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Memorial Church’s life changing mission trips

Grosse Pointe South students posing for a picture on their 2023 mission trip to Costa Rica. Back row: Duncan Richards ‘25, Conrad Squitieri ‘25, Owen Domzalski, and Henry Domzalski ‘25. Front row: Ethan Hurford ‘25, Claire VandeWyngearde ‘24, Evelyn Young ‘24, Katie VandeWyngearde ‘24, Mira Haurani ‘25, Johnny Klepp ‘25, Lucy Gabel ‘25, Julia White ‘25, Natalie Lemmen ‘24, Violet Lincicome ‘25, Kyle Spondike ‘25, and Charlie Lemmen ‘24. Courtesy of Margaret Mollison.

Grosse Pointe Memorial Church’s Youth Ministry is gearing up for another week-long mission trip this summer. From June 23 to June 30, high school students from numerous schools will travel to Wilkesboro, North Carolina to help families living in poverty.

The Youth Ministries program, led by Margaret Mollison, recruits, trains and involves students from Freshman to Senior year. The work they do makes a difference to those in need and to students who do the work.

Margaret Mollison Director of Youth Ministries at Memorial Church said a person doesn’t have to be a member of the church; the only requirement is that you are a highschooler who can attend the mission trip meetings and help fundraise for the trip, which makes it easy to get involved.

Students do work mainly in the United States, but have also traveled as far as Costa Rica to do everything from simple home repairs to major home restorations. Preparing for such undertakings is just as important as the actual work, so attending the pre-trip meetings is essential.

“We do a lot of team bonding activities, so this year we went to Cass Community Social Services because they are one of our church partners and we do a lot of social work for them,” Mollison said. “We also do safety training 101 because we are doing light haul repairs, so we teach kids how to measure, cut wood and how to use different tools.”

The church wants to make sure that the students are fully prepared for anything that may come up, so students are also taught about what the culture will be like and how to handle sensitive situations in a place that they aren’t familiar with. Additionally, students are made aware of everything that they’ll have to give up on this trip.

“We just had a mission trip meeting recently where we went over final details like what to expect for the trip and some of the kids who had been on previous trips talked about their experiences,” Mollison said. “We also talked about some of the things you have to give up like sleeping in your nice, comfortable bed, looking nice and put together and not having a phone for a week.”

Besides looking great on college applications, the trip leaves students with amazing memories and the feeling like they gained as much as the people they helped.

“I feel much more understanding after it because you see poverty up close, which is something you don’t really see while living in Grosse Pointe,” Helena Moore ‘25 said. “I also just feel very accomplished and I think you have a better idea of what other people’s situations are and what they go through.”

Building on that feeling, Julia White, a volunteer who has been on two mission trips since 2022, said the trips make her feel like she’s actually done something that impacts the world and helps people, which is something she really prioritizes in her life.

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Tatum Eschenburg '25
Tatum Eschenburg '25, Staff Writer
Tatum Eschenburg ’25 is going into her first year on Tower staff. Her love for writing pushed her to take Honors Journalism, and now she’s moving up. Eschenburg is a member of Peer to Peer, enjoys connecting with the other students at school and is excited to engage with the Tower staff. She is ready to help the staff make this year of the Tower great and write stories she is passionate about and try different social media. Eschenburg is ready to take on the Tower this year and is eager to write stories. “I really like reading and writing, and English in general,” Eschenburg said. “I am really excited to voice my opinion and write opinion stories this year.”

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