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January 21, 2014

Vintage

By Brittany Tedesco

For those of you who read our “End of the Year” mailing, you know that in 2013 Christian Aid sent 100 percent of designated gifts directly to the field—just like we have in previous years.

But what about administrative costs?

Those are covered through a number of ways, one of which is the response to the End of the Year mailing.

This excerpt I nabbed off our website further explains: “Our leadership and staff do everything we can to keep our administrative costs very low. In fact, one of the first things most visitors to our main office observe is the well-used furniture, desks, and filing cabinets. Many items have been donated to us through the years.”

“Oh sure,” you might think. “You haven’t updated your furniture in the last, what, four years?”

Try the last four decades. Literally.

When I started working here nine years ago, I discovered that most of the “well-used furniture” in the building was left by the previous property owners. And judging by the plethora of oranges, yellows, and avocado greens, it hails back to the 1970s.

But for a kid right out of college who was just given her very own office, I couldn’t have cared less that the furniture was a little vintage. Happily, I chose some of the least scuffed and scraped pieces I could find to fill my room.

And now, nine years later, the furniture in my office is no less vintage. Two discolored chairs with greenish cushions have become my constant companions.

You’re not going to find any sleek leather office chairs or shiny modern desks at Christian Aid. There’s no “new car smell” happening here.

Quite the opposite. For the longest time, the chairs in our board room smelled faintly of wet dog. Either they’d gone through a flood or spent a lot of time in a dank, musty basement.

But the less we spend on fancy, schmancy furniture, the more we can spend on eternal things—like the gospel going forth to people who’ve never heard it. When I sit down to read and write about the native missionaries Christian Aid assists, I’ve all but forgotten what the chair looks like on which I sit.

Besides, our furniture gives us character. All those little rips and sags are a lot more interesting than boring new stuff that all looks the same. And to quote a line from the movie Sea Biscuit, “You don’t throw a whole life away just ‘cause it’s banged up a little.”

These items have become like old friends! Even if someone tried to replace our stuff, we wouldn’t let them!

Or...we might actually let them.

You never know.

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Comments
Nancy - posted January 24, 2014
I weep and cry out to God when I read the postings of what God is doing on the ground through Christian Aid. But then I smile and rejoice at the commitment of the organization to remember the mission! It's all about Jesus and what counts for eternity. Furniture is temporary, even that sturdy stuff you use. This sets you apart from many other organizations. Thank you for your loving, sacrificial lives in His service.
Patricia - posted January 23, 2014
I started out as a volunteer for Christian Aid Mission in March 2004. Realizing God would have me there for some time, I brought in my own desk, chair, and bookcases from home! But I know those mismatched chairs that are mentioned in those 1970s colors are still there, were there long before I came, and will be there possibly until the Savior comes to take us all home! God looks at the heart, not the externals!
Pat - posted January 22, 2014
I have used the same desk for 25 years, moving it with me wherever I go. Someone told me it was from the WWII era. It's a very sturdy grey metal model, allowing me to stick on magnets as I do at home on my fridge.
Cynthia - posted January 22, 2014
Great blog. And it's true! We did buy a new desk for one staff member and everyone noticed.


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