Grace Christian’s band is headed to Europe

Published 5:00 pm Saturday, April 17, 2010

The eight members of the Grace Christian Church Worship Band are headed to Buglaria, Greece, Turkey and Macedonia in June.

The team was invited to minister in the countries by Bishop Vasil Elenkov on Good Friday. Elenkov, who oversees more than 300 churches in Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey , said the Rev. Geoge Marin of Grace Christian Church. Elenkov was visiting the church and invited the team during the worship service.

Now, the group has to raise $18,000 to make the trip a reality.

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“The invitation is very sudden and the pressure to raise funds is very great,” Marin said.

On Thursday, the team gave a concert at the Wells Assembly of God Church and will give another at 7 p.m. today at Grace Christian Church. An offering will be received to help the team with costs of the trip.

In addition, the group will hold an auction on Saturday, May 1. Todd Utpadel will serve as auctioneer for the event. Some of the items donated for the auction are two Snapper riding lawnmowers, a full detailing at Red Carpet Car Wash, a snowmobile, a bass amplifier, a solid oak piano, a Mazda car, a Janome sewing machine, a drum set, two 12-gauge shotguns and a 22-caliber rifle.

Anyone who wishes to donate items to the auction may call Marin at (507) 473-0376.

The band may also do some car washes, have an enchilada sale and knock on doors.

Members of the band are Elisha Marin, Catherine Brown, Patrick Hanson, Daniel Hanson, Andrew Hanson, Summer Sorum, Makala Hanson and Corey Hanson.

The bulk of the expense for band members is airfare, Marin said. They’ll most likely fly from Minneapolis to London to Sofia, Bulgaria. Each member of the team is expected to raise $2,500; airfare alone is $1,700 per person.

“Their lodging and meals will be taken care of in Bulgaria,” the pastor said. “They will minister in some very poor areas. All our mission trips are on a shoestring.”

They leave on June 1 and return on June 18. Elisha Marin and one or two others will stay for six weeks. Elisha is hoping to travel to Serbia and Kosovo as well.

While on the mission trip, the band will lead services in six of the largest cities in Bulgaria and travel and minister in Greece, Turkey and Macedonia.

“Sometimes they’ll be doing eight services a day,” Marin said. “They’ll be bringing medical supplies.”

Marin said members of his church have gone to Macedonia for four years. “This year was the first time we ministered in Bulgaria,” he said.

Elisha Marin said his father told him he believed he would be headed back to the Balkan states sometime. “I thought it might be five years down the line,” he admitted.

But within 48 hours of the invitation, he’d raised $3,000 for the trip.

Marin said he believes the band is well-prepared for the experience.

“It’s a very rare opportunity,” Corey Hanson said. “I feel very blessed to be going.”

Brown said, “Before this came up, my plans for the summer were just going through the motions.”

“I can’t wait to go there and see what happens,” Andrew Hanson said.

The band has a Facebook page: Bulgaria mission _ update!