Two BE church groups go on mission trips
Two Blue Earth church groups went on recent mission trips on separate journeys across the United States.
From July 7 through the 14th, a total of 11 students from Blue Earth Area High School, as well as four adults, represented Hope United Methodist Church on a mission trip to Fairbanks, Alaska.
For the big outing, the Hope United Methodist group partnered with Praying Pelican Missions, an organization which helps establish relationships with other local ministries.
Once the Blue Earth group arrived in Fairbanks, they assisted several organizations with a multitude of mission projects. From landscaping, to child care, and distributing food to those less fortunate, the young adults representing Hope United Methodist were able to lend a helping hand in a variety of ways.
Janelle Jacobsen, a volunteer at Hope United Methodist, was one of the leaders of the Alaska mission. She says witnessing the youth church group gain valuable life skills was the most enjoyable aspect of the trip.
“I think they learned the importance of completing their projects, and taking the initiative to accomplish things,” Jacobsen explains. “Seeing them working together and communicating with one another was really inspiring.”
As part of the mission trip, students served soup to homeless people in the Fairbanks area. Jacobsen believes this was the most impactful activity the church group had the opportunity to be involved with.
“Not only did the kids serve food to the homeless, but they also sat down and talked with them on a personal level,” Jacobsen says. “The goal is to take those types of leadership skills, and apply it to other aspects of their lives.”
Jacobsen says the constant daylight in Alaska during this time of year was one of the more unique experiences of the trip, as sunset occurred at about 12:30 a.m., and sunrise came roughly three hours later.
“It was a fascinating sight to see, and the kids thought it was pretty neat,” the church leader says.
Meanwhile, the Trinity Lutheran Church had a summer mission trip of their own from June 23 to July 1.
A total of 28 Blue Earth Area High School students, as well as six adults, made their way to Houston, Texas, for the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) Youth Gathering. Along with the Blue Earth contingent, over 30,000 Lutheran youths took part in the function, which takes place once every three years.
As the Houston area continues to recover from the devastation of Hurricane Harvey, the local youth group assisted in the clean up efforts. While at Kashmere High School in the northeast region of the city, BEA students were responsible for moving the school’s athletic equipment which was damaged during the storm.
Trinity Lutheran’s director of children youth and family ministry, Kim Jacobson, was one of the adult leaders who accompanied the students on the church mission trip. She says watching the teamwork of the young adults was one of the most memorable highlights of the week.
“The kids were very grateful to be participating, and seeing them all pitch in to help was very special,” Jacobson says.
While down in the Lone Star State, the youth group was able to enjoy a number of activities, which included a visit to a Bubba Gump Restaurant. They also went to the Space Center Houston, and paid a visit to Minute Maid Park to watch the defending World Series champion Houston Astros. Overall, Jacobson says the students had a fantastic experience on the mission trip.
“We had a great time. The kids worked really hard, and they definitely earned it, I am very proud of them,” Jacobson added.