On a mission: Jernigan has a heart for missions

Sunday, May 29, 2011
Westminster Presbyterian youth leader Jenna Jernigan. (Laura Simon)

Jenna Jernigan from Westminster Presbyterian Church in Cape Girardeau is a 16-year-old with a heart for missions and helping her youth group raise funds for its summer mission trip. The daughter of Nancy and Jeff Jernigan and originally from Dallas, she enjoys playing soccer, writing poems and songs, and anything to do with music. This summer, before her junior year at Central High School, Jenna and her youth group will be heading to Loveland, Colo., to serve. Jenna took a few minutes to chat about her mission trip experiences and love for the Lord.

How long have you been involved in a church? I started going to youth group when I was around 13 or 14, and then a year or two ago I went on my first mission trip. Around then I also started helping out at church as an usher, liturgist and with church dinners, baby-sitting and luncheons after church.

How long have you been involved in the church you currently attend? Ever since we moved here, around 14 years ago.

What makes your church special? A lot of churches are more modern and use screens for the music and stuff. We still use books, and our church is really down-to-earth.

How are you involved in the church? Recently I've been helping raise money for our mission trip to Loveland, Colo., by going to the meetings and coming up with how to raise the money. We do a lot of things to raise money for it after church like luncheons for the people who go to our church. We've also had dinners, car washes and pancakes to raise money.

How did you become involved with your youth group? I first joined because my mom is the youth leader and I thought the meetings always sounded fun.

What do you do on your mission trips? Our youth group splits into crews and each crew goes to a different spot in the city. Some might go to a nursing home, or pick up trash in a rundown part of the city, or work in a soup kitchen. On my first mission trip I stayed outside in the hot sun picking up trash after the tornado that happened in Texas.

What is your favorite part of mission trips? Knowing that I'm helping others that need to be helped and the feeling you get from that.

Have you had any other leadership roles in the church? I'm an usher, a liturgist and baby-sit the kids sometimes. Basically whenever someone at church needs help with something, I'm available.

What has God been teaching you lately? He's mainly taught me not to revolve things around yourself and to involve others in your everyday life with what you do. Since the bad tornadoes have been happening, my heart goes out to a lot more people and I've been more open with God and keeping them in my prayers.

How are you a witness for Christ outside of church? I try to steer my friends who don't go to church toward the way they should act and help them be more responsible for themselves.

What is one of your favorite things about God? The fact that when I pray, he answers me. When I was younger I didn't think that he really listened or answered prayers, but now I'm realizing that he does.

What are your plans for the future? I'm planning on going to college to major in something with music or photography.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: