On January 27 and 28, the Bloomingdale Church Youth Group members put on their 14th annual Winter Banquet to raise support for their upcoming summer onMission trips. The theme was “Tool Time” based on the 90’s hit sitcom ‘Home Improvement.” 180 people attended the two evenings hosted by 40 students.

The family-style dinner was prepared by the Diaz family. The student servers donned their flannel shirts while the tables were decorated with tools to fit the theme. Marsha Beard, an attendee of the banquet, gave a nod to the teens and the theme saying, “as Wilson would say over the fence, ‘never have so few entertained so many so well.’”

The “Tool Time” play script was written by Dom and Julie Palandri. However, Palandri gives credit to the students, saying, “the kids deserve all the credit! They made me look good.”

Senior, Jocelyn Fernandez, gives “a big thanks to Palandri,” and juniors Sara Gablin and Nikki Martinez also thanked the leaders. “Serving was a good opportunity to get to know the leaders who helped make the banquet a success,” Martinez said. “I want to thank the leaders for giving us the resources we needed to make the night great,” added Gablin.

Youth pastor, Daniel Riemenschneider, talked about the importance of investing in teens following the “Tool Time” performance. He said, “Just as Jesus invested in his disciples, he calls us to invest in the next generation of leaders.” Riemenschneider challenged adults to continue to invest in teens, not only through giving money for their mission trips, but also to invest thorough giving time and talent through opportunities like the The Mentoring Project.

As for the students, they are looking forward to the opportunities they have to serve this summer in DuPage County, Chicago, and El Salvador. Jen H, Jr High director and El Salvador project leader, says she is excited to take students on an international trip because, “it is an opportunity to grow in our love for God and others as we pray to see people the way that God sees people.”

Matt M, High School Community director and Chicago trip leader, said he hopes that through the summer onMission experience students will learn, “that love in action is doing simple works and speaking the truth. We have an obligation to take care of people in the greater community.”

With the great food, entertainment, and relationships being built through the Winter Banquet, it is easy to see why it continues to be a success at Bloomingdale Church year after year.