FAIRFIELD, Ohio - Music and singing permeates the airy church. With wooden pews filled to capacity, Lindenwald Baptist Pastor Randy Moore smiled looking on at his parishioners singing, praising and praying in his house of worship.
It’s Easter Sunday. The sun is shining outside and inside the Baptist church, thousands of dollars were given away.
"We titled it ‘A Thousand Strong’ with the anticipation of giving away $1,000 but getting a thousand people in the door,” said Moore, who has been doing this giveaway for the past three years.
“We've reached that goal every year and exceeded it and this year the giveaway was even much more."
Sitting among the 1,200 people, were eight lucky winners — in fact, $4,000 was given away.
Burdell Kaiser won one of the $500 prizes given to randomly-drawn visitors and parishioners at the service Sunday afternoon. The church has definitely made an impression on the mother of three, grandmother of 13 and great-grandmother of eight.
"Everyone has really been pleasant and nice to me and welcomed me and we will be back," said Kaiser with tears in her eyes.
The gray-haired great-grandma has custody of two of her great-grandsons. She sat in a pew after church, singing with them.
"Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!" she sang.
Born to drug addicts and with drugs in his system, 2-year-old Olajuwon and his brother, 3-year-old Malachi were about to be put into foster care before she stepped in.
"I was just glad I was able to take them in," she said crying, worried that they would be split up. "Never enough love for these children. For all children and patience. You got to have love and patience.”
But now, she’s in her 60s and starting over from scratch with the two young boys.
"Jesus loves me, the Bible tells me so," sang Malachi, while she talked about the struggles of raising them since Olajuwon was 3 weeks old.
"When they say starting all over... I am starting all over… all over," she said laughing.
So, she has her winnings from the Easter service earmarked for them.
One thing that she said she will do with the $500 that she won is take the two boys out for an Easter dinner.
It’s the perfect ending to a great Easter service said Pastor Moore.
"There's nothing in life that can bring a person more joy than to see them get something, even if it is money, get something that they really need, that's really going to benefit her family," Moore said.
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