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Meet Our Guests: Kathryn Compton, Barbara Stroup, Mary Inchauste, Kathleen Broadfoot, Felix Manyika, Peggy Creighton, Many guests via voice mail, Ginny Buckley, Jason Miles, Dana Buck

The Sew Powerful Podcast shines a light on the people behind the mission to keep girls in school and create purposeful products in Zambia. Join us every week for a new 30-minute episode to meet new people, hear inspiring stories, and learn how you can join us in this global movement. Whether you sew or not, make purses or not, you will find something to enjoy in every episode. Listen today.


Jesus, People, and the Poor with Jason Miles

Two weeks ago, we listened to Jason Miles talk about Mary, Martha and Lazarus in John, Chapter 11 (see Sew Powerful Podcast, Episode 67). Today, Jason moves on to John, Chapter 12 and introduces several Biblical references to the poor and caring for those living in poverty, including Deuteronomy 15, Galatians 2, Acts 2 and Isaiah 61. But Jason also quotes the New York Times and plays a clip from a local Los Angeles TV station. He reminds us to find the balance between faith with no action and action with no faith. As always, Jason includes great contemporary stories to illustrate the lessons he finds in scripture.


churches that forgive medical debt, Don Schoendorfer founder of Free Wheelchair Mission, Gary Haugen founder of International Justice Mission, what is nard, Mary, Martha, Lazarus, feeding the homeless in Seattle, what are different types of poverty, finding balance between caring and community


Host: Jan Cancila
Guests: Jason Miles

From Video Clips: Pastor, Tom Hughes and LA TV Newsperson


New York Times, November 20, 2020

International Justice Mission

Free Wheelchair Mission

Bible References: John 12: 1-8; Isiah 61:1-11; Deuteronomy 15:11; Galatians 2:9-10; Acts 2: 45-47


Jason Miles, Guest 00:00

This is a brand new thing that's just happening last two years. Here's a story from the New York Times. I'll just read a little bit for you. Vanessa Mattos couldn't believe what she was reading. I was like, "Okay, this is a scam," she recalled of the letter she received in February. Her husband said the same thing, "Yeah, this isn't real." But it was real. Mattos, her medical debt was more than $900 and she owed it because of complication from a surgery. And it had been forgiven completely by strangers at a church she had never been to. Adam Aubrey, the lead pastor of the congregation (it's in the Boston area) said, "It doesn't take a theologian to connect the dots. Jesus paid my debt," and sorry, "Jesus paid my debt at unbelievable cost to himself. So, I probably it probably makes sense for me to pay another person's debt at some degree of cost to myself." Isn't that cool?


Jan Cancila, Host 01:11

Welcome to the Sew Powerful podcast. This is your host, Jan Cancila. You know, the sound of my sewing machine means it's time for another episode. So, let's get started. today's podcast is entitled Jesus, People, and the Poor. It's a talk Jason Miles, co-founder of Sew Powerful, gave at his church in July of 2021, where he continues discussing John, Chapter 12. This entertaining, interesting, very well researched conversation will delight you, inform you, and inspire you. Please listen to Jason Miles.


Jason 01:57

PK has been leading us with messages through the gospel of John and his honor speak a couple weeks ago. So, I'm gonna continue the theme here and go through more interesting verses in the Gospel of John. So, if you have your Bible or Bible app, turn with me to John, Chapter 12. I have it printed out here, so I'll read a bit of it. I entitled this message Jesus-People and the Poor. And then Cinnamon said if proper English should be Jesus comma People and the Poor, but it's two different topics. I think I'm gonna lean into the Jesus people and the poor. How many of you would consider yourself a Jesus person? We're the Jesus-people, okay. And so, we're going to talk about this wonderful passage. John, Chapter 12. I'll read a little bit of it to us. Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. And here a dinner was given in Jesus's honor. Martha served, which was her personality. While Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, which you can buy on Amazon for $9, by the way, I looked. But back in the day, it was really, really rare and expensive. And she poured it out on Jesus's feet, wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But one of the disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray Jesus, objected, "Why wasn't this perfume sold, and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year's wages." And let's just say for a day labor that 300 dunerii in the original language, and so that would be I guess, maybe a four years wages at let's just say, I don't know, what do you want to $15 an hour. And for a day labor, that's what it was called. And so that's about $30,000 in today's money, so that is a massive, massive gift. Anyway, he didn't say this, because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief. As keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it. And Jesus responds in chapter uh verse seven and says, "Leave her alone. It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. And you will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me." Such a fascinating little encounter and little story. There's so much here for us to dig into. Jesus was doing a lot. And so a lot is going into this that I think we can kind of learn from. This phrase let's just dive into a little bit of the Jesus thing. Have you ever ever seen those memes? Wait, are there, okay? Those memes where somebody burns someone else with a total comeback, and they were these Ray Ban glasses? This is like a thing on the internet, and it has lightning bolts that shoot at the other person. Well, you might not know it, but Jesus was doing a real like, lightning bolt response to in response to this, these comments because when he said you will always have the poor among you, that's a direct take from Deuteronomy chapter 15. Now they would know that. They would know that he was referencing an Old Testament commandment to care for the poor. And so, Jesus is not only telling them to basically shut up, but also correcting the the reality of their insincerity, and saying, you actually will take care of the poor; you're commanded to take care of the poor; you're supposed to take care of the poor. But this is a special moment, a special gift that's being given. So, it's kind of an interesting set of topics. We could talk a lot about special gifts, the power, and the beauty of a sacrificial gift. I was just meditating on that this week and thinking about the power of a special gift. How many of you ever been in like a worship setting where you're full on, where you've got your hands all the way over your head, and you are just full on, just immersed in that special moment of worship? Have you been there? We don't always get there in our hearts and minds are spirit, but sometimes when the moment is right, man, that unlocks some really, really meaningful, meaningful power in our lives, and closeness to the Lord.


