By David Holloway
Staff Writer

Nearly 400 residents, 75 of them volunteers from Mountain City and surrounding areas attended the 11th Annual Back To School Bash held last month at Old Mill Music Park in Laurel Bloomery. The weather for this year’s event was a wonderful blessing as it provided an absolutely beautiful day for the outdoor festivities. A new addition to the event began on Friday evening with the first annual Youth Encounter, which gave close to 100 young people in attendance a chance to enjoy praise and worship music, followed by a message from Scooter Murphy.

Old Mill Ministries, founded in 2007 by missionaries Andy and Lisa Zeggert, coordinated the annual Back To School Bash. With the assistance of Freedom Christian Center in Mooresville, NC and several other ministries and supporters, Old Mill Ministries is able to reach out to the citizens of Johnson County and provide much-needed clothes and school supplies for the upcoming school year.

“South Mountain Baptist Association has several churches represented,” said Jill Lowe, one of the team members for the event. “There is a group from Princeton, NC here with about 60 youth volunteering running most of the games.”

Musicians from the Johnson County JAM group played several songs around lunchtime, while volunteers served hot dogs and chips for lunch for free to those in attendance. Many enjoyed face painting and playing corn hole or volleyball.After lunch, Refit, a fitness group from North Carolina took the stage. Refit is an exercise program that is set to upbeat Christian music. The dance moves do not require someone to be a professional dancer to join in but are simple enough that most people can do them. Refit started dancing to the first song and invited the crowd to join in either at their seats or to come up on stage. Before long, approximately 40 people were dancing on stage.
Around 2 p.m. a service time was held beginning with 20 minutes of praise and worship music. Following the music time, Murphy preached the message for the service, ending with an altar call, which resulted in 61 people accepting Jesus as their Savior.

Following the service time, the children in attendance were called out by their grade in school to form a line to receive a backpack full of school supplies. Various ministers prayed over each group of children and pronounced blessings over them for a prosperous school year. Following the distribution of all the backpacks, a dismissal prayer offered to close the event.

The community has seen another successful Back To School Bash, and students were sent forth to conquer their schoolwork with much hope for the new school year.