By Sharon Mager, BCM/D Staff Correspondent
WESTERNPORT, Md.—In 2004, JoJo Carr was nine years old when she first had a desire to go on a mission trip to Jamaica. Her father, Steffan Carr, pastor of Christ Memorial Church, decided to be like God to Abraham. He told her if she could find ten willing mission team volunteers, he’d do it. JoJo, not to be discouraged, downloaded the information, assembled packets and began recruiting. She didn’t get the ten volunteers. She got 13! Steffan was blown away, but relented and off they went to Jamaica.
The little girl didn’t stop there. Now, seven years later, JoJo has not only been on 16 mission trips, but has organized them, negotiated airfare and managed room and ministry assignments.
“She’s my right arm person,” Steffan Carr says proudly.
“It’s the neatest experience to work together and plan the trips,” Carr says.
The church rallies around JoJo and members have come to catch the young woman’s mission fervor.
“It has become a part of our DNA. About a quarter of our budget goes to mission causes,” Carr explains.
Christ Memorial members work with CL Missions and partner with Bamboo Tabernacle. Team members lead devotions in schools, minister to children in hospitals, orphanages and to abused young women. They also do VBS and light construction.
The trips have been eye-opening for JoJo. “It’s more poverty than I had ever seen. We saw one man living in a cave. There are people living on the side of the road,” she says.
But JoJo also sees people coming to know Jesus.
“Missions help me grow in my relationship with Christ. Going there makes me realize how blessed I am. I think it’s helped me grow in general,” she says.
It has also helped her father grow.
“JoJo has helped me live out my dreams,” Steffan Carr says fondly. She prompted her dad to go do the missions he wanted to do. And, she even encouraged him to run.
“She came to me and said, ‘Dad, do you want to do something together?’” Carr, of course, being the dad that he is, said sure. The pair began not only running together, but went on to race in 5K’s. It was something he always wanted to do, but never tried.
“She put the gasoline in my dreams,” Carr said.
JoJo is a junior at Calvary Christian School and is already working to help plan a mission trip for her senior class next year.
Her plans for the future? She’s not sure, but she knows they’ll include missions.
“She’s got a real heart for missions and, being her pastor, I can let her explore her passions. You can’t do that in a lot of churches, but here they let JoJo be JoJo and me be me.”