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Church Hosts Community Fun Day, Benefits BGMC and F.R.E.E. International

CenterPointe AG put on a community event that offered free activities for kids, while also raising funds to help end human trafficking.
“Missions is embedded in our kids,” states Sara Rushing, CenterPointe Assembly of God children’s pastor. So, when Rushing proposed the church host a Community Fun Day to benefit BGMC (Boys and Girls Missionary Challenge) with the funds being allocated to F.R.E.E. International and its Say Something School Assemblies, kids, parents, and leaders excitedly approved.

Hundreds of Mobile, Alabama, community members attended the inaugural Community Fun Day as it offered numerous free events for community members to enjoy, including a kids area with five inflatables, obstacle courses, face painting, an axe-throwing venue, a car show with 30 classic cars, 30 vendors — including kids selling items to help raise funds for BGMC — and even the SWAT team came and interacted with guests along with a fire truck for kids to explore.

“The event was a great success,” Rushing says. “Our church is located near a poverty-stricken area, so we wanted to make sure that all the activities were free for the kids to enjoy. The food trucks did charge for food items, but they were very generous in giving out free samples to kids.”

During the Community Fun Day, Rushing says that she saw vendors and church staff praying with community members. Then, on Sunday, Rushing says she noticed many new faces in the service — people who had attended the Community Fun Day.

The event raised more than $2,500 for BGMC and F.R.E.E. International, which is a U.S. Missions ministry working to end human trafficking in the United States. The Say Something School Assemblies, led by U.S. missionary with Intercultural Ministries Jody Dyess and his wife, Wendy, not only help students to “recognize and respond to issues that threaten their futures,” but provide them with hope and guidance toward a brighter tomorrow.

However, what brought the effort full circle was when Jody Dyess spoke in the Sunday service.

“The kids love doing things for BGMC,” Rushing says. “But Sunday, they were excited to get to see and hear firsthand where the funds they worked so hard to raise will go and who it helps. It’s a real time of learning and growing for them.”

Rushing says there are about 20 kids in the children’s program, while the church itself sees between 120 and 150 attending on Sunday mornings.

“I challenge the kids to be the hands and feet of Jesus, not just asking for money, but to work for their BGMC money,” Rushing says. “Among other things, kids dug flower beds, made hand-stamped metal and string bracelets, raised support through archery scores, ran a lemonade stand, and we even had a kindergartner make and sell paper airplanes for BGMC.”

Grant, who is 5, says he likes raising money for BGMC to help other people. “It makes Jesus happy,” he says.

“I like raising a bunch of money for other kids and to help missionaries around the world purchase things they need,” says Karter, age 10. “It makes me feel good because I’m helping missionaries and others all over the world.”

Anistyn, age 8, also enjoys participating in the fundraisers for BGMC and helping missionaries purchase the things they need. “It makes me feel good because I know it’s (the money) going to a good place,” she says.

Rushing says that in addition to impacting the kids in the church and families in the community, the event enabled the church to connect with community members — many who they met for the first time.

“We got to interact more with our community than any event we’ve done before,” she says. “I can hardly wait to do this again!”

Dan Van Veen

Dan Van Veen is news editor of AG News. Prior to transitioning to AG News in 2001, Van Veen served as managing editor of AG U.S. Missions American Horizon magazine for five years. He attends Central Assembly of God in Springfield, Missouri, where he and his wife, Lori, teach preschool Sunday School and 4- and 5-year-old Rainbows boys and girls on Wednesdays.