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With apologies to Johnny Cash, here’s my way of starting this week’s column: “I’ve been to: Louisville, Nashville, Knoxville, Ombabika, Schefferville, Jacksonville, Waterville, Costa Rica, Pittsfield, Springfield, Bakersfield, Shreveport, Hackensack, Cadillac, Fond du Lac, Davenport, Idaho, Jellico, Argentina, Diamantina, Pasadena, Catalina, see what I mean-a.” but I have never been to New York City. until this Sunday, that is. I will be a small part (no jokes, please) of a large group of local people headed to New York City on Saturday night. We are on a mission trip to New York City, under the guidance of Shannon Kathary, youth pastor at Ligonier United Methodist Church. there are 26 teenagers and 10 adults scheduled to leave the church at about 6:30 p.m. Saturday. Our destination is St. Andrew’s-St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Manhattan. After we get settled in, we will go to work on Monday morning. We are hooking up with a group that coordinates these types of mission trips and will have assignments for our five different work teams. I am honored to be part of this effort. my daughter, Sarah, is one of the 26 young people going on the trip that will last six days. We will return next Saturday night. It’s a great mix of people who are going, as several local high schools are represented by the young volunteers making the trek. It should be a real eye-opening experience for some of us. This is my first full-blown mission trip. And New York City offers a very different set of needs than we can experience here in northeast Indiana. the level of poverty and homeless in the country’s largest city will be difficult to fathom. And it’s no secret that a trip of this magnitude will be somewhat taxing for a guy like me, who is much more at home working in the comfort of his own home-office. but I am dedicated to making a different for a few people, and doing my best to be a contributor. I can’t express my feelings of amazement at the amount of work that has already gone into making this trip a success. the people going on this trip have worked hard to stage several fundraisers in the past three or four months. Pastor Shannon deserves a lot of the credit for his organizational skills and his dedication to making this trip a success. while in NYC, we will be working at churches, homeless shelters and free-meal sites for the homeless. There’s also going to be some time for sight-seeing and playing the role of tourists. We will be visiting the new 9/11 Memorial and I can pretty much assure that will be the emotional pinnacle of the week. So please, please, keep the LUMC Youth Mission Team in your prayers, and say a special one for yours truly. Thanks to everyone who has already supported me, Sarah and others going on the trip. We will not disappoint you.

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