A Macoun group is heading back to Haiti to lend their support to the impoverished country, and this time they'll be taking some younger souls with them.
Some of the adults who attend the Macoun Evengelical Church have made several trips to Haiti to build schools, and Pastor Charlie Bowen has made four trips. It's become an annual mission for the last five years, and he's ready to make his fifth appearance, when he takes a group of 16 and 17-year-olds there in February.
"There was an idea floating in one of our family camps one summer about trying to get a Saskatchewan work team to go down (to Haiti) and I just brought that back here, and it just caught on in people's hearts. It's something God wanted us to do, to help others," said Bowen.
This is the first time the church has opened up the mission to include young people, and a number of them quickly jumped at the opportunity.
Haley Klarholm, Selena and Michael Wiebe and Karissa Gustafson are among the eight youth heading to Haiti for the first time.
"They have no idea what they're in for," joked Bowen.
The youth will spend most of their time interacting with and teaching some of the children in the area in which they are stationed.
"We're teaching them a little English. In the years past (the Macoun group) built a school and church," said Karissa.
There is a different group that will be building a new school and church in January. The Macoun group will be teaching inside that new building.
"I'm excited to go down because we live in a first-world point of view where we think everybody is kind of like us, and they do OK, when we really that doesn't happen. There are a lot of impoverished countries that don't have the ability to do things that we do," she said.
They agree that visiting Haiti is a way to alter their perspective of the world and develop a better understanding of the conditions a lot of the population lives under.
Haley said, "They announced it in church one day (that youth would be allowed to volunteer for the mission) and said that they have eight spots to go."
Those spots were filled on a first-come, first-served basis.
"We've been trying, me, my mom and my dad, we've been trying to go before, so since they're doing it, I was kind of thrown into the mix," she said.
"We've all been kind of looking forward to an opportunity to go," added Karissa.
"Either way, I wanted to go to the next one that came around," said Michael, "and then all of a sudden they said youth are going, so I though, 'Oh sweet, I'm not going to be the only kid.'"
Bowen said as a church board, they were thinking again about how they could others.
"One of the ideas that came up was maybe we should look at taking the youth down to Haiti to see what kind of interest there is. We made it available and have had great enthusiasm," he noted.
Karissa said the experience is likely to be a "shock" for them. As they've seen photos and heard stories of some of the people in their church who have previously gone down, they know a little bit what it's like, but still not entirely what to expect.
Selena said, "We take a lot of things for granted too, so it will be nice to see the other side. We do have an idea, but I think if we'll be experiencing it ourselves and seeing it ourselves, then it will really dig a lot deeper."
She added that she's looking forward to meeting the people because, "from what I've heard, the kids are a lot fun."
The group is organizing a bottle drive in Estevan on Nov. 5, going door-to-door to raise money to get everybody to the Caribbean country. They are planning doing a second bottle drive after Christmas as well.
If anyone wishes to contact either Karen Klarholm or Bowen about donating bottles they can be reached at 634-8826 and 634-9392, respectively.