Monday, July 25, 2016

When a Project Becomes a Ministry

~ from Dorothy Roderick

When Quilt Fellowship started making quilts for Habitat for Humanity, we believed we could make quilts faster than Habitat could build houses and we could provide a quilt to each Habitat family that moved into a house in Lake County.   We had the skill, the “stash” (fabric on hand), and the will to do this.  And that proved to be true to a certain point.  We would do this. 
A quilt consists of three layers:  the top, or decorative part, a center layer that provides the warmth, and the backing, or lining.  These layers are held together by thousands of stitches. Putting in those stitches was traditionally done by hand and it is an entirely different skill than piecing the top, but most important, it is very time consuming. In the twenty-first century, most of the finishing stitches are put in by machine—a very expensive machine. No one in our group has one. We know a lot of people who do have these machines called Long Arms, and they do this work as a business, meaning they get paid to do this work. 

Our plan was hitting a snag.  I would creep around asking friends who have Long Arms if they would please finish our quilts for us.  It was difficult for me to ask for help.  I felt I was begging. I felt that I didn’t have the upper hand.  I thought this diminished me.  
But the results were marvelous. There was great interest in helping Habitat. God gave me a new perspective:  I began to ask the Long Armers if they would help Habitat.  Now I ask then to join us in this ministry.  This is not Dorothy’s group or Dorothy’s project. The Lord showed me that providing encouragement to Habitat families is God’s work, not ours. When I finally saw Quilt Fellowship as a ministry and a calling, I realized God would provide all the help we needed.  The Long Armers were delighted to be invited to share the work.  I am humbled that God has invited me to share this work.

Now we tell people what we are doing and they provide all kinds of help.  We have received quantities of fabric, completed quilts, tops, and participation from people beyond the doors of this church.   We have been able to send quilts to disaster areas because people are generous with money for shipping.  God honors our service with blessing.  We have been changed .

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