Concert key fundraiser for Mexican mission trip

Matt Gardner
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A concert taking place in Prince Albert this weekend represents an important step for local church members on their road to a Mexican mission trip next year.

A Country Gospel concert taking place on Sunday evening at Calvary United Church will help fund a planned mission trip in February 2015 to Cuernavaca, Mexico (pictured).

The Country Gospel concert on Sunday is the first major fundraiser for a planned mission to Mexico in February 2015 by a group of young adults from Calvary United Church and teenagers from Choiceland, White Fox, Codette and Nipawin United Churches.

Organized through the Quest Mexico program, the trip is described as a social justice project that will see the travellers spending time in the city of Cuernavaca in order to gain a better understanding of inner city poverty in Mexico.

“Often people will go to Mexico from Canada and the States as a fun trip and we see a very different side of Mexico than what we’ll be seeing, because the poverty is sort of hidden when we’re going to these big resorts and things like that,” Calvary United Church congregational designated minister Lorelei Clifford said.

“So it’s just to give the kids and young adults a real eye-opener as to exactly how people are living.”

The fundraising concert for the trip starts at 7 p.m. in Calvary United Church and features a diverse lineup of artists including Donny Parenteau, the MenFolk, Kami Hodgins, the Prince Albert Children’s Choir and the all-female Northern Blend Barbershop Quartet.

Among the travellers on the planned mission, the Prince Albert group includes Clifford, Shantele Alexanderson, Lisa Haight and Krista Heidel, while Krystal Sheremeta is head minister for the other four churches.

During their trip to Cuernavaca -- which is approximately a 90-minute drive from Mexico City -- the missionaries will attend workshops led by locals with years of experience living and working in the area.

They will also gain first-hand experience of living conditions for poorer residents and run through various simulation exercises.

“One of the simulations that they put the kids through and the young adults through is they give you a certain amount of money in Mexican money, in pesos, and you’re required to get to a certain location and … buy certain items from a marketplace,” Clifford said.

The simulation is designed to help the travellers experience what it is like grocery shopping without sufficient money for their daily food requirements.

It’s just to give the kids and young adults a real eye-opener as to exactly how people are living. Lorelei Clifford

The centrepiece of the mission trip will involve the travellers raising funds and assisting in a building project to help benefit a local family.

“We’re going … to help build a house for a family that I’m calling homeless -- they would probably not say that because they’re living in just absolute poverty with basically tarps for walls,” Clifford said.

Raising funds to buy supplies for the building project is one of the key goals of the Country Gospel Concert.

Clifford estimated that they would need $6,000 for the building project, while individual costs will run to an average $2,000 per person.

“Of course, each of us that are going are expecting to put in a good chunk of our own money towards ourselves getting there,” she said.

“But for the building project, we’re kind of relying on fundraisers like this to help us raise the money so that we can buy the building supplies.”

Clifford credited Donny Parenteau with helping organize the Sunday show. She pointed out that Parenteau and his band, like the other artists on the bill, agreed to lend their talents free of charge.

“Donny has done a lot. I cannot say anything but great things about the guy,” Clifford said, noting Parenteau has previously done fundraisers for other churches.

“I got the idea for this from St. David’s Anglican Church, which is quite close to here … I attended a country gospel concert that they had which also featured Donny Parenteau … He’s pretty much well-known in the area for all of his charity works that he does for different organizations.”

Besides live entertainment, the concert will also feature a free dessert bar during intermission.

Tickets cost $15 for adults, with attendance free for children under 12, and are available at the door starting at 6:30 p.m.

Additional information is available by calling Calvary United Church at 306-763-8695.

Organizations: Calvary United Church, Prince Albert, Anglican Church

Geographic location: Mexico City, Cuernavaca, White Fox Canada Country Gospel Concert

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