by Norma Gunter
The ladies of First Baptist Church are busy tearing worn sheets into 3” strips, sewing them together, measuring five yards, cutting them off and going on to measure more and more. On March 1st at 1pm we will meet at the church and roll these strips into rolled bandages. Why are we doing this? We are working on our White Cross project. What is White Cross? White Cross is showering God’s love across the United States and around the world since 1919. A shower of blessings. How does White Cross work?
“White Cross had its beginnings during WW1, when many church women assisted the American Red Cross by providing surgical dressings, bandages, and other medical supplies. The ‘White Cross Service League’ was organized after the war to support Baptist mission. White Cross was embraced by American Baptist congregations throughout the United States. Through White Cross gifts, church members provide urgently needed supplies that cannot be purchased with limited mission budgets. The need for both funds and practical items given through White Cross is greater than ever. American Baptists are generous and caring people with a true heart for missions.” (National/International Ministries AMC USA brochure)
For over 50 years I’ve been rolling these bandages, along with many other women from FBC. Each year we are asked to help, by International Ministries, to supply items needed by our missionaries. What happens to the bandages when we get them rolled? The bandages are boxed and mailed to the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md.
where they are packed (along with bandages from churches all across the US) and shipped to 10 of our partner hospitals in the Congo. This is expensive for we have to pay the shipping. (Last year we made 100 bandages) The postage was $28.52 plus 75 cents a pound to ship them on to the Congo. Are these stripes of old sheets worth to money to ship them to the Congo? Yes.
One missionary wrote in an email that, “Every time I go on supervision visits to the Baptist hospitals in Vanga, Sala, Kikongo, Boko, Moanza, Kipata, Nselo, Sona Bata, Nsonga Mapangu., Mulolo, or Bandunduville, I visit the room where White Cross supplies are stored. Usually the shelves are mostly empty, and the staff plead for more supplies. They will soon all be full! Packed into those boxes (bandages and supplies) is the fragrance of the prayers that follow this shipment and the distinct reminder to our doctors, nurses, and patients, that they are being remembered. For servants of God working in far flung and difficult corners of God’s Congo world, that’s feeling money cannot buy. All of us say THANK YOU for the gift of White Cross.”
Some to the uses for these rolled bandages are: post-operative dressings, dipped in plaster for casts, around the shoulder for a sling, to make a tourniquet, etc. They are also used to hang from a screenless window or door to keep flying insects out and let in a cool breeze, attached to a nail in the wall to hold IV fluids, etc.
But most important is the gift of love from our ladies as we share our energy, our money, our time, rolling these bandages. Everyone is invited to come join us March 1 to roll all these strips into bandages.