Tomoka’s Student Ministry recently sent a mission team to Anchor Ridge, and they were able to share God’s love with people living in some of the poorest areas of the country. 17 students and seven adults went on the trip. They helped with improvements in Anchor Ridge’s warehouse, worshiped with local children and handed out bags with food, hygiene products and high-end makeup products for local moms.

“All of the students stepped up, and that was really encouraging to see,” said Student Pastor Elijah Keen. “If they bring that energy back to The Forge, it’s going to make a huge difference.”

One thing that made this trip so important is the area the team served in. McDowell County is listed as the eighth poorest county in the United States, and many of the families that live there have nothing. One of the team members, Rachel Richards, quickly noticed how severe the conditions were when the team arrived.

“I would expect to see (these conditions) in South America, Central America, Africa, but you don’t expect to see it here,” said Richards. “This is in America. It’s happening in our own country. It’s third world.”

Being able to bless these families with things like food and hygiene supplies makes it that much easier to share the message of Jesus. Being able to see God’s love firsthand makes all the difference.

The team worked diligently the entire time they were there, and one local volunteer took notice. He said that in a few day’s time, they were able to accomplish an amount of work that would normally take six months to complete.

“Our primary goal is to go and be a blessing to Anchor Ridge,” said team member Barbara Kennedy. “I think that goal was accomplished.”