CHAOS: a fundraiser to catch the eye

Published 12:05 am Saturday, December 5, 2015

By Susan Shinn For The Salisbury Post

LANDIS — Some 31 high-schoolers and chaperones in the CHAOS youth group are going to Costa Rica next summer for a mission trip. To earn the money needed — $1,700 per person — they’ve come up with a fundraiser they hope will catch the eye as well as the light: etched-glass ornaments.

The ornaments are clear and come with any number of designs: the words “hope,” “love,” “peace,” “faith,” “joy,” depictions of the manger, praying hands, words to honor teachers.

But what makes them extra-special is that they can be personalized: with monograms; with sports team logos, player names and numbers; with business logos; and really with just about anything else you can dream up.

The ornaments cost $10 each, and all materials and etching is being donated by Lady’s Funeral Home, which offers in-house engraving and etching services. Kevin Clark, a Lady’s employee and member of Trinity Lutheran Church, is doing all of the etching and custom work. That means 100 percent of the money raised goes to the youth.

CHAOS is made up of youth from Trinity and four other local Lutheran churches: Mount Moriah, St. Enoch, Lutheran Chapel and Ebenezer.

Next July, the group will be working in Costa Rica with the Rice and Beans Ministry. They’ll teach Bible school, complete construction projects, deliver rice and beans to local families, and pray for those new families they meet.

One delivery of beans and rice feeds a family for a week. As Connor Henderson, a junior at South Rowan High School explains, “It’s the most protein and filling meal they can have.”

It’s the group’s first trip out of the country, although they’ve been on a number of mission trips around the country, and have done local mission work in the community as well.

The group came up with the fundraiser idea because of Clark’s work at Lady’s.

“We give out ornaments for our annual memorial service,” Clark says. “People love them.”

At present, Clark is working on the etching several hours a night. He sets up the designs on the computer, and then the machine does the etching. Clark notes he can’t do copyright designs without a release, but has received all of the logos from area schools.

“We can ship the ornaments anywhere,” Carter says. Clark says his aunt in Michigan has already ordered a half-dozen.

The group worked the Holiday Market in Downtown Kannapolis last Friday and Saturday. Youth group members took two-hour shifts during the day, although Clark’s daughter Rebecca worked all day Saturday.

Rebecca, a sophomore at A.L. Brown High School, will be traveling with her father, mom Lynn and brother Aaron, 11.

The youth have also kept busy filling orders, tying silver loops for the ornaments, decorating reusable burlap bags for the beans and rice, and decorating bags for the ornaments.

The youth learned about the opportunity through Ray Carter, a local representative of Beans and Rice Ministry who spoke at their CHAOS camp. The ministry has a permanent presence in Costa Rica, and brings in groups like CHAOS for mission work.

“He was the nicest guy ever,” Rebecca says. “Something about that day stuck in my head. It’s an opportunity most of us would never have again. It makes you realize how blessed you are. Our hearts are stuck in going on this mission trip.”

The group will also have the opportunity to present dramas for crowds on the street.

“We’re really into Christian drama,” Carter explains. “We performed in Times Square on our mission trip to New York City. It’s kind of a leap of faith just jumping out in front of a crowd.”

Rebecca and her mom planned to go on the trip, and Kevin and Aaron joined in when the group needed a male chaperone.

“We’re definitely excited,” Lynn says. “I think it’ll be a great opportunity for the kids. Working with the Rice and Beans Ministry for our first venture out of the country made us feel better.”

Ann O’Kelley will accompany her daughter, Olivia, a sophomore at South. Olivia doesn’t like shots and Ann is not wild about flying.

“But we’re gonna help each other,” she says.

Olivia went on a mission trip with the group to West Virginia, and says she’s ready to have another experience. Most of the girls in the youth group are going, she says.

Each youth is asked to sell 75 ornaments to cover their flight. As of Saturday morning, the group had sold 855 ornaments. Rebecca has sold more than 100 at school through a display in one of her teacher’s classrooms.

Ever the salesperson, she points out, “After Christmas, they become sun catchers.”

It’s surely hard to pick a favorite, but the favorite of the CHAOS group would have to be this ornament, “Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders.”

For more information about the ornaments or to place an order, contact Candice Carter at 704-425-4505 or You can see the ornaments on facebook by searching Candice Whitley Carter or

Freelance writer Susan Shinn lives in Salisbury. 

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