Jason 06:59

Clearly, that was a moment like this for Mary, where she was, she was in a special moment. Now she didn't know it. They didn't. And in the moment of the story, they didn't know that that Judas was gonna just betray Jesus a little bit later. And the disciple, you know, Peter would deny the Lord three times. All the disciples were basically going to scatter. But for that moment, in that in that special space, she had a super, super powerful act of sacrificial worship, and giving. And I think it's fair, if you read the stories about Mary and Martha and Lazarus, these three siblings, they the, if you read all about the kind of Bible Commentary, it's like, they're pretty much everybody agrees, these were siblings, and their dad was a guy named Simon the leper, people think that it's implied. And so, the idea here could be we're just sort of extrapolating the pulling in the ideas together that it could have been that Simon the leper, the dad, had passed away, that Martha was sort of the boss of the house. And that Lazarus, the brother had died, but then raised but then Mary was really the one with this worshipful heart. And it was it an inheritance she received of, you know, this special perfume that was worth $30,000? I don't know. But that could make sense. And there she was, with this special special gift that she gave to the Lord. And I think the question for us is in the moment, when do we have times in our life that are that are like that. It's not every day. But there are special times when we have an opportunity to do something really special and give above and beyond all out to the Lord. And this is one of those times. So, I think it's important for us to understand what Jesus is...what was it, come back? What do you call that? When people do like an epic, epic burn, epic comeback? I don't know what you call it. But do the internet memesters know any of those phrases? Is it a comeback? retort, A retort. I'm looking at the youngest people in the room because they know these YouTube meme things. No, not Dana.


Jason 09:23

Deuteronomy Chapter 15, says this: If a poor person is among you or one of your brothers, in any of your towns in the land which your Lord gives you, you shall not harden your heart, nor close your hand from the poor brother, but you shall fully open your hand to him and generously lend to him enough for his needs, for what he needs, whatever he lacks. And then it goes on in verse 9 to say be careful that no mean-spirited thought enters your heart. And it goes on from there. And he says in verse 10, you shall generously give to him, and your heart shall not be grudging, when you give, because for this thing, the Lord your God will bless you, in all your work and in all your undertakings. For the poor will not cease among you, that's the phrase that Jesus use. In your land, therefore, I'm commanding you, you shall fully open your hand to your brother, and to your needy and poor in your land. What a powerful, like just insert, you know, into the commentary in the moment that these guys would know that passage, and would realize that that was their the conviction that Christ was speaking into their commentary.


Jason 10:50

I think our hearts can get hard hearted towards giving in a lot of ways. And we can be tight fisted, that phrase from Deuteronomy, in a lot of ways. We can give for a lot of wrong motives. We can give for personal financial gain, we can give for power, we can give her control, we can give, because it gives us a sense of like a Messiah Complex in a bad way. Like we're the hero, we're the the Savior type thing. On and on, there's a lot of ways in which giving can be wrong. We can also look at people who do the act of you know, caring, the big act of worship, the big generous thing with a judgmental attitude. It's interesting in Deuteronomy that it says to, to guard your heart so that you don't have a mean spirit, or a mean thought in your heart.


Jason 11:51

I'm, have you ever heard of that Myers Briggs personality type thing? I'm INTJ and the J is for judging. So I'm really good at being critical. And seeing other things and just immediately going into like, you know, critique mode. And, and the direction of the Lord here is to say, to be careful not to do that, when you see people giving generously, or doing something that's a really courageous a really big act of worship and service. And, and I think it's important for all of us to be careful not to do not to, to have that mindset, where we see other people and we just immediately critique or judge, it's so easy. Be honest, has anybody done that other people's ministry? And you're like, wow, yeah, that's good, but dadadada da. We need to guard our heart against that.


Jason 12:41

So how then should we live? What should we do in light of this passage, and Jesus' instruction? Deuteronomy says we should be open handed and responsive. So, on the one hand, we could be callous and tight fisted. On the other hand, we could be open handed, and responsive, really caring. I think it's important for us to grapple with these ideas. And I think part of being open handed and responsive is realizing that there are reasons why poverty exists, you know, this phrase is so common, the poor, you always have with you. People would like quote that in society, people, that's sort of a, a phrase that you might hear occasionally. And sometimes we hear it as a defense against doing works of service or, you know, you hear an idea of doing something you're like, well, the poor will always have with us so maybe we won't do that this time. But the truth is, there are reasons why there's poverty in communities. There, I think there are five valid reasons why poverty exists, personal choices and decisions, or at the top of the list or on the list. There are things that people do that are just messed up. But then there are also choices other people make that impact someone else. We do things that are corrupt; we do things that are evil, or the society does. And people are impacted by that.


Jason Miles 14:20

Choices other people make. What's an example of that? I remember this one example. There's a ministry, International Justice Mission, and what they do is they go and that so here's the origin story of it. In a lot of countries, Southeast Asia, other places, certainly in the US as well, local charities will know about illegal sex trafficking and you know that girls are being victimized and that whole under you know, like, horrible part of what's happening in societies. But the charities couldn't can't actually like, you know, Okay, no disrespect at all. But imagine Cindy knowing about such things and written and her and going and confronting the people running that. Like, they'll be like, no way, right? Like, and so there was these charity workers who knew about these things occurring in these communities, but they felt powerless to actually intervene because they their lives would be threatened because in many contexts, the police were involved and was like a racket where they were covering for all this horrible victimization of these girls. And so these charities got together at one point and said, "We got to figure out something." And so, they found a guy who was the Rwandan genocide, United Nations Inspector, I guess you could say, or he looked into the whole war crimes thing there. And they said, "Look, we got this problem with international sex trafficking, and we can't have our, you know, our charity workers going in and confronting these, these these situations. And so why don't we create something where you're empowered to go and bring the heat, bring the law, you know, bring bring righteousness." And so, Gary Haugens, that guy's name, and International Justice Mission was set up for him to go and his team to do that. And they literally just started bringing down these horrible, corrupt situations where people in communities were obviously bringing tremendous harm to these to these girls. Culture can hurt people. And so IJM is a great example of a ministry that makes a difference.


Jason 16:45

I'm reminded of RCC [Renton Christian Church] when I think about this stuff. You know, in 2006, there was HIV AIDS response work that was incredibly needed. And this church, this youth group stepped up. Did the first ever kit build happened here? And then we went on from there for a caregiver kit program, if you're new to this story, haven't heard it before, there were about 77,000 caregivers that World Vision had, that didn't have supplies to do any caring work for people, in essence in hospice situation from HIV AIDS. And these caregivers were praying for people. They were helping with bathing and, and that kind of thing and food, but they didn't have any supplies. And so the call was made for like, Can we supply these caregivers. And so, the first event where we pulled together items happened here in this youth group. Dana was leading the charge. And then from there 441,000 caregiver kits happened over the next 10 years from 2006 to 2016. Is that amazing? From this place, this place. Yeah. Yeah. And and it's a beautiful testimony to I think what is fair to say, is an anointing on this community. of, of seeing needs and responding, I think it's fair to say that's one of the giftings of this church.


