FLINT TWP. — For children up to grade 5, the third annual Easter Extravaganza last Sunday afternoon at Wildwind Community Church was about hunting for more than 1,500 colorful plastic eggs scattered around the church grounds, playing fun games like bowling or bean toss, getting cute pictures painted on their faces, winning Easter baskets and other door prizes, visiting the Easter bunny and other family-centered fun.
But for a group of older youth at the church, the day was also about doing God’s work. Those young people ran refreshments concession to raise funds for their youth mission trip in mid-July. A group of about ten youth plan to visit the isolated, impoverished Appalachian community of Sunbury, Pennsylvania.
For one week, the youth group will participate in a variety of community improvement projects including landscaping, painting, building handicapped access ramps, securing porch railings and other activities to make houses safe to live in, said Anna Flowers, a veteran youth group member who is also the pastor’s daughter.
Part of the mission is to build relationships with people who live there, said Diane Stevenson, youth group leader.
Meeting people and forming lasting friendships is one of highlights of mission trips, Flowers said. When they get to Sunbury, the group will be divided and assigned to work with youth from other churches, which helps to forge new bonds.
“You get to meet people from all over the United States with the same passion as you,’’ Flowers said. “I have friends I made in high school.” She is now a freshman at Michigan State University.
This will be the group’s first trip to Sunbury but its fourth mission trip overall. They have made similar trips to Ohio and West Virginia, Stevenson said.
Sunbury was chosen from a list of options because the date worked best for when everyone was free to go.