Sunday school teacher creates fundraiser for mission trip
by Daniel Gaddy
Jan 10, 2011 | 1913 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Diane Smith, a Sunday school teacher at Hunter’s Chapel Holy Church of Christ, desperately wanted to join her church members who embarked on an annual mission to Honduras. However, she wasn’t able because of health problems, she said.

After praying about it, Smith devised of a way to help.

“I thought, ‘You can walk with a missionary without literally walking with a missionary,” she said.

Smith started a fundraiser in which donors contributed a dollar and had their names placed on paper flip-flops that decorated the church’s fellowship hall.

Smith said the project, called “Walk with a Missionary,” struck a nerve with many people. She said fundraisers for mission trips usually cost a lot of money, and there are many people who are aching to help but unable to pay more than a few dollars.

Smith said she remembered one woman who donated four dollars and told her, “thank you so much because this time I feel like I’m a part of it.”

The project started in September and has already raised $904 for the group’s missionary trips and services. And the line of paper flip-flops snakes around the doorways and bulletin boards of fellowship hall.

Smith said she set the fundraising goal at $100,000 before the mission group departs on June 3. It might be too lofty of an aspiration, she said. Regardless of the final amount, however, she said she is incredibly proud to have organized the project.

“It feels like I’ve accomplished something in life,” and “There’s going to be people whose lives are changed because I took an effort with this.”

Smith stressed that 100 percent of every “Walking with a Missionary” donation goes directly to helping those struggling in Honduras.

Dale Hyche, pastor of Hunter’s Chapel, said the church members involved with the Honduras mission are part of a group called, “It’s a God Thing,” which is associated with the Jasper-based Alabama Honduran Medical Education Network.

Hyche said the group has made five mission trips to Honduras in which they provide food, clothing medical care and ministry to the residents of the country.

He recalled one trip in which the group visited the Island of Utila in Honduras. The missionaries were there to offer eye exams and eye glasses.

He remembered seeing one woman in her 20s that was unable to read the first letter on the eye exam poster. Hyche said the doctor treating her was positive the group would not have a prescription strong enough for the woman in their inventory.

Hyche said he went into a room and began to search through the 3,200 pairs of glasses. He found one that matched, and the woman walked out of clinic able to read again.

“I believe in miracles,” Hyche said. “And I believe God had that one pair of glasses for that young lady.”

Hyche said many people are unable, for whatever reason, to go on a mission trip. However, with the “Walking with a Missionary” project, they can be a part of the effort, he said.

“I feel that they can get just as big of a blessing as those who go, knowing that they helped,” he said.

For more information about the “Walking with a Missionary” fundraiser, call Smith at 221-9741.