As we celebrate SU’s upcoming Global Week of Prayer from November 6th to 12th, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to broaden our horizons and see what is happening in different parts of the SU family.
SU Australia Ministry Activator and SU International SUSTAIN Consultant, Glenn Coombs shares these beautiful stories from across our Global movement.
SU in Kenya
SU Kenya has been hard at work finding fresh ways to sustain their ministry – and they found a sweet-spot growing and selling herbs around their campsite grounds.
National Director of SU Kenya, Nancy Kahuthia, explains how the COVID pandemic shut down their thriving camp ministry and the team had to explore new ways of using the resources God had provided to help generate income.
“Just when we were about to have the major event for camping in April 2020, COVID struck and everything came to a stand-still. For a whole year there was really nothing happening here because this was one of the places that was locked-down,” said Nancy.
COVID brought lots of challenges, and as their income streams dived, they were forced to put staff on unpaid leave.
Having already been using part of the campsite land for growing onions and water melons, Nancy heard about herb farming. With the backing of SU Kenya’s council, they took the plunge to invest in herb farming.
“We did it in phases. We had two polytunnels to grow basil and then we added another one and then two more, so we have five tunnels in all. I know this is going to be huge income generation, not just now, but into the years to come,” Nancy said.
Click below to watch a video of SU Kenya’s work
The programme has been so successful that they have now extended their range of herbs to include rosemary, thyme, sage and oregano.
“It’s been an amazing journey. An amazing journey of discovery and just realising that we have resources on our hands which we can use to sustain our ministry. I would encourage many movements to think in terms of innovation and creativity… and how to utilise what is on our hands to sustain our movements.
“This may not look like the traditional income generation for Scripture Union, but the idea is that our program work needs to continue. I am absolutely grateful to God for the mind to do this and for all those who have been part of it and have encouraged the process.”
SU in Switzerland
Wood sculpture using a chainsaw is one of the creative ways that members of SU in German-speaking Switzerland are helping open up the Bible in new ways.
Claudia and Ruedi Kündig have been using art and painting through all kinds of innovative projects to share ‘God’s Big Story’ with children, young people and families, but decided to take it a step further with 3D sculptures carved from wood with chainsaws.
The special church services are held in the open air in a range of locations.
“Claudia spends a quarter of an hour sawing an animal out of a trunk with a loud petrol chainsaw. The audience is not yet clear what it will be. Then she continues to work with the small cordless saws, with flex and sprays. The noise level is low so I can preach clearly without any problems,” Ruedi explained.
“As a log is refined through the work of Claudia, it’s an example of how it can be for us when studying the books of the Old Testament. There are often angular and sharp Bible verses that challenge us positively and are a concrete help for our life and faith. That goes hand in hand with the loud, sharp chainsaw and it’s ‘double-edged sword‘.”
“Two years ago we started using chainsaws and when we asked the congregations, we received a sceptical answer as to whether it was really necessary for the service to be held outside. Then COVID came and everything changed. Suddenly we received a lot of requests, and so we are doing 10 Christian chainsaw events from spring to summer and most of them are church services. Today congregations are happy if they can hold services outside with a lot of distance. For us this is another beautiful experience of Kairos, of God’s perfect timing,” Ruedi said.
“Claudia’s chainsaw art should not and must not be the focus. We always want to use all the gifts, resources and technical means at our disposal to inspire people to read the Good News and the Bible.”
About the author
Glenn was born and lives on the east coast of Australia in an old cinema which he and his wife, Leanne, have renovated into a home. He has two married children and two grandchildren, and his journey with SU began after coming to faith in his early twenties.
Glenn was a keen volunteer before joining the SU staff team, and currently has a dual role with SU Australia and SU International. He has a real passion for the work, and spends his time developing new ministries and helping SU movements find creative ways to develop financial sustainability.
“I am deeply thankful to God for the way in which I have the privilege of serving Him and meeting the most remarkable SU people from around the world who often go ‘above and beyond’ to share God’s love and Good News to children, young people, and their families,” says Glenn.
“I love Jesus, I love my role and I love the unfolding vision of SU, and I am humbled to play a small part in what God is doing in this world through this remarkable movement. To Him be the Glory, great things He has done.”