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Mission of Hope

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Thrift store spreads Great Commission

Michele Roberts
For The Lancaster News
Whether you’re looking for a bargain or a place to donate gently used clothing and household goods, try God’s Attic Thrift Store in Heath Springs.
Located in the old health department building at 408 Main St., the store opened its doors in December 2010. Started by Clarence Stover, a member of Heath Springs Baptist Church, the store uses the money it raises selling donated items to fund missionary trips around the world and local missionary efforts as well. Four trips have been funded so far, with a fifth one in the works for this year.
“In the past year, we have been able to send missionaries to Belize, Bolivia, Ecuador and Cambodia,” Stover said. “And this year, I will be going back to Cambodia for two weeks in July.”
Stover said through the International Mission Board, he works with an orphanage in Cambodia, called Shelter of Love. While there last year, several Vacation Bible School type programs were started and Stover and other missionaries spent time with the children, getting to know them and understanding their needs.
“Because of that country’s history, there are a lot of orphanages there, and a lot of children who find themselves there because they have no family, no one to take care of them,” he said. “I’m really looking forward to this trip back, because I will be teaching the boys basic farming skills. Lynn (Baker) will be going to teach the girls sewing. They really are a sweet group of kids, and it is wonderful to be able to help them.”
Sharon Johnson, a member of Second Baptist Church in Lancaster, accompanied Stover on last year’s trip to Cambodia and said the experience was “amazing.”
“We met so many wonderful people, and all of them needed Jesus in their heart,” Johnson said.  “What is able to be accomplished with the proceeds from that store is incredible. I know I try to donate to them whenever I can, and it is awesome the way the community and the church back them up. They are able to completely fund most of their trips with the revenue from the store.”
One thing that helps the organization retain so much of the proceeds is that the building space is donated, and the only monthly expenses are the power and water bills.
“That was just a tremendous blessing,” Stover said. “When I approached Mr. (Snooks) Cauthen about renting the building for this purpose, he looked at me and said, ‘That’s a God thing, and I’m not getting in the way of it.’ It’s been a great help with keeping down expenses.”
God’s Attic is also helping a group from Flint Ridge Baptist Church raise money for a missionary trip to Ecuador this year.
“We have separate accounts set up for each trip,” Stover said. “And anyone is welcome to donate directly to either one, and it will be completely tax deductible.”
Stover says he hopes to be able to take an extended trip to the orphanage in Cambodia, because there is still much to be done.
“When I get there this time, not only will I be teaching the boys, but there are repairs to make to the orphanage building itself,” Stover said. “They have also started a preschool that teaches the children English, and I will be helping with some work that needs to be done there. I have been very lucky to be able to go different places around the world, sharing the message of Jesus Christ, and I’m going to keep doing it as long as the Lord will let me.”
God’s Attic is open on Friday from 2 to 7 p.m. and on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Clothing, shoes, household items, baby clothes, and baby items are welcome donations. For details on how to donate directly to the missionary funds, call Stover at (803) 804-3495.