MINFORD —If you are looking for something heartwarming for the family to do that doesn’t cost anything, The White Gravel Mines might be the place to visit this Easter holiday.
The mines, located at 4007 White Gravel McDaniel Road in Minford, Ohio, have had their Christmas Cave for years and people come from far away and locally just to visit the mines, but this year they have created a new event, the Easter Cave. On their Facebook page, it is stated, “We are very excited to let you ‘Walk in the Footsteps of Jesus’ in our amazing underground venue.”
Owner-operator Tom (Mindy) Martin explained the idea for the Easter Cave came about. He said that they had always intended to tell the rest of the story following Jesus’ birth during the Christmas Caves. Martin said there is a verse in the Bible that says, “If the Lord would have required all the Lord’s works be written down, the earth couldn’t have contained the works therein.”
Martin shared it would have been a shame to have left him in the manger during the Christmas Cave. They have always had it in the back of their minds to tell the rest of the story, and it just takes time. Martin said that this is a voluntary ministry, and it took them a while to have the resources available, but they decided in the midst of the pandemic, this would be the best of all times to tell the people the reason, the hope that’s within all of us.
Martin said they are set-up with all of the government paperwork as a religious organization and said that this was something they decided on a long time ago that the message was too important to charge for, so the exhibits are always on a donation basis.
“We kind of ask the people if they can afford it, to throw something in the offering plate and we take any donations. We have a kind of grassroots organization that’s represented a lot of area churches,” Martin said. “What they don’t donate in money, we get a lot of volunteer help, how could you value donation versus their volunteer time? That is what makes it possible that we have over a dozen really dedicated volunteers. I said dozens. In truth, if you start looking at all of our events, you might as well say hundreds.”
Martin explained what visitors could expect the Easter Cave to be like once it is opened.
“The thing that is familiar is the way the exhibit is presented. It is still self-guided, still has a lot of the same elements that we felt led to present in the Christmas Cave,” Martin said. “You’ve got 21 different scenes that kind of highlight different chapters of Jesus’ ministry, explaining the gospels so a lot of things may seem familiar.”
The Easter Cave will still have a heavy emphasis on the teaching aspect, with each scene having a narrative that is called scrolls. The scrolls will explain the biblical aspect of what guests see. Martin added that they were all put together by their pastor at Rubyville Community Church, Calvin Ray Evans. He also put together the narratives for the Christmas Caves as well.
Martin shared guests will still have the music and the lights the cave has become known for and is excited to hear what visitors think.
“The scenes are very different; we still have some of the sculptures, but the majority of the scenes are actually going to be presented in 2-dimensional form. We put together large four-foot by eight-foot paintings, all set up on easels,” Martin said. “It’s a painting with a twist. They have some depth to them. The art style is called bas relief, kind of like a 3-dimensional/2-dimensional sculpture painting.”
Martin stated he could not thank all the people who have volunteered to help with the Easter Cave and the other events that are held at the White Gravel Mines enough for their work. He said that they couldn’t have done any of it without them, no matter how big or small their help maybe.
“Volunteer people that just love the Lord working the last three to four months of our spare time turns out to be an artistic media presentation that helps how to amplify the what is the familiar gospel record of what Jesus did here with his ministry on earth.”
Martin said that the Lord has blessed them in this ministry, and he added, “He has blessed me more than I deserve, that is for sure.” Martin, along with his wife Mindy, has put a lot of time in the mines and their events to reach out to as many people as possible.
Reach Kimberly Jenkins (740)353-3101 ext. 1928
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