It’s a story seldom heard over the airwaves: Preteens giving 60-70 hours of their time in one month to change lives across an entire nation. Creative sisters Macie, 11, and Alex Gunn, 9, members of First Kids at the Cypress Campus of Houston’s First, found a way to share the Good News with people on the other side of the world while spreading a little Christmas cheer close to home.
Each Sunday and Wednesday during the month of October, the Children’s Ministry at all campuses took up an offering for Every Village, a ministry partner of Houston's First that gives free solar-powered radios to residents in villages throughout South Sudan. The initiative, Radio 10, broadcasts God’s Word, news, community development education, and other essential information that reaches approximately 15 villagers for every radio distributed.
“Here, we have Bibles in our homes so w can learn the Word of God,” said Kristina Gunn, the girls’ mother, “but most people in South Sudan villages can’t read. The girls made Christmas ornaments and gift tags to raise money for radios so villagers can hear the Gospel in their own language.”
The literacy rate in South Sudan is less than 30 percent, which makes radios an excellent information tool for village residents. The goal for Every Village’s Radio 10 ministry this year is to distribute 7,500 handheld radios, which could have an impact on tens of thousands in South Sudan.
“We’re so proud of the girls,” said Kristina. “‘What are we going to do this year?’ was their question when they began mulling over ideas to earn money for radios. The girls were the catalyst behind the project.”
The girls began crafting in October, giving up TV time and other activities so they could concentrate on creating this year’s project. The girls sold handmade bracelets last year for the cause, buying 18 radios after setting an initial target of nine. This year, they brainstormed with their mom, dad, John Gunn, IT director at Houston’s First, and older sister, Madison. They landed on the idea of creating ornaments, a sentimental holiday favorite, from special clay. They rolled out, baked and embossed them with intricate designs, many that included the current year and the ministry name, Every Village.
Macie and Alex produced more than 400 of the beautiful Christmas ornaments and a wide assortment of handmade gift tags that will adorn trees and presents in many Cypress-area homes, and beyond, this season. Through word-of-mouth advertising, the items sold like wildfire — not only in Houston, but also to out-of-town relatives who, in turn, gave them to friends and neighbors. By the end of October, the girls had donated $1,000, which purchased 50 radios for the South Sudanese, far exceeding last year’s goal.
“The way their faces lit up when they found they had earned a radio!” said Kristina. “They both have a missionary spirit.”
Love for missions is foundational at Houston’s First. With 20 mission trips set for 2016, children and adults alike are being discipled to spread the Gospel in many different ways and in different settings around the world, from the Middle East to San Francisco’s Bay Area. There are many ways to participate in missions, and as Macie and Alex have shown, they are making a difference in the lives of South Sudanese while working in the comfort of their own kitchen.
“The girls worked hard,” said John, “and providing radios to Every Village allows the girls to see that every dollar they raise makes a tangible impact on people hearing the Gospel.”
“I feel like I’m doing something good,” said Macie. Alex agrees. “It does feel good to share the Gospel with the help of family and friends,” she said.
Learn more about the 2016 mission trip locations and how you can share the Good News across the country or around the world on our Missions page. Complete the Mission Trip Interest Form to take the first step toward being a differencemaker on our national or international teams.