By Morgan Bryce
The Opelika-based Four Corners Ministries will be opening a shop downtown April 21, offering handmade necklaces, bracelets and other wares through an initiative called Life Beads to help support their mission efforts in the African countries of South Sudan and Uganda.
FCM President Kristopher Mobbs said the women who make Life Beads reside in a community in northern Uganda called Abaana’s Hope, a safe-haven from a world where they are often mistreated and abused because of their gender.
“Women don’t have very much opportunity … they really don’t have rights to land. If a husband dies, and his family doesn’t like her, they don’t have to give her any land, so you see a lot of homeless women there, and a lot of widows that are in a really bad place,” Mobbs said. “Through the Life Bead program, they make these beautiful beads out of paper. We’ve had this program going for four years … and 100 percent of the proceeds goes back into the ministry and to help employ women.”
FCM was founded in 2003, with a goal of reaching people for Jesus Christ in third-world countries in Central and South America. However, after FCM members went on a mission trip to Sudan in 2004, they began to shift their focus to east Africa.
Both South Sudan (which separated from Sudan in 2011) and Uganda have suffered extensive periods of turmoil and unrest, because of civil wars and famine, making it a prime mission field.
Mobbs and his family have spent several years in Uganda as missionaries, and said he has seen his ministry’s efforts make a significant impact upon the area.
“One of our taglines is, ‘the Gospel changes all things for all people.’ When we planted the Gospel in Abaana’s Hope and started a church, we saw it begin to affect every aspect of society,” Mobbs said. “We’ve seen it affect their economy, it’s improving every single day. Their family structure is also improved, because plural marriage was a common thing there … we’re watching as the people in this community and others are rethinking these things, and thinking, ‘what’s wise? Is this honoring to my family? What’s most honoring to God? As we’ve planted the Gospel, we’ve watched as it has naturally affected every aspect of their culture.”
In addition to the jewelry and wares that will be available, Mobbs said they will also offer their patrons an opportunity to sponsor items for needy families in the two countries.
The store will be located at 202 S. 8th St., and will open at 5 p.m., in correlation with the spring edition of the On the Tracks event April 21. For more information on FCM and their ministries, visit www.fourcorners.org, or call (334) 737-6338.