You see masks are everywhere these days, but medical-grade masks — the kind healthcare professionals need — are in short supply.
And it’s not just masks, a lot of common medical attire and equipment has now become the object of public consumption, decreasing supply for overwhelmed hospitals.
HOSPITAL EQUIPMENT FOR HEALTHCARE WORKERS
“When I looked at the news, it was clear hospitals were in need. I asked a member at our church who’s a doctor how we could bless the hospitals, and he said they needed masks. My good friend, Pastor Bruce [Moore], sent me 50 face shields his church was manufacturing,” explained Martín Vargas, lead pastor of Iglesia Real in Hollywood, Florida.
Moore, lead pastor of Christ Fellowship Church in Tampa, Florida, and Vargas — both Send Network church planting leaders — were on a call with other church planting leaders from the network when Moore began sharing how his church was manufacturing large quantities of shields and face masks.
Christ Fellowship Church partnered with community leaders to make their church space available — and organize volunteers for — a unique, grassroots 3D-printing lab. Dubbed “Tampa Ready,” the effort has churned out thousands of the in-demand face shields. The collaboration has extended in recent days to preparing cloth mask kits, as well.
“At Christ Fellowship Church, we’ve 3D printed over 10,000 masks and have given them out for free to hospitals — predominately in the Tampa Bay area, but also in other places of Florida and some to New York City COVID-19 units,” Moore explained.
Vargas realized the needs of hospitals in his own area were ever-increasing and their church wanted to do more to show the love of Christ to healthcare workers on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic battle.
“We also bought 6,000 different size gloves, 100 gowns, gallons of hand sanitizer and alcohol, infrared thermometers, 500 surgical masks and more. When the doctors saw the delivery, they came in groups, to say thank you. When they saw the hand sanitizer, they couldn’t believe it, because they can’t find it anywhere,” explained Vargas.
Martín Vargas is greeted by a team of doctors to help him unload his car full of medical supplies.
SERVING IN CREATIVE WAYS
This is a unique season. Unlike ever before, we see and feel needs all around us — inside and outside the covenantal family. And we see God provide for people through people.
For Vargas, it’s not just serving hospitals. His church has been involved in local and global missions before the pandemic. But since the pandemic, he’s seen an increase in ownership of missions within his congregation.
“Our church has been very involved in local and global missions, and what we’ve been doing has been expanded since the pandemic. Now, roughly 70% of our people have been caring for others in tangible ways,” Vargas explained. “Members have called me saying the stimulus check they’ve gotten is too big. They said they’re getting it by grace and want to help families who need it. So, they bought Publix gift cards for ten families in need. People have been more creative and more generous than we thought they’d be.”
No matter the season, God has called us to love Him and our neighbors. Despite the pandemic, the mission still moves forward.
“This fits in the direction God has called each of us to be part of — spiritual and economic restoration. At Christ Fellowship, we never thought we’d be part of the restoration of people’s health, but those are things God has opened the door for us to do to love our neighbor in times like this,” said Moore.
Published April 28, 2020