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  • Last modified 9 days ago (Dec. 7, 2017)

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Waxing and buzzing for water

Youth group goes all in for water wells for Ghana

News editor

If sacrificing a bit of change and one’s dignity will save lives, the youth group at Marion Christian Church is all for it, and gleefully so.

Last week, cheering kids, with cell phones filming nonstop, jammed in around eighth-grader Johnny Zieammermann, whose dignity fluttered to the floor as his hair was buzzed off by group leaders Chris Ensley and TJ Reed.

“Chris asked for a volunteer to shave their head when we reached $100,” Johnny said.

Johnny wore his hair short when he was younger, but it still took a little work getting used to the new look.

“It’s different,” he said, running his hand over the stubble.

Ensley and Reed weren’t immune, either. Each endured the jaw-clenching pain of having leg hair ripped off with wax strips.

“It was different,” Ensley said.

All the fun was a payoff for raising money for Feeding the Orphans, a ministry started by a 10-year-old girl who wanted to do something to help children in Ghana.

“Through the church and through the youth ministry we raised about $1,000,” Ensley said. “We’re really close to helping the organization put in a water well. With our church partnering with other churches and Feeding the Orphans ministry, we’ve collectively helped put in about six water wells now. It’s been really awesome.”

The youth know this is serious business. About 37 children die every day in Ghana from water-related intestinal illnesses.

However, silly challenges and fun activities to mark achievements have become integral to their fundraising.

“We do all kinds of wacky rewards,” Ensley said. “Chris Sprowls and I once got into a big tub of ice water in the middle of November. We’ve done a push-up challenge, we’ve done a lock-in.”

Sprowls wore a wry smile as he recalled his contribution.

“I got roped into that,” he said. “It was cold. I’m glad they have some younger leaders now.”

Youths are encouraged to bring donations to weekly meetings.

“These students have very giving hearts,” Ensley said. “They give whatever they can. I’ve told them it doesn’t matter what they bring, a penny or a few dollars. The kids just bring money weekly through the fall, and the deadline is always on Orphan Sunday.”

The group also provides food sponsorships for several orphans, Ensley said.

“When you give these youth the opportunity to take care of somebody else and they can do it now, they do a great job of taking ownership of it themselves,” he said. “It’s a great youth group. I’m very blessed by all the kids who come here.”

Last modified Dec. 7, 2017

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