Jason 18:17

Sew Powerful, has been incredibly blessed, our charity, by all of you participating in helping us collect the purses that help girls stay in school. This year, our goal, our goal is 24,000 beneficiaries in Zambia. We have 63 people on staff, and the first purse packing event happened at Toby and Janairie's home group. And we and that was in 2000, into 2014. And so tomorrow, some of you will be helping us fulfill that that mission. Just amazing, huge blessing.


Jason 18:59

Um, I also, since they're not here, I'll mention it. And I can just kind of tell the whole story. But you know, Ishmael, doing the night feeding program. I don't know if you guys even know about this. But I heard about the youth group doing some work in support of homeless folks in the community. And I don't know about you, but how many of you have just felt a burden for the homeless crisis that's happening in the greater Seattle area? Anybody feel that way? Just like, What is happening? And it's like, what do you do with that? What do we personally do? How do we respond? And so, when I heard that the youth group was making meals for the night shelter, I was like, what's happening now? And then, as I learned more, I learned that Ishmael Ismov started doing this in response to that burden on his heart. Correct me on all the details here if you guys want, that are part of this, but he started doing this and I when I heard about it, I was like, that is awesome. And so then, at one point I, I said, who’s paying for all the food? Like they're packing 100 meals a couple times a month. And then I get stories back every time my kids come to help. Then I asked more questions. And then I heard Well, he, Ishmael is buying all the food himself. How old is he? His birthday was yesterday. He's 19. And so, I was like, he's buying all the food? The church isn't buying the food? No. Is his dad buying the food? No. So I gave Libby $100. I said, Give this to Ishmael. Well, next time you go, and so then she came home. And I was like, how's the event? She was like, great. She's like, here's your $100 back. I was like, 'What?' She said he said he didn't want your money. Now, I know this is a good story because what she said he's paying for himself. And so, then I talked to his dad, and I and I said, Baktier, what's going on with this, this, you know, night feeding program? Ishmael won't take my money. How is he buying all this food? He said, he won't take my money either. I said, you're not paying for this? He was like, No, I'm not paying for it. And I just like, Man, that is just a beautiful, beautiful expression from this congregation. Did you guys know that was happening? Everybody already knew this? Oh, well, we should applaud for Ishmael, should we? I think it's awesome. And I think it's an example of how churches can step up creatively. And again, I really do believe it's a special superpower of this church, that there's something about our efforts together, where we are open, in our heart and mind. And and I think that's really, really a beautiful expression.


Jason 21:59

I I know that a response to compassion ministries, and to efforts to serve the poor, a critical response, or maybe just maybe it's right, but a response can be what about the proclamation of the gospel? What about presenting the claims of Christ and asking people to to accept the Lord? And I really when when I and I think it's a fair question, and the way I was thinking about it was, and this is where your, your dream about Cleo comes in. The vision in my mind was, I don't know. Those exercise balls where you can stand on both sides of it, but it's a ball, but there's like, extendy leg things on each side. And it makes you, you know, like, balance. It's like a balance. And what I what I had in my mind was the proclamation of the gospel, to present the claims of Christ and ask people to commit their life to Him to, to repent of their sins, to, to lay down their burdens at the cross and to accept the salvation of the Lord is, is on the one side. And on the other side, is the presentation of the amazing love and the outflowing of incredible generosity; the special gifts, like Mary did, the crazy good ones, that people would be like, What? What is happening? And I think it's like one of those balance things where, What is our call? What is our responsibility as believers? We got to be balanced. And you know, in any one of those types of devices, the simplest thing to do is just flop over. Right? And it's kind of like that with the church broadly, I think the church in the United States or whatever. It's really easy to just flop over to one, oh, we just flop into proclaiming the gospel, we don't do that compassionate stuff. Or you flop over to the other one, oh, we serve our community real good. But we don't, you know, call people to repent. And I think that discipline of the body is to say, Can we be balanced right in the middle? Where we, on the one hand, we're strong, and on the other hand, we're strong, and if we can, and that's hard work, isn't it? And that's like, that's why they have those devices so that you're, you can tell I'm very fit. I don't use one of those devices myself. My core would probably hate me if I did, but but you get the idea. Right? Is that a good? And so I you know, I overheard you just saying your dream last night about Cleo was that she was leading an exercise class in heaven. I was like, oh, that kind of fits. She's leading an exercise class in Heaven. That's beautiful. Maybe they even got those things. I don't know. We need to be balanced in it. It's got to be both right? It can't be one of the other; it needs to be both. Can I get an amen?


Jason 25:12

I think the other thing that we need to remember is that there are lots of different types of poverty. I think there's relational poverty. I don't know why but sometimes in churches, you can just walk right by people and not even say hi or ask who their name is. I did that this morning. And I felt so guilty. Like, how do we like how many people are even here? How do we not all know each other? But somehow, we don't all know each other. Sometimes relational poverty can affect even groups of believers. That's not healthy, right? So relational poverty is real. You can have vocational problem, poverty. You know, our program in Zambia is designed to help ladies get job skills, so that they can provide for their own family. And that vocational step up, that opportunity for them to step into a good job, or they have a good employer, a clean, happy environment with good coworkers with consistent pay. That's a huge, huge, huge gift. There's spiritual poverty obviously. Kevin, you mentioned this morning, people who have never heard the grace and mercy of our God. There's physical poverty; there's financial poverty; there's legal poverty; there are people who don't have justice. There's time poverty, environmental poverty, there's mental poverty, there's a lot of ways in which the poor will always be among us. And that just means I think, a lot of ways in which we can serve.


Jason Miles 26:41

I was I was just preparing for this message, I stumbled into this new thing that's happening. I didn't even I've never heard of this until yesterday. So, if it's a scam, forgive me. No, it's not a scam. I looked into it. Actually, I want to show a video of what churches are doing in the last year and a half, two years, churches around the country are doing this new thing. You guys may have seen all these clips and stories. But I saw these stories in we have a clip from CNN but we have a story in the New York Times, a story in USA Today, a story in Christianity today. Why don't we just show this video clip? If we can do the video clip first and then I'll tell more.


TV Newsperson 27:24

People in LA, they're learning of their medical debt has been wiped out clean with no strings attached. Can you imagine? A church is giving more than $5 million to pay it all off.


