PUMC’s 15 youth and six adults participated in TeenServe‘s workcamp in Plainwell, June 21-27, 2015. Here are some quick stats about the workcamp: 305 workcampers, 75+ community volunteers, 26 youth groups from 8 states who worked on 62 projects (painting and construction: building wheelchair ramps, steps, installing drywall, etc.). This was the first mission trip for 5 of the 15 young people and for one of the adults!
On a personal note, many residents deeply benefited from our work and social presence. My crew’s resident was injured decades ago at work when a steel beam fell on top of her head and caused lasting damage to her spine and nervous system. She has been unable to work full-time for years because of her deteriorating physical condition. She cares for her grandson, as her daughter works during the day. Every day she shared with us her salads, fruit, and home baked goods. She was so gentle, kind, and loving, and her grandson was adorable. Their pet ferret was also a lot of fun! We all cried at the end of the week.
On our Wednesday half-day off we drove to Fort Custer State Park, about 30 miles southeast of Plainwell. The weather was absolutely gorgeous! We spent our time at Eagle Lake where some of the group canoed and kayaked; some went swimming; some even tipped their canoe and went into the drink! We took a circuitous route back to Plainwell via Battle Creek and ate dinner at the Golden Dragon Chinese buffet. Yummy!
There are two other highlights of the trip I would like to share. First, most of the volunteers for the workcamp came from Plainwell First United Methodist Church, and their church was also the driving force in getting TeenServe to come to their community. One night we visited their church building and enjoyed talking with their pastor. The connection we have as United Methodists is a strong bond! Second, we thoroughly enjoyed walking around historic downtown Plainwell, which is actually an island in the middle of the Kalamazoo River! The river walk is gorgeous, and the river was raging from the recent storms. We had so much fun just sitting on a floating pier and dangling our tired feet in the river.
Thank you to everyone who supports PUMC Youth mission trips. Through your support you help provide young people with life-formational experiences and life-long memories of the church coming together to be a force for good in the world.