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SHALLOTTE POINT—Lillian Gray’s face lights up when she talks about all her “angels” have done for her.
Since having back surgery, the once avid gardener hasn’t been able to keep up her outdoor showplace as much as she used to. Gray says she was feeling bad about the vines growing up and choking her azalea bushes around her historic two-story house in Shallotte Point, so she asked for a little help.
As a member of Ocean View Baptist Church, she’d heard that youth participants in TEAMeffort, a collection of Christian mission camps for teenagers, were staying in the church’s family life center and volunteering their services in the area.
“The only thing I asked for was to get the vines out of my flowers,” Gray recalled.
But when the team arrived, “They were ready to do anything.”
Gray said she wasn’t prepared for the level of enthusiasm and service of the teens and their counselors—pulling up stumps that had been in her yard since the trees were cut down three years ago, painting her trellises, bleaching the sides of her house, pulling out weeds and vines and planting new shrubbery.
“I’m so blessed,” Gray said. “I didn’t ask them to do all that.”
Last week, she couldn’t keep from smiling as she stood outside with her constant companion, her pet Pomeranian, Sticks, watching the teens wielding axes, paintbrushes and wheelbarrows work hard and also take time to joke with each other, keeping positive attitudes even during the hottest part of the day.
The team, which included some campers as young as 14, were as eager to talk to Gray and walk around the property. She enjoyed watching everything they did.
According to its Web site, www.TEAMeffort.org, the group is a nonprofit inter-denominational Christian mission organization faith-building mission experiences for youth for more than 15 years.
According to a church employee, camp organizers contacted Ocean View because they needed somewhere for the large number of volunteers—65 from two different camps in South Carolina—to stay.
Participants in TEAMeffort camps, which are scattered throughout the South, build ramps, paint decks, do yard work and perform other jobs as needed, in an effort to learn the value of helping others.
“The goal is to learn how to become servants,” said 18-year-old Andrew Graham, a team leader. “They learn to serve the community by helping others and getting to know the community.”
Gray knows the valuable resource they’ve been for her, and she gives credit to God for providing her with such diligent, good-hearted workers.
“God provides,” she said. “And he sent these angels to me.”
sarah shew wilson is a staff writer for the Beacon. Reach her at 754-6890 or email@example.com.