Monday, July 1, 2013

Getting Online

We are finally getting our products online. Square recently opened the Square Market and made it easy for us. We will not sell everything online and we will not undercut our retail partners. The best place to purchase our products, when available, is through a retail partner. These are found on our web site.

The simple truth is that the majority of the country is not near a retail partner. We have no retail partners for our repurposed pallet wood products. Square Market will help us to expand our sales to areas we do not currently serve and through products we have never offered outside our local area.

Every purchase helps fund our work, bring employment and training to those who need it most, and is good for the environment as we make most things completely from repurposed materials.

Please take a few minutes and visit our market.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

CoffeeFest Chicago

A team from Sun Ministries recently attended the CoffeeFest show in Chicago. We went to display our products and improve our distribution. We were able to meet a lot of really nice people that are very interested in using their businesses as tools to help those who may be less fortunate. We came away from the show with several new retail partners.

One of the most exciting things for us is finally getting exposure for our Coffee Bean jewelry. This item has the potential to change lives. As we increase our sales on these stylish pieces, we can offer hope to single moms that are stuck in the welfare trap. We can train a person in a few hours. We can supply them with the tools and materials for about $100.00. They can work at home from their kitchen table and make extra money while the kids are in bed. This requires no daycare, no transportation, and brings an extra source of income that will offer them choices for their future.

We are excited to have made the step up to promoting at this type of trade show. We have already booked our booth space for the next show in Seattle this October. We also reserved space for the show in St. Louis next June.

If you would like more information on how to partner with us you can call us at 636-544-2151.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Firming Up the Foundation

2013 has been all about firming up the foundation. We have located help for construction and a couple to run the opportunity Center. We have hired our first Narrow Gate participants and a neighborhood teen. We are scheduled to attend CoffeeFest with our coffee bag products. We hope to gain national sales exposure at this event. We are nearing completion on the Narrow Gate apartments. We have the keys to the cafe and painting has begun. The plan continues to unfold before our eyes.

We have added 10 new disciples in March. We have interns coming for the summer. The wood shop is getting organized and our product lines are coming together. As we finish some of these projects we turn our attention to the next steps of building. We look to train the next generation of disciples. We focus on building more sales to support more jobs. We are ready to add housing support for those that wish to join this work.

We have already hosted over 30 people at the leadership center this year.We have over 75 more scheduled for April. As we continue to host work groups and mission camps we see them working together to complete the work and recruit more laborers. As these projects launch we can turn our attention to the Mission Store and Narrow Gate Training Center. We can complete the Opportunity Garage and Community Development Center. Our goal is to have houses under rehab for all of our existing missionaries by year end.

If we can accomplish our goals and God continues to bless the work of our hands we will set our sights on a major addition to our efforts that will take place out of the city. We plan to have a farm. This will allow us to raise food for our missionaries and cafe. We will use it to help us train, refresh, and relocate people in great need away from bad situations. We will also begin a phase of upgrades to our facilities. We are making plans to become energy self-sufficient in our buildings. It may not be possible to get completely off the grid but we will try our best. This challenge is huge as we sit in the urban core and have the extra restrictions of a historic district designation.

Our idea of a firm foundation is to lower our cost of operation so we can use our resources to rebuild lives and the community. If you would like to help in any way please contact us for more information.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Looking Back, Looking Forward

Again, a long time has passed since an update. And again, it is because we have been busy. Christmas season was full of activity, and this year started out with a bang. So here is a bit of a summary.

Christmas Happenings
Our glad carolers, on the porch of the Leadership center
We enjoy serving our community around Christmas. This was our fourth Christmas season in the Hyde Park neighborhood. This year, we again volunteered at the Third Ward Christmas Party, helped bag up food for the needy, and helped deliver food to a retirement home. We also went caroling around the neighborhood and had a great time. We had a few people join us, including the alderman's family. We love caroling because it brings joy and hope to the area. So many people were surprised to see a bunch of people singing down the streets.

January Work Explosion
Dr. Terry Goodwin talks to a youth group from First Baptist O'Fallon about spiritual disciplines

Last year, we had over 250 volunteers, with work groups coming from Tulsa, Wichita, and various places in Missouri and Illinois. We hosted a mission tour, a fall retreat, and numerous youth groups. This year, we've already had nearly 40 volunteers come through, with 4 groups scheduled for March. All these workers have accelerated everything so much. Extra hands are always welcome and needed with so much work before us, and it was a special blessing to have some really skilled people come through, including a contractor, plumber, and electrician. Not only does that help us overcome tasks that seem daunting or impossible, it increases our skill set and understanding so we can continue plugging forward. So far this year, one of our buildings got plumbed, MUCH drywall got hung, and the attic at the Leadership Center is almost completely finished. That space will increase our capacity in so many ways. We'll be able to host groups more comfortably, we'll have room for training and teaching, and our band, Reformation Sound, will have a place to practice!

the attic, before

the attic, after drywall and painting.  Almost done!
We love hosting work groups. We usually take time to communicate to our visitors the importance of the work. We don't want them going away thinking they got dirty and moved heavy stuff. We want them to walk away knowing that they took part in a work that God is doing, that they accelerated everything going on here. We also share testimonies, sing songs, and usually present teaching for them to take back to their own communities.

