Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Please join us at our new blog and website.

Hi All, I just noticed that it has been almost a year since I last wrote an entry here. I wanted to advise you that we are now updating all blog posts on our Sowers of Jireh web site.
Please check us out there and sign up to receive blog updates right in your email.
Also feel free to pass this on to anyone you think may be interested.
Going into our 3rd year at the Sewing Centre we are excited with the new products we are making. T-shirts, sports shirts, bags, quilts, aprons, bracelets and purses to name a few. Let us partner with you and we can come up with a solution for any personalized product you may need.


Saturday, November 16, 2013

Catch up-

I am sitting here at 5:22 in the morning already having been up for an hour, in the dark, in a hotel room. One of the rare chances that we actually have to relax and I can't sleep, why is that? Who knows why my mind and body works the way it does. Anyway, as I was lying here I realized that I have not posted anything since August, if that gives you any indication of how busy it has been.

Teams started coming at the end of October, and we were off. It has begun a great season. This year every team has projected to build more houses than the year before. Last year we built about 225 houses. SO exciting!! On another not so exciting topic, our roof has been leaking. Every time it rains. Our house that we are renting is very poorly constructed, and the owner doesn't want to put in the money to fix it. If anything though, it has reminded me why we are here working with Shelter. As Stuart and I are working furiously at 10pm trying to scoop out water from the floor, while standing in it up to our ankles, the only thing that runs through my head is, at least we have a house. I can not even begin to imagine what it is like for those that only have a make-shift roof over their heads. Imagine  practically having to swim around your house in pure mud every night that it rains hard! (Which is often during the rainy season) At midnight, we finally get the floor somewhat empty of water. As I go to bed that night, I think; how can we build more houses?
If you haven't already seen this video, it is totally worth your time. Shelter Video

This year we also have new translators, new cooks, and new drivers, so we are working closely with them to get things running smoothly. So far so good! We feel like God has chosen the exact people to be involved this year and feel very blessed by the amount of locals that are so willing to be a part of what we are doing here.

Alongside this, we are also still working away at building our new house/ministry centre. Stuart is there multiple times in the day overseeing the work and we often go as a family after the crew leaves to see the progress. Everything is done by hand, so it is just amazing to see each day what has been accomplished. They are at the point now where they are about to poor the roof of the first floor. We are getting excited to have a place to call our own, not to mention move out of the place we are in now. Everyone keeps asking me when we think it will be done. Honestly I have no idea? But I am ok with that, which tells me that I have come a long way from 3 years ago when I felt the need to know and control everything!!
 The kids just finished school this week and are now off until the 3rd week of January. That is why were are here in a hotel celebrating. We are so proud of all the kids for being so adaptive to our way of living here and speaking in two languages. Recently we had Laura here from Airdrie and she told me how she can see such a love in the hearts of my children from the people here and especially in Kade, the pain of the unjust and the feeling of wanting to make it better. We are also so proud of the kids we are sponsoring to go to school here. There are many of them, but I will just update you on a few...

Keyri - Juanita's grand daughter, had her first year of school this year. She did so well, next year she is skipping Kindergarten and going right to Grade one. We are also sponsoring her Mom, Joanna, to finish university as she was 2 years into a four year degree and had to quit because of financial reasons. She is at the top of her class right now, and working a full time job.
Daniela and Diego also make us so proud. Most of you know their story already, but this year Daniella went from getting marks of 6 and 7 to getting 9s in most of her classes, and is turning into a beautiful woman with the desire to succeed.
Diego is also still top of his class and has turned into a confident, ambitious man. He LOVES his clothing design school. On Saturdays, he has to leave San Vicente at 4:30 in the morning to get to his class in San Salvador, but he attends faithfully. He also has many hopes and dreams. Annually we take my kids and Daniela and Diego to San Salvador to celebrate their accomplishments and do something fun. With the caveat that we will continue to do this as long as we are living here and when they graduate university and have jobs, they can then take us to celebrate!! Last night after supper, we decided to go into Pull & Bear, a newish, hip and trendy store for youth. Diego pipes up and says, one day I am going to have a store like this selling my designs. I almost cried right there on the spot. That's a far cry from 3 years ago when you ask a person what they want to be when they grow up, or what their dreams are and they just shrug their shoulders and say that they don't bother to dream, or think of a positive future, because it almost never comes true.

