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Holy Smokes! Youth group raises funds with fireworks for mission trip

Church members of the Sequim Valley Foursquare and Sequim Vineyard Churches, from left, Misha Urquia, Sean Clift, Wyatt Hull (alien), Christian Preciado, Chris Urquia, D’Erien Cooper, Jeremiah Clift, Karli Furgerson, Ashleigh Weeks (cow), Dylan Weeks (shark) and Olivia Kirsch, stands near one of their two fireworks booths to raise money for a mission trip to Barahona, Dominican Republic, in November.   - Sequim Gazette photo by Alana Linderoth
Church members of the Sequim Valley Foursquare and Sequim Vineyard Churches, from left, Misha Urquia, Sean Clift, Wyatt Hull (alien), Christian Preciado, Chris Urquia, D’Erien Cooper, Jeremiah Clift, Karli Furgerson, Ashleigh Weeks (cow), Dylan Weeks (shark) and Olivia Kirsch, stands near one of their two fireworks booths to raise money for a mission trip to Barahona, Dominican Republic, in November.
— image credit: Sequim Gazette photo by Alana Linderoth

Twenty youth from the Sequim Valley Foursquare Church and Sequim Vineyard Christian Fellowship are operating two firework stands everyday until Saturday to raise funds for a mission trip to the Dominican Republic. The airline ticket alone cost $1,800 per individual, thus the goal for the group is to raise about $36,000. This is the third year the youth group, lead by youth pastor Sean Clift, have used firework stands to help raise funds for their mission trip and so far business has been “pretty good,” Clift said. However, in past years the last couple days leading to the Fourth of July tend to be the busiest, Clift said.

Although the youth group is constantly involved in the local community throughout the year, this is the eighth year the group has embarked on a “long-range mission trip,” Clift said. This year the group is Barahona bound.

Come late November, the youth group, ranging in age from 13- to 20-years-old, will be working with the organization Children of the Nations and primarily will be working to help “Haitian immigrants,” that work in sugar fields, Clift said. The group anticipates being involved in a variety of projects, including things like singing and interacting with the local children, assisting with the construction of housing and schools by pouring concrete floors and help to get potable water available in areas lacking drinking water.

For Ashleigh Weeks, the upcoming mission trip to Barahona will be her first mission trip. Weeks joined the youth group about a year ago and is “really excited” for the opportunity to travel to the Dominican Republic, she said. Although she isn’t entirely sure what to expect, she’s prepared for it to be “hot and to work a lot.”

The travel experience is priceless, as is the opportunity to help others, the biggest impacts are on the local youth that grow up in such a “soft environment,” Clift said. The chance to be involved in mission trips like the trip to Barahona can provide a whole new perspective for local teenagers.

“These trips are often a life-changing event (for youth group individuals) and they’re able to bring their experiences back to this community,” Clift said.

Jeremiah Clift, Sean’s son, has experienced the potential impacts of going on a international mission trip. He has been to the Dominican Republic once before five years ago and said, “it was one of the best experiences” he has ever had.

“You get to see kids that have nothing, but they are still so happy,” Jeremiah Clift said.

Despite the seemingly invaluable experiences international mission trips can provide the local youth group, the cost to travel to these distant locations remains a major hurtle for participants. But, with the dedication of the youth group members and encouraging energy and support from Sean Clift, the group is off to a good start.

Both the Holy Smokes firework stands are open from 10 a.m.-10 p.m., everyday until Saturday, July 5, and are at the River Road entrance into the business plaza across from Taco Time and along U.S. Highway 101 across from Taylor Cutoff Road. The fireworks at Holy Smokes are priced 30 to 40 percent lower than any other stand in the county, Clift said. In addition, if a customer brings along a church bulletin, they will receive a 5 percent discount.

For more information or to make a donation or sponsor the youth group, contact Sean Clift at 461-0505.

 

 

Reach Alana Linderoth at alinderoth@sequimgazette.com

 

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