Since she was 15, Eagle Front Office Coordinator Payton Thomas has been making regular missionary trips to Africa with her family and other members of Life Church in Meridian.
That changed when the pandemic hit. Instead of visiting every six months, Payton and other supporters helped Lighthouse Ministry Worldwide send over $25,000 in relief funds for 22 villages across Uganda. It’s been an emotional time to be away from the community, but later this month Payton has the opportunity to return — and she’s getting a boost from her Fidelity National Title coworkers.
When Courier Rik Greathouse heard about Payton’s work and the extra costs associated with traveling safely, he asked other team members to support Payton’s trip through donations. She has received $1,500 so far, which will be put toward the total cost of $3,100.
“Never once did I think this opportunity would even be open,” she says. “Just having people hear about what’s happening is enough of a blessing! God has been super cool because He has blessed my trip. With COVID there has been more cost, but God is providing — it’s an overflow of one blessing rolling in after each other.”
Payton is scheduled to leave March 18 and return about 10 days later. While she is there, she and other missionaries will work on improvements to the school founded by Lighthouse Ministry Worldwide in partnership with Ugandan ministry Jericho Breakers International. Capstone School has grown over the past several years, and each new trip brings additions: the purchase of a seven-acre lot, doors and windows, and a well for clean water.
“The well, for them, is huge,” Payton says. “If there’s a well, you’ll see everyone come to the well. It’s not really about the well itself, it’s about the connections that happen at the well.” Through the pandemic the well provided water to the entire community, which was not only an opportunity for disease-free water but time for the community to stay connected.
Through Lighthouse Ministry Worldwide, Payton’s group of missionaries has been able to install electricity and provide hygiene supplies like toothbrushes. This time, they’ll be preaching at a few churches before heading to the village and seeing what community members need after dealing with a global pandemic for a year. Communication with the outside world has been limited by Uganda’s government, so the face-to-face time will be extra valuable.
“We’ll just be reconnecting with them and letting them know that we are still here for them,” Payton says. “We have an event planned at Capstone and will be hosting two one-day conferences.”
Payton’s trip will cost her about $2,000 to $3,000. She is accepting donations here, and you can learn more about her church’s 2019 trip here. If you have questions or would like to support the village by donating packable goods for kids like Frisbees, jump ropes, and uninflated soccer balls, please contact Payton directly.
You can also support Capstone’s Annual Golf Tournament at Spurwing Country Club; the next tournament is slated for September 20, 2021. Visit www.capstonegolftournament.com for more information on registration.