HARDEMAN COUNTY, TN (WMC) - While many teenagers spend their summers on vacation, on the beach, or in front of the TV, other youth took a week out of their summer to make a difference. Plus, it's the one week of the summer where the students will not get corrected by their English teacher for saying "Y.E.P" as many times as they can.
Youth Evangelism Project (Y.E.P.) hit the streets of Bolivar and Hardeman County this week again.
Eighty-five youth, from five churches in Hardeman County, came together at Dixie Hills Baptist Church to spend the week and to impact lives.
The youth, along with the adult leaders, worked throughout the county to help people without any expectation to get something back in return.
Leaders said their intention with Y.E.P. is to teach the youth how to serve other people.
While the students live and sleep at the church for the week, they spend their days serving people in the community and their nights worshiping as one group--no matter which congregation they belong to during any other week. For one week, they're just Christians serving God by serving others.
"We want these youth to see how to love God by loving others," Dixie Hills Baptist Church Pastor Jimmy Garrett said. "Jesus loves us and we, in turn, are to love others."
From car washes to handing out food, the youth said they enjoy making a difference and seeing God work in their city.
"Seeing how God works and knowing that he is true and helping others," 9th-grade student Kaylan Standford with Dixie Hills Baptist Church said.
No matter if it is giving a free car wash, putting underpinning on a family's mobile home, mopping floors, or giving out free hamburgers and hotdogs, the youth look for opportunities to tell people about their faith in Jesus and to pray with those they are serving.
Church leaders said it not only helps teach the children about serving others, it also helps them be confident and bold in their faith by sharing it with others and praying with others.
Each morning the group is led in a 10-15 minute devotional time by one of their peers. The students are able to experience standing in front of a group and teaching about their faith and about the Bible.
The week may be powerful for many residents in the county who are the recipients of the service, but it's also a week that impacts the youth.
"It's just powerful to know that God is in this county. It's a powerful message to me every year," 11th-grade student Tanner Tucker with Bolivar First Baptist Church said. "It helps me to pray for others. It's taught me how to share my faith. We are working under God's will. We're working for God, not us."
The program has grown each year and has become a staple for the summer in the area.
The participating churches were Dixie Hills Baptist Church, Parran's Chapel, Middleton Baptist Church, Hornsby Baptist Church, and Bolivar First Baptist Church.