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Inside vacuum cleaner bags, they find coins for missions

BEECH ISLAND, S.C. (BP)–“Missions is more important than eating,” said Mable McRae. Although she has never been out of the country, McRae, 80, describes missions as her life’s work. To that end, she and her husband, Ed, collect mission money in a most unusual way.
Their son, Jerry, uses high-powered vacuum cleaners in his business. In the bags of debris from cars and offices can often be found a few cents in spare change that someone has accidentally lost in the cleaning process.
Sitting beneath an aluminum shed next to their modest home, Mable and Ed sift through the dirty piles as if they were panning for gold.
Few people would consider taking the time to sift through dusty trash to find pennies, dimes and nickels, but the McRaes, assisted by another son, Earl, have made it a practice — for missions.
“This spring, the money goes to the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering,” Mable told a visitor this spring, showing off her coffee can with coins.
But little did she know that a tragedy would keep her from coming to her church, Second Baptist, Beech Island, S.C., the following Sunday with her offering.
Her daughter, Peggy, lives next door. One of her two sons was driving home late one Friday night after watching movies at a girlfriend’s house. Alan fell asleep at the wheel and crashed into an embankment, killing him instantly. For Mable, the 26-year-old was not only a grandson but also a “fishin’ buddy” who would cast a line into any old pond for the chance to catch a fish. Thankfully, Alan was a Christian.
Sometime that afternoon at Peggy’s home, Mable came over to her pastor, Craig Bailey, and said, “I don’t think I’ll be able to put this in the offering tomorrow. Would you do it for me?”
Into Bailey’s hands she placed an envelope with the familiar artwork of the Easter offering for North American missions. Inside was $81.50. Not in change, for they had cleaned up the money, taken it to the bank and exchanged it for bills. The next day at church, the congregation heard how Ed and Mable has sent their special gift to missions even in their time of grief.
“Some folks might not want to dig through this stuff for missions money, but I think we all are responsible to go or support the ones that do,” Mable reflected on her digging through the leftovers of others for the sake of missions.