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Thirteen members of Regester Chapel United Methodist Church in Stafford County went on a recent mission trip to the Henderson Settlement in Kentucky. They worked on the settlement grounds and helped out in the local community.
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BY BUD BISCARDO
FOR THE FREE LANCE-STAR
At first glance, the poverty-stricken community of Frakes, Ky., may not seem inviting. Wracked by high unemployment and saddled with a stark average household income of about $14,000, it is one of America's most economically depressed rural regions.
But 13 members of Regester Chapel United Methodist Church in Stafford County found Frakes an appealing place to spend part of their summer--because it offered the chance to help others.
The church members recently completed a mission trip to Henderson Settlement in Frakes, the second straight year the mission team served there.
The settlement was established 87 years ago with strong ties to the Methodist Church. It offers community outreach to help improve the lives of area residents through ministry and other services.
The need in the region is great: More than a third of Frakes-area residents live below the poverty line, and Bell County, which includes Frakes, is one of the nation's 100 poorest counties.
Last summer, members of Regester's mission team did all of their work on the settlement grounds. But this year, during their late June trip, they also performed tasks in the surrounding community.
Their efforts included lots of construction and repairs; teaching an art class for elementary school kids; working in a library; organizing a craft area; and more.
Team leader Jeff Hackman of Fredericksburg said he was struck by the local residents' friendliness.
"Universally, we hear from people how grateful they are for the work we do around that community," he said. "They know who we are and why we're there, along with many other mission teams. They honk their horns and wave to us. It's an amazing environment."
Members of the Regester mission group ranged in age from the teens to the 80s and included Larry Towne, Bob Waugh, Pat Moyer, Dave Broadhurst, Donna Courtney, Louise Hackman, Jack Sprunger, Tally Moore, Bobbye Wardlow, Debbie Todd, Jim Atkinson and Eleanor Brown.