What can a just turned 15 year old boy do to stay involved when his mission experience gets cancelled because of a global pandemic? He can give away the funds that he had worked so hard for to the people he would have met this year in Livingston, Guatemala!!!
There are some really cool people involved in this story. Meet,
Paiden, a selfless 15 year old who lives in Canada.
Gavin, a committed long-term missionary from Ohio, serving in Guatemala.
A beautiful community of souls living off of the remote coast of Livingston.
Lots of Canadians who love to celebrate on the weekends.
When Paiden signed up for a second mission with Identify, he was excited about the new adventure that he would embark on. This time he would leave his immediate family at home and make new friends through his Identify family. He was engaged in team meetings and passionate about the jungle mission that he would soon be part of several countries south of his home in Canada! Needing funds for his travel and mission project, this young man began asking neighbors to hold on to their recyclables so that he could turn them in for money toward his mission. In just a few short months, Paiden gathered more aluminum cans than he could count and had raised over $700 towards his experience. But then, Covid19 hit and everything changed! When flights were cancelled and borders remained closed, Paiden found himself asking, "What should I do with the money that I raised?" Identify had offered to hold it for him until travel was open and safe again in 2021. This was definitely a valid and useful option.
Paiden's response ... "You know what? There is no reason for my money to sit in an account for an entire year when it could be used for something good right now! I have 12 more months to re-raise funds for my return. Let me give my money now, so that it can be used to help the people I would have met this year."
With this generosity, Identify got to work on finding a project that was as surprisingly kind and creative as Paiden is! We contacted Gavin, a friend and missionary who runs a fantastic sports ministry in Livingston. We knew that he sold pizzas as a way to make extra money to support his mission and his family. For just 60q ($8), he will make you a pizza and hand deliver it to your door by bicycle. Hills, scorching sun, and bumpy streets are no match for Gavin's determination. So, we combined Paiden's desire to do something good with Gavin's heart for his community and came up with #pizzaandprayer. We arranged surprise visits to some families that we knew and to many strangers and asked Gavin to simply knock on doors, deliver free pizza with a big smile, and pray with the families before departing!
WHAT A JOY THIS MISSION HAS BEEN! Despite a crisis and a time when we have wondered if or how we can best serve from afar, God has given us some very special moments of mission creativity, partnership, and effectiveness. We have been challenged to rethink missions and to empower our in-field friends in new ways. Because of Paiden's devotion and generosity, Gavin was able to support his family and connect with people who were hungry or needed a friend, the people of Livingston were blessed with food and prayer, and God is being glorified in new stories and moving moments!
So, here's to recyclables, young hearts, hard work, changed plans, willing friends, bicycles, surprise visits, pepperoni, and of course, Jesus.
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