Alva Review-Courier -

A mission trip for Mennonite Youth – an answer to prayer for Freedom Gates Boys Ranch


Scenes like this were all over the former Hazelton school building as a group of Mennonite youth from Hutchinson helped transform it into more housing for the Freedom Gates Boys Ranch.

"What a great time of fellowship and hard work," Freedom Gates Boys Ranch (FGBR) President Michael Simpson said.

He was referring to the first week of June when youth from the Cedar Crest Mennonite Church in Hutchinson came to help renovate part of the former schoolhouse building in Hazelton, Kansas. The FGBR brings in troubled teen boys and helps them feel personal value and that they are loved. They do this with hard work, a schedule, school, rules, lots of fun and a Christ-centered environment.

The schoolhouse expansion will house six more boys and houseparents, Simpson said. It will add a two-bedroom apartment for additional staff. Freedom Gates continues to have four teens living at the "Blue House" that was redone a few years ago in Hazelton.

"This group blew me away with their kindness, work ethic, and positive attitude. We all came together with a motivation of serving Christ and the future boys of FGBR. Our boys had a great time learning how to do electric work, plumbing, drywall, demolition, and how to do all this with a positive and cheerful attitude. We still have a lot of work to do and more funds to raise, but we know God will supply what we need to make this house a home for more young men," Simpson said.

Local churches volunteered to feed the group three meals per day. The central headquarters for meals was the basement of the Christian Church. During that time the group of Mennonite volunteers proved what caring, good, respectful youth they are.

During breakfast that last morning Simpson spoke to the youth. He complimented them and told them, "This may be just another mission trip to you, but you were an answer to prayer for us."


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