Thursday, August 18, 2011

Sewing Seminar ~ In Dee's Words

I thought I would let Dee tackle this post on sharing about the sewing seminars that we held in Asikuma. The idea to do this came to me about 2 weeks prior to our departure to Ghana. Dee was the PERFECT person to head it up. I love how God uses all our different gifts and talents to make an impact here...from construction to's all important. Here is more, in Dee's own words:

When I set out on this journey to Ghana I prayed for the Lord to reveal to me what my purpose would be while there. It became clear that the Lord wanted me to use my gifts and talents to help make connections with the people of Asikuma so that I could share God’s love and compassion with them. On August 4th the second day there at the village, my daily devotions from 'Jesus Calling' by Sarah Young had the most appropriate devotions for the beginning of the journey in Asikuma:

“Hold my hand and walk joyously with me through this day. Together we will savor the pleasures and endure the difficulties it brings. Be on the lookout for everything I have prepared for you: stunning scenery, bracing winds of adventure, cozy nooks for resting when you are weary, and much more. I am your Guide as well as your constant companion. I know every step of the journey ahead of you, all the way to heaven.

You don’t have to choose between staying close to Me and staying on course. Since I am the the Way, staying close to Me is staying on course. As you focus your thoughts on Me, I will guide you carefully along today’s journey. Don’t worry about what is around the next bend. Just concentrate on enjoying My presence and staying in step with me.”

The journey actually started back in June when I decided to go to Ghana. I asked the women of my church to help make dresses for the little girls of the village. There was overwhelming support by the women not only from Chapel (my home church) but also friends and family members of mine. God was preparing my heart as well as others for the mission project at hand.

Then a couple weeks before going, Janel asked if I would like to do a sewing seminar with the women of the village. This was exciting to me since I am a Family Consumer Science teacher who teaches Fashions (and the sewing component). It was also exciting because now I would have a specific purpose and avenue to interact and talk with the women of the village. People at home were not only generous to make dresses but they also donated fabric, ribbon and seam binding tape for the project. I went with 50 lbs of dresses, fabric and supplies in my suitcase ready for the sewing project. Now I needed to trust the Lord for this project to happen…

The first day of the seminar we (Janel, Amy, Kellee, and myself) started off down the road from the hotel to the school with a large suitcase filled with fabric. Christian, a boy from the village, offered to pull the suitcase the long walk to the school. I am sure the village people were talking about what these four white women could possibly be carrying in this suitcase going across town.

When we arrived at the school the children soon started swarming into the classroom (literally standing on the tables in their excitement) wondering what we were going to pull out of our bags or talk to them about.

With the help of some Kingdom Hoops guys (Kobby and Bennett) we persuaded the children to wait outside and let the adults come into the classroom for something special. Soon the sewing machines appeared. They came in on the women’s head to the school not on a cart, like in my classroom.

I was thrilled to see the women show up along with six different sewing machines. It was exciting to see how they were willing to learn and socialize with each other. Some women came with their babies snuggled onto their back with a cloth. Some of the women had the skills already but the additional resources of fabric, thread, scissors and a new pattern was exciting to them. Now keep in mind this was a classroom much different from what I am use to working with. There were no 6 foot tables with bright lighting and computerized Bernina sewing machines sitting around the room. In fact the school desk had a flat surface of about 12 inches wide and 3 feet long with a nice film of dust on each of them. This didn’t matter in the big scheme of things, after all, the entire project was about building relationships and trust so the people could see God’s love shining through us.

The excitement was contagious as the children peered in through the windows and doorways to watch us work with the women of the village.

There were five young girls so intent on learning this new skill. They worked closely together figuring out each step along the way.

It is amazing how you can create a casing ½’ wide and how you can press a seam open without an iron. One of the Kingdom Hoops players wanted to join in on the fun on the last day. Bennett made a pillow for his sewing project. Bennett and Kobby were such a help during the seminars as they helped with the on-looking children, carried our heavy bags and took pictures.

While watching the young girls learning to sew my heart began to feel a nudge about how to help the people. “Why not purchase some machines for the school to have a vocational skill class for the students!” After praying about it and talking with the teacher from the school I decided God’s plan was for the school to have an opportunity to teach sewing to the students. I visited with Mercy, one of the retired teachers from the school, about helping get the program started if I were to purchase these machines. She was excited and supportive about volunteering her time to help teach the sewing classes.

During the sewing seminars Kelly, Janel and Amy helped where needed and also helped hand out some of the dresses made at home to the young girls. We handed out all the dresses that people sent with us to those in need. It was very gratifying to see the joy in their face after we placed the dress on them and took their picture.

There were 15 or more women at the sewing seminar each time. The sewing machines were humming for three hours at each seminar. There were around 40 dresses made at the three seminars.

There was also one pair of boys shorts made on the last day of the sewing seminar. Remember it is important to keep your eyes open for the needs of the people. On that day Janel pointed out to me that there was a young boy playing in the yard without any pants. She asked if I could make a pair of shorts for him. So without a pattern I thought “I have helped many students at home make boxer shorts certainly I can do this” I started cutting out the fabric with no pattern and pinned them together. Soon the women there were curious about what I was doing. I showed them and they helped sew the seams together. Before you knew it there was a pair of shorts for a little boy. Not only was the boy clothed but the women learned another skill …making boy’s shorts. I drew up a pattern for the women so they could use it in the future. Maybe next time I go I could have sewing seminars on making shorts! The little boy with his new shorts.....

God’s plan for this journey to Ghana to teach sewing actually started when I was named “Dorcas” by my parents. If you have ever read Acts 9:39-43 it tells about a woman named Dorcas who sewed garments for the poor. I believe that my name has been an indicator of my calling long before I knew so.

The Lord taught me through sewing to have compassion for His people. He taught me to be resourceful with what is provided. The Lord taught me that you can share the gospel with others by showing your love and concern for them. The Lord taught me to keep my eyes open to whatever the Lord is calling you to do and you will be blessed throughout the journey.

After the seminars we would walk the journey home to the hotel - our “cozy nook” - for a bit of rest before the next adventure.

Matthew 25: 35-36, 40
For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me. The King will reply, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me."


Lori said...

I love how God called Dee to this trip and then made it personal for her. God loves us that much! Great story :D

Christy said...

I LOVE this post. I love the photos of the women learning a practical skill that will enable them to help themselves and their country. It reminds me of 1 Thess 2:8, "We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us." I think giving hands and feet to the gospel message is SO important, and these women were able to tangibly see God's love through your teaching. Thanks for sharing!