Two years ago during a children's service at New Life Church in Trumbull, Connecticut, 8-year-old Christine announced that she wanted to be a missionary. With much prayer, she made a promise to God that she would do all she could to help children around the world learn about Jesus.
Christine had always collected money in her Buddy Barrel and faithfully brought it to church every BGMC service to help support missions. But after her announcement, Christine felt she needed to do more than just collect change.
"Christine began by collecting empty bottles and cans [to raise money for BGMC]. As the word got out, people began bringing their cans by the bag loads to her," says Andy Patton, children's pastor. "She also began selling candy bars wrapped in BGMC stickers in the church foyer. Again the word got out, so people asked her for boxes of candy to sell in their offices and workplaces."
Funds were also raised from a bake sale that Christine and her mother held. Due to its popularity, they now take orders for themed baked goods for every major holiday — which generates hundreds of dollars in sales that goes directly towards BGMC.
"Christine has even been invited to other churches to set up a table to inform others about BGMC and their mission," says Patton. "These churches then took offerings for Christine to add to her monthly giving."
Last year, Christine set a goal to raise $1,500 for BGMC. After just six months, she was close to surpassing her goal, and by the end of the year, she had more than doubled it, according to Patton. More than $1,300 has been raised this year, with a goal to outgive last year's amount.
Christine, now 10, eagerly awaits her chance to take a missions trip. In the meantime, she continues to raise money for BGMC by selling candy and homemade duct tape accessories, recycling bottles and taking offerings at other churches.
"She does whatever she can to raise the money," Patton says. "Christine believes that the more money she can raise, the more kids BGMC can reach with the love of Jesus."