On my last post I wrote all about the sewing week in Rio Frio. I am happy to report that the sewing centre there is fully up and running. First we were invited as special guests, along with the mayor of San Vicente, to the graduation of 21 of the women from the "corte y confeccion" 8 month sewing program where they learned to make almost every kind of clothing item you can think of. What an honour! 
Then we finished the process of building the sewing centre which they aptly named " Bendicion de Dios" - blessing from God.
Since this photo, we have bought 2 long tables and shelving
There are 12 women working there right now on various items to sell from purses to aprons, home decor and clothing. They just received an order for 300 aprons! The women are very excited to venture into this and are looking for places to sell their goods as well as learning about what you need to run a business. Earlier this week I took three of them to San Salvador to buy fabric and notions. They are learning the cost of things so that they can better price their products. On a side note, it was also their first time on an escalator, so that was pretty cool for me to watch!! lol.

Various products the girls are sewing in Rio Frio.
 If you are interested, I do have many of their products for sale. Some people back in Canada are using stuff they make to sell as fundraisers for homes. What a great idea!

Quilt Spots
That leads me to the sewing centre in San Vicente. We have just completed an order of 125 quilts and are working on another one of 40 more. Now with the groups here, we are hoping that individual orders will pick up. We are still trying to collect funds for the website, which behind the scenes is working great. I just have no time to try and get the photos of product and description on the site! Not to mention I am a terrible photographer! Any one want to come out and help me with that?

The girls are also making "quilt spots" which can be used as hot pads or decoration, in all sorts of colours. What a great Christmas gift that really gives back, wink, wink. The girls in the t-shirt and stamping area of the sewing centre are super busy with all kinds of different orders. We recently received an order for 2500 bags made and stamped that will be used by a dentist in Calgary.  We competed successfully against bids from off shore manufacturers.  With us, the dentist can know that she is also giving work at fair wages to some pretty amazing women!!

Speaking of amazing women…. On Thursday I took all the girls to the dentist to get a check up. When I told them that we were going to see if he could help, some of the women had tears in their eyes, from the hope that they may get relief. Many of them have been complaining of headaches and tooth aches (not directly to me, but it always gets back to me somehow).  I thought maybe they would each have a cavity or two. It turns out that most of them have in the range of 8-15 cavities plus 2-3 extractions each! Yikes. 

Meet Leybi, she is a single mom of 2 boys aged 14 and 15. She had been very mistreated by men in her life. This is a rare photo where you will find her smiling for a camera. She has found peace working in the sewing centre and is always on time, willing to do whatever is asked. She however, has no top teeth. Whenever she talks to you, she covers her mouth with her hand, because she is embarrassed.  To give her top teeth and change the way she thinks about herself it would only cost $150. She also has 13 fillings needed on her bottom teeth. We have a dentist her that is very good, and clean and knows what he is doing. He is willing to work with me to change these girls life and teach them proper dental hygiene providing a class, and a kit. I have decided that this would be a better Christmas present than anything else I could give.

I however can not do it alone. If you are interested in helping me out with this or any of the other projects we have going on here, please click on the Donate button on the right and click donate under This button is to support the McAllister's El Salvador mission project.. 
Think about giving someone the gift of no more headaches or toothaches this year. We told our kids that instead of gifts at Christmas for them, we would be using the money to help these women, they seemed to agree and take it all in stride! So proud!

One last bit here, last month I was able to get away and go to Antigua, Guatemala for a refresher on my Spanish. It was so nice to get away and think of other things, although I think I was more tired from learning for 6 hours a day since I haven't been a student in so long! Anyway, the weather was about 18 degrees and rainy and I had to go out and buy two sweaters. This year we are going home at Christmas and I just don't know how we will be able to handle the cold!! Maybe we will have to curl up under our Sowers of Jireh quilt and people will have to come visit us in bed. Please pray :) It will probably be the first time that Violet can remember seeing snow since we moved here, when she was just 1 year old.
Looking forward to seeing some familiar faces though at this special time of year. And I hope and pray that all you and your families are doing well. Feel free to drop us a line at anytime.

