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Church helps women sew up a future

Last summer the Honduras mission team of King of Kings Lutheran Church, Woodbury requested donations of sewing machines to help the Linaje Escogido church located in a small impoverished villa outside of Comayagua in Honduras.

The church hoped to establish a sewing center where women could come to mend and alter clothing. The women of the church also wanted to learn how to quilt in the hope that they could establish a small business to earn extra money.

The average annual household income in the area is approximately $3,500.

The response to the request was overwhelming. Twelve machines were received and every machine had a story. One vintage machine had 'emigrated' from Austria where it had been used to sew clothing for the royal family and the wedding dresses for the owner's wife and daughters.

Another had been used to make altar vestments. A third was a long cherished machine that was replaced by the gift of a fancy 'new fangled' machine to the owner from her children.

The daughter of a woman who had Alzheimer's donated a new machine. Her mother was a seamstress who forgot that she had two sewing machines when she purchased this machine on a TV shopping network.

All of the machines were tested to guarantee they were in good working order, then were cleaned and oiled. In October they were sent to Honduras.

In January members of the King of Kings mission team traveled to Honduras. A goal of the trip was to give quilting lessons to the women of the villa using the machines.

By the end of the week five women had each completed a baby quilt and two were nearly finished with a larger quilt. The quilts were made with donated fabrics.

Prior to the trip a major concern of the team was how the machines would be maintained after the team left. Each machine was different and all machines would require routine maintenance if they were to last in the rural dusty environment.

After the first day of classes, a woman from the villa stopped by the church. She had heard the rumor that Linaje was setting up a sewing center.

She was currently out of work but had certificates in accounting and business, had worked in the garment industry, knew how to use and maintain many different models of sewing machines, and could help the women start a business.

A fund has been established through King of Kings to employ the woman to teach others how to correctly use and maintain the machines. She will also advise them on starting a microenterprise.

Each machine came to Honduras with a past and now each machine will have a future where it will be treasured for a long time. To everyone in Woodbury who donated these machines "Muchas Gracias" from the women of Linaje and "Thank you" from the King of Kings Honduras Mission Team.