TSYC travels to Florida on mission

Published 3:29 pm Monday, June 10, 2019

It is so much more than a beach trip. That is what the students, leaders, and chaperones would say about the 2019 Tri-State Youth Choir mission trip. The group returned from Jacksonville, Fla. following their five-day mission trip.

The group set out last Saturday morning at 4:30 a.m. from Pump Springs Baptist Church on school buses for the 12-hour drive to Jacksonville.

The goal of the mission trip each year is to present the gospel through their performances and reaching out to those in the group homes and rehabilitation centers while also serving others through service projects. The service projects included work at the Salvation Army, City Rescue Mission, both the Downtown campus and McDuff campus, and Trinity Rescue Mission Jacksonville.

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This year on the mission trip, two students were received salvation, four were baptized in the ocean, and several rededicated their lives.

On Sunday morning, the trip began with a first time ever performance at the Salvation Army in Jacksonville. This was the first year the choir scheduled a performance with them, and the Salvation Army was very excited to welcome the choir to lead them in their Sunday morning worship service. The group even welcomed the choir back to sing during their 2020 mission trip.

Sunday closed out with a moving performance at City Rescue Mission Downtown. The rescue mission is a favorite performance for many in the choir as they interact with several of those who live and work there throughout the week. The dining hall was packed with both men and women who were very excited to hear the story the choir was presenting.

A man who said he frequents the Rescue Mission for a meal and maybe a night of rest said this is the third year that he has come to hear the choir perform.

“I make sure that I know when this group is coming because every year they don’t disappoint,” Chris said. “Every year they get better and the message reaches to the hearts of every person in the room. You can see it on their faces, and we talk about it for weeks after they leave.”

Chris, along with several others from City Rescue Mission Downtown, followed the choir Monday to their next performance, which took place at the Rescue Mission’s McDuff campus. The men cheered and clapped as the choir began to sing and they even participated with the performances as they did their skits.

Service projects filled the schedule on Monday as the choir was split into four work groups and were designated areas throughout the City Rescue Mission to work. One group was designated to detail the vehicles used for transportation at the mission, two groups were split up to work in each of the kitchens at both the McDuff campus and the Downtown campus, and the final group worked in the newly opened thrift store.

“You all are a special group,” Byron, the kitchen operator at the Downtown campus said. “You all are changing lives and you don’t even know it. Some of these men and women are here and they have no hope, they have no idea where to turn to next, and then you show up and you offer them hope. To see all of your smiling faces and the message that you are sharing is more important than you know.”

To prepare for their mission trip, the choir begins practicing in January and then they begin performances in March at several local churches throughout the community. The choir is made up of approximately 70 students, both male and female, from right here in the tri-state community. There are several churches and schools represented within this remarkable group of youth.

The choir is under the direction of Melissa and Ben Dishner, with help from many others, including Judy Robertson, who with her late husband Edwin, co-founded the choir over 30 years ago. Seth and Tiffany Oakes provide annual assistance, along with Danny Chumley, Daniel Chumley and Jonathan Poore. Many parents and other adults help with the effort as well.

“This year’s pretty special for everybody,” Choir Director Melissa Dishner said. “We have a lot of new students in the choir and you can kind of see them during rehearsals and their eyes are this big but many of them stick it out.”

The Tri-State Youth Choir is always in need of monetary donations to make their mission trip possible and preparations for the 2020 trip are already underway. To make a donation, you can contact any director or choir member.

For more information, you can call 423-869-8323.

To make a donation to the auction, contact any director or choir member.