Moving Forward
We have been in Hyde Park since 2009, and have had a working facility here since May of 2010. Today, we have 5 properties, including our original building, the Opportunity Center, and our house, the Leadership Center. We have tried different things and learned a bunch. We feel we are close to having a very good foundation for bringing real renewal to the inner-cities of America. With so much work being accomplished so quickly, and better tools and material goods being donated and acquired, we feel confident that 2013 will be a very dynamic year. In just the past two months, we have encountered exciting opportunities and have progressed greatly in our understanding of how to minister and let God build. Our new projects will be covered in more detail later on, but they include ways to increase our creativity and sustainability, our (re)use of resources, and our ability to bring empowerment, encouragement, and employment to those who need it.

So coming up in the next few months, besides hosting many work groups, we will be opening a cafe, developing new products, and having great opportunities to cast vision. We will be displaying products at 4 craft shows, and will continue to communicate the possibility of people becoming interns or missionaries.

If you are interested in volunteering or bringing a work group down, you can contact Mark at
If you are interested in becoming a summer intern or learning more about becoming a missionary, you can contact Dr. Terry Goodwin at
If you have tools or material goods that you'd like to donate, you can contact either one of them.

Saturday, December 1, 2012



It has been a long time since an update...mostly because we have been rather busy. Recently we had many friends and visitors in the Leadership Center helping out with all our work. One was the youth group from Ballwin Baptist Church. They came to the Leadership Center for their fall retreat. About 20 young men and women stayed overnight in our attic and spare couches. We shared teachings, testimonies and songs.

Youth leader Sam Tunnell (right) moves some cinder blocks
Youth leader Samuel Tunnell first met us three years ago as a student at Lindenwood University. He came with a group of students to help pick up trash. Now, as a youth leader, he's been bringing his youth group and friends down to volunteer in our work. They even helped us with the Hyde Park Festival.

They all arrived Friday evening. We hung out in the backyard around a fire and Dr. Terry Goodwin, our executive director, shared with them some teaching about spiritual disciplines. The next day, we all went over to the future Opportunity Garage, where they moved a massive amount of trash and did some tuckpointing.
Some kids remove staples from the used table tops that will go into the Sun Cafe

At lunch, some of our missionaries spoke about the importance of prayer in our work (prayer was their focus for this retreat), and then we went back to work for a few hours.  We also spoke to the kids about the opportunity to become an intern with Sun Ministries, and a few expressed interest.

We are grateful to receive so much help. Each time a group of workers comes through, it accelerates this work that God is doing. If you are interested in bringing a work group in, contact Mark Goodwin at

Friday, August 24, 2012

Hyde Park Festival: Sept 8 2012

We are all so excited about this year's Hyde Park Festival. It's so crazy that we first got involved by simply serving 3 years ago, and now this year we are organizing and sponsoring the Festival.  We've been planning since last year, and have been trying to get as many people on board as possible. We've got some great stuff lined up for the festival, including free kids' games, great music, door prizes, excellent food, and other fun stuff. The festival will be Saturday, September 8, 10am-8pm in Hyde Park, which is just 2 blocks off I-70 at the Salisbury exit. You can also check out the Hyde Park Festival website.  Here's a rundown of what to expect this year.

All day music!!!
We've got a great lineup, including bluegrass, hip-hop, soul, and acoustic. Headlining is GRITS, Dove Award-winning national hip-hop duo!

Performing at 10:30AM
Since the beginning Cumberland Gap has stayed true to its roots. Their acoustic renditions of classic folk, blues, and bluegrass along with their inspired list of original songs have gained a steadily growing enthusiastic audience. They were named as the best bluegrass band in St. Louis by the Riverfront Times in 2004 and again in 2009. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch named Cumberland Gap one of the "17 local bands you ought to know about" and had this to say about their live shows: "With their three-part harmonies soaring over strong, inspired string work, Cumberland Gap captures the soulful, upbeat side of American folk and bluegrass."

Performing at 1:00PM
This is our band. Made entirely of Sun Ministries missionaries, who are also all residents of Hyde Park. Features an interesting blend of guitar, banjo, hand drums, bass, dulcimer, and many voices. We write music to testify to what God is doing. Our sound is somewhere in the mix of folk, indie, rock, with occasionally a bit of blues.
Performing mid afternoon
Excellent jazz, soul, gospel, etc. Remarkable musicians, and great friends of us here at Sun Ministries. Andre can shred with the best of them, and has a fantastic falsetto.

