MOODY – What began as a series of pranks has turned into a story about one church’s generosity. Or, as Joel Davis puts it …

"It’s more than a story about toilets."

The youth minister at Moody’s First Baptist Church says the unusual fundraiser was actually the brainchild of Ministries Assistant Melissa Whitfield, and began in October.

"The toilets were left over from a game we were playing (with the youth), and they somehow ended up at our pastor’s house," Davis said. "The next morning, they somehow ended up – one was at my house, and the other was on my desk.

"Then they wound up at another member’s house, this time with flowers planted in them. Everybody thought it was funny."

That is when Whitfield suggested an unusual idea.

"What if we asked people to make a donation to send it to somebody’s house?" she said.

The idea took off, and the waste receptacles suddenly began appearing in various driveways around Moody with the following note attached: "YOU HAVE BEEN THRONED!!!! … Now it’s your turn! You can have these beautiful thrones sent (to) a friend or relative in the surrounding area. All you have to do is call First Baptist Church of Moody, 640-5328 or 420-8648, make a donation to the Youth Winter Retreat Fund, and we will pick them up and take them to the house of your choice."

Immediately, the fundraiser became the talk of the FBC family, and Davis estimates that approximately 25 different church members have received the unusual present since the beginning of November.

"On Sunday mornings, there’s a conversation going on about who’s got the toilets," Davis said. "If I make a quick trip to the grocery store or the bank, I heard about the toilets, too."

Davis points out that the church did not require a donation or payment to remove the yard decorations, but the idea spread anyway.

"We’ve raised over $2,000 with this particular fundraiser," he said. "With our spaghetti lunch that we had, we raised another $1,000.

"Because of this, we’re going to be able to send 34 students to a retreat at Pigeon Forge in December, at less than $30 per student. This is really a story about the generosity of a church, investing in the lives of these students. It’s fun and silly, but it brings an opportunity for people to talk about Christ – it begins as a conversation about this, and who’s doing it and why, and it turns into a conversation about Christ.

"That’s way more important than a story about some flowers planted in some toilets."

For more information or to reach the church office, call 205-640-5328.