Thank you so much for your support of Mercy International and Threads of Blessing! I would like to share with you the miracles that we saw take place. As you know, this was the 1st workshop in Haiti for the Threads of Blessing ministry, and we are praying there will be many more. Our team consisted of Brenda Kingery, the founding member of Threads of Blessing some 18 years ago. Linda Jones, who is a faithful giver of her time and talents to Threads of Blessing in Uganda and Honduras. Ellen Walton, our newest partner, who brought more than just her artistic talents but also impacted the young women of the village with her teaching of liturgical dance. And myself, Jean Axtell, who was blessed beyond measure to be part of this team as we introduced Threads of Blessing to our sweet sisters in Village de Dieu in Haiti.
Because of generous contributions, we were able to prepare enough embroidery kits for 58 ladies! We were also able to provide meals for these wonderful ladies so we did not waste time having them return to their homes for lunch. Your contributions not only served as a monetary means for buying the necessary items for teaching and sewing but serve as life-changing tools for the ladies who have chosen to embrace the opportunity and now have a way of providing for their families.
At first, there was great apprehension on the part of the attendees. They had never seen an embroidery hoop and many claimed they had never sewn before. But 2 hours into the first day of the 3-day workshop, the pictures below show a different story.
The workshops went for 6 hours each day, but I think most of the ladies would have stayed all day if we had not needed the chapel for the afternoon VBS classes for their children! When our team came down the morning of the 2nd day, we were overjoyed to see some of the ladies already in the chapel setting up the work benches and tables, and sweeping the floor! They were taking ownership of this ministry and that was an answer to our prayers!
When we announced we would be holding a Graduation Ceremony for all those who completed the 3-day workshop, one would have thought we were handing out PhD diplomas. They were so proud to receive recognition for their work and for most I would imagine this was a first for them.
The last day of our time in the village was a ‘free’ day for us to enjoy walking about the village and visiting with our ladies in their homes. We were wonderfully blessed to see each of our ‘graduates’ sitting on their front steps sewing on their pieces.
I asked Brenda and Linda how long it would take for the ladies to finish the bigger pieces of work (12×12) and they estimated about 2 to 3 months. To our surprise, when Dr. John Leininger returned in February for another visit, he discovered that many of the ladies had already finished and were looking for more fabric to start a new piece! We were thrilled that he was able to bring many of the finished pieces back. We will begin cataloging and marketing them shortly. We hope to reward the ladies with the profits when we return in April for another week of sewing. The ladies will be so thrilled to receive the reward of money for their efforts and this will encourage them to continue sewing.
God also provided some young artistic boys to design the work to be embroidered by the women. Brenda is working with these artistic boys to find ways of sharing their culture through art and the embroidery pieces.
There was a surprising side note to our trip. A wonderful, godly young man came to us and asked why he was not asked to be in the workshop. When we explained it was originally offered just to the women, he asked if he could be part of the next workshop. He has become our link to the village as he speaks fairly good English, can use Messenger to communicate with us, and has the respect of the ladies of the village to confide in him. Five ladies were designated as ‘team leaders’. These ladies are our points of contact with the 60+ ladies now sewing in the village. I now hold ‘conference calls’ with this young man, Richard, and the 5 leaders to discuss any questions or needs they have.
Words cannot express our gratitude for the giving of your resources to enable these Haitian ladies to gain a sense of pride and value in what they can achieve. They are thrilled to be providing for their children by their own efforts and not by a handout. We look at this ministry as a ‘Hand-Up’ ministry and not a ‘Hand-Out’ ministry as we are helping women to be self-sustaining and confident in what they can do for their families.
It was indeed a picture of the Body of Christ coming together for such a time as this. From those of you who gave of your resources, to those who gave of your time and energy to go to Haiti, to the many that worked behind the scenes to make the workshops even possible; to God be the glory for orchestrating it all and allowing us to be part of His work!
Our cisterns are overflowing with joy and gratitude for all God has done,
The Haiti Team from Threads of Blessing,
Brenda, Linda, Ellen, and Jean