Sabbath School classes are looking for outreach projects that enable them to get directly involved with Sabbath School evangelism. So more than choosing projects that simply require them to write a check, class members are looking for connections. They find opportunities to do friendship evangelism with members of the community that enable them to engage in “teachable moments” while increasing fellowship with their class members. So the choices are no longer Do I meet my needs? or Do I help someone else? I can do both.
Members of the Cadiz Mission in Cadiz, Kentucky, are part of a new church plant. Their bags of love fit the profile of a win-win class outreach project.
Bags of Love
The “It’s My Very Own” program champions the immediate needs of displaced children. The service they provide is called “bags of love.” These are handmade duffel bags containing a handmade quilt, toys, and personal care items for children in their county who are removed from their homes by Support Service Aid.
My husband, Jack, and I base our commission on Psalm 82:3-5:
- “Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy.
- “Deliver the poor and needy: rid them out of the hand of the wicked.
- “They know not, neither will they understand; they walk on in darkness: all the foundations of the earth are out of course.”
We launched the “It’s My Very Own” program in December 2004:
- I contacted Support Service Aid, telling them about the goals and methods of “It’s My Very Own.”
- I scheduled a speaking engagement for myself for their monthly interagency meeting. Then I guess that I shocked them by offering to provide the meal for the luncheon. (“This woman really knows how to set a table,” says Barbara’s friend, Betty Harold.)
- I also called the Kentucky New Era and the Cadiz Record, telling them about the “It’s My Very Own” program and invited them to the luncheon. This courtesy resulted in gaining half-page news coverage in both newspapers. “It’s My Very Own” delivered eight bags of love to the office of Support Service Aid.
The newspaper articles generated a lot of interest in “It’s My Very Own.” Members of many denominations called to ask what they could do to help. When they thanked me for my wonderful work, I turned their attention to God’s work through me. One Sunday School class leader for 5- and 6-year-olds called to say that she had been looking for ways to get the children involved in mission work. They began collecting personal care items to be put into the bags of love.
I also contacted the Quilters Guild in the Cadiz area and have accepted two appointments to speak at their monthly meetings. Now the quilters are sewing tops for gift quilts. “It’s My Very Own” provides the fabric, and the quilters invest their skill and time. We could go to a discount store and buy $5 blankets, but we want the children to have the love that comes from the work put into handmade quilts.
“It’s My Very Own” welcomes people who can help with various stages of quilt-making and in other ways. I intend to contact the Homemakers Club in our area, a good resource for a project such as this.
When people volunteer to help, we find a place for them to be of value to “It’s My Very Own.” No helper is turned away.
© 2014 General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists