Marysville Bethlehem Lutheran Church 'garage sale' funds youth mission trips

MARYSVILLE — Before the first day of their June 25-26 "garage sale" was done, the Senior High Youth of Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Marysville had already served between 200-300 customers.

According to event coordinator Wendie Jones, the annual sale in the church gym has averaged between $2,000 and $2,500 for each of its six years, and each year's sale helps fund the summer youth mission trip the following year.

"This has been the year of the Internet for us," Jones told shopper Karin Perdue as she made her purchases. "We're glad that so many people found us through Facebook."

While the popular "Buck-A-Bag" sale was able to make its return to the garage sale June 26, the planned car wash was cancelled due to funeral services at the church, since Jones and her fellow volunteers felt such a visible event in the church parking lot would have been inappropriate at that time.

"Every year we wonder if the economy is going to start slowing this sale down, but it's about the same every year," Jones said. "The stuff we don't sell goes to St. Joseph's House, which they distribute to families in need. The year before last, they had almost nothing and were about to close their doors. They prayed for their future, and we just so happened to call them later that afternoon, asking if they were interested in our leftovers."

The summer mission trips take students to locations as near as Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, and as far as Daytona Beach, Fla., where members of the Senior High Youth either perform volunteer work, such as painting houses and helping out the elderly, or attend conferences with fellow Christian teens from across the country. Although not all the youth who go on the trips are able to pitch in during the sales, a majority are expected to earn their way by folding clothes, carrying customers' purchases out to their cars and picking up donated items.

"I even made Rice Krispies treats," said Cassie Gramstad, 14, who's eagerly anticipating her own mission trip. "I really like our church's youth group, and I want to meet other kids who have a relationship with God."

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