News Releases

Thursday, September 25, 2014

A woman's ministry is giving hope to people around the world with crosses

Elizabeth Bunbury hosting the
Christian Chamber of Commerce Tampa Bay Business Feature Friday
 at the Answered Prayers Project
Photo by Valerie Bogle from Valere Bogle Photography
Elizabeth Bunbury, 56 is the owner of a nonprofit outreach ministry called the Answered Prayers Project, at 400 23rd St. S. “I finally know who I am and what I do,” she said.
But that wasn't always the case. On her 50 birthday in 2008, Bunbury's life changed. She was at her lowest of lows, she said. She had recently gone through a divorce from her husband who suffered from alcoholism and drug addiction. Because of his addiction Bunbury and her family including four kids lost everything. She had gone from being a millionaire to a person with no job, no income and a person who was lost in life. She was depressed. Her friends helped her get back on her fee. She worked 6 jobs that trying to get her life back in order.
Finished crosses at the Answered Prayers Project

One day a friend from the gym took her to a pottery studio and told her to make anything she wanted on a slab of clay. She ended up making a cross, actually 110 crosses. While at the gallery, she felt her worries lift away. “When working with my hands it was so healing,” she said.
She gave those crosses she made at the studio to friends who had helped her during her time of despair as a thank you. It was for their small acts of kindness like a phone call, picking her kids up from school or making a meal for her.
She felt that the Lord told her she needed continue doing this and her ministry of making clay crosses started and she hasn’t stopped. She decided to open a studio where others could come decorate and paint the crosses and give them to others. Since starting the Answered Prayers Project, she will tell you she’s the happiest she’s ever been. “I’m at a great time in my life and it’s getting better.” She says it’s humbling to be where she is now. What she tells women who come to her studio is that they are not alone. Each cross is unique in it’s own way and is designed by several different people before being given awary. Some decorate the crosses and others paint them.
Bunbury says the mission of the Answered Prayers Project is to give back to the community. “The money raised goes back into our community helping women.”
How they raise money is through events at the studio. The first Tuesday of the month is a Women’s Potluck at 6:30 p.m. where you can make and take a cross. The third Wednesday of the month the studio is open at 6:30 p.m. to men, women and teens and on the fourth Friday is a lunch from 11 am. to 1 p.m. All events are $10 a person. You can also schedule time in the studio by appointment for other groups or organizations. This is $20 a person.
In the past few years more than $30,000 has been give to other local organizations to help others. Some of these organizations are Women with Purpose, which helps cancer patients with non medical bills, Faces of Courage, a nonprofit that offers free camps to women and children with cancer, the Mr. Strong Foundation helping kids with special needs, and the American Cancer’s Society’s Relay for Life along with some other organizations or individuals that may be in need.
Bunbury has been traveling around the country sharing her story with churches and other organizations bringing the Answered Prayers Project with her. Whatever community she is in, she likes to give back to community in some type of way.
“God shows us who we are to support to help.” When she was in Nebraska speaking to a group, there had been dual tornadoes and the ministry helped raise money for the families who lost their homes.
“If you asked me 6 years ago if I would be making crosses and talking about God, I would have told you that was what creepy people do. Today, I am doing just that and I am ok with it.”
Since starting the Answered Prayers Project more than 20,000 crosses have been given out. The idea behind each cross is that every person has a story and these stories are shared with hope and the healing gift of the cross. Each cross has a number on the back of it and every person who receives a cross is encouraged to share their story by registering its individual number on the web sitewww.answeredprayerscross.org
The crosses all have a mustard seed glued on the back of them. “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed you can say to this mountain, ‘move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” – Matthew 17:20
The crosses have been registered online from all 50 states and 18 countries around the world. The last state to register a cross was Alaska and the person who registered the cross was former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. All of the crosses are handmade in St. Pete. They may have been painted and glazed in other states as Bunbury travels around.
Bunbury wants to bring back the art of connection. She believes people have lost the human interaction of communication because of all the technology. She wants to rebuild local communities one woman at a time.
Her gallery is located in St. Petersburg in the warehouse arts district. When you go there you will find it is full of all different kinds crosses. People who go there can create their own cross, but they don’t leave with the one they design. They leave with one someone else made and painted.
Right now, her gallery has been mostly word of mouth. It is a non-profit.
She will travel anywhere she is called to go. Bunbury has even written several books containing some of the stories shared when people receive these crosses. Her latest book is called On the Road , which is her prayer journal and has stories from people who have received a cross. “The book is a testimony to the power of the cross and the lives it has touched through this ministry.”
One story not in the book that happened recently and made an impact is a about a pizza delivery driver. “It was powerful, said Bunbury. It was lunch potluck and one of the women was ordering pizza. She couldn’t get anyone to deliver to the studio. Finally she got a restaurant to deliver. When the driver finally got there, she asked what we do? We told her and she told us she was in an abusive relationship and couldn’t live another day. We told her she’s not alone and there are resources available. We prayed over her and gave her a cross and one of my books. She left knowing she was suppose to be here.”
A women's Bible study having a Mom's Night Out at the Answered Prayers Project
The studio is located at 400 23 Street South in St. Petersburg. You can go online to see some of the incredible stories at www.answeredprayerscross.org. If you would like to book your organization to make crosses call 727.410.8107.
.

No comments:

Post a Comment