Church youth hope cup runneth over
8:36 am May 1st, 2014
Members and leaders of Living Assembly of God’s youth group who gathered for a recent meeting at the church include (back row, from left) Skyler Goldwater, youth pastor Aaron Kelly, Kaleb Poulin, Daija Heyward, Jadon Crowell and Vince Duenas, and (front row, from left) Zechariah Crowell, Jennifer Lakey, Jade Simmons, Rebecca Simmons, Timothy Crowell and Sam Anderson. (Courtesy photo)
By Joan Cronk
The youth of Living Word Assembly of God Church in Eatonville are raising money for a mission trip to the Dominican Republic this summer.
Youth pastor Aaron Kelly said the trip is a huge undertaking. Although this is the first time he will be serving in that area, he has taken mission trips in the past.
“We are bringing 14 teen agers out of the country, and it is a pretty big deal,” he said.
While in the Dominican Republic July 9-17, the group will serve in a local orphanage, take part in a feeding program, work in a hospital and a refugee camp, and visit churches.
The sixth through 12th-graders meet on Thursday nights at 7 p.m. at the church, located at 570 Eatonville Highway W., and they are very excited about their upcoming trip.
Kelly, who works full-time, serves as youth pastor in a volunteer position. A husband and father of two preschool children, his plate is full, but he said he always felt called to do youth ministry.
“I like to be able to set a good example and give back to students. Youth ministry was a big deal to me as a teenager, and it had a lot of influence on me. It was a lot better than other alternatives at the time,” he said.
In addition to a fund-raising garage sale held at the church March 21-22, the teens are willing to do any odd jobs to earn money for the trip. One hundred percent of money that’s raised will go directly toward funding the mission trip, church officials said.
Kelly’s wife, Kara, will go on the trip, as well. She has traveled to the Dominican Republic in the past on mission trips, and this time the group will meet up with her dad, who has served in that nation in the past. They will be part of a larger team, said Living Word pastor Darren Crowell.
“The youth program is awesome. I went on a mission trip when I was in my early 20s, and I think that all young people would benefit from that experience,” said Crowell.
Anyone interested in having some of the students work in their home or business to earn money for the trip should contact Kara Kelly at 209-345-0549.
She said the youth are very excited about the trip.
“This is a really big opportunity for them, and they are putting all their efforts into fund-raising,” she said.
The mission of the Living Word Assembly of God Church is “to love God with all your heart and to love people as yourself,” said Crowell.
The church offers a contemporary-style service every Sunday at 10:30 a.m., with Sunday School taking place at 9:15.
On Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., the church’s Joseph’s Storehouse Food Bank serves anyone in need.
“No ID is required. All people have to do is show up and we will serve,” said Crowell