Recently, a group of students from Vanderbilt University had the chance to work on the home of Ms. Effie Fortune.  Effie is a member of one of CSM’s partner churches, New Rising Star, who was greatly in need of a safer deck and roof. Her dilapidated deck was the only way to get into her home and her roof was leaking. As a 77 year old woman caring for her special needs daughter, CSM knew that this was something she had prayed for for a while.  

When Vanderbilt students sought out Tracy Hipps in need of a service project to do on their civil rights tour of Birmingham, Effie’s home seemed like the perfect project. A total of 6 students, the Vanderbilt team made a great effort to get to know Effie and her daughter and served with joy.  Aaron, our Construction Director was able to work side by side with the students and answer any questions they had about Birmingham’s history of racial brokenness and civil rights achievements. 

The second day of their mission experience was held at the CSM Campus. The students assisted our partner ministry, Bundles of Hope, in bundling diapers for babies in need.  They then helped our staff package Christmas gifts. Students learned from Tracy about the racial and economic divides of Birmingham and also heard the testimony of Allie our Community Engagement Coordinator, who shared how college was transformative for both her faith and career path.  At the end of their visit, one college student claimed, “This place gives me hope.” and another said, “ I never want to leave.” CSM staff did not want the Vanderbilt students to leave either!