An East Texas youth group decided to take its summer missions trip close to home this year. They call themselves The Army. It's a group of 5th, 6th and 7th graders from New Covenant Church in Tyler. All week, they have been volunteering at local charities. They went to a north Tyler neighborhood to serve others.
With free food and clothing signs, the youth group stood out in the hot sun wanting to help those in their own community.
"They are great kids," said Junior High Pastor Chris Bower. "They come from a lot of different backgrounds. You've got very stable families and then we have some kids that come from broken homes. They come to us just because they are looking for a church, a place to belong."
In City Park today, the youth group handed out clothes donated by members of the church and cooked hot dogs for those that lived nearby.
"We're just out here trying to bless people," said Elise Bower, 7th Grader. "We really just want to have fun and show that working with God and ministry is just really fun."
All week, these 5th, 6th and 7th graders have been giving back.
"We've been all over town," said 7th Grader Ryan Bolen. "We've gone to Meals on Wheels. We've gone to the Salvation Army."
"When we were doing the Meals on Wheels, you could tell just how blessed the people were," said Elise Bower. "This one lady was just very blessed and surprised that kids our age would actually want to do this, not have to do this."
In the past, the youth group has traveled to places like Mexico, but this year it was home they were making a better place.
"I want the kids to understand that we're not just missionaries and we're not just ambassadors for Christ when we go to another country, but everyday of our life. Everywhere we go, there are people that need to be loved on," said Chris Bower.
Those that came out to City Park today, saw just that: love and kindness from a group of children trying to make a difference.
The youth group finishes their missions trip tomorrow. The children will be performing at local nursing homes.