Southside Assembly of God in Garland,
Texas, went to great heights to raise $40,000 for missions. Senior
Pastor Randy Sims, church staff members and other supporters jumped
from an airplane to raise money for Speed
the Light, an organization that provides vehicles for missionaries
across the globe.
For some, the fund raising was the
easy part, compared to the jumping.
Jump for Jesus: Anita
Hampton, youth pastor, jumps from an airplane with her tandum instructor
in a Speed the Light fund-raiser.
"Youre gonna have to
push me out, because Im not gonna be able to jump on my own,"
Anita Hampton, youth pastor, nervously told her tandem instructor before
they jumped into the sweltering Independence Day Texas air.
Hampton and her husband, Keith,
were among 38 participants in the second annual "Jump for Jesus"
fund-raiser for Speed the Light.
Keith also expressed anxiety over
jumping from a plane. "I was so nervous, I locked the keys in the
church van." But both agree it was well worth the effort. Jumpers
came from 18 churches across the North Texas District as well as from
out of state.
Sims, a former missionary, came
up with the Jump for Jesus idea last year. "It gives smaller churches
the ability to participate in something big for missions."
The church hopes the annual fund-raiser
will continue to grow.
"We are already organizing
Jump for Jesus 2002 and hope to have up to 150 jumpers from the North
Texas Assemblies of God district," organizer Deena K. Ward says
of next years July 4 event. The goal is to raise $100,000 for
Speed the Light through the jump with assistance from corporate sponsorships
and other donations.