The cities of Duluth and Denver have one very important thing in common…they are the cities the youth of Zion served this summer. This summer 20 youth and 4 (5 if you count me twice) chose to serve these great cities and in the process encountered God, learned, prayed, played and had some adventures. Here a short recap of these trips, if you want to hear more stories and see all the pictures please attend the “Investors Lunch” on September 22 at 11:45am.
Duluth: A City in the Hills on the Lake
From June 23-28 youth from Zion joined youth from churches in Fertile, Glenwood, and Mankato to serve the great city of Duluth. They traveled with LutherCrest Bible Camp located in Alexandria, MN. Once in Duluth service was done with:
- The Parks and Rec Department to help clean up a beach on Lake Superior where bags and bags of plastic garbage were found, and helping restore a park after a washout rain, where wheel borrow after wheel borrow of sand was moved from one end of the park to the other. Service was also done at Jay Cook State Park by helping to remove an invasive species from the prairie lands.
- Rhubarb Fest to help prep for their festival that was to take place the weekend after. Rhubarb Fest is a festival put on by CHUM. “CHUM was founded in 1973 when 10 churches located in Duluth’s Central Hillside neighborhood pooled their resources to meet the needs of the neighborhood’s many low-income residents more effectively. CHUM now offers emergency food, shelter, advocacy, support, and outreach throughout Duluth.” The Rhubarb Fest is a primary fundraiser for this amazing ministry and this year it was reported the festival raised over $70,000 (yes seventy-thousand). The youth on this trip helped by chopping, juicing, and canning pounds upon pounds of rhubarb (estimated as filling 200 gallon bags of rhubarb!). Rhubarb for pies, crisps, juice, relish, cakes, jams, and salsa. While serving the youth enjoyed a taste of the rhubarb lemonade.
On this trip the youth also got to enjoy and explore the city of Duluth. A trip to the Glensheen Mansion, Canal Park and maritime museum, a Duluth Husky’s game, the aquarium and a trampoline park was well deserved fun after all the hard work. Each night ended with a spirit filled worship service and somewhere in the midst of the busy days bible study was fit in as the theme of “Be Still” was explored.
Denver: The Mile High City
From July 27-August 4 youth from Zion traveled to serve in the Colorful state of Colorado. After 2 days of travel with a wonderful stop in North Platte, NE, the team arrived at Messiah Mountain a retreat center just outside of Denver. Staff from Sky Ranch Lutheran Camp joined and lead the team through three days of service and two days of adventure. Service was done with:
- Open Door Ministries is a ministry in the heart of Denver who seeks to serve people experiencing homelessness. Our service this day was by learning and becoming more aware of homelessness, this was done through an eye opening scavenger hunt.
- Denver Rescue Mission: The Crossings is a hotel turned transitional housing where both individuals and families can find a room as they work to getting back into stable housing. The team prepared and served the evening meal to over 100 residents of the Crossings.
- Messiah Mountain, the retreat center that was home base for the team, was in need of some trail maintenance and clean up.
- Extreme Community Make Over is a movement of volunteers working in partnership with residents of specific Denver neighborhoods to complete home and neighborhood improvement projects. These projects include graffiti removal, landscaping, painting, yard work, or other projects identified by the residents.” The team spend a full day assisting the neighborhoods in cleaning up alley ways, removing weeds, debris, garbage, and doing general clean up. On the hottest day in Denver the team worked hard to accomplish the goal set before them.
- Food Bank of the Rockies, the largest food bank in the state, which serves Colorado and parts of surrounding states. Their goal is to make food security a reality for every Colorado Family. At this mission partner the team sorted, boxed and stored enough food to feed over 1,000 families for a week.
After three days of service and time in the city the team headed into the mountains and were welcomed by Sky Ranch Lutheran Camp (with a brief stop in Fort Collins, CO, for some much “needed” ice cream). After an hour and a half drive up the mountain (and the loss of cell service) the team found themselves surrounded by God’s amazing creation of the Rocky Mountains. While there the team enjoyed worshiping with all the campers, went on an over 7mile day hike, and experienced the high ropes course. After the time at Sky Ranch the team went back down the mountain and enjoyed an afternoon of white water rafting, a fun, challenging and exhilarating experience.
Thank you so much to all who supported these two amazing trips. Without the support from the Zion family these trips would not be possible. Thanks for the prayers, the finical support and encouragement.
If you want to see all our photos and hear the stories of these trips please join us on Sunday, September 22, at 11:45am for our investors’ lunch.