Marfa Ministries - Making Art, Restoring Hope
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Marfa Ministry is a nonprofit organization designed to help struggling churches of the world become self-sufficient, and we are honored to call them a part of the Bought Beautifully family!Marfa Ministry began as a result of a relationship my husband and I built with the people at the Saratov United Methodist Church in Russia. It all began in 2002. My husband, the band director at the University of North Texas was invited to Saratov, Russia to conduct a professional group, The Volga Band. Knowing that the Methodist Church had a Russian Initiative, our desire to worship in Russia put us in touch with a church only a 15-minute walk from his rehearsals. My husband was invited back year and after year and we became closer to the pastor and members of the Saratov United Methodist Church. There was a developer in Saratov that wanted to buy the entire block, which included the house where the Methodists worshiped.
After 2 years of construction, the congregation was ready to complete the interior. However, upon our return to Saratov, NOTHING had changed. With a small congregation and limited resources, the interior was not getting done. They needed our help. But what could we do? There was an art class held in the church. So we decided to ask the teacher if we could use the artwork to make note cards to sell to raise money for the church. Her response? “No, you cannot use that art. It is the property of the person who made it.” So Tatyana , who had taken the class said, “You can use my picture.” Thus begins Marfa Ministry. One picture led to another until there were five. Then people asked for Christmas cards, of which there are now seven. Business grew so fast, we felt called to do more. Establishing a true 501(c)(3) was the next order of business. Marfa became a nonprofit in April 2012. Proceeds from the sales of these cards has provided the needed funds to complete the interior of the church building. Now, since the completion of the church, the Marfa board has agreed that proceeds will now go to provide scholarships for young pastors entering the Moscow Theological Seminary. This training is approximately $5000 a year for 3 years. We hope to provide one full scholarship every year.
All businesses and residents agreed to sell except for Rev. Tatyana Molodyk, pastor of the Methodist Church. She said, “If I sell to you we would have no place to worship.” After three years of negotiations, the developer offered to build a church at another location. Tatyana's answer - “YES!”
We are encouraged by Marfa's story, and look forward to their continued growth!
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