Area teens raising funds for Texas mission trip

  • Peterborough and Milford United Methodist Churches are raising funds to send missionaries to Texas to help rebuild after extensive flooding last year. Staff photo by Ashley Saari

  • Peterborough and Milford United Methodist Churches are raising funds to send missionaries to Texas to help rebuild after extensive flooding last year. (Ashley Saari / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Monday, March 05, 2018

Seven months after the flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey swamped Texas, and the disaster has faded from the collective memory. But in some parts of Texas, it’s still a daily reality.

Tom Knapp, 60, of Milford, heard about a church mission planned through Group Workcamps, an organization the Milford United Methodist Church had worked with before, and said he felt called to join – as did several teenagers within his own church and the Peterborough United Methodist Church.

“We’re taking a leap of faith,” said Knapp. “Now we’ve got to find a way to get there.”

About 25 people – six or seven of which are from the Peterborough church – plan to travel to Spring, Texas, just outside of Houston for a week this June to assist in rebuilding efforts. 

Currently, teens planning to go on the trip are fundraising to cover the cost of their travel and lodging, with a goal of about $700 per person. This Saturday, the Peterborough church will hold a fundraising dinner, with proceeds going towards the mission trip.

“I’ve been on two mission trips before,” said Dylan Pfeil, 16, of Lyndeborough. “Being able to experience giving help, without getting anything in return...it’s an eye-opener.”

“The things you get out of a mission trip, it’s not material items,” said Lily Ayotte, 17, of Milford. The Texas trip will be her fourth mission. On her last mission, to Schenectady, New York, Ayotte said she worked with an elderly woman who had mobility problems. The most memorable moment of the trip, she said, was not the work she put in, but the conversations she had with this woman.

“We had a moment to sit down, and just have a conversation about her faith, and where I am in my faith. At the time, I was having a hard year, and she gave me a prayer box,” recalled Ayotte.

That, she said, touched her more than anything else.

“It was so incredible because this woman didn’t have much,” she said.  

That is the kind of experience that he hopes these teenagers will take away from their mission experiences, said Knapp.

“When we get to a mission, I tell my kids, ‘I don’t care what work gets done. I care that you know the story of the person you’re working with,’” said Knapp. “When you take the time to learn their story, then when you get back to Milford, or Peterborough, you may take the time to remember to learn other people’s stories.”

While other mission trips that the Peterborough United Methodist Church has gone on have focused on people in ongoing poverty situations, this trip will mainly be about rebuilding, said Knapp. 

Because much of the damage in Texas was caused by flooding, many homes had to be stripped to their studs, to prevent the growing of mold.

“If you were lucky, you may have the means to rebuild. If you’re not lucky, you may be waiting for people like us to come help,” said Knapp.

A fundraising dinner to raise funds to cover travel and lodging expenses for missionaries will be held this Saturday at the Peterborough United Methodist Church hall at 5-7 p.m. Cost is $9 per person, $4 for children, with a family cap of $25.

On March 17, the Milford United Methodist Church will hold a fundraising breakfast at the Mason’s Hall in Milford from 8-11 a.m. Cost is $7.

Donations can also be sent to the church, with checks made out to Peterborough United Methodist Church, and “youth mission” in the memo. If you are interested in donating frequent flyer miles, contact Linda Wallenstein at 532-8268 or wallensteinlinda@gmail.com.


Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 244 or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter @AshleySaariMLT.