Pull up a chair and chat with a neighbor in the close-knit town of Webster Springs, West Virginia. Your team will instantly feel welcomed by the 9,000 residents in this small Appalachian town where it seems that everyone knows everyone. You’ll see how neighbors look out for one another and take pride in their community, but also struggle with the upkeep of old homes and trailers, leading to unsafe living conditions.
Many homes were not built to withstand the ever-changing mountain weather and families cannot afford basic repairs. But your team can make a difference one home at a time as you serve side-by-side with homeowners. Not only will your work make a practical impact, but you’ll have the chance to make a spiritual impact as you share Jesus’ love through your actions. Will you commit to an Appalachian mission trip and the hard work of seeing communities restored?
Webster Springs is a town in Webster County, West Virginia, United States. Originally incorporated under the name of Addison in 1892, the town is referred to as "Webster Springs"—the name of the post office in town. The town was originally on Addison McLaughlin's land which is why it was originally names, "Addison".Known as the County Seat for Webster County it is also the heart and soul of the area. Webster County was created in 1860, the last county in West Virginia to be created before the state‚Äôs separation from Virginia.
The town was famous in the late 19th and early 20th centuries for its numerous salt sulfur water wells. People believed that the water from the wells had medicinal qualities.
Coal, a natural resource, was mined for many years and provided large source of revenue for the locals. Most minds have now been closed leaving many without a source of income.
Drugs, alcohol addiction, and teenage pregnancy are common in the area. The lumber industry is the largest source of income for residents. Coal mining used to be a top contender for jobs in the area, though most mines have now been closed leaving many without a source of income. Those who do not work for the lumber industry must travel out of county to find good jobs as a way to provide for their families. The entire of Webster County has four schools, with one being the county high school.
Those who do not work for the lumber industry must travel out of county to find good jobs as a way to provide for their families.
Most homes are very old and many residents live in trailer homes that were not built to withstand the mountain weather. This has left homeowners in dire need of home repairs they are unable to afford and created unsafe living environments for many children and families. Mission trip teams travel all over the county to help with these home repairs while building relationships with home owners and families, offering encouragement and hope that life can be better, a practical and tangible way to share our faith in Jesus.
Religious roots go deep down in the hearts of those who live in West Virginia, especially in the older generations. 75% of the people in the area claim Christianity as their religion. Small churches including many mainstream Protestant churches are found throughout the local towns. Small mountain churches with no affiliation as well as some Roman Catholic churches also exist.
Work projects are organized to support the needs and vision of the community and designed to connect team members with the local people of Webster Springs. Experience Mission staff will coordinate projects and get materials and tools ready. Your team will be responsible to provide project oversight. While we will always have plenty of work for your team, the extent of the projects may be limited based on the expertise your team brings with you.
Your team will be involved in home repair and community restoration work projects that reach out to those in need in various practical ways. We will work in neighborhoods with a diverse group of people and circumstances. Team members will have the opportunity to share their lives through service, prayer, and time spent with the families and children they come to work among.
Due to the unique nature of this community, the opportunity for relational ministry may take place directly at project worksites as volunteers come alongside and encourage those come to serve.
There may be additional opportunities to serve in various types of relational ministry if the need arises. These could include: visiting the elderly, singing at a nursing home, gardening, cleaning, etc.
Depending on the specific needs of the week you serve, Experience Mission may or may not hold an organized Kids Club. Teams will be notified several months prior to their trip if Kids Club is an opportunity. If Kids Club is included as an opportunity for your team, participation will be optional. If your team chooses to participate in Kids Club, Experience Mission will provide the curriculum for your teams use. This Kids Club curriculum will be sent out to Team Leaders in the spring via email.
Teams will be responsible to bring the craft supplies needed for their specific crafts and should budget appropriately. While we do our best to make sure craft materials are cost effective, teams may feel free to augment any materials to make them more suitable to their budget. Experience Mission will supply scissors, staplers, paper hole punches and rulers. There are plenty of opportunities to connect with the local children through games like soccer or Frisbee. Tuck in a hackysack, football or jump rope as they are sure to come in handy!
