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Winfield children make missions money with old-fashioned ideacomment (0)

August 3, 2006

By Darla Brantley

The children of First Baptist Church, Winfield, in Marion Baptist Association recently used an old-fashioned method for some modern-day fund raising. They raised more than $500 to assist Winfield-native Kerrick Thomas and his wife, Lorie, who are serving God in New York City.

On June 29, the children set up a lemonade stand in a grassy lot beside the church near U.S. Highway 43. They took turns filling cups of lemonade for “customers,” while others held handmade signs advertising the available refreshment. Donations were accepted in lieu of a charge for the lemonade.

Mandy Hughes, children’s minister for First, Winfield, came up with the idea as part of the annual summer children’s program for the church and community. “I wanted to have something the kids could do that felt like they did the work,” she explained.

And the results could not have been more exciting for a first-time venture. “My prayer was, ‘God, if we could just raise $100, I’d be happy,’” Hughes said, thinking the goal was somewhat lofty. Once the stand closed, she said they just kept counting.

“I guess God showed me what He can do,” Hughes said with a laugh.

The Thomases were pleased with the donation total as well. “We were blown away,” Kerrick Thomas said, explaining the money would be used by his wife.

Lorie Thomas serves as youth minister at Graffiti Community Ministries, a program connected with East Seventh Baptist Church located on the city’s Lower East Side, and must raise all funds used to support activities and programs for at-risk youth and children.

The lemonade-stand proceeds will be used to help support after-school programs and help send youth to camp.

The couple began their ministries in New York City in 2001 as US-2 missionaries with the North American Mission Board. When their term of service ended, they felt called to remain in the city. Kerrick Thomas serves as executive pastor of The Journey, a 1,000-member church he and his wife helped plant. “We have been blessed,” he said of the four-year growth in The Journey’s membership.

Kerrick Thomas also stressed the importance of prayer for encouragement for Lorie Thomas as she works with the inner-city youth and children. She seems to face so many “defeats” in dealing with addictions, violence and teen pregnancy, he explained.

Graffiti is beginning an internship program called Urban Encounter for anyone interested in working with inner-city youth. For more information, contact Lorie Thomas at lorie@graffitichurch.org.

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