Remember you can show love for India this weekend at annual garage sale

Published 8:30 am Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Do you love India? First Baptist Church does, as well as hundreds of other local residents.

First Baptist’s “I Love India Garage Sale” began in 2012, and has taken place each year since, with the exception of 2020. This year’s sale is Feb. 23-24.

All funds raised from the sales go to support Agape Outreach Mission India, run by Sam Varghese and his wife Jezy, local missionaries and natives of India.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Varghese is director of more than 50 bi-vocational pastors and their families, and churches in India through AOM. Proceeds from the sales help pastors pay medical expenses, housing costs, and meet other financial needs. Funds also will go to help build a children’s home — a project Varghese hopes will be completed in 2024.

“To me, it is a win-win for our community,” said sale organizer Carrie Sones. “It gives Brookhaven a chance to know somebody at First Baptist and to get a great bargain, so it’s a win for them, but it’s also a win for the many Christians in India who are being persecuted.”

Sones said she received a text from Jezy Varghese on Feb. 14 that a Methodist church near them in India was attacked that morning. She wouldn’t share photos of the attack with Sones because “it was brutal.”

“We want to encourage them,” Sones said. “We live freely in America, and they do not. So we need to send them encouragement through this love offering of shopping at the garage sale. It really is a love offering — you’re doing something for them, as well.”

Last year, more than $35,710 was raised through sales and donations.

“Our church members care about this mission in India so they give their items to be sold and they give their money as well,” Sones said.

Items available this year include lots of tools, sporting goods-type tools, toys, housewares, furniture, appliances, electronics, lamps, and “clothes, clothes, and more clothes for any age imaginable, men and women,” she said. “Pretty much anything, we have it.”

The sale will be in the First Baptist gym on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 23-24. For a $20 entry fee, early shoppers can have two hours of exclusive access to deals, 2-4 p.m. Friday. At 4 p.m., the entry fee drops to $10 per shopper. At 6 p.m., it drops again to $5. The sale will close Friday night at 8 p.m. On Saturday, the gym will be open from 6:30 a.m. until 11 a.m., with no entry fee.

No items can be delivered, so large-item bargain shoppers should come prepared to take furniture, appliances and such with them, Sones said. Everything has to be picked up by Saturday at 11 a.m.

Sones’ favorite Bible verse is Romans 1:16, which says the gospel is “the power of salvation” to “those who believe.”

“But if we don’t have pastors over there sharing the gospel, they don’t hear it,” she said. “So the pastors are there to spread the good news so that people can be saved. That’s the ultimate goal.”