Pastor Tom Hughes 27:38

Because of the generosity of the people of Christian Assembly Church, we are able to give a Christmas gift to the people of Los Angeles. No strings attached. But because of your generosity for the people of Christina Assembly, we are canceling all of the unpaid medical debt, $5.3 million as a Christmas gift to all of the poor in all 28 neighborhoods. This gift is going to impact 5555 households in our area.


TV Newsperson 28:10

Incredible! That was pastor Tom Hughes. His Church partnered with a nonprofit group to make all of this happen. Great gift.


Jason Miles 28:18

Isn't that amazing? Have you guys heard of that before? This is a brand-new thing that's just happening last two years. Here's a story from the New York Times. I'll just read a little bit for you. Vanessa Mattos couldn't believe what she was reading. I was like, "Okay, this is a scam," she recalled of the letter she received in February. Her husband said the same thing, "Yeah, this isn't real." But it was real. Mattos, her medical debt was more than $900 and she owed it because of complication from a surgery. And it had been forgiven completely by strangers at a church she had never been to. Adam Aubrey, the lead pastor of the congregation said, it's in the Boston area, said, "It doesn't take a theologian to connect the dots. Jesus paid my debt. And, sorry, Jesus paid my debt at unbelievable cost to himself. So I probably it probably makes sense for me to pay another person's debt, at some degree of cost to myself." Isn't tht cool? And the organization they're doing this with is, I looked it up, I was like, What is this? Is it a Christian ministry? What is it? Well, it's these two debt, medical debt collectors that had 20 years of industry experience. And they quit and founded a charity and the charity, just what they do, they're smart business guys. They buy the debt from the whoever holds it at pennies on the dollar. It's like they're basically buying a file of large, you know, like delinquent debts. And they buy them and just forgive them. And the recipient doesn't owe taxes; there's no negative or downside to the recipients. And so they were chugging along for a couple years. And then churches started saying, "Can we do this at scale?" And the churches started doing this, like buying whole counties of people's debt portfolio and forgiving it. And so that clip from was from Southern California, this story that I'm pointing out here was from the New York Times, there's another one from USA Today. Same thing. And then this one. A church paid off all the medical debt in New Mexico. All of it. And, yeah, all the available medical debt; they got it; bought it by portfolio; forgave it all. Is that crazy cool? That is awesome. And this is like in the last year and a half these big churches have started to do this. And this charity has just started to flow, because these churches are doing this. So, I emailed them yesterday, and I asked how much is the portfolio value of the outstanding medical debt in King County and Pierce County [in Washington state]? I have no idea. But it's just an interesting idea. Like (oh-oh) I'm not doing a fundraising pitch right now. I'm just saying, would it be crazy cool if this church I'm just I'm just saying what are some church said, Hey, King County, all the medical debt that's on the books, gone because Jesus loves you. Yeah, this these ladies, this lady that got this letter, she got the letter that said the church, people from this church forgave your debt. That is heavy. So, I just want to challenge us to continue to think about the ways in which we can have an open heart and open hand and present the goodness of God in our community. Amen. Are you getting it? I'm seeing some some lights going on. Is this resonating? resonating?


Jason 32:18

Yeah, I want to tell one more story. And it's a good one. And Dana can correct me on the details. There was this one guy heard about one time, Free Wheelchair Mission. And Don shore for nif nifer knifer. door for... Schoendorfer And so so this is the little slide of the wheelchair, I think there's an image in there. He went on a trip in 1979. And he, I think it was into India, and he saw people crawling on the ground because they didn't have any crutches, or wheelchairs, and they were they had lost their limbs or they were paralyzed or, and they had sometimes they would have little shims like little little boards that they would, you know, use to you know, protect themselves, but they would just use their hands. And, and that image, he just could not get out of his mind. Just, it was just stuck in his mind. And and so he went through his career, and but for years, he couldn't get it out of his mind. Do you have that image? It's not in the deck, maybe it is I don't know. Oh, it's not sorry. And so finally, he started tinkering in his garage. I'll describe it to you. What he made was one of those white resin lawn chairs with wheels on it as his first prototype. And it only cost like 40 bucks. And um, and this was his first attempt at trying to help people who who could not you know, didn't have the gift of mobility as he calls it. And so um, so he started making these. And he started making them at scale. He was like an MIT graduate guy or whatever, but like an engineer. And so, he started making these. Well, they were so what you might call "homemade," that even the World Health Organization told them to stop doing them. I'm pretty sure that's kind of right. And so, he got shut down by the United Nations because it was too I don't know homemade, whatever; too scrappy. And he didn't give up. He didn't give up and he kept working on it; kept working on it; kept working on it. And, and then figured figured out how to do a like a flat pack design made in China that comes in a box and you know, you can just open it and and they've now done millions and millions and millions of these wheelchairs through Free Wheelchair Mission and they're presenting the gift of ability to people. Praise God. Amen. Amen. That's a nice one. Yeah.


Jason 35:08

I think there are a lot of opportunities for us to take the instruction Jesus gave to those disciples, the poor you will always have with you, and to reflect on it in our own life and say, how can we balance the presentation of the gospel with the grace and mercy of compassion, and ministry that makes a difference in people's lives? Obviously, Jesus was saying he was not going to always be with them. We all know the New Testament narrative. Jesus left by His death, burial and resurrection on the cross, and then ascension to heaven. But he promised the comforter. And in the New Testament, what you see is the disciples, radically embracing both community and caring. And second chapter of Acts, the account is that they were in one accord. They were worshipping daily, they were eating together, which we're really good at. And they sold their possessions and gave them to the poor. And the Lord added to the church, daily, those that were being saved. The New Testament is filled with accounts of caring and compassion. You know, there's another scripture that Paul refers to when it's in Galatians, chapter 9. He says, when he met with James and Peter, and John, this is the Apostle Paul. And there was a big meetup, because you know, he was sort of different. He was real different. But when they met, he describes it in Galatians, chapter 9, it says, When I met with those esteem, pillars of the faith, they gave me aBarnabas as my right hand. And they gave us the right hand of fellowship, sorry, when they recognize the grace given to me, they agreed that we would go to the Gentiles and that they would go to the circumcised, which is a reference to the Israelis, the Jewish people. In verse 10, it says, all they ask, imagine this, you got James and Peter and John, those disciples that had been through all of it and had come out, and we're now leading the church, but they met with with Paul and he was sort of this crazy upstart. But all they asked was one thing. You know what it was?


Jason 37:49

Sorry, I'm looking for my notes, all the asked..sorry verse 10. All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor. It was the very thing I had been eager to do all along, Paul said. So this is baked into the DNA of the New Testament. It's baked into the DNA of the apostles. It's baked into the DNA of the Christian church for centuries. And it's baked into the DNA of us here at RCC. Amen. Amen.


