by Lisa Tome
They just can't wait to get on the road again.
A crew of 20 volunteers, teens and adults, from Janes United Methodist Church will head for Oklahoma City where they will help with the recovery efforts following tornados in that area earlier this year. The missions group will assist with disaster relief in Moore and Norman Oklahoma from August 2-12.
"I always tell our kids we are going to serve. We just have to have a heart to serve," said Dawn Deckman, Youth Director for Janes UMC.
The cost of the trip is $250 per person. That cost includes housing, food, and transportation. The group was able to borrow one 15 passenger van from a local business. They will rent another van. They also need to raise an additional $7,500 for that rental and gas. "Our goal is to focus our fundraising in the community. That way we can let the community get involved too," said Deckman. "We find that people give to a cause where they feel they are helping out."
It is also rewarding for the participants. Deckman said the teens participating in this trip already know about helping. They participate in local projects including ServeFest and Christmas in April in addition to the every other year missions trips.
Initially, planners at Janes had hoped to work in Crisfield, Maryland this year in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Another plan had them serving in Mexico. Deckman said she was led to helping in Oklahoma. "I said, we're going to Oklahoma. When you know God's in it...when he leads you to it, he'll lead you through it," she said.
Butch and Christine Smythe, who got married while on a mission trip in Tuscaloosa, Alabama two years ago, will also be going on this trip.
They will take a trailer, tools, and materials. The trip is 2,700 miles round trip. Christine's family in Tennessee is also helping with accommodations during travel. Christine Smythe said that in her mind, missions trips, even far away, strengthen the local church family.
"It's cool to see girls who don't leave home without their (hair) straightener and let all that go," said Deckman. "They love to interact with people. You go there to serve and end up being blessed yourself."
In order to make the trip, Janes UMC will have to host fundraisers so they can pay for transportation and equipment. Over the weekend, a benefit concert was held. The group has also gathered donations of materials from local businesses. Christmas in April Cecil County also chipped in $1,000.
Beginning Friday, July 19 through Saturday, July 27, group members will do daily clean up morning and evening at the Cecil County Fair in exchange for a donation. On Friday, July 19 from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m., they will host a hot dog, refreshment, and baked good sale at North East Walmart. On Saturday, July 20, they will host a hot dog, baked good, and refreshment sale at Oxford Walmart. North East Pizza Hut will host a benefit for the mission trip on Wednesday, July 24. From 5-9 p.m., a percentage of proceeds from dine in or carry out orders will be donated to Janes UMC. Other fundraisers will also be held.