The Union Recorder

June 24, 2013

River of Life aids communities all over Georgia

Shawn Humphrey
The Union-Recorder

MILLEDGEVILLE — First United Methodist Church (FUMC) will host its 16th annual River of Life next month as the leaders prepare for another successful year.

Nearly 200 volunteers from 10 churches throughout Georgia will participate this year, with participants’ ages ranging from rising seventh-graders to adults.

FUMC members involved with River of Life hope that the successes of these projects will not only help the communities involved, but also the lives of the volunteers.

Coordinator Marty Sirmans said this will be a time for everyone involved to better themselves through spiritual renewal and connections with new and old friends.

“It is a time of growth and getting to know each other,” Sirmans said.

The project will begin on Wednesday, July 10 after the volunteers are split up into teams of a few adults and youth.

Teams split up by location of the volunteers, allowing for them to meet new people from new places and build these friendships.

Everyone will check into the GCSU dorms between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. for team meetings, and then gather at the John Milledge Academy Trojan Center for a praise worship service.

For the following Thursday through Saturday, the teams will wake up for a 7:30 a.m. breakfast and travel to their specific work sites.

Projects will take place on more than 30 sites this year and will include many types of renovations — from building ramps, doing yard work and painting houses.

River of Life volunteers will team up with Habitat for Humanity this year to work on new Habitat homes and restore an old one that was abandoned.

Teams will work until a lunch break, hosted at Hopewell United Methodist Church, and then continue work into the afternoon until a rest time at the dorms.

Volunteers and leaders will meet for dinner and a praise and worship service.

All breakfasts and lunches will be provided by FUMC, while Pathfinders Christian Church and Northridge Christian Church will provide dinner on Thursday and Friday night.

The weekend will end with a 9:45 a.m. service at FUMC, where everyone in the community is invited.

“All of this is done in three days, but this church does a lot all throughout the year,” Sirmans said.

The leaders of River of Life also make it a point to set an example and train the young volunteers so they may become leaders in the future.

Everyone involved with the planning and coordinating of River of Life loves to see the returning of volunteers from past years.

“It is almost like a homecoming,” Sirmans said.

Sirmans and the coordinators are so grateful for the countless sponsors that are involved with River of Life and the volunteers who are enriching their own lives and the lives of people in the communities that they help.

“Most people are already walking in the light of Christ, but coming here fills them up even more with the spirit.”

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