Mission trip out $20,000 for fares

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Tom Adair has two days left to find $20,000.

But he's not desperate.

"One thing is not going to change what God's doing," he said.

Adair, of Trenton, S.C., had $20,000 last month. It was the result of fundraisers, sponsorships and hard work put toward raising money for a mission trip to Zimbabwe. The money would have bought 11 airplane tickets.

Adair has been making the trip for 13 years with Revival Action Ministries International of Anderson, S.C., about 90 miles north of Augusta.

His usual ticket-buying method was derailed when South African Airlines changed its ticket policy and Adair needed a travel agent. Someone suggested Lynnette Johnson, of Memory Makers in Augusta.

He met with Johnson earlier this year. She had a nice office, professed to be a Christian and said she was licensed, Adair said. He trusted her. Adair made the final $20,000 deposit a month ago. Johnson said at the time it would take about three weeks for the tickets to arrive, Adair said.

Adair followed up this week and visited Johnson's office. It was closed, according to Adair and a police report filed Thursday.

Adair called South African Airlines. The flights had been booked but never paid for, Adair said. He was out $20,000.

Barry Davis founded the ministries 20 years ago and serves as its president. It operates a Bible institute that teaches locals how to minister to the rural people of Zimbabwe. The four full-time staff members in Africa are supplemented at least once a year by mission groups from the Carolinas. Besides teaching classes, the groups distribute Bibles, work in orphanages and preach.

Memory Makers has had several locations since it opened shop in 2005, records show. It received an F rating from the Better Business Bureau in July for failure to provide a refund, said Kelvin Collins, the president of the BBB office in Macon, Ga.

Neither of two phone numbers listed on the Memory Makers Web site nor the phone number listed for Johnson in a police report were working Thursday.

Collins urges travelers to do their homework before booking with a travel agency. He said they should get recommendations and check the background of a company through the BBB.

In Perry, Ga., on Thursday, a travel agent named Sara Betty Bearden was ordered to pay $59,000 in restitution and sentenced to six months' probation for taking money for trips that never materialized, according to a report in The Macon Telegraph .

The victims included members of a high school senior class who showed up at a dock expecting to take a cruise to the Bahamas.

Adair is still confident that the mission trip will go on somehow. But he doesn't disguise his disappointment.

"People worked hard and trusted God," he said. "That's what makes it so tough."

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Fiat_Lux
15078
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Fiat_Lux 04/10/10 - 01:59 am
0
0
This is the kind of thing

This is the kind of thing that happens when people don't love God or fear Hell any more. And it's amazingly commonplace now.

grinder48
1884
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grinder48 04/10/10 - 07:25 am
0
0
I know their intentions are
Unpublished

I know their intentions are good but can't these people find something to do here at home? $20,000 just to get there and back?! The article states, "Adair made the final $20,000 deposit a month ago" ... so if the 20 was "final" deposit, was there more? Multiply this by the number of people traveling to far away places to do missionary work ... WOW! That's a heck of a lot of money that could be used to help local fols in need.

disssman
6
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disssman 04/10/10 - 07:44 am
0
0
Grinder it is a metter of

Grinder it is a metter of EGO. So much better to go back to work and tell everyone you went to Zimbabwe than to say you are just getting back from the Appalachans.

Riverman1
82208
Points
Riverman1 04/10/10 - 08:06 am
0
0
I hope some serious law

I hope some serious law enforcement is after Ms. Johnson. That is theft by deceit and should get her a few years in the big house.

InChristLove
22459
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InChristLove 04/10/10 - 08:56 am
0
0
dissman and grider48, there

dissman and grider48, there are millions of missionaries living in the US that help the people of the US every day that you are not even aware of it. You have soup kitchens, homeless shelters, crisis closet centers, recreational centers, all kinds of services that Christian organizations provide help. Why find fault with a few who go to other countries to help out these people who have so much less than the poorest person in the US. I will tell you though, the people in these desperate countries are so much more thankful for the help these American Christians bring them, than they find here in the United States. Over there they are so thankful, over here they expect it.

