Taking the Gospel to Russia’s Kitchens
You’ve probably heard of the gospel bracelet or the wordless book – two witnessing tools that use colors to share the gospel.
But have you ever heard of a gospel apron?
Not likely. Mary Sladko of Baltimore, Maryland hadn’t heard of one either. That’s why she decided to make her own.
Having traveled to Russia several times with Josh McDowell’s Global Aid Network ministry, Mary was looking for a unique way to share the gospel with the women who worked behind the scenes at the orphanages, schools and prisons they visited. When Mary saw an apron back at home with different color pockets sewn onto it, it reminded her of the gospel bracelet. Suddenly, Mary realized she’d found what she was looking for.
Mary got together with a couple of friends, Linda Boss and Shirley Yoder, and created her first apron.
On her next trip to Russia, Mary took a few dozen of these aprons along with her. The response from the Russian women was overwhelming. “Once they saw it, their faces just lit up,” Mary says. “They couldn’t believe that someone from America would come to give them such a gift to tell them Jesus loves them.”
When Mary returned home, she assembled a team to help her launch this fledgling ministry. Over the next year, they managed to sew and send a few hundred aprons. The following year they sent over 850, and this year they will send over 1,300 aprons!
Not surprisingly, making the aprons has become a full-time venture for Mary. She and her team buy all of the material and make the aprons from scratch. The cost per apron is about US$3.50. Mary says the aprons are easy to make and she even puts the material together into kits – complete with directions – that she mails out to volunteer seamstresses across the country. “This is a great project for anyone to take on,” says Mary, “but it is especially good for retired women who are stuck at home during the winter. As one of our volunteers said, it’s so rewarding to sit down and make an apron knowing you’re doing it for God.”