11-year-old Issues Challenge to Support Missions

Eleven-year-old Abby* donated money she’d saved for a beach trip to the International Mission Board to help with a shortfall due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Her generosity is being matched by people around the world after her parents challenged others to give. Submitted photo

EAST ASIA (BP) — It didn’t seem like much — just $32.20 — but it was all this 11-year-old had. The small stash represented six months of household chores and errands, not to mention the self-discipline needed to save instead of spending it on treats.

The more Abby* thought about the money, the more her heart prodded her to pull it from its secret hiding place. She counted it one last time, then took all of it to her parents, who were still sitting at the table after family devotions.

The family of seven had just finished praying about an estimated $4 million shortfall at the IMB related to the COVID-19 pandemic. IMB president Paul Chitwood announced that the impact resulted in a shortfall of giving just as the agency needed to evacuate and relocate many personnel due to a variety of pandemic-related reasons, including “expiring visas, closed borders and special health or family circumstances.” Some were required to leave everything behind and start a new life in another harvest field.

Abby’s family prayed that God would provide for the 3,000-plus Christian workers — like their own family in East Asia — sharing the light of Jesus around the world.

“I know it probably won’t help much, but I don’t need it for the beach anymore,” the 11-year-old said, laying the $32.20 on the table. Like almost everyone else around the world, her vacation plans with grandparents back in the United States were canceled. “I want to gift it [to the IMB] … to help.”

Her mother wasn’t surprised that her generous and soft-hearted child wanted to share what she had with others. But when Abby hung her head, as if embarrassed that the gift wasn’t big enough to make an impact, the parents jumped into action.

“What if it’s not just you giving?” her parents asked.

They each pledged to match the gift, giving a total of $96.60 to the IMB. The family went one step further and took to social media, issuing “Challenge 32” to their friends and family. Abby shyly explained that they dropped the 20 cents in the challenge because “32 sounded better than 32.20.”

So far, 108 people have pledged to donate $32 to the IMB. At face value, Abby’s gift has multiplied to almost $3,500 but many of those donating gifted $32 for each person in their family. One fellow Christian worker donated based on every child on his ministry team — 15. Even the IMB president accepted the challenge.

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Source: Baptist Press