You may know that First Presbyterian Church has a dedicated group of quilters that has been busy at work making beautiful quilts of many sizes over the last 15 years or so. It is such a joy for the congregation to see their lovely work on display each year. Babies receive their own quilt when they are baptized, offering them comfort and a tangible reminder of the love of their church family.
What you may not know is that the quilters also make quilts for Jonathan’s House in Central African Republic. In fact, that is where most of their handiwork goes. So I asked Carter Strand, past president and Jonathan's House Advisory Board member, for some information on how the quilts are used at Jonathan’s House. Here’s what he had to say:
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.
What a wonderful way to share God’s love in our hurting world! And a beautiful tribute to those using their God-given gifts to do Kingdom work.
If you are interested in being a part of this special ministry, an opportunity is just around the corner as the group will be quilting again on Mondays in March. The best part is you do NOT have to know how to sew to take part. People are needed for many tasks involved in making the quilts, and some jobs allow you to sit the whole time. If you are interested in learning more, please contact the church office at (641)753-5929.