Craig teens heading to Vancouver


Packed together in a yellow school bus, 31 Craig teens are headed for the great Northwest.

The teens, from First Christian Church on Victory Way, along with their youth pastor and five adult chaperones, are on a mission trip to Vancouver, British Columbia.

The group will arrive in Vancouver on Sunday and spend four days volunteering at various charitable organizations, including inner-city homeless shelters and soup kitchens.

John Graler, First Christian youth pastor, said the trip will give the children a chance to see what real poverty is like.

"They'll really appreciate their life a lot more," Graler said.

First Christian went on a missions trip to Encinada, Mexico, a few years ago, and the group learned a lot about faith and poverty, Graler said.

Most of the Mexicans there lived in dirt-floor homes with no running water.

"It was unbelievable what kind of poverty they lived in," Graler said. "But they were so happy to be there and worship."

Jeremy Wright, 18, said the trip will let him see Canada, but also let him help people in need.

"I'm just glad to help people," Wright said.

This is Wright's third mission trip with First Christian. He went to an American Indian Reservation in Washington three years ago and Juarez, Mexico, two years ago.

Wright said he especially likes working with young children on the trips.

"It's easy for me to connect with kids because I'm a big kid," Wright said.

Graler said Wright's desire to go to Canada was part of the reason the group is going there.

"That carried a lot of weight," Graler said.

A group of middle schoolers from First Christian will go on a mission trip to Denver in July.

Graler said the First Christian Church group will work with groups from other churches on both mission trips.

Interacting with other Christian denominations is good for the children, Graler said, because it shows the children they aren't much different from other denominations.

"We can learn to appreciate their faith," he said.

Brandon Johansson can be reached at 824-7031 or

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