Saturday, June 18, 2011

the cross in a stitch ~ income and gift

This past weekend brought in a suitcase delivered to us by two travelers who came through town.   My girlfriends know me well, sent some fantastic goodies and more cute clothes for our kids.  And then there was an extra thing...

The delivery included things for three families and we've checked all around for who this cross-stitch pattern could be for but no one knows.  I sure don't have the time or talent to devote to a large wall hanging scene of wolves laying in the snow.  We don't know who it was from or who it was for so I just put it aside till....

I noticed a neigbor carrying a large cross-stitch of roses into his home, freshly framed.   Cross-stich is really a popular thing here in China.  Maybe this is it!?

We want to help, to serve the poor around us.  But how?  Giving gifts and money, can quickly turn into not a good thing.  It's just not the end-all answer, that's for sure.  But still... what can we do?

I've been asking God for a way to help our helper.   This kind woman comes two mornings a week to help in our home and teach our little guy John Chinese while I study our third language.  Her husband is the teacher (think p) for a small fellowship in the countryside.  They foster two severely handicapped kids and have two kids of their own.  She takes paper home after our artists have created all over it, and her husband writes his sermons on it.  The mud flows into their home when it rains hard and they burn coal when winter reaches it's bitterest lows.   And she is one of the happiest, most pleasant women I know.  

Maybe she knows someone in her church or town that would enjoy this cross-stitch?  Has the time and skill to make it?  Could sell it and make some needed income?

This morning I asked... and she said Yes.  A woman she has shared with before, a widow who has raised two boys for years by herself, her parents have also passed away.  Alone and very poor.  And she cross-stitches.

We set out a plan.  The wolves would be the first gift.  If she wants a second cross-stitch pattern, the only request that will come with it, is that she teach another woman to cross-stitch.  If woman #2 wants pattern #2, she'll have to teach another too.

They can sell their finished work wherever they want and the money is all theirs.  And if they want to keep it, it's a gift to be enjoyed however it will bring the most joy, meet the most needs.  The gifts will be distributed through these local brothers and sisters, their own fellowship.  Hopefully selling just a few of these gifted patterns will be enough of a jumpstart financially to make a difference for these women.

I'm excited!  As a family, we are busy with work in different areas of life... and yet we canNOT get around this poverty so nearby.  It matters and we really want to help and now we can.

A gift arrived unexpected but not unplanned.   May it carry the love of the One who carried the cross for us.  May the Lord use these patterns to bring joy and needed funds to needy households.  And oh, may his Cross-Love shine in and through these gifts!

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