UCC mission trip
By Frank DeLoache
The youth of First United Church of Christ, Salisbury, recently participated in their annual work camp-mission experience.
Twenty-two youth and chaperones left Salisbury enroute to Keansburg, N.J., June 30 and returned July 7, according to Youth Support Chairman Diane Goodnight.
The theme for this year’s camp was “Renovate: Jesus makes new.”
“Our youth spent a year raising the money to finance the trip,” Goodnight said. “Our youth-sponsored lunches following worship service and private donations were our source for the funds.”
Dan Mikkelson, one of the adult chaperones, gave the following account:
“We met the youth and adults of First Baptist Church, Westfield, N.J. They fed us, and then we did an ice breaker activity. Then they took us to individual homes to spend the night and eat breakfast. On Sunday, we attended their church and they commissioned both youth groups for the mission trip.
“It was a wonderful way to start the week.
“There were about 375 volunteers at camp. We divided into work groups of one adult and five youth, none of whom knew each other. Each work group spent the week at one of 65 houses, where we painted inside or outside or made repairs to porches and/or constructed wheelchair ramps.
“However, the relationships we developed with the residents (and each other) were more important than the repairs we made to their homes.
“Each evening, we had a youth-oriented worship service in the school gym. The youth were surprised how fun and meaningful the services were.”
According to Goodnight, each group coming to this work camp brought a cross of some sort to share that they had decorated in their unique way to carry out the theme.
At the end of the week, the Salisbury group brought back a decorated cross from another church youth group as a memento and remembrance of the experience.
“Over the years we’ve participated, we’ve brought back all sorts of things that were shared. One of the most interesting was a decorated automobile tire,” Goodnight said.
This was First United Church of Christ’s sixth mission trip.
Three members who had to drop out at the last minute because of extenuating circumstances were Jay Laurens, Skyler Mikkelson and Patti Marion.
Those taking the trip were: Rebecca, Joshua and Sarah Schiemann; Mark, Jamie, Meredith and Miller Sokolowski; Dan, Winnie and Hayley Mikkelson; Drew and Matt Laurens; Patty and Christian Shuping; Wendy and Hunter Safrit; Blake and Brooke Hess; Graham Parrish; Alex Morgan; and Mackenzie and Aspen Domske.
Patti Marion is the church’s youth adviser and could not attend because of a death in her family.
Members of the Youth Support Team are: Mark Shuping, Neely Laurens, Dan Mikkelson, the Rev. Mike Childress, Marion and Goodnight. The team was responsible for fundraising, transportation, lodging and food for the trip.
The youth will speak about their trip to the congregation on Aug. 19 following the Sunday morning worship service. All church members and guests stay for a free lunch when those who went on the trip show slides and share how the trip affected their lives.