Here is our Weekly Update
firstname.lastname@example.org is our email
teambalkans.com and almellinger.com are our web pages
Al & Diane Mellinger's Missionary Adventure - 5 new articles
November 25, 2023
The Impact of a Braided Chew Toy!
This fall a lady came into the shop. We greeted her as we do all customers letting them know about the shop and what we do.
As I was about halfway through, she interrupted me and said are you the one that goes to the shelter?
I said yes, we are. She then stated that she was there, and we paid her to make chew toys for the dogs. She continued I am getting married, and we are buying a home and I wanted to come by and make a purchase to help you guys out with what you are doing.
We thanked her for coming in and for her success, but inside I was holding back the tears. We often do not get to hear how the folks we are helping, even in just a little bit. Sometimes we do not know if what do is appreciated or even helping, but occasionally, we hear a success story that reenforces our drive to serve those in need that we encounter.
Your contribution to our development fund will help us do more projects to help folks and groups we can partner with. Click here
Every month we go to a local low-income elderly home near us. We have 7 residents of the home that we work with each month.
We take in the raw materials and show them what needs to be done. The items that they made last month are picked up and paid for. The skill set is everything from a 2-step project to sewing our Heating and Cooling pads.
These gals don’t have the funds to live alone and so what they do have coming in all goes to covering their living expenses. The home does give them $60 a month for incidentals. That does not go very far so what they make from us helps them get some things they want but couldn’t otherwise.
What amazed me was we drove by this home for years never knowing what they do and what help they need. As we have more donations we are now on the lookout to find more groups serving those in need and see if we can partner with them.
To give to our development fund go to https://tithe.ly/give_new/www/#/tithely/give-one-time/3138219
November 20, 2023 – It is a couple of days before Thanksgiving, and we are looking forward to having our family at our house this year. As we look over the past year, we are filled with gratitude for all that we saw God do.
We met so many people who were and are supportive of the ministry we have to the poor around the world. Yet we also find ourselves exposed to so many more that we would like to serve and share the love of God.
One area is our local REED Workshops and Reed Workshop Center. This is where we pay the homeless and low-income elderly to produce items that we sell in the store and online. What we need to increase this ministry is start-up/development funds. As we pay them when they produce the items not when they are sold. That means we need funds upfront to start working with new groups.
This year as you think about Giving Tuesday and where you want your donations to go, would you consider a donation to REED Workshops? Every amount helps us serve and encourage those who are in true need. To give click here https://tithe.ly/give_new/www/#/tithely/give-one-time/3138219 all funds given this month will be used to expand the REED Workshops for 2024.
Upcycled angels out of sheet music in our Reed Workshops
Thanks again for your prayers and support! We are truly grateful for your partnership!
November 13, 2023 – Happy anniversary to us! It was on November 15, 2018, that the Around the World Shop opened and began selling handmade items that help the poor. What started out as primarily knitwear now has more than 5000 items from more than 50 countries, partnering with more than 30 organizations. When we started 5 years ago, we never thought of what it would become.
One of the major focuses we have now is working with the needy in our own back yard. As part of the program, we now monthly work with the homeless and the low-income elderly in Jackson.
We will go to the Interfaith Shelter (homeless) with the materials needed and teach the folks to make something that we then sell in the store. They are paid $10 an hour for their time and it will run from 2-3 hours when we go. We work with 4-5 folks each time.
We also go to a home for low-income elderly woman. Again, once a month we go to their facility and give them the materials needed to make specific projects. We pick up what they made the month before and pay them for their time. We give them new materials for this month’s project. We currently have 7 clients there.
Since we pay the folks, we are serving as they work, we need the funds up front to cover materials and their labor. We are asking that for GIVING TUESDAY this year you might consider a gift to the Development Fund for the REED Workshop. This will give us funds to invest in people who are often down on their luck and need a hand up. By having more funds up front we can better plan projects that are sustainable and will help us better teach more life long skills.
We project in the workshop it will cost us about $500 a month to manage the projects. If you would like to give to this idea you can mail a check to Marketplace Manna 151 E Michigan, Jackson, Mi or give on-line by clicking here. https://tithe.ly/give_new/www/#/tithely/give-one-time/3138219
We want to share one story. This fall a lady and young daughter came into the store. We greeted her explaining what we do and why. She asked, ‘Are you the ones who go to the shelter?” We said yea and she told us she did the dog chew toys before but is now back on her feet, getting married and they are buying a home. She said “I wanted to come by and see the store, help by buying something and to say thanks.
When I encounter folks who’s lives, we had a small part in making a difference we are reminded why we do what we do! Your support helps us to do what we dol. Thank YOU, for the prayers and financial contributions you can make.
Here are some pictures of items made this year.
September 29, 2023 - This Spring and Summer have been busy, but for us that is normal. Highlights by the numbers We have spoken at 14 churches, attended 6 annual Conference, and our General Conference. We have driven through 19 states (and counting) or about 15,000 miles.
All that is interesting but not the purpose of what we are doing. We travel to share about the work that we are overseeing and about how the local church can intentionally be more engaged in serving the poor in their neighborhoods. Challenging them with a message entitled “Who are You For.”
When not on the road we are working with the local Homeless and low-income elderly in our backyard. We have found that God continues to put us in places to help us connect to serve folks in need. Now as we travel and share it is not out of theory it is out of experience.
The retail store also keeps us busy, but we are finding our place and connecting with the local Business leaders, including sharing our faith as a reason for what we do.
As we look to the fall, we are preparing for the busy Holiday season. If your church or groups would like us to come or just send a table of items to sell for the Christmas season, we are always ready and up for that just let us know and we will make it happen.
We are sensing that God is about to do some exciting things with where He has us and we would appreciate prayers as we seek to follow and serve God in these nontraditional ways.
July 17, 2023 – It has been a while since we posted to our blog. (Quite a change from when we posted every week) We have not been on vacation but rather – very busy with Store changes, Annual Conferences, Church speaking and product development.
With the closing of our Ann Arbor location, we have been repossessing all the inventory back into Jackson and looking at future business models of how to move product.
We have traveled to West Virginia, Wisconsin, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and multiple stops around Michigan. Speaking at 4 churches and attending 5 Annual Conferences since our last report.
We are also adjusting to living and being a part of the Interfaith Homeless Shelter community in Jackson. We are renting a home from them and getting to know the folks in an informal way. We are gaining a great deal of first-hand knowledge about what these folks are going through.
We are also getting more involved in the community beyond our church work. For more than 40 years we have always been Pastors/Missionaries. We are getting involved with local Business groups and the Jackson Breakfast Rotary Club. These have been helping us build great connections for future partnerships and work.
We are working with a couple of churches helping them figure out how to connect and impact the needy in their backyards. Coming in with fresh eyes and helping them learn to ask the right questions to get to the core of their needs.
It has felt like it has been a pivot for us, and we are still in the process of figuring out what that pivot actually is.
We wake up most days excited about what it has in store for us. Not to say there are not struggles – there are but we see that as normal and know that God has got this (Whatever “this” is!)
All this to say that we have no big breakthroughs to share and big problems to overcome just faithfully doing what we can each day to serve and reach the poor around us.
As far as things to pray about: