Cross Country teams share
message of the Cross in Gainesville
by Norm Miller
GAINESVILLE, Ga. (TMCNews)--The Book of James states: "Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world."
Thirteen members of Truett-McConnell College's cross country teams -- men's and women's -- lent their hands and hearts to hungry school children and their families March 14 by loading backpacks with food, assisting the ministry, SS Revolution, in Gainesville.
Beau Robson, who heads up the ministry, told TMCNews that SS Revolution attempts to meet both the physical and spiritual needs of the families it serves.
Truett-McConnell's student-athletes stuffed 284 backpacks with enough food to make two breakfasts and two lunches. Additional snacks were included.
Fulfilling the evangelistic objectives of the ministry, students included in the backpacks a document that clearly related how a person comes to faith in Christ.
"I was glad to have them help," said Robson. "We're always looking for volunteers, and I thought it was pretty cool of these students to give their time to help us."
"The students were hard working. They caught on quick and knocked it out," Robson said. "They were friendly and carried themselves well, too. They were fun people to work with -- outgoing and easy to talk to. I would be very glad to have them back. Absolutely."
TMCNews asked a few of the student-athletes about this ministry opportunity, and here's what they said:
"I was excited about getting the chance to help a child in need and helping the community understand that there are people out there who care," Kevin Kessler said. "I really like how our school is getting us involved in being a part of the community. Any other way I can get more involved I would love to hear more about it."
"I believe it's important to help a person who needs it; that's what Jesus would want us to do," said Kessler, who said, "the time just flew by since you know that the work you're putting in would be so much worth it, and to know you put a smile on a child's face."
Hannah Barnes said she would "definitely welcome additional ministry opportunities, because a day that I haven't reached out and helped someone, even in the simplest form, is a day I have wasted.
"Our lives are so short, and I want to do something that actually matters at the end of the day and makes a difference in the lives of one person or many people that I know, or that I will never know."
Amy Sims said she had been on other "mission trips before, and each trip has uplifted me greatly. When Coach Holland mentioned this opportunity, I was excited and felt privileged to be involved in such a helpful act of love.... I love doing stuff like that, especially helping those in need. It was great doing this as a team, too. It helped us communicate and enjoy each other's company through ministry."
"Although we have chapel every Thursday, we still need to go out and share God's word," Sims said. "Doing this ministry allowed us to help those in need and put our works to good use. Instead of just being lazy around the dorms, we got out and did something useful for others."
"The Lord always touches my heart when it comes to his service," added Sims, who noted the ministry "made me realize that we are so blessed to have what we have. The kids will open up those book bags and be thrilled that they got food instead of the hottest new game. When you are underprivileged the slightest things will make you happy."
"Clearly, the Bible says we are supposed to help the poor and needy: 'He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets prisoners free,'" said Sims, citing Psalm 146:7. "This verse makes me think of exactly what we did. We gave food to the poor and let them know that God loves them no matter what."
Sims recommends such ministry to anyone, sating, "It is a heartwarming experiencing that can change your life forever."
"It was a great experience to give back to our community," said TMC's Cross Country coach, Jarrett Holland. "Many people are hurting in today's economy, and I consider it a blessing to help Beau and Straight Street is a great organization that's dedicated to helping people within the community."
"Straight Street" are words represented by SS Revolution, Robson explained, saying that God sent Saul to Straight Street (Acts 9), "and that's where Saul became Paul after God brought a spiritual revolution into his life."
"The scales fell from Paul's eyes," Robson continued, "and that's what we want to happen to those we minister to so they can come to Christ."
Robson's father, Todd, founded SS Revolution in 2010. The ministry is headquartered near Gainesville's downtown square.