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.


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