Jason 38:21

Well, I want to finish with just a common reference that we'll all be familiar with. And it's Isaiah 61. I believe this is true for us today as a group. And here it is: The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim the good news to the poor. He's sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom from for the captives and to release from darkness for prisoners to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor, and the day of vengeance for our God, to comfort all who mourn, and to provide for those who grieve in Zion, to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planning of the Lord for the display of his splendor. They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the place as long devastating, and they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations. Strangers will shepherd your flocks; foreigners will work your fields and vineyards and you will be called priests of the Lord. You will be named ministers of our God. You will feed on the Wealth of Nations and in their riches you will boast. Instead of your shame, you'll receive a double portion and instead of disgrace, you'll rejoice in your inheritance. And so, you will inherit a double portion in your hand and everlasting joy will be yours. For I the Lord love justice. I hate robbery and wrongdoing. In my faithfulness, I will reward my people and make everlasting covenant with them. Their descendants will be known among the nations and their offspring among the people. All who see them will acknowledge that they're the people, the Lord has blessed. I delight greatly in the Lord, my soul rejoices in my God, for he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me of the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest. And as a bride adorns herself with jewels. For as the soil makes the sprout come up, and a garden causes seeds to grow, so the sovereign Lord will make righteousness and praise spring up before all nations. Can I get an amen?


Jason 40:39

I want to just close this morning by having all of us just take our hands together like this, and I want to lead us sort of a little thing. We don't need to do a song at the end. I want us to think about this Mary gift; this $30,000 gift. And I want to think, have us think about what would be a special gift in our life. And it doesn't need to be money, could be money, but it doesn't need to be money. But it could be time, it could be something special. Could be your inheritance, or keepsake. Maybe you got something amazing laying around or maybe it's just prayer time, but hold something in your hands. Go ahead. Let's do it. And I want us to just lay it down before the Lord as I pray. Is that all right? So you just you just do that and I'm just going to pray over us to finish.


Jason 41:31

Lord, we come to you today. And we're so grateful for the guidance of your scripture, for instruction from stories like this one with Mary, giving such a special gift. And Lord, we're so grateful for your amazing instruction, to remember the poor, to be open handed, and to be responsive to the needs of others. And Father, we just lay down these things that we hold dear. And Lord, we lay them at your feet, we give them to you today. And Father, we just ask that you would take our little, our little gifts, our little acts of service. And you would do something to bring light and healing and hope and deliverance and justice and grace and faith to this community and to our world. And Lord, we're believing in you for it. We know that we can't do it on our own. We know that it's not just through acts of compassion. It's by your Holy Spirit, that you draw people to yourself and Lord, we're believing for that as we lay down these gifts at your feet. We asked all this today in Christ's name. And everyone said with me. Amen. Thanks everybody.


Jan 42:49

If what you've heard today inspires you to want to make a difference. I urge you to explore the Sew Powerful website at that's SEWPOWERFUL dot ORG. The website has great information about the organization. It's where you can download the free purse patterns or even make a donation. We hope you will join us again next week when we bring you another Sew Powerful story. Thanks for listening. Now, go out and have a Sew Powerful day


Broken to Beautiful with Dana Buck

In this week's podcast we hear from Dana Buck. Dana is a Sew Powerful board member and author of 'The Sew Powerful Parables,' both in book and podcast formats. Today's engaging talk is one he recently shared with the congregation of Renton Christian Center. Dana focuses on John 12, verses 20-24 to help us understand how the broken can become beautiful. Listen for the story of the truck driver with a bad heart and the young widow with a life insurance policy. Then you will probably need a tissue, I know I did, as Dana reads his original work, 'Broken Teacups.'


Jesus, broken people, seeds, Greeks, God, Lazarus, Philip, oxymoron, Sweetly Broken, Renton Christian Center, Sew Powerful, Sew Powerful Parables


Host: Jan Cancila
Guest: Dana Buck


Sew Powerful Parables, by Dana Buck, ©2019 by Dana Buck, all rights reserved

Bible References: Book of Isaiah, John 12:20-24, Psalm 34:17-18


Dana Buck, Guest 00:00

If you're feeling, not even humility, if you're feeling depressed, or if you're feeling your self-worth is down, you're feeling like dust, remember, it's dust that God uses to make beautiful things. And if you're walking around like all this and a bag of chips, and confidence, remember you're dust. Remember you're dust, and so humble confidence, what would seem to be an oxymoron, God puts together into the way he would have us live our lives, doesn't it? In humble confidence. Humble because I know all good things come from God. Confident because I know all good things come from God. See how that works? I mean, it's just yeah. So, when we start to let God fit stuff together, that in the in my, you know, earthly or worldly point of view might not make any sense to me. But in my, in my view, point of view through my relationship with Christ, suddenly it all makes sense.


Jan Cancila, Host 01:03

Welcome to the Sew Powerful podcast. This is your host, Jan Cancila. You know, the sound of my sewing machine means it's time for another episode. So, let's get started. In this week's podcast we hear from Dana Buck. Dana is a Sew Powerful board member and author of The Sew Powerful Parables, both in book and podcast formats. Today's engaging talk is one he recently shared with the congregation of the Renton Christian Center. Dana focuses on John 12, verses 22 to 24 to help us understand how the broken can become beautiful. Listen for the stories of the truck driver with a bad heart and the young widow with a life insurance policy. Then you will probably need a tissue- I know I did- as Dana reads his original work, "Broken Teacups." Please enjoy. Here is Dana Buck.


