Categories
community

Working with Wood and People on OBT

For a long time, my husband has been talking about making a wood work shop where we could create projects in pallet wood and jobs for the homeless people. We have a heart for the homeless, and this wood shop has been on our hearts for several years. We have talked about it and looked for people who could work with wood, but nobody showed up until we actually started the production one month ago!

Our first project was to make an American flag made out of pallet wood. My husband found a how to do video on youtube, so we went out to buy the tools. First we went to the pawn shops, but they did not have what we were looking for, so instead we ended up in Harbor Freight and Home Depot to buy the proper tools and the paint for the project. It was not cheap, but the good news was, that we already had the wood for free. The wood was in “the hood”, on Orange Blossom Trail in Orlando, which is the neighborhood of our church. The wood is all over the place, so we asked some of our guys to look for pallets, and the same day they started hauling in pallet wood to our shop.

Then we started to break down the pallets and pull out the nails, cutting out the stripes for the flag with a table saw, preparing them for the paint work. I will spare you for the video. None of us are used to working with wood, but we made it work anyways. My husband was cutting, one of the guys from the street was sanding, and I was spray painting. Eventually we put it all together into our first American pallet wood flag!

The Production

It all started with a vision, and over the past month we have build an production out of pallet wood that we pick up in the neigborhood. We work outdoors in a shed outside our church building, and in this little shop we have made a great selection of wood art. American flags and different signs with scriptures, Christmas decorations and even artwork painted on pallet wood.

We even have a brand. We call it Heart4Homeless OBT referring to the vision, to make projects and create jobs for the homeless people in the area of Orange Blossom Trail (OBT), but so far there is no paid jobs for this business. It is all based on volunteer work, until we find the right places to sell the wood – and the vision.

I am sharing this because I want you to know that we can do all things trough Christ, even wood work. My husband and I are pastoring a church, but we have a heart for the community that make us step out of our comfort zone, out of the box, into a wood shop and create something significant out of wood that other people would throw in the dumpster.

We are a team, and we love working together, even the days where nobody comes to help us. We are here for the vision. Everything we do, we do it as unto the Lord. Even the wood work. When we work in the Heart4Homeless wood shop on OBT, we don’t primarily work with wood. We work with people. They might look rough, full of nails, we find them dumped on OBT, homeless, selling drugs or prostituting themselves. In the eyes of this world they are considered “good for nothing”, but God sees the potential, and in his hands they can be made into something beautiful.

This is a small beginning, let’s see how it goes in this season of Christmas where we will go out to present the work. It is all for sale, like a lot of other stuff on the internet. But we are not there only to sell the wood work, we are there to share the vision, our heart for the homeless and the needy people on OBT.

Categories
Inspiration

What Are You Leaving Behind?

Right now we are traveling in Denmark preaching the gospel visiting family and friends. The other day as we were heading for our next destination Karen told me to stop and turn the car around. “Did you see the sign at the roadside”, she asked, “It says “Nødhjælp fra Hjem til Hjem”… (Danish meaning “Disaster Relief from Home to Home”).

Could that really be? The sign looked very official, but it looked familiar to me. It was the name of a non profit organisation that Karen and I founded back in the 1990’s as we started collecting food and clothing for poor families in Ukraine, Belarus and Moldavia. God gave the vision, and God gave the provision – for when God guides, He also provides!

We went down the dirt road. On the right side was a barn. The door was open. I could see piles of plastic bags with clothes at the right side of the wall and stacks of wheel chairs, bikes and hospital equipment on the left side. In the doorway there was an old man in work clothes.

“Helmer?”. The man in the barn looked at me. It has been more than 15 years since last time we met, but obviously he was still here, still going strong 86 years old collecting donations and packing stuff for the next transport. Since we started the work it has been 228 trailer loads with 9 trailers last year. Hundred thousands of people have received helped over the years because of one mans vision.

This was my first big assignment before entering into full time ministry. I was visiting the former Sovjetunion when God told me to make a food drive and collect clothes for the people there. I was just a young man and I had no clue what I was doing, but the collection laid the foundation of what we are doing today.

From Home to Home

It was so cool to meet Helmer and hear about the work how it continues to bless people in great need. What started in our home has now spread to many homes. Amazing to see how this work of the Lord keep going and growing, spreading to different nations.

After this experience we went north to the coast to visit the thrift store that has been the financial engine behind the transports. Karen and I started the thrift store in 1998, as a teamwork between the church and the city, and there it was, still in the same location as a monument of the faithfulness and the goodness of the Lord.

As I entered in I found three ladies working in the store. Only one of them looked familiar. I did not introduce myself. “Do you remember me?” I asked, and when I said my name, she smiled. “This gentlemen was here from the beginning, he was here before anybody else” she explained and now we were all talking.

Old pictures came out of the drawers together with old articles from the local newspaper, and we talked about the first trip, when I brought a group of ladies to Ukraine. When they saw the poverty they were changed for life, they cried for a week, some of them gave their lives to Christ, and after this they gave themselves 100 pct to the work.

The Story Continues

It was amazing to see how the work of the Lord has not been in vain. How the vision that He gave came through, and how the seed that was planted back then is still growing for the benefit of many, even though we are not there anymore.

God has called us all to make a difference where we are at, to be history makers, trail blazers, vision bearers, life changers. Question is, what do we leave behind when we are not here anymore. What are the fruits, have we been faithful to do what He called us to do?

I live every day for him. That’s my passion, my only desire. I want to be obedient to all that He calls me to do. Not to say “no” but to go wherever he tells me to go. To Denmark, to Orange Blossom Trail in Orlando, to Ecuador, Greenland, Kenya, leaving a trail of testimonies behind.