“Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms” - 1 Peter 4:10
Sunday seems like the perfect day to finally talk about the other incredible opportunity set in front of me when God decided southwest Illinois would become home.
While we were still in Florida, and after I announced we’d be moving to Illinois, I had a couple people who know what kind of guy I am, tell me about a Ministry that I should look into when we arrive. A Ministry that specifically needed volunteers to paint furniture! Crazy right! Of all the places we could go I was getting planted in a place where God’s gifts to me could be used to serve others. So I found their FaceBook page and Liked it and made plans to visit sometime when we got to IL. This was God’s first lil tap on my shoulder to get involved with this Ministry... Fast forward a few months, we get here and start looking for a home church. We finally settle on one and go to a introductory meeting with the Pastor. During that meeting we have introductions and do the usual, discuss what we do for a living etc. And I tell everyone about being a furniture artist and my lil business. At the end of the meeting I had the person in charge of the Small Groups for our church, who led part of the meeting, stop and talk to me. She said she volunteers at a Ministry in town that paints and sells donated furniture where 100% of the profits go to the community, and how I should go check it out. Before she could even finish talking I’d already had this place pop in my head. So as she’s explaining it to me, I pull out my phone and pull up FaceBook. I find their page, and sure enough, I’d already Liked it. It was the same place I’d been told about before we moved. So again, God tapping me on the shoulder to say, “hey Mark, you need to go here!” Of all the churches we could have picked, someone there volunteered at this place and for that Ministry. So after that, I knew it was time to reach out and see what they do. I sent a message to their FaceBook page and received a great response. We figured out a day/time to meet and talk about what they do. The first night I showed up, they had a group of guys waiting. It was a Monday and that’s the night they get the muscle to go pickup donated pieces. I rode around, talked about the ministry, God and how I felt this was where I needed to be. It was a great conversation and an amazing introduction to what they do and why. Besides Monday night, they’re also open throughout the week, mornings and evenings, for volunteers to come clean, prep, paint and even stage for selling on Saturdays. Sunday’s they are closed and then Monday it starts all over again. The great thing is, this is all donation, volunteer based AND 100% of the net proceeds goes to support the Ministries of their parent organization, Faith Coalition Edwardsville.
The name of this place is Restore Decor and it’s concept is just that simple. They accept donated furniture items, restore and paint the items with an all volunteer staff and sell them to raise money for families and other non-profit groups in our community. The result is not only beautiful, unique and affordable furniture items, but also a great sense of community!!! Their shop has become a hub for community collaboration bringing people together to make a difference in our community. I think this was what truly made me feel like this is something I needed to be apart of and why God planted me here and kept tapping me on the shoulder to let me know this was His plan for me. That sense of community I’d lost after leaving the military and looking to find in my new home... AND... the simple fact that they needed exactly what I can offer them to serve here. Not only can I paint, but I can offer opportunities to teach others and maybe just help build upon what they’ve got going. The first thing that came to mind when I learned about what they do is a saying... y’all know it... “Give a man/woman a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man/woman to fish and you feed him/her for a lifetime”. I wasn’t just planted here to paint for them... but I start there, volunteering a couple days a week, helping paint pieces for the Saturday sale. But I’m sure more is coming. I already know I have more to give with this, so I’ve decided to dedicate more of my time to what they’re doing. With that, most of what I paint to sell will be for them. So as you see my sneak peeks of what I’m up to on my FaceBook page, know most of it will end up there. So be sure to keep an eye on their FaceBook page on Friday nights, where they’ll post the pieces going up for sale on Saturdays. I’ll still post an album describing what paints and techniques I’ve used, but most I do won’t be for sale from me. It’ll be for this Ministry and what now I can say, “we” are doing for our community. It’s cool to say “we”, and have it be my community and I’m hopeful it’s where we plant roots and I can watch this Ministry grow for many years to come. Moving around my entire adult life hasn’t been easy and has certainly made me be hesitant about putting myself out there like this. But there’s been too many taps on my shoulder from God on this one, and I know it’s right where He wants me to be. For those who may ask, I will still be taking on Custom work, and an occasional piece here or there I may paint and sell for my business, but I’ll let y’all know which those are. So if you’re finding this article and you’re apart of my new community, please come out on Saturday mornings and support this amazing Ministry and what we’re doing. It’s gonna be amazing to see where this goes and how much we can make it grow. I guess that’s why I wanted to write this. I’m hoping to help get the word out to those local folks who’ve started following me AND maybe just maybe, inspire some of my artisan friends around the world to start something similar in their area. Maybe not at this scale, but maybe one piece a month you sell, you take a portion of that and donate it to a local charity. I guess it rounds back to the initial bible verse I added at the beginning of this. If you have a gift, something you’ve been given from God, shouldn’t you use it to serve others when and where you can? I think so. And I‘m feeling blessed to be given this opportunity here, and utilize what I’ve built to help and serve that Ministry in the best ways I can. So if you read all the way through, what will be my very first blog, please leave a comment and let me know what you think about 1 Peter 4:10 and how it works in your life. I’d love to get inspired from others who also use God’s gift and talents to serve others.
Have a blessed morning/afternoon/night, depending where you are or when it is when you read this. I’m looking forward to adding more about how the Ministry grows here on my blog. So please stay tuned and be on the lookout for more all throughout my new website.
Oh and please check out their FaceBook Page, Like and Share so we can all spread the word!!! THX!!!