Friday, November 12, 2010

God Uses Shelly's Hobby

After thirteen years of having children at home full time and her youngest to enter Kindergarten, Shelly knew a beginning of a new phase of life had come. With the recent untimely death of her sister-in-law she became keenly aware of the shortness of life. She began praying almost daily, “Lord, show me what I can do today that will have significance for eternity.” He quickly answered her prayers. Shelly shares with all of us:

“The hum of sewing machines, the smell of coffee, the unfamiliar cadences of an African language, beautiful women dressed in brightly colored garb…these sights and sounds soon became a familiar part of my life. You might think, by the environment I am describing, that the answer to my prayer was God moving us to a North African country. In reality, I haven’t left the suburbs where I live. Several days a week suburban women from area churches and refugee women from all over the world gather in a small office to sew. The American women have volunteered their time and talents to help a group of about 24 refugees, mostly from North Africa, learn to sew. Several of our teachers have developed deep friendships with these Muslim women, becoming part of their support system, celebrating graduations or sitting with them in the hospital. Such friendships have provided opportunities to share the love and truth of Jesus as issues arise. I always just thought sewing was my hobby. Never did I dream that God could take something I enjoy so much and allow me to use it to reach out to Muslim women with His love!”

Shelly is a Christian women discovering, to her surprise, that God can use her hobby to serve Him. She adds, “Maybe you don’t sew, but there is something else you love – cooking, card making, stamping, photography, etc. It doesn’t have to be a money-making venture, just something you love that you could use to build a relationship with a local Muslim refugee or immigrant woman. Many are lonely – in a strange country and longing for friendship. Ask God to open your eyes to the needs that may be just down the street!”

I’m encouraged by Shelly’s creative ministry. Serving God can be both fun and helpful when He is in it. Wouldn’t you just love to listen in on the conversations going on around those sewing machines? What inspires me is that she is sewing with them – entering into their very lives. That’s what you call incarnational ministry. Anybody else out there have a good story to share about how God is using your hobby among Muslim women?