Room in the Closet
August 9, 2016
By Paul Cardell
Life Academy Romania is a ministry that started at Mt. Bethel. It was born out of a need to guide young orphans in Romania who were aging out of orphanages but had gaps in education, had no job skills, had psychological damage, and had little training in taking care of themselves. Their departure from the orphanages meant, all too often, a life on the streets with no government or charitable support.
The Mt. Bethel Children’s Consignment Sale states that it helps missions, but I wonder how many people understand what that truly means. Certainly, the proceeds from the sale aid mission efforts all over the world, but there is another aspect to the bridge built between the Consignment Sale and those in need worldwide.
When I first started going to Romania, we took leftover clothing, the unsold, donated clothes, to the orphaned children there. Since local clothing was expensive and often of poor quality, it was greatly appreciated. Clothing taught us about the people we were trying to minister to. For instance, the girls out of the orphanages would dash for the boys clothing and shoes because they had been abused and wanted to dress like boys to hide their gender. A boy told me that his sister, from whom he had been estranged since being sent to the orphanage, didn’t recognize him at their reunion because he was dressed so well (in Mt. Bethel clothing), and she was dressed like a peasant. Wearing an article of western clothing was a step up in their social status at a time when they felt like the least of the least. There were shoes for those who only had flip flops, even in winter. Clothing without holes made them feel just a bit more self-respect.
Times have changed, even in our ministry. We cannot take as many clothes now due to baggage restrictions. The boys’ and girls’ clothing that we once brought has given way to adult clothing and now infant clothing as they try desperately to form the stable families that they never had. I will never forget the first time I was walking down the street in Timisoara and saw an unfamiliar child wearing a Mt. Bethel T-shirt. The giving is recycled, and I have even seen leaders at church wearing clothing that was donated years ago. I smile and remember the generosity that made this possible.
Consignment Sale, you have done your job well. You have quietly changed lives by simple donations. You have said, “God has given much, and we would like to forward that blessing.” Thank you.
The Fall/Winter Mt. Bethel Children’s Consignment Sale is August 19-20 in the Fellowship Hall. Come be part of this story and many more like it by consigning, volunteering, and shopping! A special thanks to consignors who donate their unsold items. You make stories like this possible.
Our Community Outreach shopping occurs after the conclusion of the sale. We are looking for volunteers to help needy local families and organizations, like Life Academy Romania, shop the unsold, donated items. Come to the Small Dining Room at noon. It’s a great volunteer opportunity for families, small groups, and Sunday School classes. Your lives will be changed when you volunteer to be part of someone’s story. For more information on volunteering for Community Outreach, email [email protected]. For more information about the sale, go to our website at www.mtbethelccs.com.