LIVE OAK, Fla. (BP)–At age 10, Mallory Fernald may be small but her heart dreams big.
Mallory listened intently as her pastor was reminding church members that thousands of Haitians are still homeless from the January 2010 earthquake. Many are forced to live in tents or cardboard boxes.
“I felt sad and wanted to do something to help,” Mallory said after the sermon in early February.
That evening in a business meeting, her church, First Baptist in Live Oak, Fla., voted to participate in Rebuild Haiti, an effort to construct cement block homes for Haitian families. The cost of each home is $2,500.
Mallory’s dream began to take shape. She approached her mother, Leigh, and told her she wanted to have a bake sale with a goal of $1,500 toward building a home in Haiti.
Not wanting to discourage her young missions-minded daughter, her mother gave her the go-ahead.
“We had always told Mallory that living a life as a Christian is not about you,” Leigh said. “It’s about serving others and considering others better than yourself.”
Yet, while Leigh was thinking of a front-yard lemonade stand with limited proceeds, Mallory began putting a bigger dream into action.
Her pastor, Phillip Herrington, was amazed by her passion.
“Mallory has a very sensitive heart,” Herrington said, “especially to those in need. She knew in her heart what God wanted her to do. There was never a thought that ‘We can’t do this.’ With a child-like faith, she went after it and watched God do the rest.”
Mallory sat down and wrote a letter to Jeff Scott, a deacon at her church and owner of Cheek and Scott, a local drugstore. She told him her dream and asked if she could hold the bake sale on the sidewalk outside his store. Scott agreed.
“Mallory has an incredible faith for a 10-year-old,” Scott said. “She has grown up in the church, learning that she is part of fulfilling the Great Commission. I wanted to help her.”
Scott, who has personally been on numerous mission trips, said he saw the bake sale as “an opportunity to witness to our community.”
He not only gave her permission to set up her bake sale outside his store but also offered to match any funds she raised up to $750. He then helped her produce a video promoting the bake sale for Rebuild Haiti. After being posted on the drugstore’s website, the video found its way to YouTube. Facebook postings, a newspaper ad and numerous handmade posters also helped spread the word about the little girl with the big dream.
Response was almost immediate. Mallory began receiving donated baked goods for her sale. On the day before the sale, Mallory and her mother spent hours in the kitchen baking their own goodies to sell.
“We were baking up a storm!” Mallory said.
On Friday, March 25, Mallory and her mother set up four tables at the drugstore loaded with a variety of baked goods. Customers began streaming in, and the steady stream continued throughout the day.
Many customers told Mallory to “keep the change.” One even paid $100 for a pound cake, which amazed the 10-year-old.
At day’s end, Mallory and her mother were weary but eager to see the results. Mallory wrote what happened next on her blog:
“When we got home, my mom and I said a prayer thanking God for all the money given, for all the people who gave, and for the people of Haiti who need a home.
“We started counting and I couldn’t believe my eyes. There was $2,214.63! Amazing! Then I thought about the matching of $750 that Mr. Jeff promised from Cheek and Scott. So that made the total $2,994.63! Wow! That is going to build a home for a family in Haiti and start on a second home. This makes me so happy.”
Mallory’s mother is happy also — and still a little amazed.
“In my feeble mind, I failed to realize that God could do this,” Leigh said. “He took her idea and blessed it. Others have seen that God can use them to do big things.”
What’s next for the young missionary? Already, she is considering another fundraiser for Rebuild Haiti. She is thinking of calling her next venture “Build a House for a House” and asking participants to make a donation to build a gingerbread house, with all donations going to build a house in Haiti.
When she presented her check for Rebuild Haiti to John Sullivan, executive director-treasurer of the Florida Baptist Convention, on April 13, he also promised to personally match any additional funds she raises up to $750.
“If God can use even little old me,” Mallory said, “He can use anyone. With God, anything is possible.”
Margaret Dempsey-Colson is a freelance writer for the Florida Baptist Convention. For information on Southern Baptists’ “Rebuild Haiti” initiative, visit www.flbaptist.org or www.gobgr.org.