Students share faith by volunteering manual labor - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Students share faith by volunteering manual labor

NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

Summer vacation doesn't mean a trip to the beach for a group of teenagers who are helping to make a difference in the lives of others.

About 200 students from churches across the country are working to fix 15 homes in Nashville this week on their own free time and with their own money.

"I have a light to shine and share the good news of God and everything. It just makes me happy. It is better than going to the beach for a couple of days," said volunteer Kelci Williams.

Think of it as summer camp with a purpose. Students pay $250 for the week, stay in an area church or school and then they get to work every day to benefit someone else.

"The homeowner does not buy a single stitch of lumber that goes on their house, paint, shingles, nothing. It's all given," said group leader Daniel Gilliland.

The group, called World Changers, has turned to churches for 23 years to find people like Ruby Ragsdale who could use an extra hand. Ragsdale, of Nashville, has arthritis and relies on a cane to get around.

"Oh, well, I tell you, it was getting increasingly hard to get inside the house. When I would get out, I couldn't hardly get back in," she said.

But the high school and college students came together to build Ragsdale a ramp to make her mobility a bit easier. They also scrubbed and painted at her home - things she has trouble doing herself.

The volunteers say this physical labor is just part of their mission.

"At 2 o'clock every day we close up shop and go witness to people on the street and in parks. We hand out bottles of water and tracks that say 'God loves you.' I's just a real blessing," said volunteer Karianne Buchanan.

"That just restores my faith in today's youth," Ragsdale said.

Nashville is just one of 60 cities where World Changers is making a difference. Find out more about their work by visiting their Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/wcmissions.

Copyright 2013 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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