Shepherd of the Lakes Lutheran Church is trying to fill a box truck and a 20-passenger bus with supplies to send to Africa.
The bus and truck were donated by Pat and Steve Grunwold, who refurbished the used vehicles.
“Steve is a master diesel mechanic,” according to Rev. David Martin, the missions pastor at Shepherd of the Lakes. “When he told us he had some vehicles ready to ship to Nigeria, we decided we should fill them with supplies.”
Martin said Shepherd of the Lakes began working with Project Africa after that group’s leaders, Roy and Terry Wanta, of Custer, asked the church’s mission board for support in 2007.
“We saw the good they were doing over there and began supporting them financially,” Martin said. “In 2008, Bishop Ben Egbujor, from Nigeria, came and spoke at our church. After the church service, he invited me to come to Nigeria.”
In February 2010, six members of Shepherd of the Lakes went to see Project Africa’s efforts firsthand.
“We saw incredible poverty,” Martin said. “But in the midst of that, we saw very resilient and joyous people who were seeking to make their own way and a ministry that was equipping them to be self-supporting.”
The Nigerian mission has opened an orphanage, a free health clinic, a school and a training facility.
“While we were there, they were working on a building where they could train women to be seamstresses,” Martin said. “Now, the building is up and the government is sending people to the facility to be trained.”
“The mission is about helping people earn their own living,” according to Mary Bope, the executive director at Shepherd of the Lakes.
Bope said one of the church’s missions is to reach out and help people, both locally and globally. She noted that Shepherd of the Lakes provided more than 16 tons of food to children in the Waupaca School District as part of Project Backpack.
Martin said Shepherd of the Lakes has already begun filling the vehicles with sewing equipment, medical and school supplies. He said the mission does not need donations of food or clothing, but needs equipment for the school, orphanage, medical center and training center.
In addition to sewing machines, the mission also needs scissors, needles, pins, patterns, zippers and fabric.
Power tools, such as lathes, saws and drills, are also needed, as are wheelbarrows and ladders.
Desks, chairs, tables, bookshelves and other furniture are needed for the school. The health care center needs wheelchairs, walkers, canes, crutches and braces.