Monday, July 08, 2013
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Mollie Mitchell, Lipscomb’s graduate assistant softball coach, went to the land of William Wallace in June for a mission trip.
It was a family trip for Mitchell. She was joined by her parents, Lou Ann and Mike, along with her brother, Jake, and her sister, Ann Marie; on the 10-day trip. They were joined by 30 others on the trip.
They worked at the Church of Christ in East Kilbride, a congregation of approximately 40 people under the direction of Alex Gear.
“They only have two teenagers in the congregation,” Mitchell said. “They are the youngest people that go there. They told me they have a real problem of getting children into the church because their parents won’t take them.”
The Church of Christ is not that well-known in Scotland. The Church of Scotland and the Catholic church are the main religious bodies.
“Someone asked me if you can worship freely in Scotland,” Mitchell said. “You can, but the Church of Christ is frowned upon.”
In an effort to make a connection with the children in the area the group invited students from elementary schools in the area and held a Vacation Bible School. Students, aged five to 12 years old, met at a designated school.
“They are allowed to have clubs so we called it Vacation Bible Club,” Mitchell said. “We had classes, a skit and then we would play with them.
“We were just trying to get the church into the schools and help the church grow that way. We brought the Mars Hill jazz band with us and they played at the schools. After the band played we invited the kids to come to the Vacation Bible School.”
Mitchell said the biggest attendance was 50.
The group also visited a special needs school and performed.
“That was pretty cool,” Mitchell said. “The kids really enjoyed it.”
Mitchell spoke to the women in the church about encouragement.
“I talked about using encouragement in hard times,” Mitchell said. “Here everyone goes to church. We are in the `Bible Belt’.
“In Scotland it is harder to get people to go to church. The church is very small with only 30 or 40 people. They meet in a community center.”
Gear is Scottish, but he attended school at Heritage Bible College in Florence, Ala. The school used to be known as International Bible College.
My parents go to Sherrod Avenue Church of Christ in Florence. Gear has connections there.
“It was definitely a different type of mission trip,” Mitchell said. “I have been to Mexico and I have been to Honduras. Those are more about hard labor.
“This was so much more about developing relationships and encouraging people to stay strong. After I spoke this woman came up to me crying because she had been having such a hard time. I realized I was accomplishing something.”
In places like Mexico and Honduras mission trip members can see their results. A new wall is built. A house is constructed. Walls are painted.
But Mitchell and the rest of the mission group will have to wait and see what the results of their trip will be.
“This trip was about planting seeds in those kids,” Mitchell said. “We hope that more and more people will work with those kids. You never know what kind of life you are going to affect.
“Parents were starting to come to the VBS towards the end of the week. You never know what kinds of seeds were planted.”
Mitchell, however, did immediately feel the effects of the mission trip.
“Any mission trip I go on has an immediate effect on me,” Mitchell said. “You come back with a different perspective on the world.
“I feel so blessed that I am in an area with so many churches within 10 miles of here. It is easy to be a Christian when you are surrounded by Christians.”