St. John’s 2016 High School Mission Trip

Philadelphia, PA
Dates: July 15-23, 2016 (at Youth Works site July 17-22)
$60 non-refundable deposit is due by Sunday, November 29.
Questions? Talk to Lindsay Colwell – or (507) 634-7110

Get started by registering at the form at the bottom of this page!

YouthWorkswebYouthWorks description of this site and serving experience:

As Pennsylvania’s largest city, Philadelphia offers a unique blend of history and progress. The city is filled with numerous parks, gardens, and historical and cultural landmarks, which help to remind visitors and residents alike of its long story. Beyond its vibrant past, there is much happening in the City of Brotherly Love today, both in terms of urban development and urban struggle. Poverty and unemployment are very real issues here, but the city is making strides to address the problems. Currently, Philadelphia is focusing on sustainability, providing healthy food to the hungry, creating equal opportunities for its diverse population, and redeveloping neighborhoods to invite more people in.

Serving opportunities in Philadelphia:

  • Partner with local organizations to meet ongoing needs in the community.
  • A fully integrated service and learning experience where students not only assist with needs but also understand the causes and outcomes of specific issues facing the community, as well as the community strengths.
  • Learn about food sustainability and how it affects this community as well as your community back home.

St. John’s student information to join:

  • 15 student spots available
  • $60 non-refundable deposit is due by Sunday, November 29. Please submit to the office, checks made out to St. John’s.
  • Total cost for the trip per student will be $500 (This includes transportation and payment to Youth Works for July 17-22, which includes all meals during that time period. We will work out food and lodging for the trip there and back as we go along.)
  • Registration can be done online or by speaking to Lindsay. We will have a meeting to fill out paperwork and to discuss fundraising efforts.
  • Fundraising efforts are currently in the planning stages, but spots are available right now for coffee fellowship fundraising opportunities. The sign-up sheet is on the Youth Board in the Narthex. Questions can be addressed to Lindsay.
  • Spots will be filled on a first come first served basis. The final deadline to decide if students are attending or not (based on available spots) is February 1, 2016. At this time, if there are open spots parents will be given the opportunity to attend as well.
  • We are in need of one female and one male chaperone. These chaperone spots are not a part of the 15 student spots. As of right now, Lindsay will be attending as the female chaperone, but that is dependent on family circumstances at that time.
  • Students and chaperones will need to have a TB test prior to turning in our student forms to Youth Works. A current test within the last 2 years will suffice.

Lindsay’s Youth Ministry Update – July 2015

Early on July 13, St. John’s will be sending 15 high school students and 3 adult leaders to the ELCA National Youth Gathering in Detroit.

Our students will join tens of thousands of other high school students from around the country for faith formation and service. During this 5-day event our students will have the opportunity to “explore and strengthen their faith by studying God’s word, serving their neighbor, sharing bread and wine in worship, participating in lively faith discussions and broadening their experience of God’s world and diverse communities through travel. “They will do all of this with students from around the country who share their commitment and faith in Christ.

There have been a lot of questions about why this year’s Gathering is in Detroit. The answer is simple. It is where we are needed. It is where we can serve our neighbor. As a church, we are called into the world to serve others and the city of Detroit is in need of our service.

This year’s theme is Rise Up Together. Rise up with our students. Pray for them and the city of Detroit. Consider making a donation to the Gathering, such as sending gift cards with the students to help stimulate the economy in Detroit. For more info:

Send Off
We’ll have a sending for the students on Sunday, July 12, at worship. Join us!

Help the City of Detroit
St. John’s Women of the ELCA are collecting disposable diapers, wipes, and gift cards for Target or Walmart to send with the students as part of a way to give back to the city of Detroit. Bring items to worship on July 12 or to the office before then.

June Youth Events


Good Earth Village Confirmation Camp, Spring Valley, MN – parents take kids down and pick up, Sunday, June 14– Friday, June 19


Camp connections allow each person to explore and play in a nurturing environment, which leads to a stronger faith foundation, discovering personal gifts, developing new skills, as well as building life-long relationships. June Outlaw Ranch Confirmation Class Trip, Black Hills of SD, Leave Friday, June 19 and return Friday, June 26.


This VBS promises to be mountains of fun! Plus, kids walk away with a rock-solid faith that they can rely on God when life gets tough. Join our climbing team ! June 22-26, more info at

Confirmation Camp 2015

Confirmation Summer Camp 2015 registration is due November 15, 2014! See below for more information.

