The Christmas season and spirit helped Mountainside Community Church encourage the community of Fernie to give back to local and global causes. Over the month of December, the church was successful in raising over $20,000 to go towards three major projects.
“Every year we look for a project that we can get behind where we can collectively leverage our resources to do something that really makes a life and death difference,” commented Pastor Shawn Barden. “The challenge we put out is if every person in our church bought one less gift that nobody really cares about, that nobody needs, and we collectively pooled that money, then we could literally change lives.”
The main project this year was helping out a hospital in Shikarpur, Pakistan that serves women and children.
“In that culture, women are really under represented medically because normally men are not allowed to examine and treat women,” explained Barden. “So they can only be seen by women physicians and in that culture there’s not nearly as many women physicians.”
The goal was to raise $10,000 for the Shikarpur Christian Hospital, and a whopping $15,000 came in.
Mountainside is also assisting a local family in the process of adopting a child with downs syndrome from Bulgaria.
“We have a family in our church, Corey and Christine Carlson,” explained Barden. “They felt really strongly that they had a home and a family that could really change the life of a little girl from Bulgaria.”
“The cost is around $40,000, so it’s a huge deal,” he added. “We heard about this, and they’ve been sacrificing and raising money and had raised a little bit more than half.
We wanted to get behind them and so we had our kids do a bunch of art projects that we auctioned off, and we were able to raise over $4,000 to give to them.”
The church’s third project is sending a team to El Salvador at the end of January to build houses. Mountainside raised enough money to fund one of the houses the team will be building.
“This Christmas, this little church gave women and kids in Pakistan a chance to get the medical treatment that they need, there’s a family from Fernie that is closer to changing the world of a little girl from Bulgaria, and there are people in El Salvador who are going to have a new home,” said Barden. “I just think that’s really, really great. The giving far surpassed what we thought, but it just shows we have a really generous congregation.”