Wednesday, July 22, 2009

To market, to market . . .

Our Wednesday market was a resounding success! We welcomed three different teams to the Clarkston Community Center. Each item purchased returns money to the refugee woman who created it.

We sold gorgeous afghans, throws, and doilies. We have beautiful baby blankets, too!
Our necklaces are always a big hit.People flocked to the rotating necklace display.
Our baby dolls with crocheted clothing and blankets attract young buyers.We still have a lot of winter knits -- sweaters, scarves, and caps. This red and gold beret found a new home!The knitting/crocheting class makes 100% cotton dishcloths -- great for scrubbing. You can bleach them, wash and dry them, or put them in the top rack of your dishwasher. And no bacteria!Sets of placemats and napkins are so cute!
Our aprons with large patchwork pockets can be used for cooking or gardening. Super cool!The market bags always sell well. They are made of recycled or donated fabric, and they replace plastic grocery sacks. We've joined the green scene.Every Wednesday afternoon during the summer, we open our market. It's been amazing to watch the generosity of buyers. I wish they could see the smiles of gratitude when we give our refugee women envelopes filled with money.

One woman took her envelope, opened it, then gazed at me in shock. "Now," she said, "now I can eat!"

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Yay, team!

Last week, we got a huge blessing. Two church teams visited The Refugee Sewing Society and helped us put our storeroom and classroom in order.Tim Cummins sent over a large group from Eastern Shore Baptist Church in Daphne, Alabama, and First Baptist Church of Bonifay, Florida to help us. Asante sana, Tim.

They titled themselves The Refugee Sewing Organization Society. Great name for a great bunch of Christians!Some of the crew tackled our classroom. We're gearing up for some big changes, so they helped us organize fabrics and remove excess supplies.We had a large bin of necklaces that had never been priced. This young lady priced and hung every necklace!In the storage room, the team took every single item out and began to organize in boxes and bins. The fabric and other materials filled three rooms and the hall before it was all sorted.Tim built two large shelving systems -- generously donated to our program in place of two Atlanta Braves baseball tickets. Sorry, Braves, but we're the winners in this deal! Both shelves were quickly loaded with fabrics sorted by color.
The team encountered things none of us expected. Zippers . . . zippers . . . and more zippers. Huge zippers!And small zippers. Thank goodness for this donated shoe cubby.
The team organized loads and loads of sewing supplies like buttons, patterns, lace, and all kinds of other doo-dads.Clarkston Community Center is air conditioned -- except in the storage rooms. This dedicated group worked hard in the heat. The team organized our yarn supply and filled two large shelving systems.Ta-dah! It's a beautiful thing.
With our storage room cleaned and our classroom organized, we're ready to begin our new session. I'm so humbled by the generosity and service of the Bonifay and Daphne teams. I can't wait to see what God has waiting for all of us!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Let's get together . . . yeah, yeah, yeah!

Remember that old song from Parent Trap? We've been enjoying a lot of get-togethers this month.
We spent the 4th of July with our good friends, the Yarbroughs. As always, the food was delicious and the company was lots of fun. Andrei had to work, so we went out to Stone Mountain to visit him. Bad idea. With all the traffic backed up, we couldn't even get close to the park entrance. We ended up watching the fireworks in a church parking lot. I caught this photo of all 3 Yarbroughs texting during the show! Can you guess how exciting the display was from that parking lot . . .?The following Sunday, we had another of our church-at-the-swimming pool events. We really enjoyed the service. And where can you find a better potluck than in a church with members from all over the world?Our friend from Sierra Leone had been anxious about her upcoming cataract surgery. But on Sunday she was rejoicing at how well it had gone. She can see almost perfectly from one eye, and doctors will work on the other eye soon.
Andrei enjoyed visiting with Kathryn. We are all grieving the end of this year's term for our Mission Year friends. We'll miss them!
We also had a "thank you tea" for some of our friends and supporters. It was fun to put together a big high tea with all the trimmings.I was especially delighted to get to know Carol and Todd, who have been a huge help to us through this first year of mission service. Brian, on the left, works for World Relief. He always brings an interesting perspective.Now that our house is ready for company, I'm eager to invite more people over. Let's get together -- yeah, yeah, yeah!

I did it!

The Refugee Sewing Society graduated all our students from this past session. Students were enrolled in Beginner Sewing, Advanced Sewing, Bead Class, and Yarn Class. When we handed out certificates, mass celebration erupted!We had a party with tea and cookies. Everyone was so happy! It's not easy to find joy, self-esteem, and satisfaction when you've fled a war-torn country. Some women have suffered more than our minds can grasp. The suffering doesn't go away just because they're in America.
The ministry of The Refugee Sewing Society is to help these precious women heal and find reasons for joy.
After the party and certificate presentations, no one wanted to leave. So they worked on various projects until it was time to say good-bye. My favorite moments occur when I get to watch students help each other. Here Jasoda from Bhutan shows Hinde from Somalia how to turn a hem.
Bahati made a cute set of watermelon print placemats and green checked napkins. I hope someone buys them soon!
If you've ever wondered what good can come of women sewing, beading, and knitting together, I think this photo is the perfect answer.I'm taking the month of July to complete a book and try to rest. The Refugee Sewing Society plans to swing into action in August. Meanwhile, I'm missing my friends!