A mission close to home

MARSHALL – More than a dozen youth from Wesley United Methodist Church in Marshall will be participating in STORM (Service to Others in Relational Ministry) next week. The youth, along with teens from churches across Minnesota, will assist area residents in need by performing yard work, painting and cleaning.

This is the first time the STORM camp has been in the Marshall area and, youth group leader Chris Webb said that more than 30 youth and 15 adults will be involved in the work week. Webb said they have roughly 20 projects lined up, from helping a family clean their garage to building a wheelchair ramp in Lynd.

The camp is more than just work though, as youth will also be working on relational ministry and talking with the people they help.

“We like to go to an individual’s house or farm and spend time with them,” Webb said. “We have projects lined up in Milroy, Lynd, Cottonwood and Marshall.”

Colin Anderson, a freshman from Marshall, said this is his first year being part of STORM. He joined up through his church and said “it seemed like something fun to do. A way to give back to the community and help people who need it.”

Anderson hopes the work that they do next week will spread, because “going out and helping other people could make them want to help others.”

Katie Holcomb, a freshman from Marshall, said that she is looking forward to working with other teens from across the state and that “I think it’ll be fun to meet new people and help others out. And to get closer to God.”

Youth from four other churches will participate in evening activities and will be staying at the church in Marshall.

“Every night they get back they’ll have dinner and go to a youth worship service,” Webb said.

The local youth group has helped out in the community before, Webb said. Last Halloween, the teens went trick-or-treating for the food shelf and collected non-perishable food items. In January, the group came together to pack meals for Food for Kids.

“This is my fourth year going to STORM camp,” said Megan Thooft, a sophomore from Marshall. “It’s fun meeting new people and seeing the bright smiling faces of the people we work for.”

Her brother, Isaac Thooft, has also participated in the camp before and likes the bonds the teens make.

“You really build a family relationship with your team,” Isaac Thooft said.

Webb said the opportunity to help in their home community also has a big impact on the group.

“I think it’s really great that we are in town,” Webb said. “A lot of the time, mission trips take kids out of the state.”