Nederland is in the mountains and cool.
In the past month, Ned residents have been griping about the wet weather, the lower-than-normal temperatures. Last Friday, a group of students from Alamogordo praised our cool climate, our hills, the greenness of the area.
What they saw and felt was good and what they were here to do was good.
The students from Alamogordo are part of the Rocky Mountain Mission project which is run by Nederland resident Wes Stiefer, who has personally gone on 21 mission trips and hosted four through the Nederland Community Presbyterian Church. The kids travel to a different community from the one they live in and do good works in the town.
When they come to Nederland, they often help a senior citizen with house projects or assist an indigent family accomplish some needed maintenance. Most of the teens have never been on a mission trip before and have never been in Colorado. Last Friday, after a week in Nederland, they were sad to go.
Nacara Redmond said she had come on the trip because she likes to help the people. “It is for community service and it is for the love.”
The group headed into Nederland and swept sidewalks, pushing the grit and litter into the gutters so the street sweepers could pick it up on cleanup day. They went to Chipeta Park and assisted Public Works employee Nicki Dunn with fixing the damaged restrooms that had been vandalized over the winter.
“They did a lot of good work,” says Dunn. They painted the picnic tables and benches and helped clean graffiti. They replaced the log on the swing set. It’s been wonderful having them help me. It would have taken me two weeks by myself. Having the mission group here was definitely an asset. They helped so much.”
Doing whatever was needed was their anthem. The group painted 25 fire hydrants— red, of course. They helped feed the homeless, raked pine needles for a homeowner, and they camped out in the church at night.
“The pews were kind of uncomfortable,” said Andrew Ortiz. “ But it was worth it.”
Jordyn Soisman said, “Colorado is way better than New Mexico. There it is way hot and we don’t have much rain. It is beautiful here.”
While sweeping Ned streets, many locals stopped to thank them, which made them feel happy. They all got to have a free ride on the Carousel of Happiness. Andrew Ortiz said, “I love what we did and would like to stay here the rest of my life.”
All of the visitors are part of a church youth group and have been planning this trip since the beginning of the year. “I came here to become more connected with Jesus by meeting people,” said one of them. “We want to be better people and this is a beautiful town where everybody is so friendly. You can walk wherever you want. In Alamogordo, it is too hot to work.”
On Friday, the mission group left Nederland, looking forward to temperatures in the upper 90s. On Sunday a new group arrived, this time from Fergus Falls, Minnesota. They had a church service and lunch at Huckleberry House in Coal Creek Canyon and got to meet some of the church members and enjoy one of the first sunny days in weeks.
The group ranged in age from eight and a half to 19. On Monday morning their plan was to work on sealing the wood siding of the Carousel and painting the new radio club room at the community center.
The teens are part of the Church Family Ministry and the Federated Youth joined with the Presbyterian United Church of Christ. They pay for the trip by raising funds and said, “This is a cool opportunity for us.”
This group will be here for about a week and Stiefer says there might be another mission group arriving later in the summer.