By Kristen Miller
DASSEL, COKATO, DARWIN, MN Several area youth are preparing to change lives as they serve others through upcoming church mission work.
Though each experience will be different, the idea is the same to serve fellow mankind as the Bible has taught them.
St. John’s Catholic Church
Thirteen youth, grades nine through 12, will be attending a Catholic Heart Workcamp in Springfield, IL, June 29-July 5.
Youth from the church attended a similar program last year with Catholic Heart Workcamp in Pennsylvania.
The mission of the organization is: “To share the love of Christ as we serve the neglected, brokenhearted and the marginalized in any way needed. Equally, to inspire participants to live as disciples of Christ through serving others as a way of life; and to foster the Catholic Faith of each participant through the sacraments, prayer and involvement in social service.”
Youth will have an opportunity to serve through various assignments, whether its helping serve meals at a women’s and children’s shelter, or scraping and painting a house for a resident in need.
To help raise funds for the trip, the youth group is hosting a night of ham bingo Saturday, April 12 at 6:30 p.m. at the education center located on Highway 12, west of the Dassel-Cokato High School/Middle School.
First Baptist Church
A group of 11, including nine youth grades eight through 12, from First Baptist Church will be traveling to serve in Washington, DC June 21 through July 1.
The group will be working with the Center for Student Missions, an organization that provides an “effective urban ministry experience that transforms lives, influences churches and communities, and honors Christ.”
In this organization, there is a wide range of service opportunities, from ministering to the homeless, providing meals for the sick or shut-ins, and sharing in vacation Bible study with inner city youth.
Troy Roemer, the new youth director at First Baptist, has worked with this organization in the past and is familiar with the program.
Roemer noted that it’s important to go through an organization that is reputable so as to meet the intended objective of the mission trip.
Because the church has budgeted for the mission trip, the youth won’t need to raise funds. They are, however, showing their appreciation for the support they receive from the congregation by serving an Easter breakfast, Sunday, April 20 from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m.
“It’s their way of saying ‘thank you’ to the church,” Roemer said.
Gethsemane Lutheran Church
Twenty-one eighth-graders from Gethsemane Lutheran Church will embark on a retreat mission weekend Apr. 26 -27.
The youth will be helping out in the Twin Cities at the Marie Sandvik Center, with its Saturday youth worship programming for inner city youth.
In addition, a group of 16 ninth-graders will be working with Second Harvest Heartland packing food for local families May 3-4.
Both groups will also attend the YMCA for fellowship with other youth in the neighborhood they will be serving in.
It was decided to keep both of these retreats local this year to show the youth the needs that can be found literally knocking at their back door, and to discuss what they can do as individuals, and also as a group to make a difference in their own lives, as well as in others, explained Paula Roling, youth ministry coordinator.
To raise funds, the youth are currently conducting a flower sale. The deadline for ordering is mid-April.
They will also be doing an annual paper and cardboard collection throughout the month of May.
In addition, they will serve at the annual Easter breakfast Sunday, April 20 after the 7 a.m. service, which will include a free-will offering.
Crossroads Community Church
Nine youth from Crossroads Community Church will be heading to Chicago, IL for a missions trip through Youthworks June 21-27.
Some of the reasons this destination was chosen is because of the close proximity, and the ability to share in this experience with the youth from St. John’s Lutheran Church in Howard Lake.
While in Chicago, the youth will predominately spend time on the city’s south side, working in the Bridgeport neighborhood and housing near Canaryville.
They will be helping to meet the needs of Chicago’s people by partnering with local ministries that are working with children, the elderly, and those who are homeless.
The will also have the opportunity to serve at a food pantry, kids’ organization, or at Eden’s Place, an outdoor educational garden.
In the evening, they will learn more about the community from local friends, experience a taste of downtown Chicago, and enjoy a cookout with community friends.
The youth going on the mission trip will be hosting a pancake fundraiser Sunday, April 13 from 9-10 a.m., and 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., with a free-will offering.
Elim Mission Church
The youth at Elim Mission Church will focus one trip solely on ministering to people on the Pine Ridge Native American Reservation in South Dakota.
The church is sending a team of 12 to 15 youth and adults June 14-21.
“God has been working in powerful ways in this area, bringing life and salvation to many natives,” said Dan Nyquist, youth director.
“People in this area are being healed of sicknesses and injuries in the name of Jesus, and many are believing in him for salvation,” he said, noting the high rates of suicide and alcoholism in this area.