Signs and Wonders

A Vision, A Goal, Multiplied Many Times Over

We are Signs and Wonders. This is our 9th year here at Christmas in the Woods but our 12th year of making and creating a variety of painted, stained, and stenciled wooden signs. Signs and Wonders is a non-profit organization run and operated by volunteers from Christian Gathering Church located in Gambier, Ohio. Our group started from humble beginnings and has grown tremendously since its start 12 years ago and we never would have imagined it would be where it is now. 

In the beginning before we were the organized group now known as Signs and Wonders, it started as church member Colleen’s goal to raise $100 to send to the church’s mission in Kenya, Africa. The villages in Kenya had been experiencing a severe drought and crops had failed, leaving many people hungry and starving. They were in desperate need of food and money to buy more seeds to plant new crops after losing everything. Colleen had a goal to raise $100 to send to help those affected by the drought. She decided to get creative and started collecting scrap wood from The Carpenter’s Sons carpentry shop. From there she began painting, sanding, stenciling, and staining the scraps to make homemade decorative signs with a variety of sayings. 

Word quickly spread through the small community church of Christian Gathering and other families joined along side Colleen to help paint and stencil scrap wood to help her meet her goal. In a short period of time after the church group started working together, we had raised $1,000! God blessed Colleen’s vision and the goal of selling $100 was multiplied by ten! 

From there, the group came together and decided to keep the momentum going by continuing to make signs and enter in a local craft show to see if we could continue to raise money for the mission in Africa. The local craft show was successful and we even began to receive special request signs. From there, things have continued to grow and expand. We started gathering once a week and members of the church volunteered their time and resources to paint, sand, stain, and stencil a variety of wooden signs and stools. We began making a whole evening out of it each week and started doing potluck dinners together.  

As we continued to grow, there was no longer enough scrap wood from the Carpentry shop to make everything. We started buying some of our own wood and expanded products we were making to include large barn doors and vintage windows. The barn doors are made from repurposed barn siding and the windows have been salvaged from various renovated old homes and barns. We began entering multiple craft shows a year and turned the whole thing into an organized operation. As the demand for more signs grew, our methods in making them have also grown. One of our church members learned how to make silk screens and brought the idea to the group as a way to make the most amount of the small size signs in a time efficient manner. He began making silk screens with a variety of different sayings which helped our group maximize our efforts. With all of our efforts being maximized, we began to run out of space to put everything we were making for various shows. So, several years ago The Carpenter’s Sons carpentry shop built an addition onto their building to house the operation that had become Signs and Wonders. With a space of our own, it only continued to help us grow to what we are today. We started having a yearly open house around Christmas time for the local community to come experience who we are and what we do, while they do some shopping for the holidays. 

It has been such a joy and a journey throughout the years to be able to grow to where we are today and to use this ministry to help not only the villages in Africa, but our local community as well. We have absolutely loved our time being part of the Christmas in the Woods community and look forward to many more years to come! From all of us here at Signs and Wonders, thank you for taking the time to get to know us more and we hope to see you out there at Booth #98!