Sewing for the Lord

Jan 30, 2023

First Presbyterian Church of Marshalltown has had a quilting group for at least 15 years. It grew out of PW (which we no longer have). They make quilts to give our infants at baptism. At first they made quilts to send to the orphanage in Haiti from which one of the women’s grandchildren was adopted. They also donated them locally to a group that works with disadvantaged mothers and to Blank Children’s Hospital in Des Moines.

About ten years ago, a church member was called to start an orphanage, Jonathan’s House, in Central African Republic. Since then, most of the quilts have gone there. They made bunk-sized quilts for the orphans. Now there is a medical center attached to the orphanage where women come to deliver their babies. So now our quilters make crib sized quilts primarily. Carter Strand, the man who started Jonathan’s House in CAR, had this to say about the impact of the quilt-making ministry:

One thing that I love about the way God is uniquely Himself is that He knows how to get His work done using regular people. He doesn’t require a job resume or a college degree. There isn’t a proficiency test for becoming a follower of Jesus. He comes to us where we are and works with the talents the He has given us. One thing that He knows about us that we might not even know about ourselves is that we ALL have unique gifts that He can use for His glory.

Our church quilter’s group is made up of women who can sew. I suppose lots of people can sew, but these women are special. They are sewing to serve some of the most disadvantaged mothers and children on earth, located in the Central African Republic. I’ve taken hundreds of quilts in suitcases to the middle of Africa. Quilts that are made in the basement of our church will soon become the most prized possessions of each new mother who has given birth in the Jonathan’s House maternity clinic. On the rare occasions when a child or newborn dies, they are wrapped in a quilt before burial.

The new mothers in Africa will never meet the women from our church who made their beautiful new quilt. I won’t come back from Africa with a thank you card or a gift in return. And the mothers won’t go back into their village talking about how wonderful First Presbyterian Church in Marshalltown is. What might they say? I think it would be something like this. “God is so good. He gave me a beautiful baby and a quilt to keep her warm.” And God gets all the glory because He used regular people to do His work.

Luke 14:12-14 He said also to the man who had invited him, “When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.”

The seamstresses in our lower lounge have put on a bountiful feast, and they have invited the poor, the hungry, the sick, and the scared. We may not all know how to sew, but we all have talents. For those of you who want to use your unique God-given talents to serve the Lord without receiving earthly payment, this is a great example to follow.”

To learn more about FPC Marshalltown and this ministry, visit