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Georgia's Christ Place Church establishes long-term ministry in Wyoming

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WILSON, Wyo. – Volunteers from Christ Place Church in Hall County have developed a long-term ministry at Wyoming’s Jackson Hole Bible College.

“We accomplished a lot this year,” said Elaine Dunahoo, who, with her husband Emory, coordinated the latest Jackson Hole trip. “Everyone worked together to accomplish all of our tasks, large or small. Supplying labor and funds, our group provided yearly maintenance the college is not able to perform on its own.”

Projects undertaken included painting and installing new floors in the laundry room; cleaning the kitchen; constructing a storage building; cleaning and sorting library books; painting buildings; covering a 1950s camper with wood to blend with other campus structures; building a teepee and its decking; installing a roof; sanding, staining, and sealing railings on a treehouse; and editing the school’s printed materials.

That work was done by a 15-member team from Christ Place over a 10-day period.

Jackson Hole Bible College sits at the base of the Grand Tetons. Despite the elevation, breathing while working was not an issue for the visitors. Humidity in the 20s made the 90-degree days seem more pleasant than Georgia.

“It’s a beautiful setting with mountain views right in front of you,” said Ken Ledbetter who, with his wife Marilyn, has taken 10 summer excursions to Jackson Hole Bible College. “We had a little moose and its mom walk right through the campus one day. While working on the teepee, I saw 15 to 20 elk in the field next door.”

Thankfully, the 10 days were not all hard labor. On their first Sunday after lunch at church, the Georgians piled into the JHBC bus to visit Grand Teton National Park. Scott Austin, dean of students, served as bus driver and tour guide during such outings.

“One highlight of visiting the beautiful park was our boat ride across Jenny Lake,” said Cathy Hines, on her first trip to Jackson Hole. “We hiked up rugged trails to see several waterfalls.”

Work projects started full steam Monday after breakfast and continued until the dinner bell that evening.

The Christ Place volunteers spent much of Tuesday preparing and serving a meal at an annual fundraiser for Turning Point, a local Christian organization serving women.

After a full day of work Wednesday, the exhausted crew took off at 5:30 a.m. Thursday for Yellowstone National Park.  Eating a packed lunch inside the park provided an unexpected visitor. An adult bison ambled close to the group’s picnic tables. Seeming unfazed by the crowd, the huge animal munched on grass, finally moseyed across a creek, and slowly exited.

It was back to work Friday to finish a few projects. At 5, about half the group headed north 5 miles to Teton Village, an upscale sanctuary for hikers, bikers and shoppers. A highlight for Hall County’s crew was the arial tram to the summit at 10,450 feet.

Saturday was crunch time to complete all work. As a treat for their efforts, the Georgians visited downtown and that night’s Jackson Hole Rodeo, a tradition for over 100 years.      

Joaquin “Speedy” Gonzalez summed up his feelings: “It was inspiring to witness what God is doing in Wyoming.”

Gonzalez's wife, Marilia, added, “I was in awe of the beautiful creation that surrounded us.”

Another trip is scheduled for July.

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