“Each time I see that gold purse come out, I know I am going to hear some good news about what is happening in Thailand,” whispered a woman, as Debbie Hinton, a member of Dennie Memorial UMC stepped up to the microphone with the familiar gold change purse in her hand.
In July 2010, the members of Dennie Memorial started reading the weekly blog from Mike and Sherri Morrissey, our UMC missionaries in Thailand. We are a small church, but we are doing a big work with our Thailand Update. Each week as the blog is read, or at least highlights from it, a request for our “Dennie Dollar” is made and the gold change purse is passed around.
We initially came up with the idea through conversations with a couple of different people.
We heard of a church in Owensboro that that collects “The Dollar Offering” after the regular tithe has been collected. Everyone sitting in the pew that morning is asked to place one dollar in the basket as it is passed. Those dollars are used to help someone in need with a medical bill, a utility bill, or to buy food. They are a big church with approximately 2000 members present each week for worship, so sometimes they will help more than one family. In comparison, we have an average attendance of 35-40 in worship on Sunday morning.
We also heard about the Gideons organization, which collects “F” dollars over the course of a year to turn in for purchasing Bibles and New Testaments to be distributed all over the world. The “F” is located in a circle on the left side of George Washington’s face. We at Dennie decided to start looking for “T” (for Thailand) dollars. We did not find any, but we found plenty of “D” dollars that we quickly declared “Dennie Dollars.” We then began asking our members to sacrifice one soft drink, a cup of coffee, or a bottled water to give their “Dennie Dollar” to the Thailand Methodist Mission.
Since we never found a “T” on a single dollar, I asked my brother-in-law who works for the US Treasury Department about the letters. He said that there is no “T”; only 12 letters, A-L.
With this new found discovery, we at Dennie Memorial UMC, adopted a new meaning for each letter: A – Availability Dollar, B – Blessing Home Dollar, C – Christ Dollar, D – Dennie Dollar, E – Eternal Dollar, F – Faith Dollar, G – God’s Dollar, H – Holy Dollar, I – Inspired Dollar, J- Jesus Dollar, K- Kingdom Dollar, and L – Love Dollar.
The members of the church have responded well to this challenge and have been giving sacrificially. Sometimes they give more than one dollar. That offering in the gold change purse has now turned into a monthly gift for the Thailand Methodist Mission of an average of $130-$150. One dollar does not seem like much, but when added to the dollars of others, it makes a big difference. We would like to challenge other churches to consider doing the same, especially if they are not already supporting TMM or some other mission outside of the church walls. One little gold-sequined change purse can really change lives.