Carie - On behalf of the rest of the McAllisters in El Salvador

Friday, August 30, 2013

Sewing Week in Rio Frio

Rebecca, Julie, Me, Julie, Karen and Stephanie

Commit to The Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed. Proverbs 16:3

Introducing our projects
It’s hard for me to think about what happened in the month because I can pretty much only remember what happened last week. Before that it was all a blur! Last week we had 5 woman from Ontario come to teach 60 women in Rio Frio sewing projects. It was a huge success! It was about 6 months of planning coming to fruition. For those of you that don’t know, Rio Frio is a little community about 45 minutes away from San Vicente. We have been working in that community a little over a year now building houses. We love this community because of the unity there which is lead by a pastor and a catholic representative, Pastor Pastor and Cesar. 

The women brought all the materials to make each project plus materials to put together 60 gift baskets of sewing supplies. Knit/jersey fabric and interfacing was cut for all. Contents included a notebook for records, pen, Bible, scissors, sewing kit with all the notions (thread, pins, needles, measuring tape, zippers, pin cushion, etc.), 3 fat quarters and a make-up item.
I adapted the bible study “Women of Worth” to an intensive 5 day study to do with the women. Julie Tiessen says it best in the ladies blog when she says, “But it's actually the most important as it's about the MAIN reason we are here ... not just for the sewing, but to build into these women's lives through our daily devotionals with them. These times have been SO blessed, and they tend to go way past their allotment, which is awesome! Women's lives are being touched for eternity ... we are seeing it through tears and laughter, which transcend cultural and linguistic barriers as womens' hearts have a way of speaking to one another. They are fully entering into this experience soaking it up like sponges. What a privilege to bring God's words to these eager ladies!” You can read their thoughts on the week at

Eating yummy lunch
We were also able to cook lunch for about 100 people, thanks to the funds raised by the Ontario team. Juanita did an amazing job cooking and we fed everyone that week and even came under budget! Why 100? We had 60 women, 5 canadians, 6 translators, 4 helpers and 30 kids! Rebecca was amazing and took all the kids in stride providing crafts, a bible lesson each day and all around great care.

I think for me, the week rekindled that fire I have in my heart for missions. It helped me remember why I am here and why I love it. At the end of the week, one of the ladies said to me that she was so thankful that we came because if we didn’t, they never would have learned the things they were taught. I replied “that is not necessarily true, God may have found another way to bring it to you.” To which she said, with tears in her eyes, “No, no one ever comes here to Rio Frio, no one, ever!” I will never forget this. What it must feel like to feel forgotten. We are currently building a sewing centre there that will house 9 machines and a working space for the women in this community to better their lives. I publicly made a promise to return there at least once a month to teach a class. I want these women to know that they are not forgotten. They are women of worth and they are important to me.
Guadelupe with her finished wallet and sponsor card 
I am also hoping that down the road I will pick up things that they have made and have the opportunity to sell them to teams. We will also be getting the website up and running to able us to sell on the web.

We do have some prayer requests.

We are trying to raise money for the website development, and we need your HELP, both financially and prayerfully, that it will be something that will advance our work here. Please click on the donate button on the side of this blog to donate.

We are still trying to keep the people in the sewing centre employed and are running out of work. If you, or anyone you know are interested in having a one of a kind quilt made or t-shirts or personalized tote bags made for your work, family etc. Please let us know by emailing us

Next week Jim comes and we will be having series of meetings with the in country leaders, building team, translators, cook, driver etc. and doing a sort of leadership training. Pray that it will come together . 

Thursday, August 1, 2013


Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
    whose trust is the Lord.
He is like a tree planted by water,
    that sends out its roots by the stream,
and does not fear when heat comes,
    for its leaves remain green,
and is not anxious in the year of drought,
    for it does not cease to bear fruit
Jeremiah 17: 7 - 8

