Two local youth groups travel to Leech Lake Reservation for mission trip

Youth groups from United Methodist Church and United Lutheran Church in Langdon, recently returned from a week long missions trip to Leech Lake Reservation in Minnesota.

Posted on 7/12/14

By Dee Entzi

A total of  24 students and seven adults from ULC and UMC attended: Austin Hart, Andria Hart, Justin Cheatley, Landan Tollefson, Jesse Lien, Erik Aanderud, Brynn Fischer, Corey Schrader, Jenny Schrader, Hayes Haslekaas, Blake Gellner, Ethan Peterson, Brandon Hart, Alison Borchardt, Rachel Cheatley, Landin Johnson, Jake Muhs, Jayden Romfo, Stephen Tollefson, Ally Welsh, Bethany Gilseth, Brandy Gustafson, Jordyn Ullyott, Ramsey Balsdon, and leaders Mindi Paulson, Val Cheatley, Dean Aanderud, David Haslekaas, Lana Balsdon, Jayme Balsdon, and Randell Ullyott. During the week of June 15-20 the students, along with two other youth groups from South Dakota and Michigan, broke up into four small groups and engaged in several activities throughout the community. The groups paid special attention to the children of Leech Lake; they put on a sports camp for older children and a kids club for younger children where they had the opportunity to bond with and mentor the young population of the reservation. The teams also helped with various home projects, such as cleaning up yards, planting vegetable gardens, other cleaning and organizing where needed, and spent much of the rainy week scraping houses that will later be painted by other mission teams. While serving the community the students, who stayed at Cass Lake High School, were able to learn and experience the Chippewa and Ojibwe culture of Leech Lake. The Native Americans shared their food, taught them their dances and played their music during a special Pow Wow for the youth. The community also shared their stories and a common concern with the misuse of drugs and alcohol. By visiting, the groups are hoping their interaction will have a positive impact on the next generation.

“This experience really opened their eyes, hearts, and minds to how some cultures struggle and live,” stated UMC youth leader, Lana Balsdon.

Mindi Paulson, who came with her students from ULC, commented, “It’s great for our kids to see other parts of the world, even if they’re not so far away.”

During one of their evenings the students also took part in a piece of history. They visited Chippewa National Forest, where this year’s White House Christmas Tree will be chosen. Chippewa National Forest Foundation is responsible for providing 10,000 ornaments along with the Christmas tree and the students were able to create one that will be displayed this Christmas at the White House.

Both Langdon youth groups have taken part in many similar mission trips, all facilitated by YouthWorks; an organization that has mission sites all around the United States and sites internationally.

“This is the fifth YouthWorks mission trip our church has done, and I am positive we will continue the tradition. We look forward to traveling to and serving in as many communities as we can,” remarked Paulson. She continued, “There are six students who graduated this year and this was their last trip as a student. They already can’t wait to be old enough to chaperone. I think it’s safe to say our future mission trip groups will only get better.”

The groups are incredibly grateful for the opportunity to serve Leech Lake Reservation and are thankful for the hospitality they received.

“The Mighty Methodist Youth Group will be praying for Leech Lake Reservation and all the wonderful people we met. It was an uplifting experience. Everyone should go on at least one mission trip. It’s a life changing opportunity,” commented Balsdon.

For more information on YouthWorks or to find out how you can be a part of future mission trips, contact United Methodist Church at 701-256-2748 or United Lutheran Church at 701-256-2594.