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Church youth group from Chicago goes to work on Pine Island

By Staff | Jul 23, 2019

Thirty-three students and eight leaders from Bethel Community Church Powerhouse High School Youth Group in Chicago have been hard at work this week on Pine Island.

Under the direction of their youth pastor, Mark Shoemaker, and First Baptist Church of Pine Island Pastor Jim Olsen, and Spanish community outreach volunteer Pastor Manny Orellana, they, and two students from the local congregation, have worked tirelessly and have been a blessing to many people in need.

The students paid their own way from Chicago and are staying at area homes, but only to sleep. Projects included de-molding and painting two trailers in the Palms, where they also removed debris still there from Hurricane Irma; painting Fran Poppell’s house and cottage on Pine Island Road; landscaping at Pine Island Elementary; painting the pool house in Pine Island Village; and painting, repairing soffit and remodeling at the church.

After a full day of work, they came back in the evenings for Vacation Bible Study where they provided devotions, games, crafts and music for more than 60 students from pre-school age through high school.

“It hasn’t been all work with no play, however,” Shoemaker said. “They got to go to the beaches in Sanibel and Cayo Costa, and will stop at Fort Myers Beach before flying home on Saturday.”

Funding for the project was provided by the Pine Island Elks and members of the First Baptist Church of Pine Island.

When asked why the students were so eager to help the island community, Shoemaker explained that this trip is a way to apply what has been taught throughout the year. They want to serve God and show God’s love to others. It is also a way for each individual to stretch and grow in their relationship with God as well as to serve others, he continued. The students have opportunity to share highlights and insights every evening during their debrief and prayer time together.