Why go to camp? This is the best youth ministry program of the church. It is a week away from home, sometimes the first time for many of the students, so it is a real step in maturity and growth, an important stage of life. There is no place in the church or society that you get a week like this. You learn about Christian community, you experience Jesus Christ, and you study the Bible. In a unique way you learn what it means to serve, as each camper participates in community life, worship planning, campfire building, cooking, dishes, and camp duties. You live in cabin groups for the week with a trained college-aged camp counselor who just happens to be the best faith mentor that the youth of our church can find. I mean they have decided to spend the summer doing the Lord’s work, often times giving up well-paying jobs so they can live and breathe camp, work with our youth and follow the path of service and mission and ministry in Jesus’ name. You can’t beat it.

As campers you get to do all kinds of adventurous things. You will also get to participate in invigorating games of eliminator on the volleyball court, or just hang near the canteen, learn songs, or tie friendships bracelets. On one night you may even play Alpha Wolf. At camp we follow the camp’s Bible study for the week. There are usually campers from around the 4-5 state area as well so our youth meet other youth from other churches. This is cool. Often times they are texting each other before they even get to the first town on the day that we leave camp. Some of these camper and counselor relationships have lasted a lifetime and even fostered calls into the full-time ministry like with us pastors and youth ministers.

We highly recommend that students go to camp following their 7th grade year, as in the summer of 8th grade year it is the Kasson-Mantorville school-sponsored class trip to Washington, DC. We ask students to attend at least one week of camp during their 7th and 8th grade years of confirmation.

Before camp, on our adventure, we will usually leave early enough before camp starts so that we can do some site seeing and explore the area before camp starts, get aquatinted a little better, and share in some spiritual enrichment and faith growth time as a group.

Now doesn’t this sound like something that you just can’t pass up? More information will follow. We will need parents to volunteer to either lend their larger Suburban- or minivan-sized vehicles for us to drive in order to save money or volunteer to drive out and spend the week with us.

Approximate Dates for camps:

  • Outlaw Ranch Class Trip, Black Hills of SD, Leave Friday, June 19 and return Friday, June 26.
  • Good Earth Camp, Spring Valley (SE), MN – parents take kids down and pick up, Sunday, June 14– Friday, June 19

We will also host Fundraisers once we have commitments as to who is going to camp.

Scholarships are available.

What do you do now?” Register! Register today! Don’t delay! We need to have you pay the upfront deposit first to commit to going. And then we will work with you in order to raise the remainder of the funds. As a last resort, through the pastors of the church, if help is still needed, the camp always extends half fee scholarships to families in need. Registration is due by November 15, 2014. Fill this form out and attach your $150 deposit. Make the check out to “St. John’s Lutheran.” If it makes it easier, you can write in your charge card info and the camp can charge your deposit to you account.

Hoping you can be a part of this trip! Excited for summer 2015, Pastor Randy, and the St. John’s CYF Team

The Youth World at St. John’s

BenNicholasIt has been a busy summer for the youth! We’ve traveled and served in San Juan, TX (check out our blog posts), drove up to Superior, WI and canoed the length of the Brule River, traveled to Flathead, MT for confirmation camp, and headed over to Wisconsin Dells for our 6th-8th grade “Action Packed Week!” This fall we are cruisin’ along in full gear and have several activities planned! Starting the school year with “Rise up Rochester” which will be a mini-youth gathering with a projection of over 100-150 9th-12th graders! This event will happen on September 20th and will be held at The Place (Boys and Girls Club of Rochester) from 5:30-10:30 p.m. By request of our youth we will also be going to Valley Scare on October 11th and will be participating in Box City on Halloween night. The biggest event of the year that we will be preparing for is the ELCA National Youth Gathering happening in Detroit, MI on July of 2015!

Please pray for us and/or join us for the following events:

  • September 14th Youth Car Wash @ Church
  • September 20th Rise Up Rochester
  • October 11th Valley Scare
  • October 30th Box City

In Faith,

Ben Nicholas

Texas Immersion 2014 – Picture Roundup

The youth in Texas June 15-21, 2014 are sharing updates from their adventures. Click here to read more.

The travelers are back and have some pictures they’d love to share:

Enjoying a cool treat during a hot trip!

Enjoying a cool treat during a hot trip!

Texas Immersion Group at VBS.

Playing games at Vacation Bible School.

Texas Immersion Group at VBS.

Playing games at Vacation Bible School.

Texas Immersion Group at the library.

This group went to work at the library while others painted the garage at the parsonage.

Texas Immersion group at the library.

Reshelving and organizing books at the library.

Texas Immersion group at the library.

Reshelving and organizing books at the library.

St. John's youth leading worship.

St. John’s youth leading worship.

Texas Immersion Group leading worship

Youth from St. John’s leading worship during the Texas Immersion Trip, 2014.

Texas Immersion Group learning about growing cotton.

The group visited area farms. Here they’re learning about farming cotton.

Texas Immersion Group learning about growing aloe vera.

The group visited area farms. Here they’re learning about farming aloe vera.

Texas Immersion 2014 – Wednesday Update

The youth in Texas June 15-21, 2014 are sharing updates from their adventures. Click here to read more.

