Hammers, saws and paint brushes are standard tools for home repairs, but for the youth group of Aulne United Methodist Church, the first tools out of the box were potatoes.
The Aulne youth hosted a potato and chili supper Sunday at the church to raise funds for a planned July mission trip to San Marcos, Texas, where they will spend a week rehabilitating a home for a needy family.
Nineteen people have signed up for the trip, including youth and adult sponsors, and some will pay their own way, but the group still needs to raise $4,000 to make the trip possible.
“Somebody said, ‘How are we going to make it selling chili?’ We have faith,” Pastor Moon-Hee Chung said.
“We’re hoping this will be enough, but if not, we have some time for planning something else,” youth group member Jared Hague said.
The youth group will participate in a weeklong work camp hosted by Southside Community Center in San Marcos, a city of 50,000 located midway between Austin and San Antonio.
While this will be the first time a youth group from AUMC has gone on a mission trip, it won’t be the first time AUMC has been involved with Southside.
Church members Don and Betty Fruechting have been to San Marcos several times as part of the Volunteers in Mission program of the Kansas West Conference of the United Methodist Church.
“Betty and I have been doing this for the last seven or eight years in different places,” Fruechting said. “We worked at Southside Community Center. They’re operating all year long, and they set up youth camps in the summer.”
Youth group leader Tina Hague was pleased to have the Fruechtings as a resource as the group planned their trip.
“We didn’t even realize that’s where they had been until we started advertising we were going to do it,” Hague said. “They gave us ideas of what it’s like down there and what to expect.”
Choosing an organized work camp for the trip will benefit the leaders as well as the youth, Hague said.
“I’ve never been on a mission trip, so it’s a new experience,” Hague said. “We’re winging it a little bit, but the place we’re going they have everything lined out and they tell us what to do.”
The camp schedule balances four days of work on homes with recreational opportunities, Hague said.
“One day we get to go on a float trip down the San Marcos River, and another day we’ll go to Schlitterbahn water park,” Hague said. “They’re going to work hard, but they also get to play a little bit.”
Chung said the mission trip reflects what she described as the “mission-oriented, very faith-based” character of the Aulne church. She said the youth are already benefiting from the experience.
“They are so excited. That’s more important than when they get there,” Chung said. “They work together, they plan everything. That’s important.”
The work camp is scheduled for July 22 to 28. For additional information or to make a donation, contact Tina Hague, (620) 381-1943.