First Christian Church raises funds for mission trip through gameday parking

Kyle Phillips / The Transcript

Alli Laird takes money for gameday parking Saturday at First Christian Church.

Sooner fans filled the First Christian Church parking lot Saturday afternoon in preparation for the last home game.

The $10 parking fee didn't just get fans a parking spot, but the funds raised every game go towards the Christian Youth Fellowship's summer 2020 mission trip to Texas City, Texas for hurricane relief efforts.

This mission trip is one of five that the youth fellowship group will go on as part of a rotation that has gone on since 1989, said youth sponsor Chris Fourcade. In every five-year rotation the church's youth and adults go on mission trips that are local, one state away, two states away, on either coast and then the fifth year is an international trip.

Youth Minister Rev. Shannon Cook said the mission trips give young people an opportunity to get out of their comfort zones and be the presence of God for someone else. The youth that attend plan all of the mission trip events, and she said they learn new skills through living and working together for a week such as practical skills in construction, how to work as a team, fix meals together and worship together every night.

"Their eyes are opened to experiences different from their own, so it helps them see when they get back home what people are actually experiencing and ways that they might help people in their own community," Cook said.

Fourcade remembers when he was in sixth grade in 1989 the church went on its first mission trip to Mexico to put a roof on a church. The mission trips are an incredible experience, he said.

"It's amazing to watch, especially as a sponsor, the young people that we take see their lives change in helping people," Fourcade said. "And just seeing the light open as they give back all of the time and effort that they spend."

Alli Laird, 18, and Amber Laird, 16, both plan to go on the mission trip to Texas City, Texas. This will be the fourth mission trip for Alli, who has been to Chicago, New York and Oklahoma City and the third trip for Amber, who has been to Jamaica and Oklahoma City.

"We help so many people that it just depends on what we do in our day," Amber Laird said. "For our last one we remodeled this house, and then one day in Jamaica we laid the foundation of a house. We just help whoever we can."

The signups haven't started yet Cook said, but they will have about 30 youth and adults assist in the mission trip. The youth group consists of eighth through 12th graders.

The group does a few other fundraisers throughout the year depending on what their needs are for the trip, but Cook said the game day parking lot fundraisers are their main ones. Parking lot fundraisers are not uncommon during game days in Norman, but she said at First Christian Church they raise about $1,600 a game.

"It's a great fundraiser and we've made lots of relationships with people that park here regularly," Cook said. "We've formed friendships, and they have become like family because we see them every game and they park with us and want to support our kids. It's a great feeling."

The last vehicle rolled in at 4 p.m. Saturday filling the larger parking lot south of the church. The smaller parking lot and roundabout to the west of the church are reserved spots, but are also $10 a spot unless a fan opts for the full-season $100 spot that are held up to an hour before the game.

Katie Standlee

366-3544

Follow me @katiestandlee

kstandlee@normantranscript.com

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