DOBSON — Surry Central senior Elliott Draughn’s senior project recently required the young Christian to coordinate the talents of friends, relatives and his church family to stage a benefit barbecue chicken meal. He said the effort will help fund education to fellow Christians in South Sudan.
Draughn, who is a member of Amazing Grace Baptist Church in Mount Airy, realized a need through meeting missionary Jeremy Holloway and his family who minister to the newly formed country.
“This was my first experience with planning a fundraiser,” said Draughn. “It was a learning experience. I learned a lot through this. The hardest part was planning the foods, amounts and where to get them from. The worst moment for me was the day before. That morning there was this moment when it all came together and I realized it would work.”
Draughn said his pastor, Johnathan Barker, serves on the church board of directors for Prayer Baptist Missions International, an organization which helps local churches aid missions to global communities. The idea of using a meal to raise the money came directly from Draughn’s fellowship with other church members and seemed a natural enough way to go about raising money to help Holloway’s family. Many things seemed to fall in place down the home stretch for the teen.
For instance, the meal was cooked at State Road Volunteer Fire Department, which is near Draughn’s grandparents, Grant and Nelta Thayer’s church, Mount Pleasant Baptist Church, which was where the meals were served and assembled for takeout. Draughn said a total of $2,100 was raised to help the missionaries. The menu included barbecue chicken, cole slaw, baked beans and rolls. Desserts for the meal were donated by Draughn’s family and from the ladies of the church.
He said businesses including Mount Airy Walmart 1039 and Lowe’s Hardware in Mount Airy helped with discounts and donations to his effort. A large motivator for Draughn was to continue the fellowship and support he has felt through his church and family. Draughn said he was impressed to learn through the Holloway family the African country of Sudan has split this year into two countries. South Sudan has declared itself a Christian nation with English as the national language. North Sudan declared itself a Muslim nation.
Draughn said Jeremy Holloway and his family left for South Sudan March 12 to stay a few weeks and minister to Christians in that country with the ultimate goal to move there by January of 2014. He said it is a great feeling to be able to raise money so Holloway and his family can teach the South Sudanese about the Gospel, God and the Holy Bible. He said part of the ongoing mission also will be to teach English.
“They (the Sudanese) want to learn,” said Draughn. “They’re accepting and excited about what Jeremy and his family are doing. They want someone to guide them. It’s a country that has had big changes and it’s a big deal for them.”
Draughn could not stress enough from the first steps he took in this project he knew he couldn’t do it alone. He explained how he reached out and is humbled by the response from friends, family and businesses. He is especially grateful for how many church members stepped up to help.
“One lady in my church spent two days cooking eight cakes for me,” said Draughn. “They were all good. They went really fast.” Draughn said cooking the meal and prep began at 5 a.m. and clean up was at 6 p.m. that same evening.
He said he has always been active in his church which has a history of supporting missions and is helping with 50 ministries. Draughn said one day he wants to go on a mission trip. Holloway’s family include his wife, Kelly, and the couple’s two children, Grace and Emma.
“I am so grateful for all the support. Both my parents helped me a lot and also we were all helped by God because through him we can do anything, “said Draughn. “It is so important that all of this work is for his (God’s) work and not my own personal gratification.”
The teen’s next task is to polish his multi-media presentation that will be presented in front of four panelists who will decide if his efforts in the project meet the graduation requirement.
Draughn said he plans on majoring in biology and would like to go to High Point University and hopes to qualify for pre-medical studies in pathology and clinical research. He freely admitted scholarships will decide that path. He said he already has been accepted to High Point, Campbell and Wingate University.
Reach David Broyles at email@example.com or 719-1952.