On a mission to help Japan

 Spring break trip for teen turns into a mission to help others 

ONEKAMA — Onekama High School senior Lindsay Nesburg is one of those energetic teenagers who really has all her priorities in the right place when it comes to helping others.This is Lindsay’s last year of high school and her parents Dave and Kristen gave her the choice of taking a spring break trip to any location since next year she will be heading off to North Park College in Chicago. The Onekama teen didn’t select the typical spring break locations where many people will be heading next week. What she chose instead was a mission trip to Japan to help people who are still recovering from the earthquake and tsunami that devastated the country last year.

Dave and Lindsay Nesburg check out the Sendai area in Japan where they will be going on today to help victims of last years earthquake. Lindsay’s parents gave her the option of taking a spring break anywhere and she selected a mission trip to Japan. (Ken Grabowski/News Advcoate

“It was my choice to take a trip anywhere, and it sounded really cool to go on a mission trip,” said Lindsay. “I had never gone on one before so, when they were bringing up different ideas of where to go, I thought it would be really cool to do it. I started thinking about places and the one we wanted to do the most was Japan.”

Her father, Dave, who manages the Portage Lake Bible Camp in Onekama, said they looked into the idea through Samaritan’s Purse, which is an organization run by Franklin Graham, the son of evangelist Billy Graham. Both he and his wife will be accompanying Lindsay along with some other friends on the trip.

Samaritan’s Purse has been in existence for the past 40 years helping the world’s poor, sick and suffering. They provide assistance in many different areas wherever they are needed.

“We are connecting with missionaries from our denomination, but it is not a denomination project,” said Dave. “It is run through Samaritan’s Purse. They don’t do a ministry as much as helping people in different places. So, the ministry is really helping and that is what we plan to do in lending a hand.”

He added with some fatherly pride that his daughter’s decision to do a mission trip came without any parental prodding. He said it is something he hopes will encourage other teens to take a similar course of action in the future.

“She is a good kid, and you don’t like to brag about what they do, but we are pretty proud of her,” said Dave. “She raised all the money for her trip, and we hope it will inspire someone else to do the same thing.”

Although Lindsay set her sights on going to Japan, they initially thought the trip might be going in a much different direction. When they contacted Samaritan’s Purse, the needs were higher in South America.

“They initially steered us toward Chile or Uruguay, as they recently had a tsunami in Chile,” said Lindsay. “I really wanted to go to Japan, so I was excited when we got the news. On the television they have been showing lots of pictures of that area, and it appears there is still lots to do a year later.”

The Nesburgs will be boarding a plane in Chicago today to fly non-stop for 13 hours to Tokyo. They are going to be met by some missionaries there, and will spend the next two nights with them.

“Sunday we will be leaving for Sendai, which is north of Tokyo that was the epicenter of earthquake,” said Dave. “It is just outside the nuclear zone and where the tsunami waves hit.”

Lindsay pointed out that part of the excitement about the experience is they don’t really know what tasks they will be given at this time.

“Once we get to Sendai we will be sleeping at a missionary camp, and they told us to bring sleeping bags,” said Lindsay. “So, we really don’t know what it is going to be like other than we are going to work Monday through Friday. We will do whatever they want and we do know that will include some mud-outing that is cleaning out all the houses that were trashed from the waves. That will include cleaning them out and tearing them down if necessary.”

Something else they need to be ready for is cooler weather than what the Manistee County area has been experiencing.

“I got an e-mail from one of the missionaries and he said remember to bring rain gear, but also remember to bring warm clothes because it is going to be cold,” said Dave.

During the past few weeks at school many of her classmates have been comparing notes about what they plan to do over spring break. The trip to Japan has been something that has generated a great deal of discussion.

“We have all been discussing our trips and they told me to make sure and take lots of pictures,” said Lindsay. ”It is the first time I will be going overseas and it is really going to be awesome.”

Helping others in an experience that creates a lifetime of memories instead of taking a trip to tourist trap is something that shows Lindsay Nesburg does have her priorities in the right place.

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Posted by Ken Grabowski

Ken is News Advocate’s education reporter. He coordinates coverage for all Manistee County schools and West Shore Community College. He can be reached by phone at (231) 398-3125 or by email at kgrabowski@pioneergroup.com.

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