Dana 02:12

Sweetly broken that saw Brandon I hang out every Tuesday night together. We work on a podcast together. And he's awesome and great engineer and makes me sound pretty, you know, pretty lead pretty understandable. And so he asked me what I was, you know what I was going to talk about and I told him why I had to send something to Annie because Annie to put something on the website. So, I said is going to be "From Broken to Beautiful." And I kind of love oxymorons. Oxymorons are kind of fun, you know: jumbo shrimp ....... military intelligence. Yeah. That was a good one. Hot water heater. It's already hot. Why do you heat it? Makes no sense. But oxymorons are always kind of fun. And so when the worst of humans practicing and there's just a little time of just kind of setting the tone this morning. And Kevin got up and kind of close that time. And he said, I have two words for you. He says humility, and confidence. And so when you kind of look at those two, like or I could shorten it into humble confidence. Humble confidence, which, to the to my non-Christian years would sound like an oxymoron. Well, that's one of those oxymorons. But when you live in the kingdom of God, you realize the kingdom of God is full of oxymorons. Alex said one today. Find, you want to find life, lose it. You want to be beautiful, be broken. Kevin's whole thing of bring it up was, Hey, if you're feeling incredibly humble, and you just realize, you know, because they were just doing, you make beautiful things out of the dust, that you're just dust. But remember, that's what God makes beautiful things out of. So if you're feeling, not even humility, if you're feeling depressed, or if you're feeling your self-worth is down, you're feeling like dust. Remember, it's dust that God uses to make beautiful things. And if you're walking around like all this and a bag of chips, and confidence, remember your're dust. Remember you're dust, and so humble confidence...what would seem to be an oxymoron, God puts together into the way He would have us live our lives, isn't it? In humble confidence. Humble because I know all good things come from God; confident because I know all good things come from God. See how that works. I mean, it's just yeah. So when we sort of let God fit stuff together, that in the in my you know earthly or worldly point of view might not make any sense to me. But in my in my view, point of view through my relationship with Christ, suddenly it all makes sense.


Dana 05:00

One of the things, we're going to jump back into the book of John, this morning, because that idea of broken to beautiful, actually fits really nicely. Let me just say this about going through a book going through a book of the Bible. Here's what we usually do pastors usually do it speakers usually do. I do it, everybody does it. You carve out a section of Scripture, right? A story of Jesus, or a principle or whatever, and you carve out that section of Scripture, and you read it, and then you talk about it in context. Nothing wrong with that, right? Nothing wrong with that it happens all the time. And it's a way for us to learn the precepts of God and the stories of Christ and who we are in Jesus. But there is something really, really valuable about understanding the context of these stories in the Bible as they unfold, particularly in the Gospels. Now, you can definitely pull these stories out individually and, and and read them and preach on them and learn from them. But when you do that in context, that's why I'm so appreciative that Kevin is taking us through the book of John, not just, you know, helicoptering, you know, droning down on certain verses, but taking us through, because I think it's really valuable to see and understand the context in which these things are happening and unfolding.


Dana 06:25

So Jason talked to us last week, when last we left our players, right, Jesus had raised Lazarus from the dead. They had a big party, and they celebrated Lazarus resurrection. And Mary in this wonderful, amazing act of worship, you know, breaks the...anybody, remember what that perfume was called? Nard? Yeah, the nard. Doesn't sound, particularly beautiful. Nard. But she breaks it and anoints Jesus and wipes his feet with her hair. And, you know, Judas gets all upset, hey, we could have sold that. And Judas said, basically says Judas was the guy that was dipping into the till.


Dana 07:08

But Jesus says, you know, leave her alone. That was something that was important for her to do. She was he was she was preparing Him. This was the same type of spice and perfume that they would use when somebody died. And that she was preparing him for that. And so, and it basically says that the Pharisees were seeing all of this, that they saw, you know, Lazarus was raised from the dead. And they saw that the people were overwhelmed by that. But all they could think of was they want not only wanted to kill Jesus, they wanted to kill Lazarus, because of the witness that they had. See, to see, you see this story kind of unfolding as like, you know, Jesus has fed the 5000. He's healed. He's preached. People have heard him. Now He's raised Lazarus from the dead. That's really got the buzz going. And after this, after he has this party with, with Lazarus, and his family, and all these people are there, the very next thing that happens in the Gospel of John is the triumphal entry. Jesus enters into Jerusalem. Now John, in his gospel, doesn't really make much of a fuss about it. It's kind of just, you know, a few lines before he goes into kind of the next story. But he talks about how the people came, and they wave the palm branches as Jesus entered into the city of Jerusalem. And then this next story occurs, which we're gonna go into in a second.


Dana 08:30

But I want to I want to kind of back us up a little bit, because the people of Israel were waiting for a Messiah. The people of Israel have been waiting for a messiah for 1000s of years. The people of Israel were under the oppressive rule of the Romans. They wanted a Messiah. And suddenly this guy comes along, who raises the dead, heals the sick, all the prophetic things in the book of Isaiah that they said the Messiah would do. And he raises Lazarus from the dead. So when he's going to enter Jerusalem, I used to wonder is that you know, again, when you helicopter the Bible a bit, here's what I used to wonder. Like, why? Because when we celebrate Easter, it's like Palm Sunday. And then what's the next Sunday? Easter. So in between those two, what happens on Friday? They kill him. And I remember I used to, like go, where these people that were like waving the palm fronds on Sunday, and now all of a sudden Friday, they kill him? Like Pilate brings Him out before the people. And it says it's customary during your Passover, to free a prisoner who's condemned to death. Here is Jesus Christ and whom are not Christ hit but here's this Jesus, who I find no fault in. And here's Barabbas a murderer, a crazy dude, you know, whatever. Who do you want? Free Barabbas. Free Barabbas. I used to look at that and go, What? These are the same people waving the palm fronds that were saying, Free Barabbas. Free Barabbas. What happened in that period of time? What happened at that period of time was they didn't understand who their Messiah was, that their Messiah was going to be the suffering servant. What did they want? They wanted the conqueror. They wanted the man to ride in, they wanted the sword, they wanted the Romans eliminated. They wanted the restoration of the kingdom of Israel. They want that's what they wanted. And that's what and when Jesus came riding on a donkey's colt humble. And as we're going to see, talking, and preparing his disciples and the people for the fact that he was going to be killed. That's not the Messiah they wanted. So on Friday, they were done with him. Give us Barabbas, crucify him, give us Barabbas. And a lot of that was egged on and was you know, didn't have social media. Imagine if they had social media back then what the Pharisees would have been posting, right. Oh, see, we told you is fake ..... Lazarus wasn't dead. He was, you know, bah, bah, bah, he's a phony. But that's what happened word of mouth or whatever. Sunday, he was the Messiah, Friday. Free give us Barabbas. And so like what happened between those? And and so the story that we're going to read here is, is part of that. So I'm going to be in John 12. And I'm going to start in verse 20.


