Elburnâ€”The Community Ecumenical Thanksgiving Worship Service will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 25, at St. Gall Catholic Church at 7 p.m.
Rejoice Lutheran sends
dozens to mission in Biloxi
Genevaâ€”Rejoice Lutheran Church in Geneva recently sent 23 adults and two teenagers on a mission trip to Biloxi, Miss., where they built two houses with Habitat for Humanity-Mississippi Gulf Coast.
Although it has been more than four years since Hurricane Katrina hit, many residents of Biloxi are still suffering from the tragedy, and some do not yet have permanent housing to replace homes lost.
Habitat for Humanity continues to send groups from all over the U.S. to build homes in the Biloxi area, and when organizers for Rejoice’s annual mission trip considered where to head this year, it seemed natural to lend a hand to their Southern neighbors.
“It is always incredible to see houses rise in areas where people most need them,” said Inga Theeke, one of the Rejoice missionaries and a local Habitat coordinator. “What was amazing to see in this case was how grateful the whole community was just because we were there to help a few of their neighbors.”
Some of the amazing work for the trip occurred before the missionaries even left. Rejoice mission trips typically encompass a supplemental mission, which offers all at Rejoice an opportunity to participate by gathering donations for goods that are most needed in the mission trip support area. When mission trip organizers asked Bethel Lutheran Church in Biloxi what their greatest need was, the answer was loud and clear: The church’s food pantry desperately required food and diaper donations to stock its shelves.
Rejoice went into action: Local grocery stores provided paper grocery bags that Rejoice families distributed to friends and neighbors to fill with non-perishable foods. Rejoice’s middle school youth group canvassed the neighborhood surrounding the church one evening asking for donations, and a drive-through food drive netted additional help from area residents.
In all, Rejoice gathered 7,226 pounds of donations, filling 198 boxes.
Quickly, a problemâ€”albeit a good problemâ€”surfaced: How would Rejoice deliver all this food to Biloxi? A Battle of the Bands fundraiser and individual contributions brought in several hundred dollars toward the cause. The final answer to prayer came in the form of the Penske trucking company, which rented Rejoice a 26-foot truck at a fraction of the regular price.
“When we shared what we were doing, the local Penske agent at Simply Self Storage in Geneva went straight to corporate and received permission to give us the truck at a very fair rate,” said Janet Paeth, food drive organizer. “Because we saved so much on transportation costs due to Penske’s and Simply Self Storage’s assistance, we had money left over to fund future food needs at the church’s pantry.”
The truck, driven by one missionary’s parents, arrived in Biloxi on the final day of the mission trip. Unloading the truck and stocking the shelves became the missionaries’ last task before returning home.
“The church was overwhelmed,” Theeke said. “They were expecting to receive the donations, but not anywhere close to the amount of what actually arrived.”
Rejoice Lutheran Church is located at 0N377 N. Mill Creek Drive in Geneva. For more information, ocall (630) 262-0596 or visit www.rejoiceinthemission.org.
offers day of folk music
BATAVIAâ€”Pete Norman of the Fox Valley Folk Music Society will perform at Calvary Episcopal Church on Sunday, Nov. 15.
The afternoon of food, fellowship and folk music will take place from 3 to 6 p.m. in an informal setting. The public is invited and there is no admission fee, but a freewill offering will be taken.
Calvary is located at 222 S. Batavia Ave. Call (630) 879-3378 or visit www.calvary-episcopal.org.