Photo by Joel Reichenberger
St. Paul's Episcopal Church Youth Minister Aaron Buttery will lead 10 parishioners on a mission trip to an orphanage in Arad, Romania, in May. Buttery worked with the orphanage, supported by Colorado-based Global Hope, in 2004.
If you go
What: Munching for Missions, a fundraiser for St. Paul's Episcopal Church mission trips
When: 5 p.m. until close Tuesday
Where: Steamboat Smokehouse
The Smokehouse will donate 10 percent of the sales after 5 p.m. to the mission fund. For more information or to make a donation, call 879-0925.
The missionaries from St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Steamboat Springs range in age from 7 to 89, but no matter their years, they're not afraid to pick up a crowbar for some heavy work.
Youth Director Aaron Buttery, who heads the mission development, said his parishioners are willing to tackle big projects at each mission site the church takes on, including past work in New Orleans and Mexico.
Twelve-year-old Nissa Parker, along with her mother Nora, are among the 10 parishioners ready for the next mission trip to Romania in May. There, near the town of Arad, the group will work at a home-styled orphanage.
"I'm really, really excited to do this," Nissa Parker said. "I just want to hang out with the kids. : We're going to try to be as much of a presence as we can."
Nora Parker said her daughter urged her to sign them both up for the trip, and Nissa has shown she is willing to help pay for the trip, too.
"My daughter just emptied her entire checking account, and all her personal savings are going toward this," she said.
Buttery, who worked with the house-styled orphanage in 2004, said the two-week mission trip will focus on spending time with the children, living with local families and helping upgrade facilities in the town. The orphanage is run by Global Hope, an international organization based in Broomfield.
Before the collapse of the U.S.S.R., Romanian leaders urged families to have as many children as possible, and many were abandoned when the system and economy collapsed. Now, the orphanages are filled with developmentally challenged youths from infancy to age 16. Romanian law prohibits international adoption, and children from the Soviet era continue, as adults, to have more children than they can support, Buttery said.
The Steamboat Springs volunteers will be helping at the orphanage by teaching English, playing simple motor-skills games and helping the children develop socially.
"The purpose is to share Christ with one another and with others," he said. "My students and my adults can be in relationship" with the Romanian people.
Leah Berdine said the trip to Romania fit well with her desire to help people.
"I have been on a couple other mission trips with St. Paul's and when I heard about it, it sounded like a great experience and something that will be a good fit for me," said Berdine, 16. "I really like going out and serving people and showing God's love and just doing good things."
The mission costs $1,800 per person and each member of the mission trip has been sending out letters to family and close friends to solicit help.
On Tuesday night, Steamboat Smokehouse will host a fundraiser for the group as 10 percent of sales after 5 p.m. will go toward the mission fund.
All money raised will go toward mission funds, and the church already has another mission planned for later in the year. In June, the youth will embark on a "hodgepodge" mission trip that will have them travel to Salt Lake City; Vancouver, B.C.; Sacramento, Calif.; and many places in between as they stop and help different locations along the way.
High school students still can sign up for the June trip by contacting Buttery at the church.
As Berdine prepares for the trip, with a nine-week devotional program with the trip and final fundraising efforts, she said she's not sure what to expect in Romania, but if it's like her previous mission trips to New Orleans and Juarez, Mexico, she knows it will be rewarding.
"It's really neat to see how your love and kindness affects other people. And how it affects me," she said.