InChristLove
22459
Points
InChristLove 04/10/10 - 09:02 am
0
0
I feel for this mission group

I feel for this mission group but I have a real problem with Mr. Adair's very last comment ""People worked hard and trusted God," he said. "That's what makes it so tough." God did not fail you Mr. Adair! Ms. Johnson is the one who failed you so don't sound like you are dissapointed in God. Yes I'm sure people worked hard but have trust that God works all things to the good for the ones who love Him. This might seem like a disaster but what better opportunity to let God's light shine on this situation. Just wait and let God reveal Himself. It might not be meant for this group to travel for safety reasons or maybe God wants to send this group into another direction here at home or maybe He will provide the funding and so much more through other means to prove His greatest. Keep the faith Mr. Adair.

iletuknow
8
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iletuknow 04/10/10 - 09:05 am
0
0
Strange, but she professed to

Strange, but she professed to be a Christian. Plenty of missionary work can be done right here.

Riverman1
82208
Points
Riverman1 04/10/10 - 09:16 am
0
0
This has nothing to do with

This has nothing to do with the theft, but with the political situation what it is in Zimbabwe today, I'm curious as to who they were going to help? Britain is granting automatic entry to those who were born in Britain due to the violence in the country against whites.

fd1962
26
Points
fd1962 04/10/10 - 09:29 am
0
0
She "Professed to be a
Unpublished

She "Professed to be a Christian." Now those are some scary words when it comes to making a business transaction. Caveat Emptor, brother.

dani
12
Points
dani 04/10/10 - 10:02 am
0
0
I would be very upset with

I would be very upset with the person who recommended the agency.

brimisjoshan
2
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brimisjoshan 04/10/10 - 10:59 am
0
0
God commands that we take His

God commands that we take His word across the street and to all the nations around the world. That is why it is necessary to make a sometimes costly trip in order to teach new believers, witness and help those countries have spiritual leaders from their own culture. ICL, made it clear that God is still at work here even if Mr. Adair is having a hard time seeing it right now. As for Ms. Johnson, the Lord will deal with her in His own way that seems right to Him. I do pray for this group that their faith will grow stronger from this and that they will trust God to provide for their needs.

brimisjoshan
2
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brimisjoshan 04/10/10 - 11:04 am
0
0
ICL, you are right in your

ICL, you are right in your post about the gratitude of the people overseas. As you know I just got back from India. Those people were so sweet and gracious. They did not have much but offered us the rice they had in their homes. Pastors who do not have seminaries to teach them like we do here were so overjoyed to learn and hungry for it. They would spend hours asking questions and then with great smiles on their faces would thank us for coming. In the US we find that many are not open to the things of God when we share or show little gratitude so it does make a difference even though the main reason we go is to be obedient to Christ's commands.

AugustaVoter
2
Points
AugustaVoter 04/10/10 - 11:13 am
0
0
If I were to spend that kind

If I were to spend that kind of money I would have used AAA travel or some well known travel agent and done my homework.

No_Longer_Amazed
5143
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No_Longer_Amazed 04/10/10 - 11:47 am
0
0
I am surprised that more

I am surprised that more people don't use the on-line travel services of the 'garden gnome' or 'the guy on the blue hovercraft.'

edwardc
1
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edwardc 04/10/10 - 01:06 pm
0
0
What a person believes about

What a person believes about heaven and hell doesn't change heaven and hell. Unless she repents and makes restitution, she may change her belief once her feet hit the fire.

check
18
Points
check 04/10/10 - 03:52 pm
0
0
Re: "People worked hard and

Re: "People worked hard and trusted God," ...."That's what makes it so tough." Actually, ... people trusted you, Mr. Adair. You had a responsibility of good stewardship with the funds which included checking out the business. "She had a nice office, professed to be a Christian and said she was licensed" doesn't reflect any responsible background check with the better business bureau and even other customers (references).

brimisjoshan
2
Points
brimisjoshan 04/10/10 - 04:05 pm
0
0
Check, lighten up! Hindsight

