Rakes, shovels, garbage bags, cleansers, rubber gloves and masks were mounded around the entrance to New Life Church of the Nazarene in Miami Sunday afternoon.

The items were put to good use by Oklahoma teenagers who helped clean up some of the mess left by the recent flooding.

“I was called by District Superintendent David McKellips Wednesday and asked what could be done to help with the flooding,” said Casey Hollingsworth, New Life pastor. “I told him that cleaning up was the main thing.”

The Nazarene Youth Congress, a week-long event for teenagers from across the country scheduled every four years, will be held in St. Louis, Mo., beginning Tuesday.

It was decided that the “sending service,” originally scheduled in Tulsa for Sunday would be moved to Miami and shortened. Participants would then go out and help the flooding victims.

“I was really pleased with the enthusiasm the teenagers showed for helping out,” Hollingsworth said.

“I think it's really cool that we're helping out,” Rachel Stewart said. “It's like the district superintendent said, ‘instead of listening to a sermon, we're going to be a sermon.'”

Jack Rhinehart of Miami, a member of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, assisted with the work Sunday.

“It's an easy call to lend a hand when the community needs help,” Rhinehart said. “God calls us to do this.”

Chrissie Isaacs of Tulsa attends Regency Park Nazarene Church where her husband, Jason, is the youth minister. She participated in the program as a youth sponsor.

“I came with 11 teenagers and six adults,” Isaacs said. “The teens were so enthusiastic. Several of their own initiative.”

Church members passed the word out and the church had about a half-dozen homes that needed help.

“We also sent a team out to the college and other just picked up debris left behind by the water,” Hollingsworth said. “We helped someone at Eastgate who said she'd been flooded three times and this is the first time someone actually came and helped.

“People would come out of their houses and you could see the gratitude in their faces.

“If nothing else, we were able to life people's spirits, which is important around here.

“Some of the teenagers were covered in mud, but were singing.

“I hope we were able to lift spirits, show a ray of light and hope.”

Hollingsworth has already spoken to a Nazarene youth minister about bringing a group of teenagers to Miami in the fall on a mission trip and hopes more will come and help with the recovery.