Illuminate brings youth closer to God

By Emily M. Hobbs

June 30, 2014

Area youth are ramping up their summer, taking the time to volunteer and contribute to the community through local mission projects

Illuminate is a youth missions camp that started seven years ago to work on yards, build wheelchair ramps, host and help with Vacation Bible schools, and sew dresses for girls in Haiti. All missionary-minded projects designed to teach youth the importance of helping others.

Mitchell Brewington is working on one of the wheelchair ramps with a mixed group of adult leaders and youths. Monday the kids and adults were out in the front yard of a house on U.S. 421 just north of Spivey’s Corner putting in a wheelchair ramp through the Department of Aging.

“This year, we have 185 kids that were registered,” said Brewington. “The kids will stay at Clinton Community Church, have portable showers set up.” The event started Sunday night and will end on Thursday, he said.

“It’s about sharing Christ locally,” Brewington explained. Illuminate was created as a local outreach and mission project opportunity.

Students in seventh grade and up were taking the time out of their busy summers to build the ramp, and for some of them it was their first time in the camp as well as working on a ramp.

Chris Gray said that this was the third time he has participated in Illuminate, and it was his first time building a ramp.

“I wanted to try something new,” said Gray during an interview at the job site. “Before I was always doing inside work.” The inside work has been usually Vacation Bible school for some of the volunteers in the local churches.

“My dad works for Illuminate,” said Lyle Brewington. “This is my first time, and I like coming along to help.” The participants were able to pick their projects and he, like many of the others, chose the ramp project as something new to try.

Hannah Gordan, who is a member at Roseboro First Baptist, said this is not her first time volunteering.

“I have a Bible Club at my school, Roseboro-Salemburg Middle,” she said. “We went to a nursing home and sang.” This was the first time, however, that she has participated in Illuminate.

“I really like building and helping out,” Gordan added as she helped level out one of the posts for the ramp.

The event draws students from all over the area, with Braden Mills coming from West Johnston.

“This is my fourth year,” he detailed. “My youth pastor at Johnston Memorial Church talked about it the first year and we came. I really liked it so I kept coming.”

Mills said this is the third year he has worked on wheelchair ramps, and during his second year he was involved in the VBS.

“It’s a great camp,” Mills stated. “And worship is always nice.” Each night the kids have a service and listen to local pastors and youth ministers.

Pastor Eddie Barnes was working in the heat with the group.

“This is an awesome group,” he said, mentioning that he is a member of Clinton Community Church.

Peyton Crumpler said this was the third year for her.

“I like being outdoors and I like building stuff,” she said when asked why she chose to do a ramp. “I am very creative.”

“I did the sewing last year, and I’ve done that twice,” Crumpler said, explaining that they made dresses for little girls in Haiti.

“I wasn’t always close to the Lord,” Crumpler divulged. “My pastor told me about it on a Wednesday night, and I found out about it and I kept coming.”

“Building and helping, that’s what God wants me to do,” she said. “I want to get closer to Him by doing what he asks me to do.”

Hope Rogers said that she also felt the same way, saying she liked to build and wanted to do something in her first year of Illuminate.

“We are working hard,” added Chris Sanders. “We want to make a difference for people in this experience.”

Emily M. Hobbs can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 122. Follow us on Twitter: @SampsonInd