by NancyLee Honey Marsh Photography by Christian Lee
Mission Trip Photos provided by Kim Perri
We never know which of our experiences will paint our lives a different color. Although we may not be able to change the major life events we will live through, the choices we make in between can make an important difference in our growth.
After moving back to the Lowcountry, Michigan born Kim Perri left her work with The Hyatt to raise her three children and was seeking a church home for her family. “The moment I stepped into the Church of the Cross, I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit. I was especially impressed with Father Chuck Owens’ words to his congregation that it is not about religion, but our relationship with Jesus.”
Kim’s choice of the Church of the Cross was added to other choices, which ultimately led to one very significant experience.
“In July 2009, the opportunity arose to go with our church to Belize, yet a mission trip was not on our radar,” said Kim. “After asking God to open the right doors and much discussion, my husband Alex, my son Joshua and our twin girls, Casey and Michelle, felt led to participate as a family. In Belize we helped with vacation bible school, and were struck by the fact the children were not given a box of crayons, but only one, which they exchanged with another child. At lunch, food was served in small morsels, which each child grabbed from the center of the table. Most of the children had no shoes. We also helped with repairs on the minister’s home, and everyone was so grateful. Having never seen such poverty, we left there determined to find ways to do so much more for them. It put a new perspective into our lives about what is important and what is unnecessary!”
Kim reflected, “On the flight home we talked about the fact we have so much stuff. When we landed, one of our daughters received a call from a friend, asking her what kind of new cell phone she was getting when school started. My daughter looked at me and commented, ‘How could I possibly think about a new cell phone when those children had no shoes and had never even seen a bicycle!’”
Since the Church of the Cross had no way to fully fund mission work, Kim, whose expertise and experience was in the field of hospitality, felt led to find a fundraising vehicle for mission trips and community outreach. “I went to Father Owens and asked his opinion about having a yard sale to raise money to open a thrift shop. He suggested we skip the sale and just open a thrift shop, instead. I was befuddled. ‘Oh Lord,’ I said to myself, ‘I do not know how to manage a thrift shop!’”
But as she does about everything, Kim prayed, asking God for guidance, and once again, doors opened.
“I visited many thrift shops and observed. I asked tons of questions about handling day-to-day operations. It was an amazing ride,” Kim said. “We found a building with a very generous landlord. Out of the blue, needed equipment was donated to us. One of our volunteers spotted a builder discarding mismeasured shelves and saved them from the dumpster. We knew God had a better plan,” she smiled. “God showed us the pathway, and we opened God’s Goods Thrift Store on July 31, 2010.”
Staffed exclusively by volunteers, God’s Goods receives a wide variety of used clothing, electronics, books, housewares, toys and furniture donated by the Bluffton, Hilton Head and Okatie communities. “Everything is thoroughly examined and tested before going in our shop for sale,” noted Kim, who serves as its Ministry Leader. “We have an amazing leadership team, who have attended leadership classes, and along with our family of 240 friendly volunteers, they keep everything running smoothly.” The store has reached incredible milestones. “Whatever is needed by ours or other communities, we try to give,” said Kim. “Finding the best doorways is a result of God’s guidance, and our faith in Him. I love and truly believe Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Realization: God is in control and it freed me.
Biggest blessing: My awesome husband and family, who are so supportive of me.
Strong influence on her life: My father who helped shape me and taught me we are all Gods’ children.
Crucial for children: A strong foundation in God and Church
Most amazing volunteer: 92-year-old Tony Perri, who is one of our best cashiers!
See for yourself: Visit God’s Goods Mission Mall—volunteer and bring friends: Tues.10-7; Wed.-Fri. 10-4; Sat.10-4 Sheridan Park, Bluffton 843-757-2024