The Litner family understands that missionaries require tools to dig wells, renovate schools, fix vehicles, and more.
So Eric and Marli and daughter Malori, members of Christ Community (Christian Reformed) Church of Tualatin, Ore., founded The Toolbox Fund. The fund financially supports and encourages leaders who are training people in mechanical skills. “We concentrate on construction, carpentry, and mechanical projects and needs,” explained Marli. Part of the work is gathering a knowledgeable group of mechanics to help.
The Litners began The Toolbox Fund by fundraising and partnering with other churches, supporting local and global outreach projects. Locally, one of the projects is building a small building on the church grounds that can provide space where volunteers can distribute surplus from the community garden and do lawn mower tune-ups. “These are all ways to grow a relationship with the surrounding community,” Eric said.
The Litners were inspired to create The Toolbox Fund through their friendship with Charles Wirrell, a missionary who unexpectedly passed away during a routine surgery in May 2014. Charles and his wife, Petra, served in both Guatemala and Sierra Leone and were supported by Christ Community Church and other Christian Reformed churches. Much of Wirrell’s work on the mission field was maintenance and construction. “Charles just seemed to know how to triage things and figure out what to do and in what order without much effort,” said Eric.
The Litners see their ministry as a way to continue Charles’ work. “[Charles and Petra] taught values along with basic skills,” Marli said. “Their goal was not to create dependence on missionary aid but to instill hope and the self-worth of knowing God’s love in such personal and meaningful ways.”