For many Christians, the call to spread their faith crosses the boundaries of nations.
Loudon County Baptist Association is holding an indoor missions yard sale 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Feb. 10-11 in the Family Life Building of Central Baptist Church in Loudon. LCBA is receiving drop-off donations for the sale 4-8 p.m. Feb. 6-9. Donations can include furniture, household items, toys, tools and more.
Proceeds from the sale are to help cover costs for a July mission trip to Costa Rica.
Teresa Wood, Immanuel House director and ministry assistant for LCBA, said the trip costs $2,300 per person and there are 16 people, including seven students, scheduled to go. Money raised will be split among the group to pay for airfare, meals and the overall cost.
“Anything that people want to donate we will take,” Wood said.
Those going on the trip will be working at the sale, which is the second fundraiser already. Several additional fundraisers are planned for the next few months, she said.
Wood said community feedback has been great, and she was surprised at the volume of items already donated.
A mission trip had been scheduled previously but was canceled for two years due to pandemic flight restrictions. For the majority of those going, this is their first mission trip out of the country, Wood said.
The trip is in conjunction with Beautiful Feet International, a faith-based nonprofit that leads groups to the organization’s pregnancy centers. The local group will visit two pregnancy centers in Costa Rica.
“We’re going to be taking supplies to the pregnancy center, and then we will actually be doing (Vacation Bible School) there in two different locations, in two different villages there in Costa Rica,” Wood said. “We’ll do a VBS in the morning and then a VBS in the afternoon.”
Curriculum will be shared July 1-7 through provided interpreters. LCBA volunteers have been training once a month to learn phrases and songs in Spanish.
Wood said she is “extremely excited” for the trip and looks forward to going with her daughter, a sophomore, before she graduates high school.
“I think a lot of the times our kids see Jesus through us, through their parents, who are showing them and teaching them Jesus,” Wood said. “I think going to a different place, a different culture, they’re going to get to see Jesus in a different way. They’re going to get to see how Jesus works in the lives of other people and how we’re gonna get to bring Jesus to people who don’t know Jesus and who have never heard of Jesus.
“That’s an opportunity that a lot of our students have not had,” she added. “I’m really looking forward to it.”
Wood said the group will have some “VBS pros,” with several of the women having served as VBS directors or leaders at area churches.
Kristy Stafford, a Sunday school teacher and youth group leader at Stockton Valley Baptist Church near Loudon, is going with her husband, son and two other family members.
Stafford said she envisions telling children they were created in God’s image with a plan for every human life. She said she wants them to know everyone is a sinner and is separated from God, but the sacrifice Jesus Christ paid for the price of sin offers eternal life.
“There are jobs throughout the whole VBS,” Stafford said. “Worship initially will be the first thing we do. Then we’ll be doing games, which is where my husband and son and one of his best buddies will be. … Then we’ll have crafts and snack, and then we’ll be doing a gospel face painting where several members of our church will be painting faces and as they paint someone’s face, the colors that they use, they tell the story of salvation through their painting.”
Fundraising at Stockton Valley has been especially effective, Stafford said, raising more than $3,000 through a spaghetti dinner and cake auction. One person paid more than $300 for a cake just to make a donation, she said.
The church also took up a special offering for youth after a Christmas play and received more than $1,000.
Stafford said she has always wanted to go on a mission trip. With her oldest son turning 11, she said it’s good for children to learn to serve and love others and witness about faith in Jesus. Experiencing life in a different part of the world is also important, she said.
“It’s going to be something very different,” Stafford said. “… We’re going there to teach them about Jesus. We’re going there to tell people about salvation and God’s love for them. I’m just praying that there are no barriers or anything because of our languages being different or anything like that — that he would just open the doors and make a way for us to impact their lives in a positive way.”
Wood said those who need to drop off or get donations picked up before Feb. 6-9 can contact her through the LCBA website at www.lcbachurches.com.