When the members of First Baptist Church in Wallaceburg, Ont., launched a year-long outreach to celebrate the church’s 150th anniversary, they never imagined they would far exceed their fundraising goals.
“We weren’t thinking big enough,” says Kae Bushey, a member of the church’s missions and outreach committee. “But God had a better idea.”
In January, the church set a goal to raise $1,500 to support the CBM Chagas project in Bolivia. Four months later, the church had collected more than $8,000 in donations.“We wanted to [support] a project that wasn’t necessarily well-known,” says Pastor Brian Horrobin, who leads the 150-member church. The church raised enough money to protect 23 families from Chagas disease, a silent killer among the poor in Bolivia. The disease is transmitted by an insect that thrives in adobe walls and thatched roofs. Simple home renovations help to prevent the spread of this deadly disease.
The Chagas fundraiser was the last of a series of outreach initiatives following the church’s anniversary in 2016. Prior to this, Sunday School children collected more than 150 juice boxes and donated them to a local food bank. The missions and outreach committee donated 150 pairs of children’s socks and underwear to a homeless ministry. The women’s group donated more than 150 diapers to a ministry that helps babies in need. Church members also purchased 15 Walmart gift cards worth $10 each – then gave them to random shoppers. And the list goes on.