In the News: Students make a mission of Spring Break

posted Mar 27, 2012, 3:45 PM by Ginger Bowman
The Paradigm FX/FBC Stephenville Mission trip to New Orleans made headlines in Stephenville.  Here is a copy of the story courtesy of the Stephenville Empire-Tribune.    
Courtesy Mikka Hill Photography
Photo Courtesy Mikka Hill Photography
Posted: Friday, March 16, 2012 1:01 am | Updated: 2:55 pm, Fri Mar 16, 2012.
Students make a mission of Spring Break  By DONNIE BRYANT donnie.bryant@empiretribune.comStephenville Empire-Tribune 
 A group of roughly 120 college students, many of them members of Paradigm FX in Stephenville, joined forces to make a difference in New Orleans during spring break. Armed with bright spirits and elbow grease, students arrived ready to delve into various construction projects across the city.
Paradigm has an active worship service beginning at 8 p.m. on Thursday nights. Although it is affiliated with First Baptist Church Stephenville, the university campus ministry is nondenominational. Students who attend Paradigm services are led in Bible study and music. Paradigm’s goal is to inspire them to connect with area churches and to serve the community.
Mission trip participants painted houses, built handicap ramps, sanded floors, built fences and more.
Yet, a religious component remains that trumps the concrete tasks the young adults are undertaking.
“We are open to anyone that needs our help,” said Marshall White, a Tarleton State University junior. “The goal is not to save New Orleans. We want to show the love of Jesus through the work we are doing.”
University minister Ryan Wood echoed White's sentiments regarding Paradigm’s goal of inspiring students to help others.
The annual mission trip is one of the tools Paradigm employs to realize that objective.
“Our goal is to partner with churches in large areas with a wider reach," Wood said. "We want to encourage these churches - give them an energy boost - to help them connect with the people of their community."
He related how the bustle of the volunteers’ activities does not go unnoticed by citizens.
“The community sees the movement and it draws people’s interest,” Wood explained.
The student's aim is to link people to a church, forming lasting relationships that will continue after the Paradigm group returns home.
“Once we leave the city, we hope the people will stay connected to their church,” he said.
Students made an important commitment in order to participate in the mission trip.
“They had to be plugged into a small church group throughout the school year," he explained. "And, they have to remain actively involved.”
For now the group is busy demonstrating their faith in a tangible way, showing what their love for God can accomplish.
“People don’t respond to words," White said. "They respond to actions.”