It struck me as I walked into the chapel this past Saturday. My eyes tried to take in the sight, 17 sewing machines all whirring around the room. Piles of fabric on tables and over 20 women ironing, sewing, cutting, laughing and working. I spent the first half hour setting up some South Sudan coffee on a back table, taking a few photos and trying to process through the sound of those machines and what I was seeing because I knew it was something much bigger then just the chorus of machines and the scurry of work being accomplished.
It was the Saturday before Thanksgiving and instead of baking pies for upcoming gatherings, or checking off grocery shopping lists the woman had all gathered together to sew dresses to hand out to refugee girls. Pillow case dresses begin filling the clothes line near the back of the room. Each one was lovely and unique with carefully stitched on pockets, embroidery details, carefully thought out color combinations. Each one radiated with the beauty and care of the one who had created it. Slowly the pile of dresses grew from a few to over fifty six. It wasn’t the dresses that amazed me, although the careful craftsmanship was lovely. The thing that amazed me was much bigger than that. It was the motivation behind the creation, the deep love that had gone into each stitch. The women were not merely sewing dresses out of a love for humanity, they had gathered out of an overflowing understanding of God’s love for them. Their enthusiasm overflowed from the knowledge of this love and their desire to share it with another. These women were sewing dresses that were carefully crafted and covered in prayer that the wearers of each dress would know the same loving Father that had prompted them to take their machines and load them in their car that frosty morning and turn them on to sew.
It reminded me of the crumpled napkin in North Africa where my husband scrawled out diagrams of the Cross and sacrifice, the old and new testament promises in a tiny coffee shop. As truths unraveled the napkin began to fill and the Truth seeker across the table’s eyes lit up with excitement.
It reminded me of a packed metal roofed building along the Nile where a group of children moved down the aisle their stepped aligned in unison their voices raised in praise. My children playing in the dirt at my feet as sweat glistened down and hearing words spoken in several languages each filled with Truth and love.
It reminded me of sitting in an old warehouse in Seattle that had been repainted and talking with a group about Truth, and how to share it with my neighbors.
It reminded me of a huge cathedral in the center of the city with an organ playing and voices from over 12 countries raised in unison to read litergy and sing hymns over the celebration of Easter.
It reminded me of bees and the sacrifice of one.
It reminded me of sitting in an apartment listening to my teammate Tibarik share of God’s working in her life as Ethiopian coffee brewed on the stove.
It reminded me of a group of special ladies in a classroom sketching Ephesians on a blackboard and penning truth in to Song.
God chooses to work through His people on earth to teach us more of himself. Sometimes it looks like a preacher in Sunday morning, or a study under a tree, sometimes it is a prayer offered in silence and sometimes the church looks like 27 women, 56 dresses and 17 sewing machines, all singing in unison about God’s character and love and how it manifests in our love for another.