Deena C. Bouknight – Contributing Writer
Last Sunday, Discover Church hosted its third annual I Love My Town Christmas, which gives people an opportunity to give to mission efforts in Haiti and Honduras, purchase gifts for area foster children and children of incarcerated parents through Angel Tree, and donate to other organizations such as Celebrate Recovery Kids. Lead Pastor Ben Windle spoke to crowds at three services, beginning at 8:30 a.m., about how a recent study showed Americans are 40 percent less compassionate and generous than they were 30 years ago.
“This is your chance to show compassion … to act,” he said. “Acting is more than a click or a share. My hope is that I Love My Town Christmas will start a culture of giving and compassion in your homes and in your communities.”
Jordan Myers, who is obtaining her master’s degree in social work, volunteered to help at an information table through all three services at Discover Church. She explained why.
“When I was in foster care I got a big black trash bag full of things I wanted and needed. So this is important so that kids get something that they want. It makes them feel loved,” said Myers.
Marcia Pyatt and her husband, Danny, have been taking medical teams to Honduras since 2004. “We take medical supplies to run clinics in different areas of Honduras. This is the third year we’ve had a Honduras tree. Money raised will go to buy medical supplies for the November 2020 medical trip, which anyone in the community can participate in. Anyone who feels led to go … medical specialists or anyone who is non-medical. God chooses our teams, we don’t. “
As she hosted an information table and donation tree on Dec. 1 she said, “I think I Love My Town is a wonderful opportunity for our church to enable people to be involved with sharing love at Christmas … a lot of people would not have an opportunity to give, to know where or how to give.”
Also responsible for decorating a mission tree was Macon Middle School teacher Annie Hornsby, whose daughter Molly Hornsby, a native of Franklin, has been a missionary in Honduras’ capital since 2013. She explained that all donations from the tree will help equip children in need with school supplies, sports equipment, bus fares, and after-school meals.
This is the first year I Love My Town Christmas has included a Haiti tree. Donations assist HIS Home for Children in Haiti, as well as multiple efforts through Love Him Love Them. A mission team, led by Discover Church, visits Haiti each spring to take clothing and other supplies and to assist where needed at HIS Home for Children and in other areas.
Windle said I Love My Town Christmas involves partnering with many.
“There are 289 children represented here today,” he said on December 1. “Places like Huddle House donated gifts for six children. This is a community event, not just a Discover event. There are plenty of needs to go around.”
Rachel Marshall, who organized I Love My Town Christmas with Julie Adams, said Coweeta Lab sponsored a child as well. “This year involves the most foster children we’ve had, but also the most support. But even the tags that don’t get taken, we purchase gifts for them so that no child goes without.”
Marshall said that anyone who is interested in assisting foster children in Macon County can donate for ongoing efforts through Discover Church, and Windle added that future Christmas donations to Discover – for missions and other efforts – simply need to be specified on checks or in the comment box through online giving.
Discover Church also hosts an I Love My Town in the spring, during which time targeted needs are met with action. Such projects in the past have included landscaping, painting, general clean up, construction, meals, and more at area charities, schools, and organizations in need.