Let’s Sew

The past year has been a year of answered prayers and events that were too incredible to be coincidences. In fact, coming into this year I didn’t think I believed in coincidences. Now, I know I don’t.

One such story was that of a family in Granada. First brought to the With One Hope community through the blog entry “Wait, how many people live here?” we shared the plight of a widowed grandmother supporting 10 family members that all lived in a rain soaked, dirt floor room. Thanks to the generosity of David and Debra Turner they had already been added to the food support program (yet another incredible way that God has provided for this family) but they needed a new home and they needed it 5 years ago. We asked for help in raising the funds and waited.

Sometimes God’s timing does not exactly match our own, but this time it appeared God was ready for things to change as well. Over the next two weeks God moved.

First were the Turners who supported the family with food. Then were commitments to pray for the family and the situation from many. Then Sue Hackney and the Monday Night Ladies Class happened (more to come on that). Then Mrs. Holley happened (gonna keep you waiting). I don’t know that I have ever felt more overwhelmed more times by God’s hand moving multiple parts together to form a whole like I have in Nicaragua. In fact, I can still remember most of the moments, including the day that I got Sue’s email. I can even remember where I was sitting and what I was eating. Ok, the eating part is not that hard given that 95% of my meals consist of rice and beans. But the rest is crystal clear.

I had just been at the home of the family that morning and was in a green plastic chair, sitting by the doorway of Erick’s house looking out on an impending rain storm. I was thinking about the family and the fact they were going to be soaked…again…and was frustrated with God that He had not seen fit to make me a 26 year old billionaire so I could just do away with the whole waiting thing and give all my money away on social projects in Nicaragua. And although he did not answer me directly, he kind of did. He said, “Reread Psalms 40.” So I did. The beginning says:

“I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.”

It sounded like a pretty good resolution for a family that literally has a mud floor and is crying out for help. But it still involved waiting. I am not always good at waiting. Especially when others are hurting.

But then came Sue’s email. I decided I would check my email real quick while I had the chance and there was her’s. She said she had been looking for a project for their study group and, in her own words, “I didn’t know what form that would take until I read the story about the grandmother who supports her family by sewing. Since I am a grandmother who is very much involved in the lives of my grandchildren and I love to sew (but don’t have to do it for a living), I felt a real connection to what you are wanting to do for her. I think helping her will be our project. I don’t know how much money we will collect, but I will send it on a monthly basis.”

I was speechless. I didn’t know what to say or write. Suddenly a rock under their feet didn’t seem so far away. I rejoiced, replied, rejoiced again and walked back to my house through a rain that now felt as though it was washing away the bad to bring a better tomorrow.

A few days later I got another update. A lady by the name of Lellah Holley wanted to fund the home. As she later told me, “I just couldn’t imagine the idea of them being wet all the time.” It was a total surprise. She knew my grandmother, Dorothy Middleton – or as we all call her, Gigi! Gigi had shared the story with her and Mrs. Holley generously funded the entire project. It left me speechless yet again. The rock floor was just around the corner.

I don’t know why it is still surprising to me when God moves. He has done it so many times, over and over again, and yet I am always in awe and blown away. Sometimes I don’t like it that I react that way and other times I think that maybe when there is something as indescribable as He is we can have no other reaction than wonderment. It is just what it should be.

Needless to say we began planning for the construction of their home. We also were able to bring them medications, backpacks, clothes, school supplies and shoes they didn’t have before thanks to the ladies group. Dale and Gail Goad also helped supply items to this family during their visit from funds donated by fellow supporters back in Oklahoma. The foundational rock was starting to take shape.

When the week of construction was here I was more giddy than a monkey in a pile of bananas. The week flew by and the next thing I knew we were done. The new house was ready. And you know what? Their floor was literally made out of rock. I didn’t realize it until just now, as I wrote this entry. In fact, I took about 20 minutes to just let myself be blown away again. Here is the verse again:

“I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.”

I mean, how crazy is this?!? God literally took a family who were patiently calling out, he turned, he heard their cries for help, he lifted them out of their physical floor of mud and mire and out of the slimy pit of desperation brought on by extreme poverty, he set their feet on both literal and symbolic rocks of a better future, and gave them a firm foundation on which they could stand. And because of all this they were singing a new song of joy, peace, health and opportunity.

In short, He came through. But the ladies weren’t done.

They (and our organization) didn’t want them to stay dependent on the help. They wanted them to be able to support themselves and wanted to give them the tools to fish for themselves rather than a daily distribution of free fish filets. They knew the grandmother made her living by sewing but the old sewing machine had been destroyed by the rain water. They knew the grandmother could not afford a new machine nor could the old one be repaired. And they knew that the current machine she was using was severely limiting her ability to complete enough work to truly provide for the family.

As a group they decided to buy a new machine to send down. So, one day after Thanksgiving when I was in Texas, Sue Hackney, my mom and myself went up Walmart. We picked out the perfect machine – extra durable, bilingual and a Singer. It was perfect. We got thread and other sewing stuff which I can never remember the name of (all I can remember is it rhymes with robins). We checked out (Sue even bought me some Velveeta cheese to take back!!) and I packed in my checked bag.

We delivered it on the 21st just before Christmas. The video is below and while you are watching it, check out the fact that when she sees the box of the machine she has no clue that is the gift. She tries to open the box because she thinks that we just used a sewing machine box to hold the gift – not that the gift could ever be a sewing machine itself! And at the end she is making the “I love you” sign with her hand.

Thank you so much to everyone that has prayed for this family. You prayers have helped bring healing for both their situation as well as the loss of a family member (the 10 month old grandson). You prayers have brought reconciliation between the mother and husband that lost the little boy, have brought provision by others, and have brought healing for this family. We are so grateful!


  1. Victoria says:

    This was a great post- thanks for sharing. Its such a blessing you are documenting all these things! What a favored position you are in to be able to be a steward of so many things and witness to all of these blessings. It is so encouraging and amazing that God hears all his children’s prayers and is our ultimate husband and Father/provider through miracles and through His body of believers. What a comfort for everyone- especially for those who have no fathers or husbands, or ungodly ones. So happy for you! Your spanish is good too.

  2. Maggie says:

    love this post and the video of the community center construction! (also loved the music – needtobreathe what!). glad to see your espanol is improving :)

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