By Brandon Elrod
CLARKSVILLE — Pastor Larry Robertson of Hilldale Baptist Church, Clarksville, saw the young Maci Parker out of the corner of his eye, respectfully waiting to address her pastor.
“I excused myself from my conversation and kneeled down to say, ‘hey’ to her,” Robertson said. “She held up a little change holder, and I asked what she was giving to me. She simply said, ‘Annie Armstrong.’ ”
Maci, 6, was the first child in the church’s Mission Friends class to return the change holder each child had put together to raise money for the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American missions.
Maci raised $54 for the Annie offering.
North American Mission Board (NAMB) President Kevin Ezell noticed Maci’s story after Robertson shared it on social media.
“So many pastors and churches have shared their stories about the Annie Offering this year,” Ezell said. “But stories like Maci’s have an extra impact because you see that even the youngest among us can make a difference on the mission field.”
Maci made her parents, Aaron and Haley, proud with her heart for others.
“She came home a couple of weeks ago after Wednesday night service and class,” Haley said, “and Susie had taught them who Annie Armstrong was. She was excited to tell us about Annie and who Annie told others about, Jesus.”
Susie Yonkers teaches the Mission Friends class, an effort of Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU), at Hilldale and takes time to teach the church’s preschool students about missionaries who are serving across North America and around the world.
“Each week, we will talk about specific missionaries, where they’re stationed and learn what they do in their communities,” Yonkers said. “During Easter and Christmas, we talk about specific missionaries who did something great for the mission field, Annie Armstrong and Lottie Moon.”
During their class, Yonkers and the children made coin holders out of toilet paper rolls and encouraged the kids to perform acts of service to raise funds. Every time they did so, Yonkers also encouraged them to share that the money was for missionaries and to tell them about Jesus.
“It’s important for the smallest members of our churches to know they are a part of God’s big plan,” Yonkers said. “I’m always telling them that you don’t have to be a big person to tell someone about Jesus.”
Maci took that to heart, doing chores around the house and for other family members.
“She worked really hard,” Haley said. “I actually heard from one of the teachers at her school that she was also telling her friends about Annie Armstrong. So, it was very heartwarming for us. She wanted people to know who Annie Armstrong is and what it is that she did.”
Maci also blessed her pastor when she approached him with her offering.
“To see what’s happening with our younger generation is encouraging,” Robertson said.
“We’ve got so much negativity in the world, so many naysayers about the state of the church and all of that,” Robertson said, “but when stuff like this happens, I’m reminded that this is God’s church. He is the one sending out the laborers into the harvest.”
Maci’s story, Robertson said, reminds him that while human perspective is often short-term, God sees the bigger picture as well.
“God is thinking beyond our immediate needs when He talks about workers for the harvest,” Robertson said.
“He is thinking about the years and generations to come. That’s what I think about with a young girl like Maci. I think, ‘What will God do with someone like Maci?’”
Everything given to the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering goes to support and provide resources to missionaries serving in the field. For more information, visit anniearmstrong.com. B&R