STANTON — Most people on mission trips travel to other cities, states or countries to help those in need through their church.
However, a local church held a mission trip last week to help those right in its own backyard.
Volunteers through Trinity Evangelical Free Church in Stanton came together to make a difference in the lives of those who live in Montcalm County through a mission trip.
According to Youth, Worship and Family Pastor Benjamin Crouse, it was important to the group to help out the local community. He said the Mark 16:15 Mission Trip focused on the Bible verse and its meaning “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.”
“‘The world’ includes right here in our hometowns,” Crouse said, noting this year was a good time to realize those who needed help locally.
For the Mark 16:15 Mission Trip, about 87 volunteers helped people with items like painting, roofing, yard work, cleaning and more.
The group spent last week at about 19 work camps doing these items. Each person they helped was either elderly, widowed or unable to do the task themselves. They were either members of the church, or found through the Montcalm County Commission on Aging.
For the past year, Trinity Church held fundraisers to go toward the Mark 16:15 Mission Trip and raised about $9,000. Those funds went toward buying items for the work sites. However, Crouse said some of the people helped had the ability to buy their own supplies and just needed help from the volunteers.
“We wanted to focus on the community,” Crouse said. “We (got) to build relationships that will last with those people.”
Greenville resident Audriana Muniz, 15, said she was excited to participate in the mission trip and help residents.
“It’s so exciting to see their faces brighten up,” Muniz said of the residents.
Because the mission trip was local, Muniz said the volunteers won’t have to pack up and leave and never see the impact of how they helped out.
Rachel Kasper, 22, of Ionia, agreed with Muniz about the benefits of working locally.
“It’s a blessing,” Kasper said. “We get to work so hard so close to home.”
She cited Mark 16:15 stating God has called them to do his work and make a difference.
“We gotta help our hometown,” Kasper said.
Stanton resident Seth Thompson, 17, described the work he did last week as “thrilling.”
“It’s been really cool to see how (people) react,” Thompson said.
Thompson, Kasper and Muniz said they hope to continue making a difference in the future.
Last week was the first year Trinity Church decided to hold a local mission trip, and Crouse said he received a lot of positive feedback.
During the week, the church also held a week-long Bible basketball camp, where youths were not only able to play basketball, but learn the word of God as well.
“Some of the kids did both the mission trip and basketball camp,” Crouse said. “For some, it was a 12-hour day.”
Crouse said about 70 children participated in the camp.
For the camp, many residents volunteered their time to make the event possible. Some of the sponsors included Carson City Lumber Co., Rolston Hardware, Walmart, Five Below and more.
For more information about future Bible camps and mission trips at Trinity Church in Stanton, visit www.mytrinitychurch.com.