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Young people in Wingham, Ontario, refreshed their community recently with H2O: Hands to Offer.

Young people paint shutters at a home as part of a youth service project.

The two-day service and worship event, organized by Maitland River Community Christian Reformed Church, connected young people from local churches in teaching sessions, worship, and a lot of painting, clean-up, and yard work.

About 45 people came to serve in this year’s event, drawn from three churches and a Youth for Christ group. Speaker Andy Luchies of Hamilton talked with the youths about the importance of connecting with others, both inside and outside of the church. He challenged them to make a whole-life commitment to God and to go out and change the world.

An H2O band assembled for the event led worship before participants were sent out to work sites all over the area. In parks, at homes and farms, and at the church itself, gardens were weeded, buildings were repainted, lawns were seeded, minor repairs were made, and connections were formed.

Maia Turland, 19, said, “It’s fun. I like helping people, and I like spreading the light of God around.” That light was reflected on the face of one homeowner when she joked, “Yeah, it’s been fun sitting here and bossing them around. . . . They’ve been working hard. I couldn’t do it this year [because of an injury], so it’s been great.”

Managing the event can be challenging, admits youth leader Eleanor Kuyvenhoven, but it’s worth it. “It builds community. Friendships have come out of this; they’re doing ministry with peers.”

James Chuchmuch, 18, agreed. “Even though we’re teens, we can help through small things like this event—and that can inspire us to change the world.”

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