When: 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Nov. 9
Where: Gainesville First United Methodist Church reception hall and library, 2780 Thompson Bridge Road, Gainesville
How much: Free
More info: www.gfumc.com
Residents of North Georgia will soon have the opportunity to go on a shopping trip around the world without even getting on a plane.
The inaugural Missions Market, hosted by Gainesville First United Methodist Church, will bring together goods from five countries — Serbia, Bolivia, Honduras, Romania and Uganda — as well as gourmet delicacies from church members. The items sold will raise money for the church’s mission efforts around the globe.
The Thompson Bridge Road church supports seven global missions in those countries, ranging from an orphanage in Honduras and a Christ-centered farm and school in Uganda to a series of churches in Serbia. Proceeds also will support families from the church who live in the countries permanently as missionaries and their support pastors’ salaries as well as Methodist churches in the areas.
A visit to a church in Atlanta inspired the GFUMC staff to organize the event, which will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Nov. 9 in the church’s reception hall and library.
“I believe a church should not be confined within its walls. It should reach outside to involve others and spread the love of Christ,” said John Vardeman, a Missions Market committee member, in an email. “The objective of Missions Market is twofold: to create awareness and provide monetary support to the missions supported by Gainesville First United Methodist Church.”
Wares on sale include handcrafted jewelry, pottery, blankets and more, many of which were crafted by the men and women from the countries the church supports. In fact, handcrafted baskets woven by the Tolupan tribe of Honduras and lounge pants from Uganda will be on display.
“(The pants) are printed and high-waisted, and they are really cute,” said Whitley Jones, the church’s building and communications administration assistant. “They’ll be a lot cheaper than what you would pay (elsewhere).”
“There are toys and stuff that’s geared toward little kids,” Jones continued. “They’ve got something for all ages.”
And while Missions Market’s culinary wares may be more domestic, they are no less varied.
Several church members have volunteered their cooking skills, recipes and even the results of their fishing trips for market patrons to purchase.
Brunswick stew, Santa Fe chili, peppermint patties and Philly cheesesteak are just some of the dishes concocted from church members’ recipes and sold to benefit the fundraising effort. One church member, Brad McAlister, will provide smoked salmon from his yearly fishing trip to Alaska.
Patrons can purchase gift cards for any amount from $5-$50, all of which will go toward a specific missionary need chosen by the purchaser.
While the event’s goal is to raise funds for the international missions, the church hopes to educate others about possibilities of mission work. Even in the Bible Belt, many have only been exposed to the idea of missionary work rather than the reality of it.
“We will have families here that have gone on mission trips to these countries,” Jones said. “You will get to hear about all those people who are actually a part of it. (As a church member) I see a lot of the background work and the information side of (missionary work), but people and families will be telling their stories and experiences of actually doing it.”
Missions Market is ultimately one more step toward fulfilling the Great Commission that propels Christians of all nationalities all around the globe.