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Meeting the Goal

Overcoming an injury, an Illinois teen finds God provides the funds for reaching an STL fundraising target.

Editor’s note: This is the last in a series of 20 PE News articles this year on people in the Assemblies of God under the age of 20 who are making an impact in their communities.

Several youth in the Assemblies of God are giving sacrificially to missions and donating out of their paychecks, including 17-year-old Elizabeth Mills of Sycamore, Illinois.

Elizabeth says she felt the Lord leading her to raise $2,000 for Speed the Light this year. She planned to put all her summer job earnings toward the cause, as well as money that relatives gave for her birthday. Even though an injury restricted some of her summer work, God honored Elizabeth’s hard work and faithfulness. She ended up collecting $2,600.

Initially, Elizabeth intended to drive a tractor for a local farmer. However, the job fell through after she suffered a concussion volunteering at a youth camp shortly before the job’s start date.

After recovering, Elizabeth took as many side jobs as she could, including working on a farm digging trenches and landscaping, as well as baby-sitting and washing windows. However, with the deadline to have pledges raised quickly approaching, she only had half of her goal met. That left Elizabeth feeling discouraged, according to her father, Pastor William Mills of Bethel Assembly of God.

So Elizabeth organized a 40-mile bike ride with friends from church to raise more money. Still, she needed an additional $500 to meet the commitment.

Then she ran into a family friend, and asked her if she’d like to help sponsor her. The friend donated $500, unaware of the amount Elizabeth still needed to meet her God goal.

“She got to see the equation of faith, hard work, sacrifice, and God’s provision all come together,” Williams says.

Other youth also are donating from their jobs. In 2016, a total of 34 teenagers in Illinois alone have given at least $1,000 toward Speed the Light. At least 20 of those youth gave from work they did themselves or from paychecks, rather than just asking for donations, estimates Eric Hoffman, student ministries director with the Illinois District of the Assemblies of God. Six children 12 and under in Illinois gave $1,000 or more to Boys and Girls Missionary Challenge, and some of them also worked for their money through chores and helping others.

The number of teens across our state that are sacrificially working for Speed the Light is amazing,” Hoffman says. “God has grabbed their heart in such a way that missions giving is now a part of their DNA. This is who they will be for the rest of their lives. Through this, they have a greater intimacy with God.”

Elizabeth has been raising money for missions since she was 6, when she first donated to BGMC. She says it’s one way she can share Jesus with others around the world, when she can’t physically be elsewhere herself.

“I’m going to do everything I can to send our missionaries because I know the Lord told us to go spread the gospel,” Elizabeth says.

Jennifer Pallikkathayil

Jennifer Pallikkathayil is a public relations professional from Columbia, Missouri, who loves sharing stories of the work God is doing in people’s lives. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Iowa State University.