Recently, Perry Wellness Center had a special group of 23 individuals visit its campus. The group represents 50+ senior members of Concordia Lutheran Church in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Led by Associate Pastor J. Brown, the mission group’s latest trip was organized by “We Go Global,” an organization with offices just a few blocks from the center.
The group of eager Christians arrived with a goal of helping out with any odd jobs at the center. They brought ready smiles and rolled-up sleeves as they set to work on several campus tasks. After being welcomed by Phyllis Smith, PWC market director and project coordinator, group members grabbed shovels and hammers moved to assigned areas for a day of landscaping, carpentry, and other tasks. Jobs ranged from weed pulling to cutting wood, painting, and putting together cabinets for the new student art room.
Throughout the day, Perry Wellness Center peers chatted with the group and shared stories of their own faith with the church members. Amid the conversation, the team members moved quickly from task to task.
At one point, several of the visitors weeded a large area on the Furlow Street corner of the campus. One of the members made the comment that weeds were different in Southwest Georgia than they were in their hometown. At that point, PWC founder Stuart Perry wryly commented that identification of weeds was not a priority in getting the job done, and he assured them that the weeds would most likely grow back.
Pleased with their efforts, Stuart commented with a laugh, “The peers may be mad at you good people. I can now remind them of the way the area SHOULD look!”
The mission group’s stop at Perry Wellness Center was the third one in their southern mission work. In the past, the group has also driven to Oklahoma to help the Cherokee Indian Nation. But work is also needed at home.
“We must admit that our talents are needed in our hometown of Fort Wayne,” Rev. Brown noted. “We took a week to do odd jobs throughout the city.” The minister recalled that he was first told about the older adults’ annual missions when he applied to be associate pastor of the church. His youth and vigor made him a great fit. In addition to serving as pastor, Rev. Brown is also a teacher, Kyoshi fan, and 7th degree martial arts black belt.
What unites the mission group members is a joy in helping others while seeing different parts of the United States. While in this area, the group has plans to visit with Habit International and work with immigrants who need help with special jobs.
“We have enjoyed this trip, and Perry Wellness Center has been wonderful,” Rev. Brown enthused. “We will spread the word about your goodness.”
Before they departed, Stuart met with the group to share information about “Journey for Life,” his own mission on behalf of mental health. During this symbolic walk to Chicago, he recalled passing through the visitors’ home state.
“I remember Indiana well,” Stuart said. “After my walking in Tennessee and Kentucky hills, your state was a welcome sight! All along the way, everyone was receptive to my mental health awareness walk. I hope you are all equally welcomed here.” He presented several of his “Journey for Life” books to the group for its church library and for reading on the return home.
In the photo above, Fort Wayne’s Concordia Lutheran Church senior mission group takes a break from its tour and tasks at Perry Wellness Center.