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Market to fund missions at Gainesville FUMC
Handmade items and cuisine on sale Sunday at church on Thompson Bridge Road
Nancy Johnson arranges handmade items from Uganda on a display table Monday morning at Gainesville First United Methodist Church in preparation for the church’s second annual Missions Market on Sunday.

Missions Market

What: Sale of handmade items and food to benefit missions ministries of Gainesville First United Methodist Church

When: 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Sunday

Where: Gainesville First UMC reception hall, 2780 Thompson Bridge Road

More info: or 770-536-2341

Members of Gainesville First United Methodist Church will depart today for Bolivia as part of a 16-person medical mission team. Church member Dr. Brennan Wood will lead the group.

On Sunday, the church will open its doors to the community to give more people the opportunity to play a role in similar missions.

Gainesville First UMC is hosting its second annual Missions Market from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Sunday in its reception hall, all while its 8:30 a.m., 9:30 a.m. and two 10:55 a.m. services are being held. All money raised will support the church’s missions efforts.

In addition to Bolivia, the church has a missions presence in Honduras, Romania, Serbia and Uganda. Honduras missionaries Reed Skinner and Mike and Karen Madsen will be at the market Sunday to share stories with customers about their work, giving patrons a firsthand look at what their financial support means.

Sally Darden, who is the chairwoman for the event, said the market is about “helping our brothers and sisters all over the world.”

Organizers designed the Missions Market to feel like an international bazaar, featuring handmade items from different countries as well as foreign cuisine. All items will be for sale.

The market will have jewelry made by Ugandan women. Darden noted the unique nature of the jewelry.

“It’s really lovely and different and unlike anything we’d seen in Gainesville,” she said.

Other items for sale include bright-colored lions, elephants and giraffes made from recycled flip-flops, as well as animals made from recycled soft drink cans. Baskets made from pine needles in Honduras also will be available.

The food will include sweets, baked items, soups, chili, casseroles, homemade breads, appetizers, Philly cheesesteaks and Alaskan salmon, Darden said. She said every food item sold last year, so arriving early is important in getting a taste of the cuisine.

Gift cards can be bought to support specific needs in the countries the church serves. For instance, a $10 gift card bought in honor of a friend or family member could buy shoes for someone in Honduras. Or a $25 gift card could cover a medical or dental visit for a woman rescued from human trafficking in Romania.

Terry Walton, senior pastor at Gainesville First UMC, said the market helps more people get involved in missions work because “not everybody can go on a mission team experience for a variety of reasons.”

Walton noted the market will have pieces of olive wood from Bethlehem after he led a trip to the Holy Land in February.

Darden said the idea for Missions Market arose from a desire  to go beyond the church’s budget for missions.

“We had a wonderful response last year,” Darden said.

The main goal for this year’s Missions Market is pretty simple.

“All that we raise goes to support our foreign missions,” Darden said. “So we hope to sell all our merchandise and culinary and be able to give back as much as possible.”

She emphasized the event isn’t just for church members. Darden hopes to see new faces in the market and the church’s services.

“We welcome the community,” Darden said. “We hope our Baptists, Presbyterians, Episcopals and other friends will come out.”

She is excited about the impact Sunday can have.

“As we’ve been saying a lot this year, every purchase impacts a life,” Darden said.

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