Check, lighten up! Hindsight is always 20/20. I am sure Mr. Adair feels bad enough without someone else trying to chastise him. If he has done this for 20 years and this is the first problem they have had then maybe he should be cut some slack and I am sure that he has learned some valuable lessons. If it were my money I would be deeply grieved but lets not forget that this was done by a person with evil intentions and not Mr. Adair. His only fault was being too trusting and not checking this lady out properly.

crackertroy
540
Points
crackertroy 04/10/10 - 04:51 pm
0
0
To those posting about what
Unpublished

To those posting about what or why the church doesn't spend money to help people here in the US, I wish we could remove the church from America for just one day. All h*** would break loose and the work of the church would be clearly evident. Every atheist in the land would beg for its return.

brimisjoshan
2
Points
brimisjoshan 04/10/10 - 05:20 pm
0
0
crackertroy, I agree. The

crackertroy, I agree. The Bible speaks about that in the book of Thessalonians when Christ comes and takes His church out of the world. It will be a very dark time.

iletuknow
8
Points
iletuknow 04/10/10 - 06:32 pm
0
0
"To those posting about what

"To those posting about what or why the church doesn't spend money to help people here in the US, I wish we could remove the church from America for just one day."

Churches take in millions of after tax dollars and pay no taxes. Paying taxes,like the rest of us,would be their best contribution.

brimisjoshan
2
Points
brimisjoshan 04/10/10 - 07:07 pm
0
0
iletuknow, when you consider

iletuknow, when you consider the contribution the churches makes to the community like helping the poor and counseling the needy at their own expense as compared to the tax dollars lost then the people are the real winners. The government could never pay to have done what churches do everyday for the community. Forgive me but I really don't think you understand what you are saying when you state that paying taxes would be our best contribution.

wyochuck
0
Points
wyochuck 04/10/10 - 08:11 pm
0
0
no reason to go to zimbabwe

no reason to go to zimbabwe in the first place--spend the money here in america

iletuknow
8
Points
iletuknow 04/10/10 - 08:42 pm
0
0
Appears the money is now

Appears the money is now being spent here in America.

Riverman1
82208
Points
Riverman1 04/10/10 - 08:43 pm
0
0
Iletuknow, that was funny.

Iletuknow, that was funny.

cherie592
0
Points
cherie592 04/10/10 - 09:08 pm
0
0
Memory Makers has a huge

Memory Makers has a huge billboard up off of BJ Expressway.... anyone call that number?

Little Lamb
45282
Points
Little Lamb 04/11/10 - 12:02 am
0
0
The “travel agency” industry

The “travel agency” industry is more sleazy than used car salesmen.

augustabowner
0
Points
augustabowner 04/11/10 - 03:07 pm
0
0
I know her I am a business

I know her I am a business owner and saw her at several events. Ms. johnso was a nice person dont know what happened, but i do believe something major took place. Mr. Adair I am so sorry this happened to you. U r n our prayers as well as ms. Johnson. Our sympo is with the family.

pastorjay101
0
Points
pastorjay101 04/11/10 - 03:17 pm
0
0
Mr. Adair I believe you

Mr. Adair I believe you justed trusted Ms. Johnson to do the right thing and there is nothing wrong with that. She probably gave you a good deal and you jumped at the offer. Ms. Johnson is now deceased and God will repay you for all that was lost. As a pastor I pray for everyone the victium as well as the person who committed the crme. Ms. Joh son wont be going to jail now because she is deceased but if she was could that repay you. God will repay you for everything that wad lost.

Ms. Johnson was probablly dealing with alot that is why she committed sucied. This is very ugly and hurting for many. Do what God called you to do and not man. If God wants you to go to other countries than do that. it pays to listen to God and not man, but there could be a reason why your trip may be canceled.

appalled
0
Points
appalled 04/12/10 - 02:59 pm
0
0
If Ms. Johnson has passed

If Ms. Johnson has passed away, then where is the obit. on her and where is it recorded. She has done this to more people than the pastor and they would like their money too. So if she is gone, verify it. Also, if this has happened we are sorry for her innocent children and her family.

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