The FUMC Youth began their relationship with the Navajo community at Oljato United Methodist Church almost 18 years ago. This summer 27 high school youth and 10 adult chaperones returned to Oljato, Utah for their summer mission trip. We were excited to serve, and were able to accomplish a lot in just 5 days. Guided by their chaperones, the youth installed a heater and ductwork system in the sanctuary, built an outdoor shade cover (complete with a poured concrete patio underneath), replaced doors, and rewired the sanctuary sound system. Youth led in the kitchen making all their own meals, and best of all, led a Vacation Bible School where each day 40 children learned of God’s love for them. Our friends in Utah were gracious to guide us on excursions through Monument Valley, experiencing God’s vast and beautiful Creation. It was a blessing to serve in Jesus’ name, and we can’t wait to return. I hope you can feel some of the transforming power of God’s presence on this trip in the stories below.

–Kale Wetekamm, Director of Youth Ministry

Kale playing with kids during VBS

These girls have chop saw skills!

On this year’s mission trip I got to help run a VBS at the local church in Oljato, Utah. It was a great experience to show the native kids God’s love and teach them more about Him. The relationships I formed on this trip will definitely stick with me, and I will never forget those kids. Although I got to teach them about God’s love they taught me that everyone needs love in their life and showed me the true meaning of loving others.

– Davis Copeland

Davis Copeland spending some QT with Elijah

Youth team building shade porch

These trips are truly a magical and enlightening experience for those that allow it to be, especially when we visit such different yet beautiful places like Utah, a place where the cool mornings, fresh air, and vast expanse of gorgeous God–given landscape help to clear even the most cluttered and confused mind. The beauty of Utah allows the peace of God to come in and bring rest in the mind and in the heart. These moments of serenity are far and few between in the world we live in today where the constant urge to go, go, go is present all around us. This time of peace and tranquility grants a clear conscience from knowing YOU are God’s physical hands and feet in this world and are using your time and God–given talents to help make someone’s life better.

Now to get a little bit narcissistic and talk about me and my experiences during this year’s trip. This experience quite possibly saved my life. A few months ago I was diagnosed with depression. It has a long history in my family, and with all the stress of what has been going on in my life from physical to social to academic problems, the chance to clear my head and reconnect with the man above all others, and with close friends that had become distant, was truly a gift. The ability to work hard on something and see it completed was also a big boost. I no longer view suicide as an option and am now over all happier with myself, my relationships with the people around me, and my relationship with God. Mission trips do great things for the people being assisted, but also for the people that serve.

–2017 High School Missionary

Having a mesa moment

Repainting the cross


The Sr. High Mission Trip is always a highlight of my summer. It’s a time where I can meet new people, go to awesome places, and also become closer with God. My task this summer was to replace doors on the church. The best part about this job was becoming closer with people I never met or really talked to. These trips are also a time to see God in ways I have never seen Him before. Looking up into the sky during worship every night and seeing the stars reminded me of His amazing power. I could also see this waking up to the sun rising over the mesas ever morning. I would highly recommend going on a youth mission trip to anyone. You will learn many things but have lots of fun too!

– Jacob Barnes

Jacob Barnes installing door frame

Making some new friends

After hard day working in the desert

Questions about Youth@First? Kale Wetekamm, Director of Youth Ministry would love to talk to you about what’s happening in the youth group this year. Give him a call at 225-383-4777, ext. 224 or email You can also visit