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Articles by Eric Bridges

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In a leper colony on Tobago, an island in the Caribbean, Southern Baptist volunteer Jack Hinton, leading music for a worship service, asks the lepers to request their favorite songs. The time comes for one last song and a woman, whose back had been to the pulpit, turns around.

"I saw the most hideous face I had ever seen," says Hinton, a pastor from New Bern, NC. "The woman's nose and ears were entirely gone. Her lips had almost rotted away. She lifted a fingerless hand in the air and asked, 'Can we sing "Count Your Many Blessings"?'"

Overcome with emotion, Hinton leaves the service. Another volunteer follows him out to console him. "Jack," he says, "I guess you'll never be able to sing that song again, will you?"

"Oh yes I will," Hinton responds. "But I'll never sing it the same way again."

That story reveals the impact of the volunteer missions experience. Jack ...