Press-Republican

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December 30, 2012

Volunteers prepare for mission trip to Jamaica

PERU — Twenty volunteers will travel to Jamaica on a weeklong mission trip to build, heal and teach.

”We cram a lot of stuff in, a lot of work in a short eight days,” said Harriet Burrell, who has organized the trip each year with her husband, George, since it began 14 years ago.

While similar work is done each year, “There’s never been two years alike,” Burrell said. “We’re basically picking up the threads of the various organizations that we’ve been working with and meeting new people every time we go.”

The mission is in partnership with the Peru Community Church. The Rev. Robert E. Svenson will travel to Jamaica with the other volunteers and hold a grief counseling workshop with area ministers, Burrell said.

Word of mouth has yielded many new recruits for the mission, Burrell said. They are the friends and family of local volunteers and they are from all around the country — Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Virginia, Wisconsin and Connecticut.

Although donations are still needed to cover the cost of building materials and supplies, most everything that will be needed for the trip itself has been secured. The only problem now is fitting it into everyone’s luggage.

”We’re all pitching in and stuffing things in our suitcases,” Burrell said.

The group will leave Plattsburgh at 4 a.m. Jan. 12 and won’t arrive in Mandeville, Jamaica, where they do most of their work, until 6 or 7 p.m.

”It’s a long day but well worth it,” Burrell said.

’GO ON FAITH’

The mission costs about $10,000 each year, Harriet said.

The goal hasn’t quite been met yet for this year, though.

”We feel the need is great enough that we do what we can and worry about the money when we get back,” Harriet said. “I say we go on faith.”

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