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. . .
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Al & Diane Mellinger's Missionary Adventure - 5 new articles

Summer Update 2023

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.


Long Over Due Update

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 also celebrated our 40th Wedding Anniversary on July 2nd.   Time has certainly gone by quickly, but we also got to reflect on all that God has done and all that we have gotten to witness.

 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:

  • We still have a great deal of traveling to do this year (Florida for General Conference 23, Minnesota, South Dakota, Colorado, Kansas, Iowa, and Massachusetts for presentations with family visits.)
  • Wisdom as we Pivot and figure out how we do this thing with today’s economy and business Climate.
  • Our Team we need so folks to come around and help us – Pray God sends who we need. (As we are not sure what we really need)

Endings and Beginnings

May 17, 2023 – It has been a while since we updated our blog – we have not been slacking just the opposite we have been busy connecting with new partners and see how we can connect with others nearby with the same heart for the poor as we have.

We are continuing to work on getting the REED Workshop space up and being used – we have had several groups come by already and are beginning to get groups in to make new products.


We have also had weekend trips to do displays in Churches.  We will be traveling all over the South, Midwest, and Mid-Atlantic over the next 2 months going to conferences and churches.


We do have some sad news to report – we are closing down our Ann Arbor location at the end of May.  Sales have dropped as the economy has become tighter.  We were not covering our expenses there anymore and could not justify staying open. We are staying in Jackson and will be looking for new ways to get the product out to people over the summer and into fall.

Pray for our travels

Pray for our closing

Pray for the new partners we are talking to.


A Brief History of our REED Workshops

April 13, 2023 – As missionaries we found ourselves working with the poor, disenfranchised, persecuted, disabled, and unemployed and they needed more than spiritual help. They had a real need for economic assistance too.  That’s how the livelihood groups were started.

Having the products they made, led us to open a store in Jackson, Mi back in 2018. Local folks came in and told us about local groups also serving the needy and we began to partner with them.  As we connected, we found many additional organizations working with the poor that could use some economic help.


REED Workshops were developed: R=repurposing items, E=environmentally beneficial, E=economically helpful, D=developing skills.  Whatever we do must meet one or more of these objectives.

We currently work with the Jackson Interfaith Shelter, the Jackson Friendly Home, and a few individuals who have been referred to us by local groups.  To keep these folks busy means, we are constantly looking for more and new items that they can create.  In our search for products, we have found many that would be great but the time and space it takes to make them, couldn’t happen with the current model – we needed a space where people could come, and we would pay them to make products that we can sell in our retail operations.

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On April 14, 2023, we are opening the first (of which I hope are many) REED Workshop Center!  A place for us to bring those in need to assist them in learning some new skills, making something we can sell, and hopefully building relationships with the staff and volunteers so that they may know God’s love.

If you are ever in the Jackson, MI Area, we invite you to come by and see the place for yourself. If you would like to help by volunteering or by investing in our development fund so we can continue to expand and work with more groups let us know.

Pray for the Opening of the Center

Pray for the retail operations – sales are needed to keep things going

Pray for our travels as we enter a busy time of travel for the year.


To learn more about our New REED Workshop program click here

To help with our personal support click here – online store

To help with our development fund click here


Happy Easter and More!

April 5, 2023 – It has been about a month since we posted an update.  It is not that we were not busy, it is that we were doing much of the same ministry.

First, we want to wish everyone a blessed and Happy Easter.  May you be drawn closer to our savior and lord - Jesus Christ this Easter Season.

We did travel to an annual conference in Illinois and to 2 churches during this time.  Diane and I have also been covering during the week, shifts in both stores as we are still needing to find some part-time employees.


Fairfield, Iowa

Urbandale, Iowa

We have also been working on getting the REED Workshop Center ready to open soon.  Watch for information on that in the coming weeks.

We are having a Grand Reopening on Friday, April 14, 2023.  It is also going to be a Founder’s Weekend sale with select items that the founder likes (that’s me) on sale.  If you are in the Southern Michigan Area, come on by and see all the great things we have to offer.  We will also be offering, while supplies last, some refreshments from My Bakery a new ministry of My Place part of the Set Free Movement.

So would you pray for the following:

  • Grand Re-opening and Founder Weekend and Sales at the stores
  • The REED Workshop Center as we work to get it set up.
  • Funds for the REED Workshop so that once it is done, we can begin to use it to hire folks who need some income and skill training.

We are scheduling church visits in the late Spring Summer and Fall so if you are interested, let us know and we can see what we can do.


To learn more about our New REED Workshop program click here

To help with our personal support click here – online store

To help with our development fund click here


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