CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — This week, at least 55 college students and volunteers put their hard hats on to help paint, organize, clean up and build wheelchair accessible ramps across Corpus Christi.
Missionary group, U.M. Army, also know as United Mission Action Reach-out Ministry by Youth, has traveled to the Coastal Bend to help local businesses and residents in need.
U.M Army was founded in 1979, when 36 youth and adults from three Houston churches held the first mission week in Athens, Texas. Since that time the organization has grown to over 60 programs nationally each year. U.M. Army has established regions throughout Texas, Louisiana, the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions of United States.
As part of their mission, the organization's youth and adults work together on small construction projects to provide Christ-centered missions that serve communities and promote spiritual growth and leadership development.
“The idea is not only that we can transform ourselves as we become more selfless and learn new skills and connect with God more, but also transform the communities that we’re serving," Rio Texas Regional Director Anna Shipley said.
This is Shipley's first year as a regional director, but she has participated with the mission organization since she was young. She said this opportunity has given her a chance to change people’s lives.
"Seeing it all kind of come to life and see the way that it's not only impacting these students but see the true love that is spread from them to the people that they're serving is truly life changing and heartwarming for me, makes it all worth it," Shipley said. "It's about the fact that I see that we're doing tangible good and changing people's lives."
One of the local recipients of this group’s kind gesture is Ms. Sandie Herpin. She became ill last year and her family feared that she would not be able to get into her home safely. However, U.M. Army changed that by building an accessible ramp for her and her dog.
“I have friends that are in wheelchairs and they couldn’t come to my house because they couldn’t get up the stairs," Herpin said. "It wasn’t just for me, but for others to use. They did such a beautiful job and I have nothing but gratitude in my heart.”
Ms. Sandie mentioned this group of passionate students have not only helped to be more comfortable at home, but has given her a sense of hope, now that she has claimed them as her additional grandchildren.
“I never have to worry again about being able to get to my car, so God sent these guys and I told them ‘you’re my new grandkids'," Herpin said.
The team is already preparing for next year’s projects. They hope to continue serving others with one common goal, being united on mission.
For more information about joining U.M. Army, click the link for details on their mission trips and the organization.
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