A budding Lutheran church in Kingston, Jamaica, is getting a helping hand from Lutheran congregations from across the United States. And, this fall, a team from a Grand Haven church will join the fix-up mission.

Several members of St. John’s Lutheran Church will be flying to Kingston in October to help in the transformation of a commercial building into a worship complex.

“We’ll be helping convert it into a usable church,” explained team leader Tim Harvey of Grand Haven. “That will include a parsonage, a community center, a short-term visitor area for mission trips. It’s open-ended. We’ll see what we need to do when we get there.”

Faith Lutheran Church is in a partnership with St. Andrew Lutheran Church, also in Kingston, but Faith is closer to the population hub and therefore more convenient for residents to attend church, Harvey said. But it still needs work.

Harvey and his wife, Laura, previously went on a mission trip to Venezuela when their two children were too young to go. Later, the couple were joined by their son for a mission to New Orleans. Harvey said they have not been on a mission trip with their daughter, and they wanted to go on one with both of their kids before the now-grown children have too many adult commitments of their own.

Looking for a construction-type mission — Harvey is a building contractor — he found the Kingston opportunity through the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. The Harveys will be joined by five other St. John’s members and two people from the east side of Michigan for the trip, Oct. 19-26. They’re calling themselves the J-Team.

The two from eastern Michigan are not church-goers, according to Harvey.

“We’re hoping this mission will speak to them,” he said. “It’s kind of my mission within the mission.”

The team needs to raise a little more than $20,000 for the mission trip. To that end, they hosted a car wash/car detailing event, sold bags of Magnum Coffee’s Jamaican-blend coffee and Jamaican flags, and hosted a Jamaican-themed picnic.

In an effort to further reach out to the community for the opportunity to help, the team is hosting a euchre tournament from 7-10 p.m. Friday, Aug. 16, in the multipurpose room of the church, 527 Taylor Ave. The entry fee is $15 per player, with small prizes given out “and bragging rights,” Harvey said. There are still player seats available; call Richard Rothe at 616-847-6908 to sign up.

The team is also planning a Culver’s Night benefit, 5-7 p.m. Sept. 11, with a portion of the sales going to the mission.

A chili cookoff at the church on Oct. 12 is also planned, and it’s open to everyone to compete at no charge to enter. Tickets will be sold at the event for tasting. To enter the cookoff, call Tim Harvey at 616-566-3577.

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