Bingham Family
Performing mid afternoon
Soul and gospel

Commission Heirs
Performing mid afternoon
These guys are committed to using the gift that God gave them. They refer to it as "flip-hop", because they used to use it for the things of the world, but now they've turned it around and are preaching the gospel through rap. They are not full-time performers, as they are balancing their music in the midst of lives spent following God.

Performing at 6:00PM
A personal favorite of many of us at Sun Ministries. Fantastic hip-hop duo from Nashville, recording since 1995. They've won several Dove awards, have songs on many soundtracks, and have toured extensively.

Free Kids' Games provided by Life is Good
Last year, Jake's on Main in St. Charles, MO lent us the games used for the Life is Good festival. They're letting us use them again this year. The games are free, and we've got some great prizes.

Historic Walking Tour
historic Divoll branch Library
Hyde Park is a registered historic district.  There is fantastic brickwork and architecture.  Most of the buildings are over 100 years old.  And we have some notable places, such as Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church, two stand-pipe water towers, a stop on the undergroung railroad, historic public school and library, old barracks, and of course, the Bremen Theater.

A version of baseball for the blind and visually impaired. The bases buzz and the ball beeps. There are some rule differences, which the website explains. They will be doing a demonstration. Sighted people are welcome to participate, but they have to wear a blindfold.

Attendance Prizes!
We will be raffling off several attendance prizes at the festival, all FOR FREE!
Here is a sampling of the prizes
    St. Louis Police and Fire Department
    The police will be bringing out the helicopter and swat vehicle. The fire department will have a hook and ladder. While you're at the festival, be sure to check out the historic firehouse at the corner of the park.

    Pottery Demonstration and Lesson
    Tim and Christy Sawyer have been making pottery for years.  They make a wide variety, from historic recreations to modern, artistic pieces.  Not only will they be selling their wares, but they will have a portable turning wheel and will be teaching kids, and whoever else is adventurous enough, some pottery basics.  And the kids get to take home their creations!

    Other Fun Activities
    3-on-3 Basketball
    Bounce Houses
    Sack Races
    FREE Face Painting
    Awesome Food!
    Jubilee Community Church - They will be selling fantastic, eclectic rice dishes, including Indian, Mexican, and Chinese
    Mi Hungry - Jamaican and American Barbecue
    La Mancha Coffeehouse - A local coffeehouse located just to the south of us in the Old North neighborhood. Serving tasty cafe sandwiches
    Faith Hope and Love Ministries - They will be serving some great grilled items as well as a few pasta dishes

    Our Partners
    ND Consulting
    Alderman Freeman Bosley, Sr.
    Third Ward Housing Corporation
    Jake's on Main/Life is Good
    Jubilee Community Church
    Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church
    Bethlehem Lutheran Church
    Ballwin Baptist Church
    Faith Hope and Love Ministries
    Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity
    St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department
    St. Louis Fire Department

    Monday, August 20, 2012

    More Pews

    The organic nature of our ministry offers some unique opportunities for creativity and collaboration. We heard that Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church had some old pews taking up space in their soon-to-be-demolished shed. The church has been in the neighborhood since 1848, and we've worked with them on the Hyde Park Festival and gardening. We already have some experience making furniture out of recycled pallets, so we were interested in getting the pews. So we called them up and checked them out, and they looked usable. Everyone agreed that the craftsmanship on the old pews was too good to waste. Plus, they were a great piece of history (although no one's sure on the exact age, they're at least 80 years old). But we didn't have a place to store them, or a product to make with them. Also, I was getting married and wanted to use the pews for my outdoor wedding in Hyde Park. So Holy Trinity held on to them for a few weeks. In that time, they also invited us to sell our products at their trivia night fundraiser. We decided to build a custom piece out of the recycled pews and sell them at the trivia night, giving half the cost to Holy Trinity (plus a portion of our other sales).

    After some thinking, we decided on a hall shelf; something a little more unique than a bench, and a little smaller, too. The construction is pretty basic, but sturdy, and retains the original, aged finish of the oak. So after the pews did their time at the wedding, we broke them down, denailed them, cut the seats to our shelf sizes, and assembled it. After scrubbing them down with some Murphy's oil soap, the wood shone wonderfully.

    The finished product.  The photo on the left shows it in action!
    What else have we made of pews? Well, we've made a conference table. One lady custom ordered a bench.

    Pretty much just a short pew, but with a shelf added to the bottom.

    I made a storage bench for my wife.

    The seat lifts up to reveal a storage area.

    And, we've made a pretty fantastic candle holder.

    Actually made from the same pews as the conference table.  It's the base of the end of the pews.