*Experience Mission works closely with local leaders to identify work projects and ministry opportunities that address authentic needs within the community. We ask that you come with a servant's heart and willingness to adapt to the unique qualities represented in each location. Opportunities can vary significantly from one week to the next. Your team may work at one location or serve at multiple locations each day. Due to the changing needs of our community partners, we cannot confirm your specific daily activities until your team arrives.
Due to staffing limitations and varying school schedules in our community locations, Kids Club and Evening Gathering are not offered during spring break trips. Teams should plan to prepare their own worship and devotional materials for trips from February-May.
Each morning, there is time set aside for devotions and quiet time. This is a valuable time and we strongly encourage all team members to spend it with God, journaling their thoughts and experiences as the days unfold.
Each evening, there is time set aside after dinner for prayer, a time of debriefing and a short devotional led by our staff. Following this Evening Gathering, there will be time set aside for individual teams to meet together to share, have devotions, debrief, have fun and deal with any team issues. We make this time a priority for you to spend with your team.
AVERAGE DAILY SCHEDULE
3-6pm Groups Arrive
5pm - Leader's Meeting
6pm - Dinner
7pm - Orientation Meeting
8:30pm - Team Time (a time for your group alone)
11:30pm - Lights Out
7:15am - Breakfast
7:45am - Devotions and Quiet Time
8:15am - Group Prayer
8:30am - Teams leave for Sites
12pm - Lunch
3:30pm - Finish work for the day
4pm - Break and Clean-up
5pm - Leaders meeting
6pm - Dinner
7pm - Evening Gathering (as a whole group)
8:30pm - Team time
7am - Breakfast
7:30am - Cleanup/ Packing
9am - Pictures and Good-Byes
Teams in Webster Springs will stay at a local church or a dormitory depending on the week you go. Most teams will be sleeping on the ground and should plan to bring a small mat or single-wide air mattress.Team members should plan to bring light bedding or a sleeping bag and a pillow.
There will be showers for your team and bathrooms at the place where you stay. Most work sites will also have bathrooms. On the occasion that there are no facilities where you are working, teams will need to take breaks midday to use a public restroom.
There is running water in this part of West Virginia. Teams will have access to it where they are staying, and at most work sites. Teams should plan to bring refillable water bottles to stay hydrated at work sites.
There is electricity in West Virginia that will be available where teams stay as well as at most work sites. *Keep in mind that there will not be air conditioning.
Webster Springs is a safe area in general. The facilities where teams stay will be locked throughout the night and Experience Mission Staff members will do a sweep to make sure the facilities are secure before retiring for the evening. There is minor petty theft in the area. For this reason, we recommend teams leaving all valuables (smart phones, computers, jewelry, etc.) at home. If a team does bring some valuables, the best way to keep them safe is to store them in a locked vehicle during the day.
A wonderful team of local cooks, alongside your Experience Mission Field Staff, will be preparing and serving your meals. Breakfast and dinner will be served buffet style, and your team will pack their own lunches each morning. Team members should plan to bring their own plate, bowl, cup and silverware for meals.
Your teams transportation to, from and while in West Virginia is NOT covered. You will need vehicles throughout the entire week to transport your team to various locations for work and ministry. Using a school bus as your main mode of transportation while in this community is not an option. Our work in West Virginia can only accommodate standard 15 passenger vans or smaller.
If you're interested in bringing your group on a mission trip, fill out this quick interest form! Our staff will be in touch with you shortly to help answer your questions. Also, many questions about trips to this community are answered under Mission Trip Details & Logistics above.
Experience Mission has specific policies regarding registration and withdrawal. Please refer to the document below for specifics.
All volunteers on a week-long EM mission trip must be part of a team of at least six (6) people, with at least one team member age 21 or older to serve as the Team Leader. Not part of a group? All young adults ages 18-30 are eligible to apply for EMís IMMERSION program.
Mission Trips involve many details, and we know you probably have a few questions about EM mission trips.
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You must have a group size of at least 6 members to join this trip. Please view the Small Team trips or call our Servicing Department for more options at 888-475-6414.
For most trips, you must have a group size of at least 6 members. Please view the Small Teams tab on each Community page or call our Servicing Department for more options at 888-475-6414.