January 27 2015 by Emily Blake, BR Editorial Aide

    Fruitland Baptist Church in Hendersonville has recorded more than 70 salvations since June 2014. What is the secret to their success? They make eyeglasses by hand for only 42 cents each.

    Fruitland partners with Glasses for Missions and Evangelism Explosion to meet both physical and spiritual needs. They provide free glasses and eye exams along with the gospel.

    After participating in this ministry for a year, the church integrated the glasses into many different ministries across all ages and demographics of their congregation.

    “Jesus has certainly blessed the ministry,” said Clint Edwards, director of Glasses for Missions at Fruitland.


    IMG_0032.jpg

    Photo courtesy of Clint Edwards
    Members of Fruitland Baptist Church construct glasses to give away during their ministry in Pittsburgh, Pa.

    In 2014 they hosted a free Thanksgiving dinner where three came to Christ, a block party that yielded 11 new Christians, a trip to the North Carolina Mountain State Fair where 18 workers came to know God and five people accepted Christ at Farm City Day in Hendersonville. Along with local North Carolina events, Fruitland also introduced Glasses for Missions into Central Asia, Kenya, Bangladesh, South Korea and China.

    Edwards’ most cherished experience with Glasses for Missions came from a trip to Faith Bridge Community Church in Pittsburgh, Pa.

    “We had a fellowship that was open to the community and in the span of three hours 15 people came to Christ,” said Edwards. “I spoke with a man named Tony who was a rough looking guy with a huge cross hanging on a chain around his neck. After he accepted Christ I asked him if he was going to start attending church regularly. Four or five months later the pastor told me he still was.”

    Each ministry event starts with a kit that allows volunteers to make eyeglasses in 12 different strengths. Fruitland offers training twice a month to teach people how to make the glasses and share the gospel.

    Then at a distribution event, participants have their vision tested, and as volunteers assemble their glasses they discuss two questions: “Do you know for sure that you’ll be with God in heaven someday?” and “If God asked you, ‘Why should I let you into My heaven,’ what would you say?” The church has used this simple process to lead many people to Christ.

    Fruitland’s pastor, Michael Smith, said, “It’s a really great ministry because often when you say the word ‘evangelism’ people kind of freeze. But giving them a service project like this helps to remove whatever barriers that are associated with sharing the gospel cold turkey. It’s a great model to utilize a service like eye-care or car maintenance to open the door to gospel conversations.”

    Dale Rozell, founder and director of Glasses for Missions, started the ministry 12 years ago from his home in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The idea came to him after he and his wife asked the Lord to make them more effective in their ministry.

    On a short-term mission trip they met a retired optometrist who had a vision to provide glasses to needy people in developing countries. Using his skills from a career in machine maintenance, Rozell created a product to match that vision.

    The glasses can be produced anywhere in the world because they require no power tools. They are very durable as well. In the first seven years, the ministry expanded into 57 countries and is now capable of distributing 30,000 pairs each year.

    A member of Fruitland, Emily Lyda, completed a class with the Henderson County Homeschool Association where she taught five 12-year-olds to make the glasses and share their faith. The students memorized scripture from an Evangelism Explosion tract, and practiced witnessing with skits and role play. After eight weeks each child made three glasses.

    One child raised enough money to buy her own kit to share with her aunt who does ministry in Turkey.

    “I believe the class was a success,” said Lyda. “The students learned why they believe what they believe, and the importance of fulfilling the Great Commission.”

    The Fruitland group meets the first and third Tuesday of every month at 6 p.m. for training and welcomes visitors. The church strives to host one outreach event each month. Most groups can learn to utilize Glasses for Missions in eight hours. To order your kit visit GlassesforMissions.org. To see the work going on around the world, visit the Facebook page: Glasses for Missions International.

    For more information on the importance of this ministry, see the video below:

    1/27/2015 11:10:56 AM by Emily Blake, BR Editorial Aide | with 0 comments
    Filed under: Evangelism Explosion, Fruitland Baptist Church, Glasses for Missions




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