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Langley CMA youth group will lend a hand in Gabon

Members of the Langley Christian and Missionary Alliance Church will spend 17 days in Gabon, in Africa. Top row (from left) is Jason Craig, Michael Berry and Shelby Ball; bottom row (from left) is Shannon Craig, Jenna Berry and Natasha Kamps.  - Photo courtesy of Natasha Kamps
Members of the Langley Christian and Missionary Alliance Church will spend 17 days in Gabon, in Africa. Top row (from left) is Jason Craig, Michael Berry and Shelby Ball; bottom row (from left) is Shannon Craig, Jenna Berry and Natasha Kamps.
— image credit: Photo courtesy of Natasha Kamps

Six members of Langley Christian and Missionary Alliance Church’s youth group leave Thursday afternoon for a 17-day trip to Gabon in Equatorial Africa, where they’ll work in an orphanage and a hospital.

“I’ve only been out of the country to Canada,” said Natasha Kamps, 17, of Langley, who will be a senior at South Whidbey High School in the fall. “This will be way different.”

Also making the trip will be Shannon Craig and Shelby Ball of Langley, who will be South Whidbey seniors in the fall, and who, with Kamps, will incorporate the experience into their senior projects.

Completing the group is Jason Craig, a 2007 graduate of South Whidbey High School.

The group will be led by the husband-and-wife team of Michael and Jenna Berry. He has been youth pastor at the church, and she assistant youth pastor, for the past three years. Both also are graduates of South Whidbey High School, he in 2003, she in 2005.

The group will help out at the Hope House orphanage outside the capital city of Libreville, and at a hospital in the city of Bongolo.

Michael Berry said members will work with the children, work on building projects and “do anything else they need over there.”

Gabon is situated in Central Africa on the Equator, and has a population of 1.5 million, most of whom speak French. It’s one of the most prosperous countries in the region.

The CMA group chose Gabon for outreach after meeting with visiting residents of the country, and with missionaries who had worked there, Berry said.

He said the church youth group has about 50 members, and it has participated in other outreach programs in the United States, Canada and Mexico. It helped out in the aftermath of flooding in southwest Washington, and in Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina.

Friends and family helped the members of the group raise money for the trip. This will be the first time any of them has been to Africa.

“Just being able to go and serve and experience a new culture is what we’re looking forward to,” Berry said.

Added Kamps: “I hope it gives us more of an appreciation for what we have here.”

You can follow updates of the group’s adventures on the Web site www.gabonteamblog.weebly.com. A report on the trip will be presented at the end of August, Berry said.

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