EWING – Mt. Salem-Wyaconda Southern Baptist Association women have found sewing machines and scissors in Missouri can reach the world through various products for mission projects.
Violet Brownell, Association Clerk and Women’s Ministry team leader said 15 to 20 people – mostly ladies, but including one MSWSBA pastor – have turned out thousands of products meeting an average of once a month.
“People’s biggest need is Jesus, but how do you start the conversation?” Brownell asked rhetorically. “One of the easiest ways is having a gift for them and lead the conversation to Jesus.”
In 2015, she was part of a Calvary Baptist, Hannibal, mission team that went to El Salvador to participate in a sewing ministry.
“I came home and wondered how I could further use my talent for God. Sewing has a place in my heart.”
Brownell learned of a need for washable feminine pads for women in countries with little access to disposable products. She got association churches seamstresses to participate and sent 35 kits to Dominican Republic and 150 kits to Panama, (three pads per kit), delivered by missionaries.
Then she learned of a teddy bear ministry for Disaster Relief chaplains and childcare teams.
“The bears have a Missouri Disaster Relief logo on an ear and ‘Jesus loves you’ on its heart,” she said.
The sewing team made close to 1,000 of bears, many now in totes on Missouri Baptist Disaster Relief trailers, although others are ready to go in large bags.
“This year we became aware of the soft eyeglasses cases ministry. Larry Merry, (who heads Vision 3:16 in Concord Baptist in Jefferson City,) has made numerous trips to Mexico delivering glasses. He needed the cases to protect the glasses,” Brownell said.
“I’m extremely happy to get the cases. I’ve wanted them for a time. It’s fun to watch the (Mexican) people pick the cases they like. The whole purpose is to share Jesus. We meet a significant need for those with poor vision. The glasses cases are a nice touch to tell them we personally care about them,” Merry said.
Brownell said her sewing team started making glasses cases in May and sent 1,000 to Merry. Another 1600 cases were sent in July. She hopes to send Merry another 2,000 in October.
“Not all of us can go to the mission trips. But by sewing these, we are using tools to get the conversation (focused) on Jesus. Even if you can’t go there, there is something to do for the Lord.”
She said people who can’t sew, but can cut, count, stack, iron, and turn out sewn projects are welcome to assist.
The women bring sewing machines if they have them, and some people also sew on projects in their homes or their churches. The church where the group sews varies monthly. The hours allow women to come-and-go, starting in afternoons for those who don’t want to drive at night, and continue into the evening for those who sew after work.
“Whatever God has gifted someone, they can ask how to use it for him,” she said.
“I’m really thankful for the ladies that have stepped up. I thought they’d say they couldn’t do it. Instead, they said ‘when do you want them?’ I can’t imagine all the work they have done for them. God uses the talent offered whether big or small,” Merry said.