New houses, new families, new relationships, and a fresh new look at Birmingham history. Add it all up, stir in a couple of student groups from Niceville, Florida and the University of Connecticut and you’ve got a recipe for another incredible week at Christian Service Mission!

This past week, we had the privilege of hosting a group of high school students— half from Florida and half foreign exchange students from China— and a college group from Connecticut during the same week. With a total number of 84 students with us last week, we were able maximize our youth volunteer power to accomplish a ton of work alongside our partners at Bethel Baptist in Collegeville, as well as with other friends of CSM.

On top of all of the work we accomplished, we also had the opportunity for all of these students to hear from our friend Martha Boyer at Bethel Baptist. Miss Martha does an excellent tour and history lesson of Bethel Baptist, Fred Shuttlesworth and the transitions that our city has seen over its history. She also brought in several guests who not only lived during segregation and the Civil Rights era, but who had an impact during that time alongside of Pastor Fred Shuttlesworth as well! It was such a treat and an incredible experience for all of us who were in attendance.

Food deserts are areas that lack access to affordable healthy foods.

Our CSM friends, Tamika and Jay, worked with our Floridian group to help clean up and prepare one of our houses in Ensley so they could move into this past Wednesday! With the cleaning talents of high school group, the decorating talents of our interior design volunteers and of course the blessing of the Lord, we were able to ready the house with furniture, artwork and more to turn that house into a home for Tamika and Jay within the first three days of last week. We celebrated the house dedication last week, and the couple now has a new home!

With the UCONN group, we painted and prepared a house in Collegeville across the street from our partners at Bethel Baptist Church. With the help of Bethel, Mountain Brook Community Church and our friends from UCONN, we were able to paint an entire house in one day and begin a siding project on another house right down the street!

With great projects, great teaching and a host of enlightening and encouraging discussions all throughout the week, we were blessed to see another awesome opportunity for us to partner with these volunteer groups, our church partners and our God to see lives changed in our city and beyond! To Him be all the glory!