|Prairie Star Ministries Youth Mission Trip to Thunder Bay|
FULDA FREE PRESS/Submitted Photo|
Youth and youth leaders from Prairie Star Ministries were recently among the more than 80 people from four different Lutheran churches in Minnesota and Wisconsin who worked in the mission field at Thunder Bay Christian Fellowship,
Early in the morning of June 23, 2013, 25 young people and 5 adult chaperones from Prairie Star Ministries set out on an amazing adventure. They were bound for Thunder Bay, Ontario and a life-changing, Christ centered “Youthworks” mission trip of a lifetime! |
The group crossed the Canadian border and arrived at their destination, Thunder Bay Christian Fellowship, in the early evening of Sunday, the 23rd of June. It was a group of 80 people in all, from 4 different Lutheran Churches in Wisconsin and Minnesota who made their home here for the week, sleeping in the classrooms of an old school which is now a part of that church facility.
Every day for 4 days that week, the group was divided up into 5 different work groups that spent the day together, preparing and cleaning up meals, cleaning the building they were living in and going to different worksites throughout the city. Each day was framed by time spent in prayer and worship: after breakfast and clean-up, there was personal devotion time and group prayer before heading off to the worksites and then the day ended with evening worship followed by separate church time.
Thunder Bay, sitting on the edge of the world's largest freshwater lake is surrounded by majestic mountains and forests. The vast wilderness and outdoor recreation mixes with big-city entertainment and shopping making the city a great tourist destination. Over the past ten years, however the city's economy has struggled, and hope for a quick turnaround is fading. The group from Prairie Star Ministries and other youth and adults had the opportunities to be the hands and feet of Christ as they ministered to local children and elderly residents and served at homeless shelters in Thunder Bay. One group, for example worked with the Veggie Garden Project - a collective capacity building project that uses the activity of gardening to build relationships between neighbors. This group of young people moved dirt, weeded, planted and interacted with people in the neighborhood, becoming part of a project that brought neighbors together, raised their consciousness about healthier eating as well as raised everyone's self-esteem and helped them to think more positively about their community!
Another group traveled out to Eagles' Cove camp every day where they spread sand to build a beach, weeded, stained cabins and generally helped to get the camp ready for the indigenous kids who would be coming out from the city this summer and experiencing the beauty of that place.
In Thunder Bay many, many older folks are living in nursing homes far from family who've had to leave the area to find work and so are unable to visit much. Some of the workgroups then had the opportunity to spend time interacting with these people - visiting with them and engaging them in activities throughout their day.
The four full days spent in Thunder Bay weren't all work time. Along with worship and church time in the evenings, the groups had some social time. One evening groups combed the neighborhood on a scavenger hunt. Another evening they walked to a neighborhood bowling alley for a fun evening of 5-pin bowling. A final evening was spent touring and playing games at the Fort William Historical Park on the edge of town.
Of course, previous to the trip, the group spent many hours preparing, praying together and raising funds in their communities and 5 churches - Amo Lutheran of rural Storden, Evangelical Lutheran of Heron Lake, First Lutheran of Dundee, Grace Lutheran of rural Worthington and Immanuel Lutheran of rural Fulda. Many thanks go to all the people who turned out for fund raising events and supported this fine group of young people on this mission experience!
The people from Prairie Star Ministries who were part of the 2013 mission trip to Thunder Bay:
Intern Pastor Amy Swenson*
Pastor Margaret Yackel-Juleen*
Pastor Mark Yackel-Juleen*
*indicates adult chaperones