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180+ teens on mission trip in Cedar Springs repairing homes ’seeing beautiful transformation’

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180+ teens repairing homes in Cedar Springs, ’seeing beautiful transformation’ as part of service project
Posted at 7:36 PM, Jun 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-30 20:01:30-04

CEDAR SPRINGS, Mich. — Part of Linda Street was filled with dozens of teenagers on Wednesday morning drilling holes in the ground, sawing wood and nailing panels to the sides of homes. They worked side by side, standing and kneeling on the wet grass in 80-degree temperatures repairing as many mobile homes as possible.

“Right now with this site we got them doing some skirting, some lawn work and just fixing up some of the stuff around the trailer parks,” said Dalton Morehart.

Morehart was one of the managers shuffling between three sites at the mobile home park, making sure everyone had the materials and tools they needed. He’s a volunteer with Group Mission Trips, an organization dedicated to sending youth and adults to different service trips around the world.

This year it's Cedar Springs and it’s hosted by City Impact Church.

“The energy has been high. You can drive through one of the trailer parks they’re working in, and there is so much love and joy and fun going on,” said Kelly Bergsma, who co-pastors City Impact with her husband, Jonathan. “These homes are getting renovated. The neighbors are getting involved, and we are just seeing such beautiful transformation.”

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Kelly said there’s 200 volunteers in Cedar Springs this week and 182 of them are youth. They flew in from all over the country to spend the week doing any repairs needed: weatherization, painting handicap ramps and decks, fixing leaks and other maintenance. And, they’re saving the residents a lot of money.

“In the mobile home communities we’ve been working in, just cost alone for the materials like, say, skirting on a mobile home is probably between $600, $700, $800 depending on the size,” said Jonathan. “So, just alone for the materials and then labor, we’re talking up to thousands of dollars for repairs. The cost of lumber and materials right now is very high. To build a treated handicap ramp, a deck, or a new porch for somebody, that’s a large expense.”

The Bergmas said the entire trip was two years in the making. They began planning for it after friend Joseph Berlin approached them about it in December 2019. This week the volunteers flew in and were housed at the local middle school.

Berlin said it feels good to see it all come to fruition.

“The week has been blowing by, and every day I get a report of something that’s really powerful. Somebody that hasn’t been out of their house in years and talked to their neighbor, and all of sudden they’re walking across the street and doing that,” Berlin said. “People are really seeing the power of love.”

The trip ends on Friday night. The Bergmas said that none of it would’ve been possible without the financial support of local businesses and churches. However, the most rewarding part has been watching the youth bond with one another and spread love to others.

“It’s just really rewarding for us, not because we think we’re doing something good but we get stuff out of this as campers and as helpers too,” Morehart said. “Just as much as the residents get out of it, we get just as much from it.”

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