A Trinity member makes a purchase at the youth bake sale.
This post was shared by GEO missionary, Andrew Jones. He serves as the Youth and Education Assistant at Trinity Lutheran Church in Frankfurt, Germany.
“Just before Christmas 2011, a donor came to me with an idea and 1000 euros. Inspired by a Thrivent initiative focused on the concept of “Pay It Forward”, the donor wanted Trinity members to multiple the money, for it to support outreach ministries connected to Trinity Lutheran in Frankfurt, Germany, for the project to have a specific end date, and for me to take the lead on the project.
“I was flooded with ideas and excitement about how Trinity Lutheran could Pay It Forward, growing this generous gift while supporting the community and sharing fellowship with each other. I wasn’t the only one with ideas. After announcing the project to the congregation, I heard dozens of brilliant ideas from the congregation. The excitement could not be contained but most people wanted to know which charities would be benefitting from this project.
“After meeting with some of the congregation’s leaders in stewardship and outreach, we found ourselves between wanting to support a local charity and wanting to support a global mission project. When somebody said, “Why not both?” I couldn’t agree more. The local charity we chose is known as the Lazarus Project, a Frankfurt initiative focused on helping the poor and homeless. The global charity we chose is the Lutheran Malaria Initiative, an organization focused on education about, the prevention of, and treatment for malaria, a disease that kills 1-million people each year.
“With the charities chosen, I set the project to run 100 days and the congregation got to work. I wanted people of every age to participate, so I distributed the money in the form of mini-grants to anybody who wanted to participate. Participants who led projects ranged in age from 6 to over 80.
“One family with culinary skills decided to sell soup after church for two Sundays. They requested 60 euros for ingredients and turned in well over 300 euros after two weeks of delicious soups. One artistic member donated intricately hand crafted Easter eggs that raised more than 150 euros. Some of the children in the congregation sold handmade bracelets and homemade dog biscuits. One gentlemen even gave up chocolate for Lent and donated the money he saved to the project. The youth of the congregation led a craft fair and bake sale with a competitive twist as the boys and girls faced off to see who could bake better tasting treats. To nobody’s surprise, the girls won in a landslide, but the bake sale produced more than 500 euros for the project. These are just a few examples of the wonderful ways Trinity’s members participated.
Trinity’s handbell ringers hosted a “movie soundtrack guessing game” to raise money for the Pay It Forward project.
“This Pay It Forward project ends on Pentecost Monday and our work has been fruitful, as the initial gift of 1000 euros has turned into nearly 3000 euros. I hope the concept doesn’t end when the project reaches its official end date. I can’t count how many brilliant ideas we didn’t try in the hundred days we had. I hope the people of Trinity Lutheran in Frankfurt stay inspired and continue these projects that have so powerfully connected the international community here.”