The Ohio Mission has been an annual event since 2008 servicing Caldwell and the surrounding Ohio Appalachian area. Service events were coordinated through Lutheran Social Services who had offices and a food pantry located in Caldwell. After the first few years, Lutheran Social Services moved their offices to Columbus and closed the food pantry, opting for a mobile food pantry ministry. This is when David Cater, former Lutheran Social Services outreach employee, decided to keep the ministry alive in the Caldwell area by forming Outreach Ministries.
Today, Faith Lutheran Church continues to partner with David and Outreach Ministries to assist the underserved, the elderly and anyone who indicates they have a need. David seeks and meets with potential “clients” to gather potential work sites each year for the mission team. David’s funding is very limited, relying on donations and a small resale store for his ministry. For this reason, Faith has always sought to have the ability to self-fund the service projects, which we have been blessed to be able to do without fail.
Each year, the mission team undertakes at least one large project, traditionally a wheelchair ramp or like structure. Many people, including some of our youth, have not only learned to build a ramp but also the safe and appropriate ways to use the necessary tools (including power tools). In addition to each year’s large project, there are several smaller projects that take place as well, such as mowing, weeding, interior and exterior painting, general cleaning, volunteering at the mobile food pantry, visiting nursing homes and gift card giveaways. No job is considered too small or insignificant as we never truly know what someone’s underlying need may be. We have often found ourselves at work sites wondering why we were sent there, as the need was not visible or readily apparent. However, as we work, the true need is revealed and presents as someone who is lonely and in need of company or a widow who, due to her grief since the unexpected death of her husband, has been unable to perform even some of the most basic functions and through the simple act of helping her dispose of her expired canning began to see hope.
Local churches have provided for our housing throughout the years and has most recently been at Mt. Zion Lutheran Church in Pleasant City. Our accommodations are always a blessing but can also have limited facilities as these tend to be small churches. We always have a kitchen and restrooms. The mission team sleeps on air mattresses on basement floors or in sanctuaries or some choose to pitch a tent. Rarely are there shower facilities and the options become utilizing a shower tent or a local campgrounds shower facilities. The team works hard, often in the hottest weather of the year, but we also eat well at the end of the day and enjoy many fun times, lots of bacon and ice cream (not together) and fellowship.
There are no skill set requirements to attend the Ohio Mission. All you need is a willingness and ability to serve in some capacity and an open mind and heart to new experiences. The reward is personal to each person and will never be able to be fully described with words.
For more information and details, please contact Melissa Johnson at email@example.com.