By: Terry Harris, Staff Writer
12:38 p.m. | August 10, 2017
SURRY – 24-year-old Jay Wilkinson was cured of cancer twelve years ago, and he has been celebrating his survival worshipping with the New Harvest Church in Surry for the last seven years. For the last five, he has also been making annual mission journeys with Burnwagon – a non-denominational group that travels across the US sharing their message.
“I was the maintenance dude for the van,” Wilkinson said, describing his most recent trip. “At its core, what we’re doing is going cross country partnering in various cities, saying ‘What do you need?’ Sometimes it’s building a mission, others a street mission, maybe worshipping with the church. For me, it’s reminding bodies of Christ across the US that we’re not alone. God has put a body out there for a reason. Sometimes we just need to reach out there and show each other that.”
This trip, which lasted from June 9 through July 9, was under the auspices of non-denominational Wild Hearts Ministries out of Harrisburg Pa. and included stops in California, Oklahoma, Montana, Oregon, and the Black Hills of South Dakota, where the group ministered to visitors and park rangers at Mount Rushmore.
Wilkinson said he describes his church in Surry – which helped raise the funds for him to go by staging a recent Sock Hop fundraiser – as “Christians without the religion; we follow Christ not because we have to, but because He invites us and we want to. I consider this an unspoken guideline for our church.”
“I took a month out of my life to do this,” he continued, “because I believe it’s important that you take time out to give back to God, because Jesus gave his life for us, so we can’t just sit back and wait for other people to get that. We have to go say we believe this is a good thing. I love the community that’s grown up from it, made many friends across the country, and expanded what I believe through contact with others. In my five years of going, everybody has walked away with a different story – a different lesson learned. Just because we know something as our truth, God may be telling someone else something different, because their calling is different than mine.”