“Hey, Adam…do you know if you have any desks for high school students available?” This is the call I received from Troy Howell, Pastor of Aldersgate UMC, Mechanicsburg. Troy explained that he was helping a friend, “Gomes”, who was building a school in Angola, through a mission called “Hope for Angola.” Gomes was looking for desks and other supplies and equipment for the first shipment to the new school. This school was going to help by educating children during the day, teach adults at night, serve as a community center and help in many other ways.
I remembered seeing a few on a shelf in the warehouse, so I told Pastor Troy that I thought we did and would double check for him. I asked how many he was looking for and Troy said that he’d likely take as many as we had…hundreds were needed. As it turns out, we had a tractor trailer load of desks, chairs and tables sitting in the parking lot, ready for someone to take. I immediately called Troy to share the good news. Troy called Gomes and a meeting was set up.
We toured the warehouse and I explained the history and mission of Mission Central. We ended the tour with an inspection of the trailer and both Troy and Gomes were blown away. There were several hundred desks stacked up in the trailer. At the back, were conference tables, chairs and other miscellaneous items. Gomes could not believe that this was available and that we would simply donate it to his school.
As we talked, we discovered that the school would have dormitory areas to house guests. A local company, D&H Distributors, donates (among other things) refrigerators and microwaves to Mission Central. I offered to give him a supply of those items as well. The need for computers for the school was realized. Gomes was hoping to get 20 computers. I directed him to Computer Ministry, who rebuilds donated computers and puts complete, working computer systems out into the world. They were able to give him the 20 desktop computers that he needed. A small fee of $10 per computer is required, which goes to Microsoft for licensing. We also connected with a local school district, Red Lion, who had additional desks to donate.
One Sunday morning, Pastor Troy invited me to join him during the service. We told the story of Gomes, his school and Mission Central to the congregation. Troy explained that a shipping container was being delivered to Mission Central on February 6. There was a 2 hour window, from 8:30 – 10:30am in which the container had to be fully packed and loaded. The congregation quickly responded with about 14 men and women volunteering to take time off work and out of their schedules to come and load the container at Mission Central.
That was this morning. The desks, chairs and tables were quickly loaded from the storage container in the Mission Central parking lot into the shipping container. Once moved to the warehouse dock, the container continued to be loaded by forklift and by hand. Computers, sewing machines, microwaves, refrigerators, desks, tables, many chairs from Aldersgate, bicycles and other items were all loaded in to the container. Someone from the church stopped by with doughnuts for the volunteers and everyone had a great time spending the morning together working on this wonderful project.
Just before 10:30am, the last items were placed into the container and the truck pulled away from Mission Central’s loading dock. Its next destination was Baltimore, where it’s being loaded onto a ship that will shortly set sail for Africa, with the ultimate destination of Angola. Hundreds of children are eagerly awaiting the delivery of the first items for their new school.
When you support Mission Central, you never quite know what you’re helping to accomplish. Your donation could be used right here in the area for local families, it could be used to purchase materials for disaster relief somewhere in the United States and sometimes it’s used to help children and families on another continent. In this case, to obtain something so basic that we often take it for granted…an education.
Click here to donate to Mission Central and help us continue to connect God’s resources with human need…locally, nationally and globally. If you’re working on a mission and think that we might be able to help, don’t hesitate to pick up the phone and ask!