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Following food safety rules while having a good time serving others are, from left, Noah Greer,
Justin Greer, Jonah Hodges, Steven Love, Kristina Hayes, Abigail Greer, Adam Hodges, Matthew
Hayes and Bill Conrad. Present, but not pictured: Jennifer Love and Sharon Conrad.
Photo submitted

Originally published: 2014-01-06 12:59:46
Last modified: 2014-01-06 13:02:10

Mount Lebanon Baptist Church youth group show faith in action

by Sherrie Norris

A group of teenagers from Mount Lebanon Baptist Church near Boone put their faith into action last week when they prepared and served a meal at the Ronald McDonald House in Winston-Salem. 

Often referred to as "The House that Love Built," the Ronald McDonald House provides a home away from home for families of children who are receiving medical care in the nearby hospitals. In addition to lodging, family members are also offered other physical comforts, emotional support, education and referral services designed to promote the wellbeing of the entire family.

According to one of the church's youth leaders, Jennifer Love, food is a big part of those comforts."My family and I have stayed at Ronald McDonald House on several occasions since our youngest son, who is now 3, was diagnosed with his illness at 3-months of age," she said. "There are others in our church, too, who have stayed there to be near their children. We all know what it's like to be on the receiving end -- to be there and be able to sit down together to enjoy a home-cooked meal. It means a lot." 

Love said that she and her husband, Steven Love, always wanted to do something "to give back," but until last week, they had not had the opportunity to do so. "We were thrilled that our teenagers chose this as their Christmas project and that we were able to help," she added. "These young people have such wonderful hearts and we all consider it a blessing from God just to be able to work with them and to be able to serve at the Ronald McDonald House."

The youth group had discussed several projects they could do, but its members decided to honor their leaders through preparing a meal for the families at the Winston Salem home. 

"There are usually 60-70 people there at any given time," Love said, "so that's the number we were told to prepare for."

The group of seven young people and their leaders chose an afternoon during their Christmas break from school for what they considered a mission trip to the foothills. They cooked and set up a taco bar with all the trimmings, in addition to dessert and lemonade, as a special treat for the houseguests.

"They thought their menu choice would be something that people of all ages would enjoy -- and they were right," Love said. "Most of the families are at the hospitals with their children until late in the evenings," Love said, "but there were five families there at the time we served and they were so appreciative. It was really nice to meet them and feel like we were doing something to help them through a difficult time." 

The team left enough food to feed all the families, plus enough for leftovers the next day. 

It's small things like that, Love said, that make a difference and show God's love in action. 

"What was done for us, when we were there a year ago (in December), and also at the Ronald McDonald House we stayed at in Charlotte (for the whole month of January), made such an impact on our family," Love said. "We felt very blessed that these teenagers cared enough to do what they did for these families this year."

The teen group hopes to continue this mission project at least twice a year, in addition to other ideas forthcoming. It was a great experience, they said, and one they all enjoyed. "It was a true blessing to serve such a great cause," said Adam Hodges.  

The Loves share leadership of the youth group with Bill and Sharon Conrad. 

"We are very appreciative of the time and spiritual leadership they give our kids," said Pam Jones Hodges. "It is appreciated more than they know."

Mount Lebanon Baptist Church is located at 1128 Baird's Creek Road in Vilas. Church pastor, Wynn Greer invites other young people in the community, as well as people of all ages, to join his congregation on Sunday mornings for Sunday School at 10 a.m. and worship service at 11 a.m. Sunday evening services are held at 6 p.m. on the second and fourth Sunday; Wed. night prayer meeting and Bible study begin at 7 p.m. 

Greer also hosts a radio broadcast called Blessings of Liberty heard at 11:30 a.m. each Tuesday on WATA radio, AM 1450. You can also hear him on The Old Paths radio broadcast.10:45 -11 a.m. Mon. - Fri. on WZAP Radio. 

The Ronald McDonald House of Winston-Salem, Inc. is located at 419 S. Hawthorne Road in Winston-Salem.

For more information on how your family, church or civic group can make a difference at the house, call (336) 723-0228.