Winter Garden teens to share time, love at Standing Rock
| 1:20 a.m. July 2, 2015
West Orange Times & Observer
WINTER GARDEN — For teenager Natasha Brueggeman, summertime isn’t only about lazy days at the swimming pool.
Rather, it’s an opportunity to use her time and talent to help others.
Brueggeman is just one of a group of teens and adults from the Church of the Messiah in Winter Garden who will spend 10 days at the Standing Rock Sioux Indian Reservation on a mission trip.
The group will leave July 8 for North Dakota, where it will assist Native Americans in whatever capacity they need.
“We want to go show them that we love them and serve them, and do some things that they can’t do for themselves,” said Tom Rutherford, church rector. “It takes our teenagers and forces them out of their comfort zones of what they usually do and causes them to be servants and to learn the intrinsic good of serving. Serving other people — that’s what Christianity is all about.”
To help fund their efforts, the church held a car wash June 27 outside of Tijuana Flats in Winter Garden. Even outside in the heat of the summer, their car wash helped drive home the values that Rutherford is hoping the youth will learn.
Brueggeman, who is going into 11th grade, has been on two of the church’s previous mission trips. Her first trip was to Pensacola, during which they held a summer camp on the beach.
“The first one, I didn’t really know what to expect or what it would mean to me,” she said.
After traveling to North Florida, she began to look forward to their next trip to Tennessee.
“I feel like I’m making an impact because I’m going somewhere where people really need it,” she said.
Although Brueggeman has been on a few trips before, some of her peers are embarking on their first trip in a few weeks. Ryan Lawrence, a rising senior, has been looking forward to going to North Dakota since they first started planning for it a year ago.
In Standing Rock, the church will be helping the Native Americans with anything that they need. Lawrence is looking forward to helping children.
“That’s what I love to do most — help kids,” he said.
In preparation for their trip, Rutherford said the teenagers have to make decisions. Knowing about the trip in advance gave them the opportunity to make choices regarding how to save their money — whether it be through a new job or by saving Christmas money.
“It encourages them to make choices that are more than just selfish,” Rutherford said.