An organization is bringing life from death and transforming lives through turning donated guns into garden tools.
Michael Martin, the executive director of Rawtools says, "our mission is to disarm hearts and forge peace." They are intentional about reaching both victims and perpetrators of violence.Martin says the organization achieves these goals by "turning guns into garden tools and connecting people to nonviolent training and resources as well as trauma and resilience care."
Rawtools started approximately six years ago and has been receiving more than double the donations of guns every year. In total Martin said they have transformed about 500 guns so far.
"Think globally and act locally"
They started soon after the Sandy Hook shootings and inspired by verses in Isaiah and Micah.
He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore - Isa. 2:4 (NIV)
In bringing peace and care to people affected by violence Martin says "the Scriptures really talk about how the people start, and the politicians follow."
Rawtools is not just in the business of transforming guns and lives, they have multiple other projects including War No More and Vine And Fig. These other projects continue to promote care and community growth in spaces that have been affected by gun violence.
In addition to all of this Martin has just launched a book called Beating Guns which he wrote alongside Shane Claiborne.
The subtitle of the book is "hope for people who are weary of violence." Martin says the book "provokes our imagination to find new ways to engage gun violence. We say it's not a gun problem or a heart problem; it's both."
This week is the last week of this books tour. Martin shared some of the incredible stories that have come out of this tour.
This book tour, like everything else Rawtools is involved in is intentionally planned and promotes sustainability in the communities it touches.
Martin says wherever the tour is hosted on any given night they also invite local organizations working toward similar goals so that people who have been affected by gun violence will be introduced to local resources. The night includes listening to stories of people who have been affected by gun violence.
"After folks share their story they are invited to come out to the anvil." People are able to come up to the anvil and hit on the barrel of a gun. Many people will say or shout the names of loved ones who have been lost to gun violence, count up to the age of the lost or simply take a stand against violence. Martin shared a story of a man who hit the barrel of the gun 18 times, one for each year of a man's life he had himself had killed when he was a teen.