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Youth group taking on a mission in Washington

PERU Twenty-one members of the Peru Community Church Youth Group arent traveling to a southern beach for spring break. Instead, theyll be participating in the youth groups annual mission trip to Washington, D.C. The senior high students expect to see many things they dont encounter in Peru when they visit the nations capital. They will work in a soup kitchen, homeless shelter and a daycare and even distribute soup and sandwiches at a park one evening. However, the visit wont be all work and no play. The youths will also have time to tour some of the D.C. attractions and attend a dinner theater production. The youth group works throughout the year to raise funds to help pay for the trip, including operating a concession stand at the churchs fellowship center when concerts are held. Karen Mason, a friend of the Rev. Robert Svenson, pastor of Peru Community Church, is among the notable entertainers who has performed a benefit concert for the group for the past several years. Unfortunately, she was forced to cancel her January concert because of sickness. She rescheduled her concert for March 29, but had to cancel again when she was chosen for a major role in the Broadway production of Hairspray. The concert may be rescheduled again later this spring. While the mission trip is one of the youth groups most visible activities, the young people meet to lend support to one another Sunday evenings from September to June, in the churchs fellowship center. One of the things the young people appreciate most about their youth group is the opportunity to talk about any subject they choose and the fact that what they say at youth group stays within the group. The youth are able to mention challenges in their lives or the lives of friends and concerns for people suffering from serious illnesses during a portion of the meetings called concerns and rejoicing. During the rejoicing portion, they mention good things happening in their lives, which can be as simple as having a sister home from college. Reflection and prayer are also an important part of the groups structure. Its a really good environment and everybody has a real good time, one teen said at a recent youth group meeting. Doug Garrand who advises the group with co-advisors Amanda Connelly and the Rev. Svenson explained the group is routinely involved in activities that center on leadership, team building and trust building, with the Washington trip being part of that mission. We look on the D.C. mission trip as an expedition, he said. The young people will have a lack of sleep and emotional distress. The activities are directed to developing camaraderie among the students. Those desiring to help the Peru Community Church Youth Group fund its mission trip are encouraged to leave a donation at the church fellowship center, located at 13 Elm St.

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