Although only two weeks have passed since we arrived back in El Salvador, it seems like months.  And it feels like an eternity since I put pen to paper, (is this still the correct term when I actually put fingertips to little rubber squares?) so I guess it is probably time to catch up a little bit.
I have been thinking a lot about roots over the last few days.  Back in March, we purchased a piece of land here in San Vicente and have been busy clearing the 25 years of jungle and garbage that had accumulated.  In April we hired a local man named Morgan as our contractor and he has been directing his crew of 11 men as they build perimeter walls and the first stages of the house/multi-use centre that we hope to build.  When we first entered the property over a year ago, one of the first gems that we encountered was an old Tempisque tree in one corner of the yard.  Nobody is certain, but my guess would be that this tree was 300 to 400 years old.  You may have noticed that I used the past tense, because on closer inspection we discovered that some bee-like insects had built their hive in the center of the tree trunk.  As the tree was going to pose a danger to our house as well as our neighbours, we made the decision that it would have to come down.  After five days of work for a crew of six, 3 chainsaws and a plethora of machetes, all that is left is a massive stump (probably about 2 metres in diameter) and giant pile of firewood.  Now comes the big job of slowly unearthing the enormous roots of this old monster.

At the same time we have been busy purchasing new fruit trees that will eventually end up in the new yard. Oranges, avocados, coconuts, lychee, and guava will eventually fill the vacant space.  Carie, the kids, and I have transplanted these new purchases into plastic pots so that they can grow a bit before we plant them in the yard.  Carefully we unwrap the young root systems and surround them with new soil and fertilizer.

I guess I have been wondering about the roots in my own life.  About 3 years ago, God decided it was time dig out some roots that had become old and maybe dangerous for myself and those around me.  Maybe my life was hollow due to complacency, comfort, seeking after my own wants and needs.  I think He needed to cut away the dead wood, so that he could plant me anew.  He wants our lives to bear fruit, and provide comfort and shade to those around us, and blossom to show the beauty that is Him.  As we begin to see this place as our home a little more each day, we are thankful for the new roots that God is planting.  And our prayer is that we as individuals and a as a family continually send out these roots to the stream.

Life tends to accelerate for us here in El Salvador.  When we arrived two weeks ago, Carie and I already had a laundry list of things to focus on over the next little while.  Thankfully we have whittled a few things off the list including renewing our immigration documents, being able to inform 25 more families that Shelter will be able provide them with a new home over the next 3 months, starting the construction of a new sewing centre in Rio Frio, seeing Diego’s first runway show for his design school, getting the kids back into the swing of things at school, troubleshooting a few problems in the sewing centre here in San Vicente, and probably most important we have been able to spend some time with many of our good friends.  We are truly blessed. 

We also are beginning to plan and prepare for the season of teams that will be upon us sooner than we think.  In fact Carie has been busy getting the details in place for a group of ladies coming from Ontario to help teach small sewing projects in the community of Rio Frio.  They arrive in 3 weeks and we are both excited for ways that God will work through this week, and also a little nervous as this is the first trip of its type that we have been involved in.  This season we will see more teams than ever, we are reaching further into new communities, and we pray that more families (both Canadian and Salvadorian) will be impacted by God’s abounding love. We are confident that many good things will happen over this next year in terms of the home-building project, but we also have a few things on our radar that are in the early stages of prayer and planning.  We ask that you pray over these things as well so that we may receive wisdom and guidance:

  1. A alcohol and drug rehabilitation centre in San Vicente.  Addictions are very visible here and we have been working with Oscar on the possibility of a location which would house 10-12 men for a one year period of recovery and restoration.  Our dream is for a holistic ministry in which those that commit to the program will leave with the right tools and hope to be a difference in their families and community.
  2. High School in Rio Frio.  We know that education is important to combat many of the problems of poverty and delinquency we see around us.  The community of Rio Frio is one of 17 small communities in an area about 45 minutes away from San Vicente.  There is currently only education offered in the area up to grade 9.  Those that wish to continuing studying need to travel to and from San Vicente or Apastepeque each day which is a cost of somewhere between $3 and $5 a day.  This is highly unobtainable for most families in the zone, so the rate of continuance into high school is less than 30%.  We have been presented with a proposal to work with the community in creating and building a school that would service that entire zone, providing both academic and technical studies.
  3. Bakery in San Vicente.  We have been working with a lady in our church to provide baking classes for groups of 12-15 people.  To date we have had 5 of the 3-week programs.  We would like to see how we can turn some of this into a sustainable business for some of the ladies that have taken the training.
  4. Farming God’s Way program.  We are in the preliminary stages of connecting with a program that is currently running in Honduras under the guidance of the Canadian Foodgrains Bank and the Mennonite Central Committee.  The purpose of the project is to improve farming practices to increase yields, improve land quality, and decrease reliance on expensive fertilizers and pesticides.  There may be a chance to visit the project in Honduras over the next little while, and see how it could function in our locale.
  5. Connections with our local church.  We believe that God is working great things in the church we attend here in San Vicente.  We see a strong vision developing of reaching out to the community.  We are always looking for ways that we can help strengthen and encourage leadership, form greater connections between the groups that come and the local body, and help show the love of Christ in new and powerful ways.

