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9th grade student Cameron Love reflects on his summer mission trip experience.

On July 31, seven kids and three adults got up at the crack of dawn to make a nine-hour journey to Lorain, Ohio. In Lorain, poverty levels have risen due to the closing of U.S. Steel and almost 15,000 jobs have been lost. Additional steel mills are also headed down the same track. As part of this mission trip, Trinity teenagers and adults traveled to various job sites, to help people restore and renovate their houses and help the community.

On the first day, before we started working at our job sites, some of the Next Step Ministries staff gave us a tour of Lorain. It was quite interesting to see such a beautiful waterfront city which was on the verge of dying. We spoke with a chief fireman who said that the Steel Mills closing had triggered the downfall of the city. We traveled into the downtown area of Lorain, and unlike Richmond, there was not a person to be seen out on the streets. Windows were boarded up because jobs just couldn’t survive here after the closing of U.S. Steel. We did meet one man who owned a coffee shop in downtown Lorain who was said to have opened up his store every time mission teams came through the area. We saw this type of hospitality from everyone in Lorain. Over the course of a week, three different groups containing volunteers from Trinity Lutheran (Hudson, Wisconsin) and Trinity UMC worked on three different job sites. At these sites, we provided help to people who needed support from others to keep going. We installed drywall, garage doors, electrical outlets, painted, and had fun doing it all.

In the evenings, Trinity and the volunteers of Trinity Lutheran would meet in the sanctuary of the church hosting us and join together to praise God through songs and prayers. We would also meet with our separate churches and reflect on how we saw Jesus throughout the days of the week.

On Thursday, we worked at the job site putting up drywall, painting, etc. and then we went to a park where Next Step Ministries hosts cookouts every week for the citizens of Lorain. We had football games, talked, and ate with the citizens of this county. It was quite fun just to talk to the people of Lorain and even get to know them well. After worship that night, we went down to the shores of Lake Erie to wash each other’s feet to remind us that we are all disciples of Christ.

On Friday, our final day, we swam in Lake Erie and took a hike in a state park. We finished off our last day with another cookout and worship with the citizens of Lorain. After worship we hosted community Bible trivia and a basketball game in the church.
This trip proved to be life changing to all the volunteers as we were able to serve God through helping others and changing lives.

-Cameron Love, 9th grade student, Jr. High Mission Team Member

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