The Real McCoy
For over sixty years the General Youth Division (GYD) has paved the way in fundraising for the United Pentecostal Church International (UPCI) through Sheaves for Christ (SFC). The purpose of Sheaves for Christ is reinforced by the motto of the UPCI: the whole Gospel to the whole world by the whole church. This year $4,394,006.04 was raised for the offering, allowing for the first $1 million allocation to Global Missions. Sheaves for Christ not only supports Global Missions but many other sponsored ministries including Apostolic Youth Corps, Bible Quizzing, Tupelo Children’s Mansion, and North American Youth Congress.
For the past several years, the GYD has developed the Real McCoy contest. To qualify, a student must raise at least $1,000 for SFC. This year, the GYD invited thirty-six Real McCoys to St. Louis for the weekend in honor of their $100,000+ collective contribution to SFC. What made this weekend even more special was the attendance of Daren Dame, the first student to ever raise over $20,000 for Sheaves for Christ. The students came from all across North America sponsored by their respective districts to participate in a time of fellowship as a token of appreciation by the GYD.
The weekend started on Saturday with the Real McCoys arriving at their hotel only to be swept away for a night at SkyZone, an indoor trampoline park for a time to unwind from their long day of travel. Afterward, the group went to dinner at Chili’s, where it was obvious that these students were creating life-long friendships. Adorned in their red Real McCoy 2015 t-shirts, they filled up half of the restaurant and spent the night enjoying each other’s fellowship. On Sunday morning, they attended service at the Sanctuary. They then played laser tag, demolition ball, and visited the St. Louis Gateway Arch for group pictures. The highlight of the night—and the most anticipated part of the entire weekend—was the time spent at the World Evangelism Center, the headquarters of the UPCI. The students enjoyed a tour of the building, meeting some of the department executives, and a catered Chipotle dinner. Then the students gathered into the chapel to share their personal testimonies about why they wanted to raise money for Sheaves for Christ.
One by one, each student took the microphone and spoke about their passion for ministry—what inspired them to give and how they raised funds. The whole idea behind the massive sacrifice by each student may not make sense to some. Why would these young adults spend their time raising over $1000 for ministry when they could use it for themselves? The answer was abundantly clear in the testimonies of each Real McCoy: to give back. With great passion, these students shared stories of being touched by God through healings, salvation, and other incredible miracles, and they felt that dedicating their time and efforts to God was one way to thank Him for what He has done.
The night didn’t stop there. Once the testimonies wrapped up, these young people were led into an intense time of prayer. As tears began to flow, they raised their hands and spoke in other tongues. Lives were changed as it became apparent what it means to be an Apostolic young person. It means a wholehearted, committed, intentional dedication to Jesus Christ and a submission in every aspect of one’s life to His kingdom. Twenty-four hours earlier, these students were complete strangers, but in the presence of God, all barriers were stripped away as they interceded for one another.
On Monday morning, the Real McCoys toured Urshan College. The students met with faculty and enjoyed a lunch with current students, some of which had been Real McCoys themselves. As the time came for them to leave, tears were shed, but each one knew they had made lifelong friendships. They left with a charge to become inspirations for other students, and to show when you’re dedicated to God and His kingdom, nothing else matters.