I would like to close by answering a question that I have been asked many times: “How can I help?”  Our first response to this is always prayer.  We crave your prayers for us as a family; for safety, for guidance, for peace, and patience.  We ask you to pray for the people that we share our lives with here.  There are too many to list them all, but specifically over the next while we know that Hector and Veralis, Carlos and Yanira, Pastor Jorge and Maritza, Oscar and Jackie, Juanita and her family, Tomasita and her family, Maria Elena, Don Pedro and his family, the girls (and Geovany) in the sewing centre, Basilio and Veronica, Noe, Roberto, Miguel, Fredi and their families, the community of San Antonio.

Finally, one of the big ways that you can support us is by supporting the small businesses that we are working alongside here.  Specifically the sales of quilts, t-shirts, and handicrafts directly impact the lives of 12 families, as they share the profits from all of these items.  And not only do these create financial blessings for the women (and man) involved.  We have been told by more than one of these ladies that they now feel that they are useful and have a purpose, where before they didn’t see themselves as having any value.  We constantly reiterate to them that in God’s eyes they are all beautiful creations planned out before the creation of the heavens and the earth, but we know that God often uses physical examples for us to understand as well.  In this case it is the ability to see a well-crafted product at the end of the day.
So we encourage you to support these people through purchasing and word-of-mouth marketing for us.  If you have a design that you would like stamped on a shirt or would like to pick some fabrics for a hand-crafted quilt, please email us at csmcalli@gmail.comWe are also currently working on creating an electronic storefront to display and accept product orders.  If you are interested in donating towards the cost of this venture, please contact myself or Carie for more information or click on the Donate button on the right hand side of this website.


Thursday, April 25, 2013

So long ago and reaping what we sew.

I am sorry that it has been so long since we last posted. I just went on the blog site today to see what picture I had used last and realized that the last time I wrote was January.

It seems like so much has transpired since my last post that I don't even know where to begin!

Rather than going back quite a bit, I will start with where we are now. The groups are all gone, the leaders meeting week was more than successful. We took a nice week off to hang out with Oscar and Jacky in Antigua Guatemala. It was a good time to get out of the heat for a bit and relax, and visit some of the old places that we visited when we were there doing Spanish school for 5 weeks. 

We also got a chance to visit with our friends Gina and Mark Schmidt. We met them at the beach when we were in Guatemala in 2011 and found out that they were missionaries from the States that were, at the time, building houses near Antigua Guatemala. They had been living there for a year and a half. It was really neat to see a glimpse into our future of where we might be in a year and a half's time. Now they have been there 4 years and have opened a school in the village where they are working. Really cool. God definitely put that family in our lives on purpose. 

When we moved to El Salvador, I pretty much knew that I would not be involved in the house building side of things. Along with Kerrie Lynn, we tried to think of something that could get us really involved in our own ministry. So we came up with a sewing centre for women producing products using recycled materials. Since then God has really blessed us. We now have over 12  people working in the sewing centre doing various jobs from cutting jeans to sewing quilts to fabricating t-shirts to silk screening on the shirts. Check out (you can order online at are also doing the Purpose Driven life series and a lot of the girls have really opened up and grown from our chats. When the all girls group was here on their mission week, the women from the sewing centre all took the day off to divide and distribute food in the community of Las Brisas. 

The other day I was reading in the Purpose Driven Life, on Day 32, talking about your "SHAPE"
Spiritual Gifts

"Your SHAPE was sovereignly determine by God for His purpose, so you should resent it or object it..... Part of excepting your SHAPE is recognizing your limitations. Nobody is good at everything, and no one  is called to be everything. We all have defined roles. Paul understood that his calling was not to accomplish everything or please everyone but to focus on the particular ministry God had shaped him for. He said, "our goal is to stay within the boundaries of God's plan for us."

