Four Corners Thrift store aids missionary trips

Published 9:00 am Friday, January 27, 2023

VALLEY — There’s a new Four Corners Thrift Store next to the First Baptist Church of Valley. There are two more such stores in Roanoke and Talladega. At Wednesday’s noon meeting of the Kiwanis Club of Valley, the president of the Four Corners Ministries talked about how these stores help an ongoing missionary effort in a poverty stricken and war-torn part of Africa. Yancy Carpenter said that what’s going on is called Abaana’s Hope and gives a much-needed message of hope to a corner of the world that desperately needs it.

Four Corners Ministries is a nonprofit based in Opelika. It was founded in 2003 by two ministers from Wadley. Jimmy Sprayberry and Paul Wilson shared the dream of having people from small churches do short-term mission trips to remote parts of the world where people had never heard the name Jesus or held a Bible in their hands.

Since 2007, Four Corners Ministries has been doing this in far-off Uganda and South Sudan. Abaana’s Hope was founded the following year. Some 200 acres of land were purchased in that part of the world where a church, primary school, child development program, medical clinic, women’s refuge center and farm have been developed.

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Carpenter said that there are 60 different tribes living in Uganda. Each tribe speaks a different language. The one thing that holds them together is that they can all speak English, which dates to the country’s colonial period.

Carpenter has been on the organization’s board since 2011. He took a mission trip to Abaana’a Hope that year. 

“It radically changed my life,” he said. “I learned that there are three million orphans in Uganda, and fifty percent of the population is under the age of 15. It’s a part of the world that desperately needs help.”

What Abaana’s Hope is doing in Africa is primarily due to the support Four Corners Ministries is receiving in east Alabama. Thanks to this support, there’s a growing number of practicing Christians in that part of the world.

Carpenter said it has been a long-accepted practice in Uganda for men of means to have many wives. They acquire them through a dowry system. They are seeking women to bear them sons. Women who don’t do this in a short period of time are often abandoned. That’s why there’s a women’s refuge center at Abanna’s Hope. They can stay there for up to three years while they learn skills that can lead to them being self supporting.

Carpenter said the center had had many success stories. Some women have been taught to save their money to purchase land. They can then farm it and build homes on it.

A new school for children has been built. The school now has five grades and will grow from that. A new grade is added each year.

Bible studies take place every week.

“There’s a Life Beads Ministry where women make beautiful jewelry from items that would have otherwise been thrown away,” Carpenter said.

Examples can be seen at LifeBeadsJewelry.com.

Abanna’s Hope is located near the northern Uganda border with South Sudan, a breakaway region from North Sudan that recently gained independence. The entire area is a dangerous region because of fighting that has been going on for many years. Millions died in a 20-year Sudanese war, and many refugee camps are spilling over the border into Uganda.

“We are doing the work we’ve been able to do in Africa because of the support we have gotten here at home,” Carpenter said. “Please come and shop at our store and help us continue this. Help us take the gospel to the four corners of the earth.”

Donations to the ministry can be made at the thrift store or by going to four corners.org/donate.

Also visiting the Valley club on Wednesday was District Governor Mary Hoerlein of the Kiwanis Club of Auburn. She encouraged the local club to continue attracting new members and commended the members for its scholarship program and fundraising efforts. “The main thing is to keep having fun and doing good work for the community,” she said.