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Tara Williams, member of First Baptist East Church’s youth group, sweeps up years of trash and the remnants of old walls and ceiling removed from an old house that the group is helping prepare for rehab as part of her church’s “4 the City” project. The house will eventually be used to temporarily house families until they are able to get into permanent housing.Hope Chambers, member of First Baptist East Church’s youth group, pries a board out of an old house as part of one of the group’s “4 the City” spring break projects.The 4 the City mission projects are done throughout the year.“If we’re modeled after Christ, then we’re called to get out and serve and bless other people,” said Tim Martin, youth pastor at First Baptist East.Members of Cameron Baptist Church’s youth group — from left, Brianna Roenne, Baylee Fain and Jordan Jones — gather trash from around Lake Helen during one of their group’s “4 the City” spring break mission projects Wednesday morning.As part of First Baptist East Church’s youth group “4 the City” mission projects, Kassidy Wilson, left and Ashley Nordeen remove nails from boards from an old house that will be fixed up for use by the M28 Ministry Inc. as a temporary home for homeless families.

Students do projects 4 the City

“We get so caught up with what we are doing with the church that we forget about the city, but there are so many needs in our own backyard.” TIM MARTIN

Students, some not dressed warmly enough for the cold wind that blew across Lake Helen on Wednesday morning, gamely trudged along the shore picking up soggy fast food wrappers and cups along with indistinguishable flotsam and jetsam. Near South Sheridan Road, another group used crowbars to pry nails from the ceiling and walls of a rundown house, dust heavy in the still air. 

Armed with paint, crowbars and trash bags, groups of sixth- through 12th-grade students from Cameron Baptist Church and First Baptist East youth groups took part of their spring break to help the city and its citizens with their "4 the City" mission projects. 

The 4 the City projects, which go on year-round, are to remind youth and youth leaders that there are projects to do in their own back yard and a mission does not need to take them to another state or country, said Tim Martin, youth pastor at First Baptist East and a youth team leader for the Comanche Cotton Baptist Association. 

"We get so caught up with what we are doing with the church that we forget about the city, but there are so many needs in our own backyard," he said, explaining that others "see the love of Christ through the actions we do ... You have to meet their physical needs before they will let you into their emotional and spiritual side. Once you help them so many times, you get a voice into someone's life."

The 4 the City projects, planned by Martin with the help of Cameron Baptist youth pastor Matt Wolf, teach the youth a lesson for their entire lives.

"We are trying to get (the students) to adopt a lifestyle of serving others," Martin said, explaining that the hope is that the youth will continue to serve others when they grow up. "You are never more like Christ than when you serve," he said.

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