Thomasville Times Enterprise

Faith & values

March 13, 2014

Concert, auction set to support mission trip

THOMASVILLE — The feeling of knowing God is using their talents to serve others is the drive that’s moving eight of Thomasville First United Methodist Church (TFUMC) members to answer God’s calling in Rwanda this summer.

For seven members, this will be a return trip to see “old friends” that they have helped financially, worked alongside and prayed with since their first mission trip seven years ago. And for one member, this is the first trip to the African continent and an exciting chance to help others in need.

As a fundraiser, TFUMC is hosting “Music On A Mission: Concert and Auction,” set to take place on March 21 in the TFUMC Fellowship Hall.  The doors open at 6:15 p.m., with the live concert beginning at 7 p.m. A $10 per person ticket entitles you to enjoy the concert, a fun hot dog dinner and a chance to bid on a variety of great items and getaways available in the auction. The silent auction will be underway when the doors open and the live auction for several exciting trips and larger items will kick off at 7:45 p.m. 

Some items up for auction are a weekend stay at a vacation home in Oyster Bay, a flats fishing trip, tickets for an Atlanta Braves game, an autographed SEC football, photography packages by Ursula Page or Jennifer Ward photography, an authentic Chinese Hot Pot Dinner for eight, massages from Metta Day Spa, a meal a month for a year, personal training with Mollie Rodriguez or with Danny Copeland, two dozen cupcakes from Small Cakes Cupcakery, a tooth whitening package from Dr. Tommy Oppenheim, sports camps through Thomas University, a plane ride over beautiful Thomasville, and so much more. You can bid on these great items knowing that all the proceeds go to support the 8 missionaries on their trip. 

Throughout the evening, you can enjoy dynamic Christian contemporary music from Shawn Walden, the director of contemporary worship and technology at Porterfield UMC in Albany and the former contemporary worship leader at TFUMC.  There will also be music by Christian rapper Chris “MC” Campbell and TFUMC contemporary worship director Brian Morgan, along with other local Christian musicians.

Church member Stephanie Nicholson, Rwanda Task Force leader, is on her fifth trip to Rwanda. She helps TFUMC director of Missions and Discipleship Chris Goff, with the fine details of the trip.

When asked why she keeps going back to Rwanda, Nicholson said, “For me, it’s that I now have emotional attachments to these people.  They are my friends, but they are also like family”.

Nicholson added that the trip never feels long enough to finish all they set out to accomplish. 

“When you’re there 10 days, there’s a lot to process,” she said. “But the feeling you get when you leave is so powerful.  You’ve done so much, but you want to do so much more.”

On these mission trips, the group’s goal is to share God’s blessings with those whose lives were ravaged by the years of genocide in Rwanda. Emotionally, that’s accomplished by sharing in worship services at the Church of the Blessed Mango Tree, visiting with widows, praying with those in need and spending time with the students of Star School, a small school which sprang from the need to care for the many orphans left behind after the genocide decimated their families.  Because so many children were left homeless and without any adult supervision, World Hope stepped in to build small homes that house about six children each. TFUMC has built eight homes at Star School and Hope Village, a village created to house orphans of the genocide.  To foster positive growth and develop disciples in Rwanda, TFUMC began an initiative called Advent Revolution in which church members commit to spend less at Christmas and use the funds to support those in Rwanda.  Since its inception seven years ago, Advent Revolution has raised $20,000-$30,000 each Christmas, with the money being used to build homes for the orphans, rebuild a church, provide a well and provide school materials and scholarships for the students.

Nicholson says when the team goes to Rwanda it takes cooking supplies such as rice, salt, oil, candles and matches for the 15 houses in the Hope Village.  They also bring clothes, shoes, school supplies and even soccer balls for the children. Over the past two years, the church has been able to help sponsor a co-op for widows and young women to purchase sewing machines and teach them sewing or cooking skills so they would be able to create their own start-up businesses. Once able to work on their own, the women use a portion of their pay to continue to support the co-op.

The community is invited to help support this fundraising event for the exciting mission endeavor.  The trip will not be limited only to members of TFUMC, it will also include members from The Gathering, New Covenant, and Disciples of Jesus Ministries in Thomasville.  Tickets for “Music on A Mission” can be purchased in advance at Thomasville First United Methodist Church, 425 N. Broad St., or from mission team members Chris Goff, Nicholson, Jerilyn Falconer, Morgan Taylor, Ike Kent, Krystal Smith, Kellie Starlinand McKenzy Martin.

Tickets will also be available at the door the night of the concert.

For more information about the event or to make a donation, contact Goff at 226-0840.

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