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Project shows love for neighbors

Churches with international missions programs often get accused of ignoring those closest to them as they seek to fulfill Christ’s Great Commission, where He told believers to “Go and make disciples of all nations.”

But what many don’t realize, when they criticize missionaries headed off to Asia or Africa or the Caribbean or Central or South America, is that churches often do have missions for those in their own city as well. It’s just that they may not be as visible or attract as much attention.

Five local churches — Southside Baptist Church, Liberty Spring Christian Church, Cypress Chapel Christian Church, Holland Baptist Church and Open Door Church — are conducting Serve the City this week, with hundreds of volunteers doing things right here in Suffolk to ensure their neighbors are taken care of.

Volunteers are doing things like sprucing up school buildings and grounds, cooking and serving meals for first responders, making bedrolls for the city’s homeless population and more. About 230 volunteers from the five churches are participating in various ways, from doing the actual work to supporting those who are doing the work.

Volunteers made it clear they don’t need any thanks — they are simply doing it because they are interested in serving God through serving their neighbors.

“Our cause is simple,” said Terry Violette, director of the project. “God’s word tells us to love our neighbors. He doesn’t ask us to do it. It’s a commandment. We want to love on our neighbors, and so, by going and doing this, we’re able to show the love of Jesus without asking for anything in return.”

The joint effort will be appreciated by thousands of school children when they return to classes after Labor Day, not to mention those who have already been blessed by the good work these volunteers have done and are doing this week.