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Stewart puts service above self

By Leigh Anne Butler

After Macey Belle Stewart, a nine-year-old Tallassee resident, watched a video at her church about a young girl who had raised money to aid with mission work, she had an idea. 

“I knew I could raise even more money (than the girl in the video),” said Macey Belle.  “When my Mom asked me what I wanted to do for my birthday, I told her I wanted to build a church.”

Macey Belle’s mother, Joely Stewart, contacted their church, First Baptist in Tallassee, to find out if they had any mission trips planned.  Macey Belle and Joely were excited when they found the church had a mission team traveling to Whitefish, Montana in June.  That’s when the idea of Macey Belle’s Birthday Mission was born.

Macey Belle decided she didn’t want gifts for her birthday this year.  Instead she asked friends and family to donate money to the mission work of Chris and Kim Baker as they engage in trying to build a church in Whitefish, Montana.

“People thought it was a great idea and have been very supportive,” stated Macey Belle.

The Bakers are originally from Alabama and are now living in Whitefish doing mission work and are in the process of trying to build a church.

The Bakers (left to right): Kim, Samuel, Chris and Andrew

“Whitefish is a desperately dark place.  Though it is surrounded by beautiful mountains and lakes, only three percent of its residents claim to know Jesus,”  stated Baker.  “In the past 20 years there have been two other attempts to plant a new church in Whitefish, both have failed.  At this time we are meeting with neighbors and building relationships with community leaders and asking God to open doors for us in the community and the hearts of the people.”

To this point, Macey Belle has raised $445 to aid the Baker’s in their efforts to build a new church.  “Several people have asked if they can still give.  The answer is yes, through First Baptist in Tallassee,” added Macey Belle. 

On Macey Belle’s ninth birthday, she explained, “We had dinner with my family at Cozumel and I had Gigi’s cupcakes.  I would like to have gotten an American Girl doll for my birthday, but I do not need one.  I already have dolls so I wanted the money to go to missions.”

“We are really proud of her!  She is not only sharing the vision of the church, she is on point,” Derek Gentle, pastor of First Baptist in Tallassee, enthusiastically added.

Macey Belle will be a fourth grade student at Tallassee Elementary School this fall.  “I am excited for school and getting to see all my friends,” she added.  She enjoys participating on the Tallassee Tiger Sharks swim team, dancing, basketball and softball.  Macey Belle is active in the children’s ministry at First Baptist, where she is involved with children’s choir, Children’s Church, kids camps and Vacation Bible School.

“We are very proud of her,” Joely said.  “I pray she always has such a big heart.”

Donations can be made to First Baptist Church, 1279 Friendship Road, Tallassee, AL 36078.  Please make a note with any donation that it is for Macey’s Birthday Mission.

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