Playing Her Part
No matter our age or circumstance, all of us can leave an eternal impact, and in so doing, we just might discover some of our closest friends. This was what Janice Hurley, the retiree who oversees Christ Community’s Stamp Ministry, experienced. The relationships she’s formed while serving have carried her through some rough times.
When she came to Omaha twenty years ago, she was lonely and looking for a way to connect with others. She quickly became involved with Christ Community’s Alliance Women, a ministry of the Christian & Missionary Alliance (C&MA) that brings women together to pray, support, and engage in missional work in Omaha and across the world. While there, she learned of a unique way she and others like her could help further the gospel—through stamps.
“We receive stamps from all over,” she said. “Bags of them from OPPD and the Omaha Street School. The Open Door Mission gives us three boxes every two months. Blair Recycling donates two medium sized boxes every two to three months.” Weekly people drop off stamps at the Boomers & Beyond desk at church. One donor is a woman from Mississippi. “She mails me her stamps in a 6 X 9 bubble bag every six months.”
Once received, Janice and her ministry partners trim the stamps and send them to the Christian and Missionary Alliance in Florida who in turn sell them to large stamp dealers. The results have been inspiring and life-changing with over one million dollars raised in the forty-seven years since it’s launch.
Currently, funds are being sent to a publishing house in Argentina, Publicaciones Alianza, dedicated to writing and releasing Spanish Sunday School materials. These resources are now sold in 13 Latin American countries, Spain, and the United States and are used by over 40 Protestant denominations.
“It feels great to know you’re doing something for God,” Janice said. You can trim the stamps and feel you’ve done something. You’ve accomplished something. Something significant.” This is especially fulfilling to those with mobility or transportation difficulties. “There are people who belong to the church but can’t get out. One lady takes sixteen Hy-Vee bags filled with stamps each month, takes them home, and trims them. Another woman takes three boxes home from the Open Door Mission.”
But when asked what she loves most about the ministry, she smiled and said, “The people.”
Each Friday, from nine am to eleven, as many as twenty-four of them meet at the church to eat, trim, share life struggles and celebrations, and pray. She’s long appreciated the bonds she’s developed with her fellow trimmers, but two and a half years ago, she realized, in a tangible way, just how precious that community was.
After suffering from severe back pain, she found herself in the hospital—numerous times in short succession—and unable to walk up stairs. This was a problem as she was living, at that time, in an upstairs apartment. She was forced to move, “But I couldn’t get my things,” she said.
Two men from the stamp ministry stepped in to help. “I gave them a list of everything I needed, and they got it for me.” She donated three quarters of her things to the Open Door Mission, which they dropped off for her, and they brought the rest to the retirement home where she now lives.
She’s very grateful for the care they showed and the friendships she’s formed.
Relationships drew her to the ministry, helped carried her through a challenging and physically painful period, and have become a major bright spot in her week. Knowing her time spent also helps bring truth to those needing material in a language they can read and understand adds deep fulfillment to her joy. Janice will likely continue trimming stamps for as long as she’s able to hold a pair of scissors.
To get involved, whether that’s through trimming or donating stamps, contact Sue Beed firstname.lastname@example.org/ 402.938.1570