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Teens don't have to travel far to do mission work
Tuesday, March 04, 2014 10:00 AM
After attending several mission trips, Macky Hecox and Cara Walker had a different idea of how they could reach out to people.
A mission team scrapes and power washes a wall before painting a house on North Walnut Street in June 2013 during Madison Mission Week. The mission involved members from several area churches working together to do repair work on several local homes. (2013 Courier file photo by Ken Ritchie)
The two teens weren't completely satisfied with the trips they had participated in. They wanted to create their own experience in Madison.
"I came back one year and was just questioning the motives of what we were doing," Hecox said. "I was really torn about how we were helping these people for a weeklong time period. We were repairing their homes, but we were just leaving them, and it really bothered me."
She created the idea for Madison Mission Week, a non-denominational mission in Madison to fix up local homes.
Walker said the mission work allows participants to connect with people in the city in ways they couldn't on trips to other locations.
"We were not only helping people with their homes, but also developing this sense of community," Walker said.
While they had faith in the idea, Hecox and Walker knew they would need help from some adult leaders at their churches - Hecox attends Madison's North United Methodist Church and Walker attends Faith Alliance Church - to make the idea a reality.
Last year that happened.
Program organizer Kim Mahoney said she loved the idea at first, but didn't think it would become a reality.
"To be completely honest with you. I was like, 'wouldn't that be awesome.' But that's too much for us to do," Mahoney said.
Mahoney had organized local mission trips before, and they didn't ever have the same effect on the participants as trips taken to other parts of the country.
"Teens don't get same experience. When they stay home they try to do all the other stuff they're involved in," Mahoney said.
But Hecox was persistent.
"Macky's passion was bringing the mission of helping people with their homes back to our hometown."
Hecox got her mother involved while Walker recruited her father, Ron, the pastor at Faith Alliance.
Mahoney received a phone call from Hecox's mother that changed her mind.
After mission trips a lot of students come home feeling passionate about creating change, but that passion usually fades, Mahoney said.
"That didn't happen with these guys," she said.
Together the project organizers asked local churches to share time, donations for materials and meals for the workers. Twelve area churches and about 70 young people participated in the mission trip.
The organizers also raised about $12,000 in donations and grants.
"We had tremendous support from several adults in our lives," Walker said. "Especially because it sounded like such a grandiose idea. Everyone had their hesitation at first," she said.
The group also got permission to stay in the gymnasium at Madison Consolidated High School. That allowed the mission trip to feel more like other trips, Mahoney said.
"We lodged together, spent the night together, had worship experiences together and fellowship experiences along with mission experiences. That's the piece for me that made this whole thing special," Mahoney said.
This year's Madison Mission Week is scheduled for June 15-20. Mahoney said they hope to involve more churches and more participants this year.
Sites in need of repair are being sought. For more information contact Mahoney at (812) 599-1888 or to refer a home in need of repair call Laura Dennis at (812) 599-9959.