Every year the Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in La Crescent sends a group of high school students and adults on a mission trip to assist people in need around the US, and this year they went to Greeley, Colorado.
After leaving their homes behind for a week of repairing and weatherizing homes, the group of 40 volunteers returned to the Coulee Region on Sunday.
"I’m really glad I went because I got a great experience and I got to connect with new people which is always great," three-year mission trip participant Luke Schwartzoff elaborates, "It’s nice to have a routine, but it’s good to switch it up," Schwartzoff adds.
They traveled to Greeley by bus to be a part of the 400 volunteers making a difference across the US.
"We do workcamps through Group Workcamps, which is based out of Loveland, Colorado which is really only about a half an hour from where we were at in Greeley," Cathy Beardmore of Prince of Peace church explains.
Group Workcamps sends volunteers to those struggling with poverty or unable to do the work themselves. Mission Trips that aim to help volunteers like Lauren Johnson experience different aspects of life, while helping those in need of assistance.
"A lot of the people in Greeley aren’t as fortunate as we are here in La Crescent," first-year mission trip participant Lauren Johnson continues, "there’s trash in people’s driveway the houses kind of looked not the best, so it really felt good to go out there and help those people out," Johnson says.
Volunteers say the trip taught them lessons in empathy they weren’t expecting.
"Everyone goes through hard times and not everyone knows all these things, and it’s just crazy how much people don’t know about each other," Johnson explains.
The experiences from the past week help volunteers appreciate what they have in our area.
"It’s easy to complain about what we have but seeing what we saw in Greeley, the homes that really need work, and the people that really need our help and are so grateful, it kinda just makes you realize you gotta appreciate what you got," Schwartzoff concludes.
Next year’s mission trip will be going to either Ohio, Kansas or Tennessee. If you’re interested in attending the next mission trip, contact the Prince of Peace Church at (507) 895-4440 to learn more.