Thursday, June 14, 2012 07:56 am
Haiti, Guatemala, Dominican Republic…Springfield? While we may complain about blight in our city, it’s safe to say we’ve got it pretty good compared with the poverty-stricken slums of Port-Au-Prince or Guatemala City. Still, we have something in common with those third-world countries: we are now a destination for missionaries. Starting June 18, 220 teenagers from across the U.S. will visit Springfield to do humanitarian work. They’re a small subset of about 18,000 teens volunteering their summers for World Changers, a program created by LifeWay Christian Resources. The 22-year-old, Nashville, Tenn.-based ministry of the Southern Baptist persuasion will send teams of youngsters who paid about $250 for the privilege of volunteering for a week with their church youth groups to more than 85 cities nationwide this summer. Those students coming to Springfield will stay at Springfield Southeast High School until June 23 while they work on projects like painting and roofing local homes. Other World Changer groups will visit East St. Louis and Chicago during mid-July.