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Stephens hoping co-op will lead to mission field

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Learning to work: Part 4

By Kelly Cantrall

Blake Stephens knew from an early age that he wanted to be a missionary. Now he’s gaining experience he needs while still in high school.

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Stephens felt strongly enough about pursuing a career in ministry that he created the co-op position at Severns Valley Baptist Church in which he’s now serving. He thought the experience of working in a church would help him accomplish his ultimate goal of becoming a missionary.

“I feel like I am being called into a missionary field,” Stephens said.

Stephens, a junior at Elizabethtown High School, worked it out with his co-op teacher and with the youth pastor at Severns Valley, Phil Maucieri, to work in the afternoons at the church.

Stephens helps them with office tasks and brainstorms ideas for youth meetings with Maucieri and others. He also helps them prepare for events within the youth department.

Working with the youth department staff is a highlight of the experience for Stephens.

“... they make it really fun, I guess, just the joy they have in doing it makes it really fun,” he said.

He said the most helpful part of his co-op experience is observing how the staff works.

Maucieri said he knew Stephens wanted to pursue a career in ministry, and was very supportive of the co-op idea.

“I think that for us, we immediately thought that’s a great opportunity,” he said. He especially likes that Stephens gets to have opportunities like visiting members of the church in the hospital to pray with them and their families.

Stephens attended a camp in eighth grade where he did missionary work on an American Indian reservation and that was when he began considering doing the work as an adult.

“That was the spark,” he said.

He worked in Nicaragua last fall and that cemented his desire to become a missionary. Seeing how people lived in the country was a “very humbling experience,” he said. He enjoyed personally spreading the message of Christianity to people.

Kelly Cantrall can be reached at (270) 505-1747 or kcantrall@thenewsenterprise.com.