Texas Immersion Group leading worship

Youth from St. John’s leading worship during the Texas Immersion Trip, 2014.

Today, the group enjoyed another hot day of mission work. The day started with worship and bonding activities. Then the large group was split into three smaller sections and sent out to three different colonials. Colonials in Texas are very poor areas in the cities. At the colonials, the groups did projects and enjoyed pizza with a group of kids at a host’s house. For a thank you for letting us be there for the day, we gave the hosts quilts made by the St. John’s congregation. We later had free time. One group went to the San Juan pool while the other group went and got rhaspas, or amazing snowcones, from Popeyes. Later the group enjoyed tamales, or a Mexican meal of assorted meats wrapped and cooked in cornmeal. We then did our usual VBS day and ended with a reflection and practice for worship the next morning.

Written by: Olivia Thornburg


Texas Immersion 2014 – Tuesday Update

The youth in Texas June 15-21, 2014 are sharing updates from their adventures. Click here to read more.

Today was centered around South Texas agriculture. On our drive from San Juan through Weslaco to La Villa, we identified and counted fields of sorghum, cotton, sesame, sugar cane, watermelon, corn and citrus. Our first major stop was at Hilltop Gardens, an aloe farm and series of tropical gardens, where we were treated to a tour that featured information on the aloe industry and native plants. Mr. Thorton, the Garden Manager, was extremely knowledgeable about the various types of aloe and origins of the various tropical plants throughout the gardens. I cannot even begin to describe the beauty of the garden for the aesthetics were phenomenal. After lunch in the visitors’ center, we proceeded to drive by Delta Lake, the largest man-made lake in the RGV Valley, as well as Rio Farms and PictSweet. We then stopped in a cotton field after a little good ‘ol Texas off-roading in a rental van. Here, we learned about the Boll Weevil Eradication Program that is in effect in the RGV Valley. Afterwards, we drove back to our host church, Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, in McAllen. After a quick change, we headed to San Juan’s municipal pool. After a short 30min dip in the pool, it was time to leave to change and get ready for another day of VBS. Now that many of the kids knew who we were, most of them opened up considerably from the previous day. It’s truly a blessing to see how God works through children to display the kindness and wonders of his love. As we are settling in for bed, many of us are realizing how sun-burned we actually are! So after surviving a sunny, 97° Texas day, I think it’s safe to say that I sure do miss Minnesota’s rather mild weather.

P.S. When they say that everything is bigger in Texas, it actually applies to the spiders that I found on my bed!!

Written by: Morgan Evenson

Texas Immersion 2014 – Monday Update

The youth in Texas June 15-21, 2014 are sharing updates from their adventures. Click here to read more.

Well on Monday, the kids that were 16 and older got to go the San Juan Library. There, we  helped put many books back to their rightful places. Then we made sure that the books were all  in order and looked pretty. For supper, we went to a restaurant named Ponchos. I had Tacos a la  Planchas and it was delicious. Then we participated in our first day of Vacation Bible school here  in San Juan. I helped with the preschool/kindergarten/first grade class and they were adorable!

~ Makayla

On Monday, we took part in a service at St. Johns church and it was awesome because we  incorporated Spanish into it by singing a song in Spanish. After the service we split into groups  based on age and I was in the younger group. We painted a wall while the others went to the  library. I had tons of fun and I met some new people. Then, the people from the library came  back and we had lunch. For dinner, we went to a restaurant called Ponchos. I got the Tacos  Regios and it was amazing! That night we helped out with VBS and I helped with music. It was  so fun to watch all of the kids sing and dance along with us. Overall, Monday was amazing and I  am looking forward to the rest of the week!

~ Julia

Texas Immersion 2014 – Sunday Update

The youth in Texas June 15-21, 2014 are sharing updates from their adventures. Click here to read more.

All the anxious travelers arose to arrive at St. John’s no later than 4 a.m. for departure to the Minneapolis Airport. Our first flight took off at 7:10 a.m., after a brief stop for coffee to spark our energy. We touched down in Dallas at about 9:20 a.m. We perused gift shops until our flight took off for San Juan at 1:40. Our 2 vans loaded about an hour and a half after we touched down. Ben put “FREE TACOS” on the side of our van. We all claimed our rooms in the church we’re staying in, after much bickering over who deserves the room with the fooseball table and couches. The guys took it by force. After our issues were settled, we headed over to St. John’s (San Juan) church at around 6:10, where we will be performing service throughout the week. They kindly served us hot dogs and brats, with our choice of multiple sides and desserts. We got to know our friends from the other churches through WHEATing, and then proceeded to play many more name games. After getting together with just our church group for reflection, we all packed in to the big white vans for a karaoke session all the way back to our house church, where we all chilled out and bonded before bed at 12:00.

Written By: Tyler Evenson & Cayla Loy