June 2019

What's in Your Toolbox?

Sears (remember them?) sold this toolbox to me about 40 years ago. 

It still has Mom and Dad's old address inside the lid, even though the modest home, the lot, and our quiet street have been wiped from the face of the earth.

[ Do you recall the vine assigned to shade Jonah, and the worm assigned to eat the vine -- to teach Jonah lessons about God's provision and compassion?  

Several millennia after Jonah, at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) adjacent to our neighborhood in Atlanta, our Lord assigned an unknown, mid-level bureaucrat to find land for a warehouse on Michael Street, even though CDC would need everyone on the street to sell, smack dab in the middle of the Atlanta real estate boom.  Which forced CDC to pay top dollar, which unexpectedly helped fund my parents' retirement after RBI, and which taught them (and me) a lesson of provision, and also that "here we have no continuing city."  So if I ever need to show someone the old home place, it's under aisle 49. ]

But back to my toolbox. The contents vary with the job at hand.  The screwdrivers, pliers, utility knife, plumbing tape, vise-grips, and mechanics' wrenches -- organized in old socks -- live there, but the multi-meter and pipe wrenches come and go (particularly the pipe wrenches, which somehow grow heavier each year).  

The framing hammer is also an intermittent resident, part badge of honor (not simply a hammer - but a work-worn Estwing framing hammer), and part humble pie (my buddies both bought larger hammers, and the dog chewed off the bottom of the handle).

So, where is this going?

RBI is filling a toolbox to help shape blind disciplemakers.

Let's be clear: God calls the blind, only He can enable us to find them, and He alone will shape them -- "for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure" (Phil 2:13).  But we have a role to play, and this toolbox needs services and tools for their spiritual, vocational, and life needs.  Things like:
  • vision screenings, school-based programs, and summer camps to identify faithful, available, teachable folk
  • low-cost audio players for evangelism and mass impact (including one we are developing; more on that soon)
  • canes and training so blind disciplemakers are truly mobile
  • referrals and guidance to specialized schools, residential programs, and resources to bring skills up to par with the sighted population
  • Braille equipment and supplies, and ways to enhance cellphone usability, utility, and content for the blind
  • a range of accessible, language-specific, age-appropriate content -- Scripture, testimony, music, Bible-storying, and teaching
  • high-end audio players with multi-level navigation for discipleship, Bible study, and reference
  • fixed-tune radios for regions with vibrant Christian broadcasting
  • vocational training in service, tech, light manufacturing, and other fields to put bread on the table
  • ??
Some of these tools exist; others need to be built.  Some are already well-supplied by other ministries, with whom we can gladly collaborate.  The goal is to build custom solutions for the blind individuals we discover, or for other ministries working with them.  And to help M. in Lesotho, or N. in the Philippines, or A. in Pakistan take the next step.

As part of this process, we are beginning to do some exploring to see which tools are needed for a particular region, which are occasional-use, and which we aren't even aware of.  Maybe you have ideas about the toolbox; we'd love to hear from you!

What's in your Kingdom toolbox?
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Resources for the Blind International, 516 Nobscot Road, Knoxville, TN 37919
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