A friend of mine told me last year about a neat outreach opportunity through Voice of the Martyrs. She and her family had ordered a pack containing material and instructions for putting together 10 parachutes that would then be used to drop Bibles and Christian literature over dangerous, terrorist-controlled territory in Colombia. I tucked the info in the back of my mind, thinking it would be a great project for our family to do sometime.
It wasn't until a number of months later that I actually put in an order for a parachute kit. I'm embarrassed to say that it was even months after THAT before we finally sat down to do the project!
But I'm pleased to report that IT IS FINISHED! At least, one pack of 10 parachutes has been assembled and shipped off to VOM. Woohoo! I thought I'd write about our experience in case other families or groups might like to try this as well.
The kits are $35. There is a DVD clip, approximately 25 minutes or so, taken from a full-length documentary. We watched the DVD first, and even though it warned that it may not be appropriate for children, we saw nothing graphic that made us concerned about Kenna, our almost 7-year-old, who was the youngest one watching. (We're thinking maybe the warning stems from images from the full-length movie?) Anyway, it gave a good overview of why VOM does this project to begin with as well as some insight into the success they have with people coming to a saving knowledge of Jesus. We're looking forward to receiving a copy of the full-length documentary that is promised to those who return a box...then we can see the rest of the story!
After the video, we were ready to begin. We put Grandma, a math teacher who was here for Christmas, to work helping us measure and draw 34" circles onto the fabric provided. Rhonda and Ted worked on that while Tobin, Arden, and Kenna measured and cut ribbon into 9-foot segments. Each parachute needed 3 ribbons. After the circles were drawn, we had to mark the centers and 6 dots around the edges, so that the ribbons could be attached forming 6 equal sections.
Now it was time for Charis's expertise! She set up her sewing machine and sewed the ribbon to the parachutes. Kenna and I pinned the ribbons down for her. The kits did include fabric glue, but we decided it was better to sew the ribbons on rather than have to wait overnight for the drying process.
As it turned out, the project took portions of a few days' worth of work. It could have been done in one setting, I'm sure, if we had started earlier in the day and either had more pins (we could only pin 2 parachutes at a time and had to keep going back and forth to wait for Charis to finish with more!) or else used the glue and set the parachutes all over the place to dry.
Next the boys wrote Spanish phrases on the parachutes ("Friendship Plan" and "God Loves You") as we were directed, then tied the ends of the ribbon to the bags where the Bibles, etc., will be placed. We packaged all 10 completed parachutes into the original box and mailed it off last week. Hooray!
Oh, I should note that VOM does ask for a $5 donation per parachute to cover the cost of the supplies and transportation, so be aware of that if you choose to do this project.