FBCO Stitching New Ministry Opportunities With Blankets for Mexico

A new FBCO ministry is “about using the sewing skills of the church family in a way that glorifies God and serves others,” says Karen Althuis, who helped found the group that’s helping make blankets for missionaries in Mexico.

However, sewing skills aren’t necessary to participate in the ministry. Projects need fabric cut and other prep work besides sewing.

The ministry supports IMB (International Mission Board) missionaries Clay and Tammy Richardson in southern Mexico by making quilts the couple will use in local evangelism efforts.

“Quilters generally have quick connections,” Karen says “Once you know someone is a quilter, you have an instant friend,” she says. After she identified FBCO members who enjoy sewing and quilting a plan started to take shape.

“Last Christmas, I approached Linda Kinder about getting together to brainstorm how we could get something started at FBCO. We brought some ideas to Brandon Kiesling with the question of “where are needs?” Brandon contacted Clay to see if they could use some t-shirt dresses.” Dresses weren’t needed but blankets for families living at high, cold altitudes at night were.

Karen says, “We came up with the idea of rag quilts that could be made with the least amount of work and asked the church family to donate flannel fabric to make the blankets. The church was very generous and we were amazed to see how the colors all worked together. Cindy Baffa made a sample quilt that Dale Bredbenner and Jerry Woodruff took to Clay on their April trip to get Clay’s approval.”

Jerry says that one morning during the trip he, Dale, and Clay were driving to the work area when Clay mentioned a recent death in the community.

“We were told that a 13-year-old boy had been strangled by a hammock,” Jerry continues. “The exact details were unknown. After several days Clay and Dale thought it would be good to take the blanket to the family as a way of reaching out.”

“As Clay spoke to the family,” Jerry says, “you could see the tension subside and the family was gathering to hear Clay speak of the love of God. Dale told them that they were there to give them the blanket as a reminder of their son and God’s love for them. The mother told Clay and Dale that she knew they were sent by God and she would cherish the blanket forever!”

Clay asked for 20 blankets, which will be sewn and delivered by FBCO’s mission team to Mexico in July.  During  a recent work day in April, “We had 18 people show up to help, 11 with their sewing machines and seven more that were a great help with prep and finishing work.”

Karen says her ministry “dream would be that quilters could get their unchurched friends to join us and find a church home. I would love to see the youth get involved and have the older women teach the younger a life skill. We don’t have to be limited to making blankets, however whatever we make needs to be used to lead people to Christ.”