All of us have something to contribute, something to give, something that the Lord has given us that we can use for His glory. It could be a resource, a talent, or simply time. Whatever it is, God blesses us so that we can bless others. Alice Johansen, a cancer survivor, learned this in 2012 when she asked a native missionary, “What do you need? Is there any way I can help you?”
By Jonathan Constant and Sue Morris
The missionaries, Danny and Cita, who are from the Philippines, recalled the poverty that they have seen and experienced there. “We don’t have blankets to cover ourselves when we lie down to sleep,” they said, “and often we sleep on the ground.”
Alice remembered what it was like as a child to have a favorite “blankie” to snuggle with, to wrap up in, and feel comforted and loved. She pictured a Filippino child or adult snuggled in a blanket, knowing that someone cared about them and loved them enough to sew a blanket. Thus the Blankie Project was born in her heart. She thought, “This is something I can do!”
She began to collect old used sheets, pillowcases, and cotton fabric. She tore the sheets to manageable sizes and matched them to other sheets of the same size. She put the fabrics together for sewing and then turned the blanket inside-out. She then top-stitched the outside to make the blanket more sturdy.
“I was so thrilled that I could do something with my hands, and my heart was just filled with joy. Every day I got out of bed, excited that I could sew blankets.”
The news of this new project spread, and churches, Bible studies, schools, family, and friends all got involved. Earlier this year, Alice presented her thousandth hand-made blanket at ANM’s Thursday public Bible study meeting. And through advocacy and word of mouth, others have tripled her output, some of them crocheted blankets, others actual quilts! What began as a gesture is now a movement.
Now ANM has set up a workshop with sewing machines in our warehouse to help produce blankets for the Philippines and the Middle East. Our goal: 10,000 blankets, all hand-made and collected from right here in Virginia and all over the US.
This sewing center will be prayerfully dedicated this evening at Advancing Native Missions. ANM is holding its annual Warehouse Impact event, which includes a free dinner. You can hear from Alice as she tells her story, and then hear from Danny and Cita, visiting from the Philippines, as they tell of the impact that it has had on their ministry. Other volunteers and donors will also tell their stories of how the Lord has used them and impacted their lives as they have served through the warehouse.
Please join us from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. to celebrate all the Lord has used ANM’s Warehouse for the Nations to accomplish, and to learn how you too can get involved and be used to help others. Maybe your idea will also turn into a movement.
It’s not too late. Register now at advancingnativemissions.com/impact. Questions? Please call 540.456.7111 and ask for Lynn.
Jonathan Constant is assistant director of ANM’s warehouse. Sue Morris is a writer and women’s team member.