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story.lead_photo.caption Danisha Hogue/News TribuneLois Dunnaway leads a group of 3MT youth in removing bagworms from bushes at California Middle School. The organization focuses on outdoor service projects in Missouri.

Crews with Mid Missouri Mission Team (3MT) will complete several outdoor projects in Jefferson City, California, Russellville and surrounding areas this week.

Kevin Kohler, organization president, said the faith-based organization has 175 missionaries signed up from more than 30 churches. Missionaries will clear brush and paint houses, assisting seniors and individuals in need in Cole, Moniteau and Morgan counties.

"We're a faith-based organization, and one of our slogans is 'it's not really about the paint,'" Kohler said.

The important part is connecting local and sent workers with community members to build relationships with churches. An added benefit is teaching youth to serve other people.

"People think it's just teens, but we need an awful lot of adults, too," Kohler said.

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Youth sign up through host churches, pay dues and commit to a week of giving. Churches provide meals and adult supervision for projects.

First-time leader Tony Amos, of Russellville, said it's different organizing the projects than participating. A youth leader at Russellville Baptist Church, he said he wanted to do projects within the community.

"We started doing this mostly because I felt the Lord was leading me to work in our own communities," Amos said. "When you do missions in another state, you don't normally see those people again."

Host churches, including Pleasant Hill Baptist Church and Russellville Baptist Church, gather workers and help provide meals.

"We teach 'love God, love people,'" Kohler said. "That's what we're trying to teach our students and our adults."

United Church of Christ in California will host worship at 7 p.m. Sunday through Friday.

Projects are scheduled by host churches. Anyone interested in helping or volunteering may call Kohler at 573-378-0511.

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