For Brian and Prudy Copas of Allen Chapel Church of Christ in South Shore, Ky., teaching service has been an unexpectedly rewarding calling.
Prudy explained that she and her husband were first approached to lead their church’s youth group after the couple previously teaching it were ready to step down. The couple had started when their now adult children were young. They had dedicated many years and were ready for some quieter time.
Prudy did not have young children either. The mother of two children in their 20s was first asked to lead a youth group in September of 2016. Her daughter, who is 24, is disabled and mentally closer to between 10 and 12.
“She is a forever child,” Prudy commented.
With much responsibility already, Prudy did have to consider the offer for accepting.
“Last September, we never dreamed of leading a youth group. In fact, the idea of it scared us to death, but we were willing to serve the Lord in any capacity,” Prudy explained. “Brian was always the type who would rather put a new roof on the building or dig a ditch than speak or pray in public, but he jumped both feet in with me to take on this group.”
The two share their responsibilities with the group and set out to offer a lot.
“He (Brian) is the teacher and the one responsible for what they are taught. I get the fun stuff!,” Purdy said with excitement.
She plans games, outings and even leads special discussions.
When Prudy and Brian were originally asked, they thought about helping temporarily, but the children have made an impact on them as much as they have the children.
“Our initial thought was we will do this for one year, but now we can’t imagine not doing it,” she explained. “We have come to love all these kids, and we enjoy being a part of their lives, not just on Sundays but we may check in with them throughout the week. Our goal this year was to teach them that we serve God by serving others, that they need to be teacher and doers of the Word.”
In that aspect, these kids have gone out to do some great things.
Some of the kids had never been to church prior to joining her youth group. Others may have grown up in church had little to no experience doing community service. In that past year, that has really changed, and these kids are loving it. They get to be out in the community meeting people and being a part of something bigger than even their church.
“When Pokemon Go was all the craze, we had Pokemon postcards made up to pass out along the floodwall,” Prudy explained. “They have knocked on doors in Portsmouth and South Shore (Ky.) inviting people to church.”
They have focused their greatest labors in serving those instructed that they should care for by the Bible, those who need additional help.
“The Bible tells us to take care of the orphans and widows,” Prudy explained. “We have widowed women in our congregation.”
The youth group went to these women and asked if there was anything that they needed done. One widow had some health problems and could no longer do her yard work. The children eagerly went and worked long and hard to help the woman who was so kind to thank them by giving Prudy $60 for the work.
These kids have a fundraiser for a trip to Tennessee that they have also been working hard for. The funds were more than needed. However, they all refused to accept the money and immediately wanted it returned. They demanded it go to help with the woman’s doctor bills instead, a gesture that filled the widow with tears.
In July, the group is also scheduled to wash the house and deck of another woman.
Though they work hard, Prudy says they also have a lot of fun. They take outings to celebrate whatever cause they need including birthdays. They also take larger trips on occasion, but they work hard to raise all the funds needed for the fun they have.
“They love it. They tell us they don’t want us to ever leave,” Prudy explained. “It gives them something to be proud of, and they enjoy how the feel when they help someone else.”
In addition to enjoying their time, Prudy has watched the kids grow and develop empathy, compassion and understanding for others. The hand’s on approach takes the children out of the church and takes the church out on the streets in service of others.
Reach Nikki Blankenship at 740-353-3101 ext. 1931.