Published March 31, 2005
TAHOE CITY, Calif. - Most every time Debbie Wohler slips behind the steering wheel of one of three vans at First Baptist Church here, she whispers a prayer of thanksgiving to Georgia Baptists and others who helped make their purchase possible.
Wohler, who serves under dual appointment as a missionary of the California Southern Baptist Convention and the North American Mission Board, gained national notoriety in the 1990s when she asked Women's Missionary Union groups to send her their Campbell Soup labels. The pieces of paper flowed in and, 3.3 million labels later, she had three vans.
Now she's at it again. The innovative Wohler, who has learned to pinch pennies in her ministry in the resort community where funds are virtually nonexistent, is asking Southern Baptists to redeem their used ink jet cartridges and cell phones on her behalf.
Twenty-five years of ministering to vacationers and local residents has forced her to make the proverbial bricks for her ministry with limited pieces of straw. But, she says, God and the WMU have always come through for those in need of hearing the gospel.
More than 700 of those families attended at least one of her children's ministries last year. See story on pages 10-11 of the Aug. 26, 2004 issue of The Christian Index.
Wohler says this project is even better for those who contribute: shipping is free for sending at least 50 cell phones or cartridges directly to the purchaser. This arrangement saves missions dollars twice - the group does not have to pay postage, which can be considerable over time, and Wohler does not have to then pay postage to repack them and send them to the purchaser. Only the cell phones - no accessories - are being collected, she stressed.
Each shipment must contain her account number so the funds will be deposited to her account.
"When you think of the tens of thousands of ink jet cartridges used by Southern Baptists in churches, homes, and offices each day that could be used for missions, it staggers the mind. We want to channel those items, many which end up in the trash, into a missions effort to bring Christ into the lives of men and women, boys and girls in Tahoe City," she added.
Working through email to further save dollars for missions, Wohler will mail interested groups or individuals on how to ship and pack the items. She stressed that she does not want the items sent to her due to the time it would take away from her ministry to reship the items.
"It broke my heart recently when someone recently spent $20 to ship me some items, which I then had to spend a like amount to forward to the purchasers. That was $40 that could have been used to tell someone about Christ," she says.
For more information on how to save, pack, and ship the items, email Wohler at email@example.com. She can also be reached at Box 7452, Tahoe City, CA 96145 or by phone at (530) 583-2925.
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