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Students gain life experience at gathering
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Students gain life experience at gathering

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Chance Foust got a watery assignment.

It happened when he and other youth from Redeemer Lutheran Church in Hooper took part in the Nebraska Synod Middle School Gathering. Foust’s group attended the MSG at Camp Carol Joy Holling for a recent weekend retreat.

Foust enjoyed the event.

“People were very friendly. There were a lot of kids there. It was pretty fun. They had a lot of stuff to do,” Foust said.

Activities included a large group gathering where they joined approximately 150 other youth from Nebraska, said Shari Smith, ministry assistant at Redeemer.

During the large group event, they were involved in Bible study and group activities. They also heard refugees tell their stories.

Foust, an eighth-grader, said the refugees came from Africa and India. He was impressed by what they’d overcome and what they’d achieved.

“They are all really successful at where they are now and they came from nothing,” he said.

How does that inspire him?

“To keep pushing,” he said. “There’s always more opportunities.”

He and other students had the opportunity to attend workshops.

Two workshop topics included: “You Are a Treasure” and “Do You Own Your Stuff or Does Your Stuff Own You?”

Foust said speakers talked about how God is present in people’s daily lives.

Smith said students also were able to attend a concert by Rachel Kurtz at the camp.

“She was really good,” Foust said.

The Minneapolis-based singer-songwriter has won acclaim with national audiences due to appearances at community service events at sports arenas across the country. Her website states that Kurtz raises awareness for world hunger, hurricane relief and multi-cultural reconciliation. She’s performed at Atlanta’s Georgia Dome, New Orleans’ Superdome and Texas’ Alamo Dome.

During an earlier part of the gathering, students like Foust also got to take part in their watery assignment — not on a boat, but while cutting onions as they worked in the kitchen at the Open Door Mission in Omaha.

Designed to break the cycle of homelessness and poverty, the mission serves more than 4,747 nutritious meals each day, its website states, and provides resources to help more than 1,000 people to remain in their own homes.

While at the Open Door Mission, Foust and other students helped prepare food, which included onion-cutting.

He’s cut onions before, but not quite this many.

Foust figures he probably cut 25 onions.

“There were four of us cutting, so I bet we easily got 100 done,” the 13-year-old said.

But cutting the pungent onions left students with watery eyes.

“There were a few breaks in between, because we couldn’t see,” Foust said. “It would sting your eyes so you had to shut your eyes. It hurt to keep your eyes open.”

That said, Foust and the others continued their work.

“It was fun. You knew you were doing it for a good cause. People were going to end up enjoying what you prepared,” he said.

Now, Foust considering an opportunity to attend a middle school gathering in Nashville in July.

“There’s a lot of kids going,” he said.

And if he ever gets another onion-cutting assignment, he’ll be able to say that he has first-hand experience in that realm of service.

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News Editor

Tammy Real-McKeighan is news editor of the Fremont Tribune. She covers news, features, religion stories and writes the weekly faith-based, Spiritual Spinach column.

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