Washington, USA

Grace and the 3,739-Mile Mission

Learn how a 9-year-old brings a heart for global missions to her church on Compassion Sunday.

When the adults in her life describe 9-year-old Grace Farrell, they use words like “strong,” “determined” and “fearless.”

But the one word that crops up, over and over, from everyone from her teachers to her pastor to her parents, is “passionate.”

It takes a special kind of passion to inspire a fourth-grader to pick up a Compassion Sunday packet off the kitchen counter of her family home and say, “I want to do this.”

It takes a special kind of parent to say, “You can do that.”

“I’ve prayed for her for a long time, that God will use her to do amazing things,” says Grace’s dad, Justin.

And it takes a special kind of church to say, “We’ll support you.”

Kathy Braafladt is the co-pastor at Messiah Lutheran Church, where the Farrells attend. “It was a no-brainer to say, ‘Yes, we’re going to help you in any way to make this happen.’”

At Messiah Lutheran, the congregation has adopted the “one-mile mission” – a focus on ministering to children at schools within a one-mile radius of the church. The church has provided school supplies, clothes and back-to-school activities for children in their figurative backyard. It’s a ministry that the Farrells participate in and are passionate about.

The Farrell family sponsors two children, but Grace has an especially strong connection with Gabriela, a 9-year-old in El Salvador. Gabriela became the center of Grace’s Compassion Sunday presentation.

“So, we have the one-mile mission at Messiah,” said Grace at her Compassion Sunday event. Behind her, a picture of Gabriela appeared, with a map of El Salvador. “At my house we have the 3,739-mile mission.”

After her presentation, Grace stood behind a table scattered with child packets, ready to help others expand their mission radius. “Look at this one,” she told a woman in a choir robe. “He would be just perfect for you!”

At the end of the weekend, 26 children had been sponsored. Twenty-six people began their sponsorship journey.

All because one 9-year-old believed in the importance of serving others.

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