Sign sales benefit mission trip
by Daniel Gaddy
Jan 30, 2011 | 1515 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
To raise funds for a mission trip to Guatemala, members of the Memorial Park Church of God in Jasper are selling signs that state, “Happy Valentine’s Day, My Love Lives Here.”

The 9 inch by 24 inch signs are placed on the front lawns of significant others, and buyers can also arrange a surprise delivery by the church members.

“It's a unique way for people to say, ‘I love you,’” said Chris Alexander, organizer of the fundraiser and director of youth ministries for the church.

Alexander said he found the idea for the project after researching online and reading about a Girl Scout troop that had success with a similar program.

Roslyn Haley, a volunteer for the fundraiser, said church members ordered 100 signs and still have more than 40 to sell. Alexander added that they can always order more, too.

Alexander said the volunteers are selling the signs in Walker, Fayette and Marion counties, and “pretty much as far as we can drive.”

Phillip Hardin, pastor of Memorial Park Church, said funds raised by the program will go to send eight members that will help the residents of Guatemala City.

Hardin said around 30,000 people in Guatemala City, the nation’s capitol, live near a 40-acre garbage dump in complete destitution.

According to the Center on Hemispheric Affairs, the dump is one of the largest and most toxic in Central America, and the people living near it, many of them children, face exposure to bio-hazardous materials like used syringes and animal carcasses. The area is also prone to landslides, and the council reported that eight adults and two children were killed by one in 2008 while plundering through a high-risk zone.

Hardin heard of the opportunity to help from a friend who returned from a mission trip to the city in December.

Alexander said organizers of the fundraiser hope to see continued interest in the project because there is a huge need in the area of Guatemala City.

He said the five adult and three youth missionaries are thrilled for the opportunity to help the people of the country and spread Christ's love.

“We're trying to find ways to put our faith in action,” he said.

Alexander said Hardin's motto for the congregation is “don't just go to church, but be the church.”

Hardin said the congregation's upcoming mission will be their first to Guatemala.

Haley said that, though the mission will likely involve construction projects or Bible schools, the workers from Memorial Park will meet with area churches in Guatemala City to find out how best to help the local residents.

“Whatever they need done, that’s what we’ll be doing for the week,” she said.

The church's signs sell for $5 each, or $7 to purchase a surprise delivery. Hardin said all of the proceeds go to fund the mission trip.

To purchase a Valentine’s Day sign, contact Haley at 205-924-9780.