Teens wash cars to go on mission trip

MARYSVILLE — Car washes and a garage sale were the order of the day March 7, at the Word of Life Lutheran Brethren Church in Marysville, as roughly a dozen teens braved the cold and even a few flakes of snow, to clean up vehicles in exchange for donations for their mission trip to Mexico in April.

The mission trip group of 14 teenagers and eight adults will be leaving April 2 at 4 a.m. and returning April 9 at 11 p.m. During the time in between, the teens will go to vacation Bible school, while the adults will work on the construction of a local church and deliver needed supplies to youth in the area.

“Our teens are very involved and excited to be going,” Word of Life volunteer Bonnie Ramsey said of the teenagers, all of whom are at least 15 years old. “No iPods, no cell phones ... it’ll be a good experience for them.”

Each of the teens going on the trip must raise $800 to cover their shares of the trip’s costs, which include a translator. By night, the 22-member mission group will be sleeping in a “tent city” in a small town, and by day, they’ll be distributing materials such as pens, markers, scissors and toothbrushes. One Marysville dentist donated more than 100 tubes of toothpaste, but Ramsey emphasized that several local groups and individuals have supported Word of Life’s efforts.

At the same time, Ramsey pointed out that the current economic downturn has affected their fundraising as well, since Word of Life typically averages two to three fundraisers per year for their mission trips, while this past year, Ramsey estimated that the church has staged at least seven such fundraisers.

Danaka Orr went on last year’s Mexico mission trip, and loved it so much that she’s going again this year. Orr, now 16, was initially inspired by a slideshow of previous trips, but she’s returning a year later because of the children she met.

“It’s so amazing,” Orr said. “Every single time you show up in the van, they run to you. It’s incredible the way they take you in. It doesn’t even matter that they don’t know anything about you. They’ll still trust you with their kids.”

Orr hopes people will remember that not everyone gets to go on such mission trips, nor do all of those in need in Mexico get to benefit from them, so by supporting such trips, “you’re helping someone — one family, one person — every time you donate or volunteer.”

Marissa Schafer, 18, has been going on mission trips to Mexico since her freshman year, when she accompanied her father. Now a senior, she echoed Orr’s sentiments about the children, whom Schafer looks forward to playing soccer with on a daily basis again.

“The kids look up to me so much,” Schafer said. “They respect us and we mean so much to them. It’s cool that we can make a difference in their lives. They’re so cute that it’s so easy to love them.”

Schafer noted that there are a number of ways that people can help, beyond going on the mission trips themselves, since donations of food and clothing are always appreciated.

“I’m so excited to go back this year, and return to the kids that I remember,” Schafer said.

For more information, visit the Word of Life Lutheran Brethren Church at 9028 51st Ave. NE, or call them at 360-659-6716.

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