Dana 11:39

Now, there were some Greeks among those who came up to worship at the feast. They came to Philip who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. Sir, they said, We would like to see Jesus. Philip, went to tell Andrew, and Andrew in turn told Jesus. Now, this is one of those verses that, you know, does anybody here have a red letter Bible in your lap right now? Yeah, I do to my red letter. This is one of those verses that we just ..... because I want to get to the red letter. I want to get to what Jesus said. So we just got .... Philip. Great. And what does Jesus have to say? But hold on there because this is kind of important. Now these Greeks when we read that they probably weren't from Greece. You remember that the Roman Empire inherited the empire of Alexander the Great. Alexander the Great conquered the known world. Alexander the Great died. He did it by the time he was 33 years old. He died. There was no successor; he had no son; there was no kingship to pass along. Alexander had five generals that were his key generals, and the Empire of the Greeks was parceled up amongst these five generals. So, it became actually five smaller empires. And so when Rome rose Rome, picked those off one by one. So, Greeks could be anywhere. And Greeks was almost a transferable term to the Jews for like a Gentile. Oh, you're not Jewish, you're a Greek. Well, these were Greek converts to Judaism. Now, did they live in in Jerusalem? Did they come in for the feast? They probably came in now they could have been from Greece. It could have been from Athens, who knows? But they probably weren't. They probably came in from one of the surrounding regions. They hear this buzz about this guy, Jesus and ... so. So, isn't it interesting that the Greeks go to Philip and say, Hey, we want to talk to Jesus? Do you know why they want to Philip? Because Philip is a Greek name. Alexander the Great's father was Philip. So, the Greeks wanted to see Jesus and they said let's go ask this dude Philip because he's got a Greek name. And maybe that's going to be some way for. So, when you understand all these little nuances, right, it's like these are human beings that are navigate that we forget that have motives and plans and whatever. And so, they go to Philip and they say, we really want to see Jesus. We want to meet with Jesus. Does Philip like Oh, awesome. Let's go. I know, right where he is. Let's Let's go see him. No, Philip like, goes and talks to Andrew. Like, what's that all about? Why does Philip go talk to Andrew? And then Andrew and Philip together, go talk to Jesus. So obviously, Philip wasn't sure if he should do that. And so, Philip goes to Andrew and and they discuss it together and then you know, they finally do go to Jesus, but there's several reasons for that. And we remember the Messiah belonged to the Jews. That was their mentality. And then suddenly here were these they were they were Jews by by religion because they had adopted Judaism, but they weren't Jewish by ethnicity. If they would have taken the You know, 23andme, they went past it, right? They weren't Jewish, by ethnicity. And suddenly, this sort of non-Jews wanted access to Jesus. Not only that, but the Pharisees, were just looking as we know, we're just looking for anything. They're constantly trying to trap Jesus in something so they could arrest Him. And, and Philip probably knew, like, Holy smokes, man, if I bring these Greeks, these non-ethnic Jews, to the rabbi, and he starts teaching them, what are the Pharisees going to do with that? We're cooked. Oh, my gosh, what am I going to do? Because I don't want to deny access to somebody that wants to see the teacher. That's not the right thing to do. I know, I'll go ask Andrew. Andrew's a smart guy. That must be what he did. And Andrew said Oh, geez, man, I can see why. You know what, dude, let's just go ask Him.


Dana 15:56

So, they don't bring the Greeks In fact, you never even hear the Greeks after that. It's like, let's, um, let's go ask Him. Let's go see what He says. So now we get such the setup for this conversation that Jesus has with them. And I think they probably thought it was going to be this discussion about do you want to meet with the Greeks or not? That's what they thought. Do you want to see these Greeks or not? You know, here's the risk. Here's the rewards. What do you think, Lord? And Jesus, ever done this was somebody? Like you, like, ask him a question, and they just go sideways, somewhere? Jesus kind of just go sideways. They probably asked him this very straightforward question. And instead, he goes into this metaphor. Let's, let's kind of see what that is. So, here's, it says Jesus replied, so they ask them, Hey, these Greeks want to come see you. What do you think what should we do? These are probably the risks. You know, blah, blah, blah, here's what Jesus says: The hour has come for the Son of man to be glorified. I tell you the truth. And this is what Alex shared from the top. Unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. Jesus, do you want to see these Greek guys because they want to come meet you. And then Jesus tells this story. The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me. Where I am, my servant will also be. My father will honor the one who serves me. He doesn't even answer their question. But what he's preparing them for is, guys, it's going to be different. From this point on, it's going to be different. And then he tells them the story about this wheat. As you know, with any seed or whatever, you take a seed, it's a single seed. And you it's almost like a it's almost like a burial. Well, it is a burial, right? Dig in the dirt, you put the seed in, and you cover it just the same as we would if we were, you know, interring an individual or whatever. So, the metaphor Jesus uses is saying it dies. Now we know you know, the seed isn't dead, obviously. It still has the capability of life. But if that seed, if I had just hoped I could make this is the coolest seed ever.


Dana 18:08

So, I have a bird feeder in my backyard, right? And I put the I put the bird seed in there. It's this mix of bird seed. And I'm sitting on my patio yesterday. And this I and I can hear something like it's like it's raining. And I'm like what's going on? And I can, I can see the ground and all this bird seeds like falling on the ground. And I'm like, What in the world? And I get up to look and there's a squirrel. And he's, he's digging through the stuff he doesn't want to get the seed he does want because there's sunflower seeds in there and stuff like that. So, all the other stuff he's ...... But then he gets the seed he wants. Oh, that's the one I want. And then he sat there and ....., And it was a baby squirrels only like this big. So, I just let them have it. Whatever. Yeah. So, if I'm like that squirrel, I, this is a cool seed. I love this seed. Seed, it's awesome. I'm never gonna plant it. I'm just gonna hold it. I'm just gonna hold it and enjoy it and look at it and rub it because it's nice and smooth. Is that seed ever gonna produce anything? No, it's not. That seed has to go into the ground and be covered. And then Jesus said, If that happens, and again, he uses a wheat seed because they can understand that it could be any seed. If that happens, it's going to grow, and it's going to produce many seeds. What he was basically saying to them is, if I am going to be put into the ground, it's because I am going to produce many seeds. And in the context of them coming to him and saying these Greek guys want to meet you. What do you think? This was what Jesus was explaining. It's not just about you, 12 dudes, it's not just about, you know, the little villages around Galilee that we've been wandering to. It's now going to be about the whole world. And he's explaining to them that the son of [man] and and then he puts himself in the role of that seed. The son. This is what will happen to the Son of Man. But then he does something that probably shook them up if they understood what he was saying, because he turns around and says to them, the man who loses his life, a man who loves his life will lose it. While the man who hates his life in this world, we'll keep it. And I don't know that Jesus actually meant love and hate there. And like the ..., I hate, you know, my daughter used to do that. You know, she broke a nail, she'd go, I hate my life. That was her like thing, I hate my life. I was just her little exclamation. I don't think Jesus meant it like that. Not that I hate my life. But it's like, do I love this seed so much that I'm just going to hold on to it? Or do I realize a greater truth about life and how life works. And I'm actually going to plant that and release this thing that I think I love, and do what appears if you don't understand the, the, how, you know, planting and harvesting and growing works. It's like, he must hate that seed. It was so beautiful. It was so he you know, he stuck it in the ground. Now he did stick it to the ground. He covered it with dirt. He must you know; he must hate that seed.


