Hannibal-LaGrange University senior organizes event to benefit family adopting second child

As she embarked on her project to help children and families with adoptions, a Hannibal-LaGrange University senior soon realized she didn’t have to look far.

Sierra Brown said Brian and Betty Bode have been family friends since she was young. At first she wanted to organize a Christian Music Festival to benefit an adoption charity because the Bodes adopted their six-year-old son, Brett, when he was born. When Brown received the call that the Bodes were going to adopt Brett’s sister when she is born in November, she knew how her senior project would take shape — A James 1:27 Christian Music Festival beginning at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 20, at Hannibal-LaGrange University.

The festival’s theme comes from a Bible verse referring to the importance of caring for and protecting adopted children, a theme that Brown found fitting as she learned the news about the upcoming birth for the newest addition to the Bode family.

“It was just perfect timing that I could do the event for that family,” Brown said.

Brown was quick to offer her gratitude for community members who reached out to her through Facebook and other social media outlets — people she knew and people she had never talked to before. She said she was impressed by a recent performance by Soul’d Out, a local contemporary worship band featuring Cory Combs on vocals. Some band members had prior engagements, but Combs contacted Brown to say he would be happy to perform.

Brown said she felt “super-excited” to help a family she has known almost her entire life. She said Brett Bode is like her little brother, noting that her mother was his babysitter. Betty Bode said Brown’s phone call about the project came as a delightful surprise for her family.

“She really has a heart that’s meant for service,” Bode said. “She loves to do mission trips and help others. This just kind of goes with her personality.” Brown said she looked forward to her chance to make a positive impact.

“This family is someone I really love and are really close to me,” Brown said. “So, I’m super excited and I feel really honored that I’m able to help them out in this way.”

Admission for the festival is $5 for adults, and free for children 10 years of age and younger. For more information, please visit https://www.facebook.com/James127MusicFestival/ .

Reach reporter Trevor McDonald at trevor.mcdonald@courierpost.com