"Their motivation is their love for Jesus Christ," says Durham Pastor Michael Bond. "They want to serve him and also serve their community."
This week 252 middle and high school students from as far away as Georgia and Kentucky will be in Durham for the annual World Changers event. World Changers is a 20-year-old missions outreach of the Southern Baptist Convention. For the past seven years, Durham has been among the location sites for WC young people to come and do summer works projects.
Pastor Bond, who coordinates the Durham event through the Yates Baptist Association, says the young people will be doing construction and repair work at homes in the Bull City, under the supervision of adults. "Most of the middle schoolers will be doing either handicap ramps or painting projects, or they will work as a ground crew cleaning up shingles and things like that on the sites where senior high students will be doing roofing."
The recipients of these good deeds have been pre-approved by city and non-profit organizations. After their work days, the students will spend the nights camped out at a local school, with area churches providing the food.
The work is hard, the sun is hot, but spirits run high.
"It's just been wonderful," Bond told me. "In many cases we serve folks more than once. We may do a handicap ramp one year and in subsequent years, their roof may become an issue. It's people that desperately need the help. They're appreciative to get it. And they get out and interact with the young people."
There's a lot of heated rhetoric both in the General Assembly and in the Congress these days, but some elected officials want to turn their voices upward. Monday, June 20th, has been dubbed North Carolina Call to Prayer Day by the NC Legislative Prayer Caucus. That newly-formed bi-partisan group is inviting public officials and citizens alike to come to the State Capitol from 5:00 - 6:00pm for the event. All will be invited to pray, sign a Call to Prayer Proclamation, and reaffirm the nation's religious liberties. NC Supreme Court Associate Justice Paul Newby and US Rep. Mike McIntire (D - NC 7th District) are among those scheduled to speak.
Raleigh-based Christian teacher Anne Graham Lotz says the world needs a "wake-up call," and she's set the date for September 11th. Lotz has teamed up with author Joel Rosenberg for a worldwide simulcast on 9/11/2011 titled A Wake-up Call for God's People. Groups and individuals are invited to log on to a special website that night for an evening of biblical teaching and music. Churches are encouraged to sign up to be a "host site" for the event. Lotz is the daughter of famed evangelist Billy Graham.
"I will never be normal, but I'm okay with that." So says baseball superstar and Raleigh native Josh Hamilton, in a profile piece in Christianity Today. Hamilton details his descent into drugs and despair -- and his remarkable recovery.
Among those most excited about Scotty McCreery winning this season's American Idol: members of his church in Garner. You can read about it here.