In July 2014, 6 of our students and 3 of our adult leaders traveled to Coalwood, West Virginia to serve the community and Coalwood Community Church. The movie "Rocket Boys" gave this little town a claim to fame several years ago. Today, however, the town members struggle. The community offers literally only a handful of jobs at the convenient store and Subway restaurants or pizza makers in nearby towns. The coal mining industry is sparse and offers only a few dozen workers employment in the entire county and only a on short term basis. The Southern Baptist denomination from Lincoln County, North Carolina has led a replant and development strategy for Coalwood that involves upwards of 15 churches taking turns leading a worship service and community outreaches every weekend.

We decided that we would have a go and serve the community for just under a week. We left Journey Church at about 12PM on Sunday, July 21st and stayed the night at a sister Church in Maryland. We arrived on Monday afternoon and began to connect with locals. Pastor Justin spent 8 weekends there in 2013 which allowed us to begin to quickly connect.

For the week we worked on service projects in the morning, had locals over for dinner every evening at the rented home, and participated in an informal group worship time each evening. Our students were rock stars and shined the love of Jesus all week. On Saturday, we hosted a family day in the park and had over 80 locals come join us.

The lasting memory for the week was when Tyler Christian, a local pre-teen at the time, latched onto our vehicle and wanted to go with us. Tyler has been a huge person of peace for the work in Coalwood. He knows everyone and loves every volunteer. He's been loved dearly and God is using this young man even today. We're excited to see where God takes him in the future days.