The word boundaries refers to the fact the God assigns each of us a field or sphere of service. Your shape determines your specialty. When we try to overextend our ministry reach beyond what God shaped us for, we experience stress. ... God wants you to enjoy using the shape he has given you. The bible says (in Galatians 5:4) "Be sure to do what you should, for then you will enjoy the personal satisfaction of having done your work well, and you won't need to compare yourself to anyone else." Satan will try to steal the joy of service from you in a couple of ways: by tempting you to compare your ministry with others, and by tempting you to conform your ministry to the expectations of others." 

What does this have to do with anything? This really stuck with me. The first year that we were here, I tried to please everyone and everything. Spending lots of time doing things that I didn't enjoy because I had the idea put into my head that we were called here to serve and that meant sacrificing my joy to do what others thought serving meant. Since then, God has been speaking to me in ways like never before and guiding me into the ministry that he had already prepare for me long ago.

A couple of months ago we went to Rio Frio to deliver housewarming gifts to the 52 families that received homes during the summer. While we were there, the pastors asked us if they could show us their new sewing program. What we saw amazed us! There in a hot room were 40 students learning how to sew. They had each done practice samples of how to sew on buttons, zippers, hooks and eyes, ruffles etc. They were also sewing skirts by hand. But not out of fabric, out of Craft paper. They also had 5 treadle machines, but only one worked and they were all only being borrowed. The government is paying a teacher for 6 months to teach these women how to sew. Because of little to no resources, they all need to bring their own materials and if they can’t, they can not attend. The most impressive thing to us was seeing all these women sitting in the classroom, motivated to improve their skills and look for new opportunities in life. We remembered back to when we tried to put together the first baking class, and thought we had twenty people interested, and then no one showed up. We appreciate these moments of light.

This sewing school asked if there is any way that we can help with their program. Hand sewing with paper is fine for practicing, but at some point, if they plan to make a successful business, they are going to need to use fabric and a machine. They were also interested in continuing their lessons after the 6 month period, with the hope of learning to make products that are sellable in their community. I went home thinking about it, and wondering what I could do. Other than the quilts, I don’t really have that many skills, and there are some obstacles to teaching quilting in Rio Frio (a community that is nearly 1 hour away). Then God reminded me that we are not alone here and it takes the whole body to fulfill His vision. I put a little comment on Facebook about potentially doing a sewing mission trip in August, and I received some good response. My proposal was that we need to raise approximately $5000 to buy machines, fabric and all the necessary supplies. We will also need a team of people to come out in August to teach new sewing projects; possibly items that can be made out of scraps of jeans and other materials. This way we can use leftovers from the Sewing Centre in San Vicente.     

The response was amazing and I am so happy to say that right now we have a team of about 8 women coming to El Salvador the third week of August to do a week of workshops with the women, provide lunch and childcare for their children. The dream has gotten even bigger than I imagined. Yesterday Stuart, 5 girls from the sewing centre in San Vicente and I went to pay a surprise visit to the girls in Rio Frio. We brought them 2 brand new industrial machines and some roles of fabric that I was able to purchase inexpensively in San Salvador. It was so fun to see all their faces light up! Now plans are in the works to build a communal sewing centre that is secure and waterproof. Our hope is that the girls will be able to use the machines and when they start making money they will pay a small fee to use the machines and other items in the centre to contribute to the electricity costs and maintenance. 

In order to do this, we need your help!! We have seen how in the past donations to get our programs up and running have hugely benefited to a point where we are now self sufficient and don't need to ask for more, and I am asking the same for this. If it is on your heart to donate toward giving a better life to some women who are already motivated to see this happen. Please contribute. You can donate online by clicking on the link at the top of this page on the righthand side where it says Donate then scroll down to PayPal and then "This button is for El Salvador Projects" You can put in the note that it is for the sewing centre. You have the option to pay by credit card even if you do not have a paypal account. If you wish to donate my other means, please contact me at by clicking here.

Thank you so much in advance for your continue support in everything we are doing here.

In a side note, but equally exciting, we have purchased a piece of land here that we are planning on using for our house and ministry and the Sewing Centre in San Vicente. Please pray for us as we go ahead with the building of it.