Ann and Dwayne Carter volunteer at the Lighthouse Mission and serve the prayer breakfast for the First United Methodist Church, but for 10 years helping others was something they did throughout the world.
Ann and Dwayne Carter were married in 1961 and have been members of the First United Methodist Church on Sycamore Street since 1962. It was in this church Dwayne Carter said they were introduced to missionary work.
“In 1994 we had two guest preachers come to our church, and I asked one of them what was the quickest way to become a better disciple. He told me to go on a Walk to Emmaus and volunteer for a mission trip,” Carter said. “So that same year I went on a (Walk to Emmaus) and my wife and I went on a mission trip to the Navajo reservations.”
After the first mission trip, the Carters volunteered for many more.
Dwayne Carter also has helped deliver food and rebuild damaged structures in Louisiana, Bosnia, Kentucky, Honduras, Costa Rica, Panama, El Salvador, Antigua Island in the Caribbean, and has taken four mission trips to Mexico.
“During my trip to Bosnia, I saw the need. This was in 1996, so it was shortly after they ceased fire and it was the worst destruction I had ever seen. I had seen Germany and Japan shortly after World War II while I was in the military, but Bosnia was the worst.” Carter said. “Once you see the need, you will take a second trip.”
Ann Carter attended the mission trips in Mexico, and many of the stateside missions. She believes helping others was more than a calling for her and her husband, it is what had to be done.
“The mission is to spread God’s love, and the task is what we rebuilt, cooked, or cleaned,” she said.
Although the Carters have traveled around the world to help others for over 10 years, Dwayne Carter, now unable to drive due to poor eyesight, does not think his trips were out of the ordinary. He also doesn’t believe his denomination does more missionary work than other denominations, and everyone should get involved.
“There are many people who have done much more than we (he and his wife) have,” Dwayne Carter said with a chuckle.
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• Volunteers play a vital role in churches, according to local church officials. With limited funding, many local churches depend on the volunteers to remain open.
“The church couldn’t exist without the hundreds of volunteer hours we receive,” Pastor Brad Reeves of Kingswood United Methodist Church said.
According to church officials, some examples of important volunteers include musicians, gardeners, maintenance workers, secretaries, choir members, and Sunday school teachers.
“Our congregation as a whole is filled with many, many people who do many, many little things,” said Bill Brewer, senior minister for Central Christian Church.
• To submit a volunteer you feel deserves to be recognized contact Keely McDowell at: firstname.lastname@example.org to acquire a form.