'100% Led by God': Iowa Teacher Gives Desks, Hope Chests to Children Through 'Woodworking With a Purpose'
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When the pandemic forced schools to switch to virtual learning, one Iowa school teacher realized that many students didn't have a desk at home to do their assignments on.
Since last September, Nate Evans and a team of volunteers have been building and distributing desks so that children have what they need to complete their classwork.
Evans, who works at Des Moines Christian School in Urbandale, told CBN News that the effort is "100 percent led by God."
"I've always wanted to help kids ... that's why I became a teacher," he pointed out. "Education was my ministry. In the last year or so, God has truly revealed Himself to me."
Evans explained that teachers were instructed to stress to students the importance of having their own area at home to learn in.
"As a public school teacher, we were told if they had an online class, they should have their own space," Evans said. "I thought that was really unfair."
He knew that working at a kitchen table might be too busy and finding a space on the floor could be uncomfortable, ultimately affecting a child's desire to study.
"Having their own desk space would give them some sort of normalcy," Evans added.
Through much prayer and discussion with family and church friends, Evans launched "Woodworking With a Purpose." The goal of his mission has been to "serve God and our community."
While working out of his garage, Evans built 13 desks in the first week. Over the next few weeks, 200 were constructed.
He told CBN News that God has continued to provide everything they need to fulfill the task.
"The very first day I made up my mind to do this, I went to the store with about $300 to spend," Evans said. "I spent about $300 and when I checked my Venmo that day, that's almost exactly what I had collected that day. It was just meant to be that we were here to help these families."
He recalled that a table saw was donated, sanders were supplied, and someone generously gave a $500 gift card to Home Depot. In addition to that, local businesses, lumberyards, and area residents have also contributed tools to help make the mission possible.
So far, Evans and his team have made 2,143 desks for children throughout central Iowa. And Woodworking With a Purpose expanded their cause by making 13 hope chests for local foster children.
But the blessings haven't stopped there.
Evans bought 100 bookshelves and more than 400 books, which were distributed to families in the Des Moines area.
With the love and support of his wife Rachel and their four kids, Evans has even bigger plans for Woodworking With a Purpose.
"My hope is to turn it into a ministry," he told CBN News. "I want it to be children seein' people acting through God to give them hope, to show them love. Show kids that God loves them through our actions. I'm hoping to inspire other people and branch out into other states to help other families."
He continued, "I've always dreamt of being a minister. I've wanted to be able to do those things. I see a lot of possibilities that God has in store."
Evans said many families don't have the resources to provide a desk or bookshelf for their home. The reactions from the parents and children receiving the gifts have been truly rewarding. "So many people say the desks have changed their lives," he concluded.
To find out more about Woodworking With a Purpose, click here.
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