When Necessity Becomes the Mother of Invention (ministry supplies)
In this photo, you see a young boy struggling to color a page – about what, I don’t know. The girls to his right are coloring a picture of Ruth carrying grain home to Naomi, and others carefully color Abraham’s offering of Isaac. Unfortunately, none have multiple colors, so they have to share, nor do they have a table to color on, so some drop to their knees, using the bench as a table, while this boy uses his thigh. The group picture shows that others have no crayons and are waiting for their chance to color.
So what do they have in common?
They all attend Sunday School at our “Coffee Church,” which still meets under the tree where the church began. We now have a newly remodeled house that has become their “church.” While they have class, the adults wait outside. Then the children dismiss for their activities, and the parents use the facility. It can now comfortably hold about one hundred people.
When the preaching, teaching, and activities conclude, the children return to the facility and receive a hot meal. So this church plant now has its own building, kitchen, classroom, auditorium, bathrooms, sinks, storage area, pastor, and joyful congregation. What they don’t have are tables, crayons, and coloring pages. The teachers constantly ask for any pages that they can use to illustrate the Bible stories. (Do you have any sketches you can email me?)
This Coffee Church is so named because it is in the village of Zurzular, which at an elevation of over a mile high, is where the entire economy depends on the annual coffee harvest. Here they grow and sell coffee; what they don’t sell, they dry, roast, grind and enjoy. (And so do we when we visit.)
More than an hour away, near the 2,200-foot elevation, is the Baptist Church in the village of Bartolo. We didn’t start this church; it was begun decades ago by an old national lay preacher from a mountain village on the other side of the valley in the village of Pajarillos. But we have a facility here with a Touch A Life feeding center and around ninety children eating daily. I took this picture of these two boys below in the summer of 2022 when I visited with a church group from the USA.
They immediately started a church service, and the boys participated with their homemade maracas. Since they have no money to buy their instruments, their guitars, cellos, and drums are homemade. These were the most amazing maracas I had yet to see. They are made from four tin cans glued and strapped together with dried beans inside. As they shake the cans, it provides a tambourine-type beat for the songs. Believe me; they put their heart into their music.
Many parents here were once children in our feeding center. (This was our second feeding center that opened in 2005.) Now, as in so many of our churches, they are grown, have their own families, and are faithful, local church members.
So, the next time you’re missing supplies you feel are desperately needed, remember that around the world, most churches don’t even have coloring pages, crayons, or musical instruments. (Nor do they have Bibles.) So, make do with what you have, be inventive, and if you come up with a good idea, share it with us so we can spread the word.