Children’s book to raise money for disaster relief

Published 4:55 pm Friday, October 13, 2017

A group of children were given one sentence; and with it, they published a book.

Fifteen first through fifth graders in the Jesus And More children group at First United Methodist Church wrote and published their very own book, “One Rainy Day I Took Jesus to School With Me.”

“It’s a trip. It’s really just imagination. … It’s a story that can be enjoyed just as much by a non-Christian. It’s universal in that sense. It takes an interesting little twist and shows that Jesus can be in anybody. You can see Jesus in anybody,” said Scott Wilkinson, associate pastor of FUMC.

Wilkinson said they decided to sell the book on Sundays, and once completed, he ordered 110 books. They were completely sold out on the first day. He said the church is planning to order another batch, depending on demand. What started as just giving children the first line of a book transformed into a six-month creative process of writing, drawing and coloring — and something Wilkinson said the children took extremely seriously.

“One of the kids said ‘We’ll make a million dollars!’ And I said, ‘Well, let’s make the first million go to missions,’” Wilkinson laughed.

Wilkinson said when the book started to come to fruition, he sat down the children and explained many different options for donating the funds, and they collectively decided to donate the funds to the United Methodist Committee on Relief, the United Methodist Church disaster response teams, and the money will go toward hurricane and tornado relief efforts around the world.

They decided to donate the money to hurricane and tornado reliefs last year, months before hurricanes like Harvey, Irma and Maria devastated thousands.

“The funny irony of it, is that the book almost didn’t arrive for the Sunday reveal. It was late … because of hurricanes,” Wilkinson laughed.

Drew Ellis, director of youth and children ministry at FUMC, recently took over the position at the church. He said it was refreshing to see the smiles on children’s faces as they sold the books and signed autographs on the Sunday reveal.

He said the children already have a huge desire to support different missions, and he’s excited to continue his work for them.

“Well, I have a huge heart for missions. Just seeing that they were so excited about missions even before I got here, it makes my job a little bit easier,” Ellis said.

The book can be purchased from First United Methodist Church by calling 252-946-3311 in mid-November.