World Changers’ teens help fix Rock Hill homes

cwest@heraldonline.comJune 18, 2013 

— Tracy Stratford thought two or three people would come by Tuesday morning to perform repairs on her house in the College Downs community of Rock Hill.

When Stratford applied for help from World Changers, she was not expecting an entire crew of enthusiastic workers would be building a new porch and ramp and replacing a disintegrating side entrance.

World Changers, a ministry of LifeWay Christian resources, aims to alleviate substandard housing across North America.

This week, 235 students and adults from 14 churches are in Rock Hill to improve living conditions and spread their faith. They are split into 23 crews, working throughout Rock Hill and at the Catawba Indian Reservation. Stratford’s home on Duffy Court is one of 16 worksites.

“This has got to be the sweetest thing anybody has ever, ever done,” said Stratford, as she watched the crew digging holes and hammering nails in front of her home.

Stratford had a stroke and struggles with stairs. Her husband is in a nursing home, and braving the stairs to the door adds difficulty to his visits. The ramp installed by World Changers is “deeply needed” and “deeply appreciated,” Stratford said.

The homeowners aren’t the only ones who benefit from the World Changers program.

Though workers are enduring the summer heat, the 5:30 a.m. wake-up calls and the nights sleeping air mattresses this week, volunteer Lauren Gousa-Tunstall, 16, of Virginia called her second World Changers mission “a really good experience.”

In addition to their work to improve local living conditions, volunteers attend worship gatherings and group devotions.

“I’ve made a massive amount of friends,” Gousa-Tunstall said. “Different people come from different backgrounds, so you get to learn about their testimonies and how they learn about Christ.”

“I’ve met a lot of new people,” said Ivan Cabiness, 15, of Columbia, who was glad to have the opportunity to “do something for other people without them asking.”

Jadyn Slaughter, 13, of Anderson hopes to use the week to spread the word of Christ. “Back home, I don’t really spread the word that much, and here I thought I could do that,” Slaughter said.

As Stratford watched the progress on her home throughout the day, she was impressed not only by volunteers’ hard work, but also by their kindness.

“When lunch came,” she said, “they let my family eat first.”

“I won’t ever forget the World Changers; I guarantee you that,” she said. “God has been good to us.”

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Chandler West •  803-329-4033

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