection boxes were placed in the foyer of the church and on Micah's front porch. The results were significant. "It was a joy to see people in my church and community come together to donate over $700.00 in cash and gift cards and over 400 lbs of items," says Micah.
Then came the final leg of the journey. "After sorting and organizing the donated items and finding creative ways to get everything into our vehicle, my family traveled to Joplin to deliver the relief items and volunteer in the recovery efforts. While there, we worked with Grace Baptist Church. We canvassed the neighborhoods that still had standing houses and asked if the people needed food, supplies, or repairs that volunteers at the church could provide. Once we identified immediate needs we were able to get the items from the church and deliver them. We were also able to talk with many of the tornado victims and pray with them," says Micah.
This is not the first nor the only missions involvement for either young woman, each of whom is also deeply involved in the life of her church.
Morgan Roth volunteers once a month with 3-year-olds in Sunday School; is a member of the Heart Light [youth choir]; and has attended other mission trips and worked in Vacation Bible School. At 13, Morgan has a lot of missions experience outside the church as well. She has volunteered at the Star of Hope and Cypress Assistant Ministries; she has raised money with her youth group for water wells in Uganda and sent Girl Scout cookies to US Troops in Iraq & Afghanistan. Her family has hosted a young boy from Sub-Sahara Africa in their home for two summers.
Micah Bernard volunteers in the AWANA program at her church and loves "to help my little kindergarteners learn about the Bible and memorize verses." She has previously gone on a Mission Trip to Mexico to assist in a Vacation Bible School for the children there.
When asked if they would tackle such a project again, both girls give a whole hearted "Yes!" As to advice they would offer others embarking on such God-sized projects, their responses are wise. Micah Bernard says, "When God is calling you to do something, He will help you to accomplish it. So dive in wholeheartedly and get as many other people involved as possible." Morgan Roth advises, "Find the people with the biggest need and go from there. Get your friends to help."
Two great needs. Two young women. Two churches. Two sets of friends and family. An inspiration to us all.
For more information on disaster relief responses, see the UBA Disaster Relief page.
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