CLEARFIELD -- Sometimes in life, a miracle comes dressed as a tragedy.
That seems to be the case for the youths at Clearfield Community Church who are planning a mission trip this summer to help Native Americans on a Wyoming reservation.
When their means of supporting themselves in this effort burned a month ago in a fire at their church, the community, especially their neighbors who are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, stepped up in a huge way.
A rummage and bake sale that covered the giant front lawn at the Clearfield LDS Stake Center on Saturday was proof to many involved that God works in mysterious ways.
"This has been a huge blessing," said Laura Phillips, who oversees mission ministries at Clearfield Community Church. She was taking cash donations from those who carted away items from the sale.
"It's been amazing how many people have come together to help our kids," Phillips said.
"That is what church is all about, loving neighbors and helping them out."
Phillips said members of her church often have had rummage sales, but this year they wanted the sale to be extra special because of the need to fund the youth missions trip planned for the summer.
She and others said they had gathered donations from everywhere they could think of for the upcoming sale.
But all those donations burned in the March 19 fire.
"They had already gathered all their things," said Clearfield LDS Stake President Doug Reed. "They literally didn't have anything else to gather."
But even while the fire still raged that night, Reed talked on the telephone to Clearfield Community Church Pastor John C. Parsley and assured him that all was not lost.
"I offered at that time anything and everything we could do to help," Reed said.
At first, Clearfield LDS members gathered office supplies and other items that were needed immediately, and then they set to work on the rummage sale.
Reed and his congregations were true to his word of offering "everything and anything." Those looking could find just about anything at Saturday's sale.
Not only did members of 11 wards in the Clearfield Stake contribute items to the event, many in neighboring wards and stakes also made contributions.
Those attending the sale Saturday may have had difficulty distinguishing between those who were donating and those who were shopping.
Truckloads of merchandise and scads of people carrying shopping bags full of donations continued to arrive throughout the morning as volunteers carted items out of the stake center to tables set up to group similar contributions together.
And Saturday's rain didn't seem to deter those who wanted to shop or those who organized and directed as crowds kept arriving as though it were a good-weather day. Youths from several faith traditions expressed appreciation for the activity.
Nolan Dumas, 16, of West Point, who attends services at First Baptist Church/New Beginnings Christian Church, "Together in Faith," in Ogden, said he attends the youth group at Clearfield Community Church because his church is too small to sponsor such an activity.
"I really enjoy helping people as much as I can," Nolan said, noting his excitement for this summer's trip. "A chance to help someone less fortunate than I am is always a welcome opportunity."
Noah Hunsaker, 14, of Ogden, also attends at First Baptist and with the Clearfield youth group.
"I think it would be good to help people who don't have homes," he said of this summer's missions trip.
Noah said he was excited to go places he hasn't gone before, even if that means a car trip to Wyoming.
"We wouldn't be able to do this without them," said Chambree Crockett, a 15-year-old member of Clearfield Community Church, pointing to her LDS neighbors.
"I honestly think it's really fantastic how they are coming to help us out."
Chambree said the missions trip will teach her and other youths something new.
"It will make us better people," she said. "It will teach us that we can help other people."
An LDS youth, Julie Felt, 16, of Clearfield, said she was concerned when she saw Clearfield Community Church on fire.
But Saturday, she said she felt good about volunteering.
"I know that I am helping people who need help."