What starts as a simple white bedsheet from a thrift store in Minnesota is transformed by volunteers into a parachute carrying the gospel message to unreached people groups in the jungles of Colombia.
Marianne Koning, a member of Willmar (Minn.) Christian Reformed Church, leads a group of senior citizens who meet bimonthly to make the parachutes. They send them to Voice of the Martyrs, a nonprofit organization that assists the persecuted church worldwide.
Solar radios pre-tuned to a Christian station with a missionary sharing the gospel are attached to the parachutes, to be dropped by pilots into Colombia. Pilots also attach Christian literature to the parachutes. “You get into the jungle either by canoe or plane. Most of these [parachutes] are flown over jungles that are not accessible by trails,” explained Koning.
As many as 15 men and women form an assembly line. They measure circular patterns from bedsheets, cut and glue ribbon, and write “Jesus Is Love” in Spanish on the parachute. “It has given us more compassion and more reality to what has to be done to bring the gospel. It has given us evidence we can be a part of it,” said Koning. “Anyone can do this,” he added.
Last year the group sent 175 parachutes to Voice of the Martyrs.
For each parachute the group makes, they include a $5 donation. The money helps pay for the solar radio, Bible literature, and the plastic bag they are contained in.
The group has been meeting for two years.