November 27, 2021 – This time of year we are bombarded with all kinds of programs wanting our attention and money. As Diane and I think about how we could share and motivate you to assist us in your year-end...
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Al & Diane Mellinger's Missionary Adventure - 5 new articles

Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday!

November 27, 2021 – This time of year we are bombarded with all kinds of programs wanting our attention and money.  As Diane and I think about how we could share and motivate you to assist us in your year-end giving we could not think of any catchy slogan or phrase this year.  The plain truth is that if we are to continue and expand we need extra support this year.

Al & Diane Mellinger copy
We hope that over the years you have seen and know of the work we do for Christ and His kingdom.  We want to keep doing this and so much more.

We need personal support: These are funds that pay our salary, insurance, and taxes.  We do not want to take funds from the items sold (we want that to cover the costs of the stores and send as much as we can back to the partners we work with).  We depend on support from Churches and individuals to cover our needs.  You see we do much more than run the stores we do outreaches, training, livelihood group creation, and a lot of dreaming.

We also need project support: this is the fund for the supplies and startup for new groups, this allows us to investigate and try new things to help and assist people. It is also what we use to add new partners to our group of folks we support.

Would to pray and ask if God would have you help us with either project as part of your year-end giving.

To give to our support Click here

Send checks to Mission Igniter PO Box 257 Spring Arbor Mi 49283

To give to our project support Click here

Send Checks to Marketplace Manna – 151 E Michigan Ave, Jackson, Mi 49201

Each of these is tracked differently so you cannot give both together

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Christmas Outreach to the Seniors

November 21, 2021 – Our Jackson store location is under a low-income senior apartment complex.  We get to see many of them every day as they come out to the street for a smoke and/or to socialize.  As we have gotten to know them we have also started to care for them.

Recently 3 different gals have lost family members unexpectedly in the past week.  (I am almost afraid to ask them how they are doing now) One a sister, one a brother, and one a son-in-law.  Often, we find out when we ask how are they doing and they say “not too good” to which we reply what’s wrong?  When they tell us, I offer our condolences and then ask if we could pray for them.  They always say yes – so I stop right there on the street or in the shop and pray for them.


Since one of our objectives is to have a ministry to folks around our stores and in the communities, we are in. We have been praying and dreaming about what we might do with the Seniors who are all around us.  We have talked with one of our partner churches in Jackson to help us put on a Christmas event for any and all the folks in the center.  We plan to do it on December 8th in the evening and will have light refreshments, a Christmas craft, a sing-a-long time, and the reading of the Christmas story with a short devotional to follow.

We plan to also invite any who would like to do this again to come to an event in January and from there our prayer is we can start a weekly Bible Study with any interested.  Pray that this outreach has an impact and helps us build bridges to folks who need to know the love of God in a real way.

Continue to pray about our support and pray that we might have some extra year-end gifts to get our account with our new agency up to the balance we need to have it at.

And pray for the stores – we are still having some staffing issues and pray that sales a good this season so we can continue to help the folks we are partnering with.

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Message given to Spring Arbor University Chapel!

November 17, 2021 – I do not often post my sermons but I was blessed to be able to speak at SAU Chapel this past week on what we do and why.  So I thought I would share it with our supporters.  The message starts at about 25 minutes in.


This week please be in prayer for our personal support – we have figured out that we have lost about 1/3 of our support and so we find ourselves behind.  Please pray that God would let us know what we to do.

If you would like to give online click here!

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There are Days!

November 11, 2021 - There are days when we wish we could be doing something other than what we are doing. Don’t get us wrong we know this is where God wants us right now.  But that still does not negate the feelings and stress caused by our new roles.

The job and opportunities with the people that we are serving are invigorating.  We see God opening up doors and opportunities every week. The stress and angst from the financial stress of raising support and negotiating fair deals as we expand and add new merchandise to our lineup is the issue.

Sharing the needs of others and their stories is the enjoyable part.  Finding and convincing donors of the need for development funds and personal support is where we are concerned.  With the change in our status, the rise of inflation, the supply chain concerns, and people being cautious has seen a decline in our support and development funds.

Pine cone wrap

We live a modest lifestyle (not anywhere I thought I would be at this age) and are not complaining but rather we are asking our supporters to pray with us about what we need to do. Who do we need to approach and ask? How do we complete the transition so that we can do what God has given us to do to help the poor, disenfranchised, persecuted disabled and unemployed?

We are not very often working the retail locations; therefore, we do not take funds from them to support us.  Those funds cover the costs and are reinvested in the people around the world that we are trying to serve.  Our role is working with people to start groups, training in churches and with other groups, education of folks, and the oversight and compliance part of the operation.  Besides the hundreds of people, the livelihood groups and micro-enterprises support we have employees stateside that are supporting themselves and their families too from the sales in our retail outlets. Most months there is little if anything left over.

We know that the folks reading this are already doing what they can for us and for that we say thank you!  We are really wanting to expand our support and create a larger base from which we serve.  Would you pray that God would help us to that?  That we would know what to say and to whom, to gather the needed resources for the work.

If you are looking at your year-end donations we would love to chat and explain what our needs are and how you can be a part of them.

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More than Stores!

November 1, 2021 - Our work as Missionaries for Economic Development is more than just opening and operating stores to sell merchandise that impacts lives around the world.  We also offer other services to help and challenge the church to become more active and involved in impacting the world.  Here is a list of services:

Seminars and Training – we would love to have a team member come and share with your church, Sunday School or small group about Fair Trade, what it really means and how they can be a part of making big difference in the world.

Day Outings – bring a small group or Bible Study to one of our stores and we will arrange for a presentation, craft project, box meal, and a great deal of fun shopping (with a discount) – Price for this will depend on the box lunch you choose.

REED Workshops – REED stands for Repurposing Items, Economically Beneficial, Environmentally Friendly and Developing Skills – we will work (or train and help your church work) with a group that is in need of help.  They will make something out of things that are being discarded for us to add to our inventory to sell through our marketing avenues. We pay the workers for their time (based on minimum wage in each state).

Fundraisers – We will have you set up a display of products from our inventory and your folks man the store and for doing so you will get to keep a percentage of the total sold.

More than a Store Front
We are still working with the team in Bulgaria as we are working to hand off the company to the Bulgarian people in the next few years. Our plans call for us to be back in Bulgaria in early 2022 for a few months (depending on how and where the pandemic is at by then).

Things to pray about for us:

One final story – At the Ann Arbor Store we were participating in their Halloween event handing out candy when a regular “walker” in the mall, whom we had met and connected with came up and asked Diane and me to pray for her parents as they are older and had come down with Covid.  So right then we stopped and prayed with her for her folks.  This in the middle of all the activities of the event.  When we finished she thanked us and had a tear in her eye. We were so honored that she would seek us out and ask us to pray.

God is at work and we are doing what He has called us to do right now. Taking His love to the marketplace to be a light and demonstrate His love! What an amazing journey to be on!

If you would like us to come and share with you church or group let me know -

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