Thursday, June 24, 2010

T-Shirts with Love

Among all of the surreal moments that come with serving on the mission field in a sub-third world context, one that stands out the most is sight of a Sudanese national, a tribal Acholi, wearing a Safety-Kleen t-shirt.

"What the heck is Safety-Kleen?" you ask. Exactly. That was the question I asked when an employment agency sent me to them for an interview when I was job hunting several years ago. Safety-Kleen is a hazardous waste management company that employed me for two years when I was between full-time vocational ministry gigs. My point is, in case you're wondering, is that this t-shirt bearing the company's logo was worn proudly and was a prized possession. Living here in the Land of Plenty, this is hard to fathom. We pay obscene mall prices for "vintage" t-shirts to add to our wardrobe of clothes we loved in the store but hate in our closets. What we give away to the third world is worn until it is so threadbare it falls apart.

It really doesn't matter what the message on the donated t-shirt is. In many cases, they become "Sunday, go to meetin', best." I sat one Sunday in a church in the bush behind a Sudanese sporting a t-shirt displaying a cartoon-condom-character, the mascot of an HIV/AIDS outreach. I was totally distracted by it during the entire worship service.

Once we distributed a container load of Pepsi driver uniforms to the practically naked soldiers in the Sudanese Peoples' Liberation Army during Sudan's civil war with the Muslim government in the north. I privately thought it would be funny if the north wore Coke uniforms as they faced off on the battle field with the SPLA. That would make a great commercial. I digress.

This is a wandering sort of introduction to my main thought about an outreach opportunity promoted at church this past weekend. Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale is holding an event on Saturday where volunteers will bring and then design t-shirts with a gospel message for distribution in Haiti. This is an incredible gospel-spreading opportunity. These t-shirts will be distributed and worn and traded and worn again until they are no longer recognizable as an item of clothing. In the meantime, the messages on the shirts will make their way from one end of Haiti to the other in a place where the gospel of hope and peace is so desperately needed.

There are so many things you can do with a t-shirt as your canvass and you as the artist. Here are a few examples.

There are tons of good ideas on the internet and on YouTube. So do a little research and make a cool plan for your gospel expression of love for distribution in Haiti.

Saturday July 26, 9am – 12
Calvary Chapel Ft Lauderdale Banquet Hall
(children are welcome!)

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