Mission trip to Duluth takes a soggy turn for Cedar Valley teens - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Mission trip to Duluth takes a soggy turn for Cedar Valley teens

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Courtesy: Elliot Tensen Courtesy: Elliot Tensen
CEDAR FALLS (KWWL) -

With a three-week-old baby girl bouncing on her lap, you'd think the biggest worry for mother of four Kellie Leasure would be getting her little tyke down for a nap.

Instead, her mind is on her oldest son -- 14-year-old Christopher -- 350 miles away in Duluth.

"They go up for a week, and they do work on schools, clean-up work, they do work for the elderly," said Leasure.

This is Christopher's second mission trip to Duluth with the family's church. This year, a few days into their trip, things took an unexpected turn. Overnight storms dumped more than eight inches of rain in Northeastern Minnesota. Several neighborhoods are evacuated, and the mayor is asking visitors to stay out of the city.

It's the worst flood Duluth has seen in about 40 years, and for Leasure to think her son is stranded in it is tough.

"To let them go that far away and have something catastrophic like this happen. When we heard from him it was just like -- to hear his voice and know he was safe was wonderful," said Leasure.

The good news is, cell phone service is not affected by the flood. Leasure was able to call the mission trip leader and hear first-hand how they're handling the emergency.

"We're doing good. Safe and sound," said Elliot Tensen.

Tensen said the flood took many in the city -- including the mission trip leaders -- off guard. Luckily, they were safe in a downtown Duluth church when the worst happened.

"Obviously, our service projects got cancelled today," he explained.

It seems Mother Nature has a new calling for the crew -- clean up.

"At the core it really hasn't changed our mission to be here. Loving the people in the community and doing what we can to help. God's always got something planned for us. We never really know what that is. We're just in his hands right now," said Tensen. "We're just going to keep going forward and doing what we can in the community to help out in which ever way we can."

The situation is far from ideal, but Leasure is thankful that, at the very least, they're safe, and they're together.

"He's okay. He's okay. But I can't wait until they get home!" she added.

The mission group is made up of students from Orchard Hill and Nazareth Lutheran churches in Cedar Falls. They were scheduled to return home Friday, but it's not clear when they'll be able to safely leave Duluth.

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