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Michigan Church Sends Teens to Camp in Dominican Republic


Teens and adults of Alger Park Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Mich. continued their work in the Dominican Republic long after they returned from a mission trip.

During the spring break mission trip, teens and their leaders worked at Pico Escondido Young Life Camp, or Vida Joven, as it is called in Spanish. The nondenominational camp reaches out to help kids build friendships and create opportunities to share the gospel. The team from Alger Park created a nature trail where the campers and leaders will hike and pray together.

The team wanted to continue the work after returning to the U.S. “You don’t want to swoop in for a week and be done. You want the excitement and the mission to keep going,” said Melanie Veldman, director of student ministries at Alger Park.

One way to do that was to “fill a bus” of kids to send to camp for a week, at a cost of $70 per kid and 10 kids per bus. This way of supporting the camp was meaningful to Elena Workman, one of the students who went on the mission trip. “One of our leaders at the camp actually came to her faith through going to that camp. She was living proof of what that can do for a kid.”

The team presented the fund-raiser to the congregation. One of the students made a large poster with a bus on it and drew a head in a window of the bus for each $70 donated. “We were hoping for 10 or 20 heads,” Veldman said. “There ended up being 63!” The money raised will be used to send kids from the community of La Vega to Pico Escondido Young Life camp throughout the summer.

“That was something exciting to share with the congregation,” Veldman added. “They aren’t always able to go out and do something, but they really jumped on board and partnered with us in a tangible way.”

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