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When students are dismissed from school for Summer vacation, the first thought that comes to mind are lazy days of swimming, spending time with friends, baseball and softball games and summer jobs to earn a little spending money. But for a group of young people from Bellevue Nebraska, a week of their lives is being spent helping others they’ve never met. With the theme “Destination Unknown”, 10 youth members from Calvary Christian Church of Bellevue, a suburb of Omaha, and three chaperones, have spent the past week on a journey of belief and service. With Youth Pastor Kyle Short and Kyle Cleary, Student Services Director for Calvary Christian Church heading up the adventure, 10 youth engaged on a week-long commitment to serve in a mission trip that really wasn’t a mission trip. “We started out Monday morning in Bellevue by drawing a direction out of a hat and then a distance,” explained Kyle Short. We follow the same procedure each day of our trip, never knowing where we’re going or what we will find. That’s why we’ve titled this mission, Destination Unknown.” According to Short, the logic behind the trip came about over the last couple of months as the youth had turned to prayer to find a direction where to go their mission. After discussing the idea of drawing a distance and direction to find a destination, the group chose the name Destination Unknown as a fitting name for their week’s adventure. The group left Bellevue on Monday, and found themselves in Red Oak when they reached the distance they’d drawn. After spending a day in the community and an overnight stay, Tuesday’s drawing found the group arriving in Atlantic. Another day of service on Tuesday led to the group finding their way north to Lake City on Wednesday, and Thursday morning, the group continued northward, finding themselves in Emmetsburg around 10 a.m. A stop at the Iowa Welcome Center sent the group to West Elementary School in Emmetsburg, where the group reported to custodian Jim Carpenter to spend a day helping with any tasks he had to be done. The group split in half, with several students working at wiping down and disinfecting the lunchroom tables while the other group began wiping down the walls and lockers in the school hallways. At noon, the West Elementary Partners In Education group ordered pizza and chicken from the Pizza Ranch and treated the group to lunch at the school in gratitude for their morning’s work. Later in the afternoon, the group moved to First United Methodist Church and assisted Youth Director Lana Williams in preparing for next week’s Vacation Bible School program, organizing materials that will be used in the sessions. The church treated the group to supper at the A&W Family Restaurant and provided the youth with a place to overnight before the group started their journey back to Nebraska on Friday morning. “We just believe that as Christians, we exist to live and love like Jesus,”?Kyle Short explained. “That’s why we took this trip. It was all about looking for opportunities to show Christ’s love to everyone we meet. It’s not about a fun summer adventure - its about seeking God and the things he would have us do to encourage people in their journey of faith and life.” While the purpose of the trip is very simple, it is also meaningful for the youth on the trip as well. The feeling of the group was best expressed by Aaron, when he said simply, “helping people you’ve never met and making them smile makes you smile inside yourself.”


Supervisors June 28, 2016

The Palo Alto County Board of Supervisors will meet at 8 a.m. at the Palo Alto County Courthouse. more »

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