Easter Sunrise Service
The outstanding sausages from the Easter Sunrise tailgate party are barely digested, and I have just now caught up on sleep. Yes, I got to sleep in until eight o’ clock this morning which is practically unheard of in our house. And I am taking a few days off from church work this week, but that does not mean that I am idle. Randy, Ed (a tech4tanzania worker and friend) and I spent the morning sorting through all the sewing machines that God seems to have directed our way for God’s own reasons and God’s own purposes. Soon one will be arriving from Florida of all places. It is a Singer treadle and it belongs to a woman who heard about us from a friend of a friend and wondered whether this wonderful piece could get a new life where it is really needed. The story behind that machine is great. Here is what our donor wrote to us in an e-mail a few days ago:
“My church friend is definite that she would like to deliver the machine to Mechanicsburg on her way to New Jersey. She will leave here with it on either May 6 or 7th and arrive two days later. She feels privileged to be part of my machine’s journey to Tanzania. I checked with her just now and she is very sure she wants to do this.
Two weeks ago, I had a luncheon with several lady friends who sew, with the purpose of honoring my treadle machine in hopes that it would go to Tanzania. I even showed them the pictures you emailed me of the ladies sewing with treadle machines. That is when my friend offered to take it to you. (I had mentioned this to you in an email and you offered that you could meet her enroute, but she says that isn’t necessary.) Another lady at the luncheon, the widow of a Baptist minister, offered a beautiful prayer for my machine and its repurposing. I have been giving my machine blessings since then for its long, productive future where it will be a blessing to many. I am so thrilled with how your sewing machine ministry now involves a dozen machines that will be used in a vocational school.”
Yes, our donor is right. We have more than a dozen machines going which is why we had to sort this morning. All the treadle machines in-house were picked up by a Mennonite friend who is taking them to an Amish friend who knows everything there is to know about these great, durable work-horses and who will get them conditioned for travel and use. All the electric table machines were sorted, labelled and stored. Randy found a good place to look the machines over. They will take four at a time and tell us whether they still have a few years of good use in them.
So why is God sending these machines to us unbidden? It must be because God has something in mind that the Lutheran Church in Tanzania oversees and sponsors at the Mwakaleli Vocational Training Center. This is where all but one of the machines are going. It is to assist women learn a trade, support their children on their own, become self-sufficient, and feel the worth and dignity that God wants to give to all human beings. And that brings me back to Easter and the stories we read yesterday morning in the cemetery while the sun was barely over the horizon and the smell of sausages got into everyone’s nose (and tummy). It is the women that went to the tomb first, doing what needed to be done to keep the world moving forward. It is the women who were the first to tell good news. It is the women who look at old treadle sewing machine, even if they are eighty years old and see the possibilities for the future of their children. It is a privilege to be part of that. Thanks be to God.
P.S. Just in case you were keeping count ( and we know you don’t care just as long as God’s work gets done) on the amazing ecumenical nature of this ministry, it involves Lutherans, Roman Catholics, Mennonites, Amish, Baptists, Methodists and people whom God has asked for God’s purposes-Alleluia.
sorting sewing machines