Dana 21:14

That's what Jesus was talking about. In your life do you love this life so much, that you're not willing to be broken. Because he was going to be broken. And then he basically says, if you're going to follow me, then you're going where I'm going. And they didn't all the way understand what that meant yet. They were going to understand what he meant about going where I'm going. But they were starting to get it because he was laying out the clues. If you're going to follow me, you're going to go where I'm going to go. If you're going to follow me, you're going to be broken. And that wasn't just for Philip and Andrew, when he said if you're going to follow me, he wasn't just talking to Philip and Andrew. He was talking to all of those that would follow him. If you love this life so much, then you're going to lose it. The oxymoron. Try to save your life, lose it. Give up your life. For my sake, find it. One of those beautiful, awesome oxymorons of faith. You want to save your life lose it? This is the answer that He gives it to Philip and Andrew when they say hey, do you want to meet the Greek guys? Broken to beautiful. What Jesus was explaining in that little metaphor about this he was he was explaining the concept of broken to beautiful. Man, I just want you to think for a minute on those words, those three words broken to beautiful. And I want you to ask God to bring something to your mind where you saw maybe in your own life, maybe something happened to you or maybe somebody around you where you saw broken to beautiful.


Dana 23:02

There was a video that I should have looked this up and I should have Maybe another time we'll do it. But Kevin did this for the youth group. And I'm going to get some of the minor facts wrong. So excuse me that I do this, but it was a video and it was a girls’ softball game. And it was a champ some kind of championship game. And the team that was at bat, ninth inning, bottom of the ninth, two outs. Runner on first; they're down by one run. This girl's up to bat. Last at bat of the game. And this championship on the line. This girl hits a home run two run home run. And as she's leaving the batter's box run to first base, she tears her ACL and falls flat on her face in the dirt. Now the rules of softball are she has to complete the circuit of the bases in order for that run to count. If she can't complete the circuit of bases, she's out and the game is over. Her teammates cannot help her. That's against the rules. They can't come do anything. They can't bring another runner in for her at that point anything. She's laying in the dirt about four feet from first base where she's blown out or ACL in the championship game. The other team's gonna win. Other teams got it, they're gonna win. Two girls from the other team come out onto the field and get on either side of this girl and they pick her up, one under this leg with their arm around this way and another girl on that side. And they walk as you might see in this video? We got we got to show it. They walk this girl around the bases and touch her foot on the base first base, second base, third base home plate and then she gets in an ambulance and goes to the hospital. Those and those girls lost the championship but what did they gain? That young lady that blew out her knee was broken. But that event was beautiful. And without the brokenness, you don't get the beautiful. You know what if she'd hit that home run, and traipsed around those bases, and jumped into the arms of her teammates at home plate as she crossed the plate, that would have been a wonderful moment for them, and for their fans and their family and whatever. And then the next day, that moment would have been gone. And life would have continued. But I'm talking about something that's five years ago, six years ago. This happened five or six years ago, and I'm talking about it right now.


Dana 25:41

Brokenness in Christ leads to beauty. And we curse brokenness, don't we? We do. We avoid it. We don't want it when we're in it. All we want is out of it. Brokenness brings beauty. Sweetly Broken, one of my favorite songs. Total oxymoron. Total oxymoron. Think about it. I'm sweetly broken, I'd rather not be sweetly broken, I'd rather be sweetly whole. Yeah, sweetly broken is one of those beautiful oxymorons. He makes beautiful things out of the dust. Oxymoron.


Dana 26:23

I've had the privilege in my life of helping to facilitate some sweetly broken moments. And want to tell you just two stories. So when I was at World World Vision was a World Vision many, many, many years. And and I was a new fundraiser, you know, I moved from I had a career in human resources. And I decided I wanted to switch careers. And I went into fundraising. And I remember having like the dark night of the soul, when you like, switch your career, I know you switched careers, you know, that feeling? And I remember talking to a buddy at work, and I said, Oh my gosh, man, I think I made a big mistake. Because I was like the expert at World Vision, human resources. I mean, everybody came to me for everything. And I wrote all the policies. I mean, I did all that stuff. And I walked away from that and thought I was going to be this fundraiser. And so, I'm telling this guy, oh, man, I think I made a big mistake. I made this career suicide, what am I doing? And he asked me to go, so you feel inadequate untrained, ill equipped, blah blah blah why go to all of those things. He goes, you're right where God wants you. Best word I ever got in my life. So, I was like, Okay, and so I took this job. And I remember the boss that hired me. It was a brand-new department. They were just starting this new fundraising thing. And I went in there, and I, here's what I expected. This is what happened when they bring in new fundraisers. They go, here's your list of donors. And this is the group that you work. And this is you know, what you do, and you raise money from these folks, and blah, blah, blah, it's like, okay, great. Well, that's what I thought was gonna happen. So, I walk in, and she like goes, there's no list. That this group has no donors. We have to just do it from scratch. So, I'm like, Wow. Okay. And you know, what I knew that when they bring a new fundraiser in into the established fundraising areas, they had about 18, they weren't expected to hit any kind of an income goal for about 18 months, because that's how I took to find your feet and build relationships. These are major gifts, like gifts that are, you know, five figures, six figures, that's how long that took. And I knew I knew my organization well enough to know that they didn't have a lot of patience when you weren't hitting goals. And I thought, Oh, my goodness, this is something. So, I thought, okay, I just got to figure this out, I'm going to do this. So, I was really good friends with the person that ran the Phone Center at World Vision. I said, here's what I want you to do. Any phone call, you get that you don't know where to send it, because World Vision at all these programs, right sponsorship and clean water and.... on this. And you know, people call in, you know, they knew where to send those. But occasionally somebody will call in, you're like, Oh, I don't know where to send this call what this person wants to do. And I told them, I said, anytime you get that call, send it to me. And I used to call that panning the ore. I would pan the ore to find the diamonds, right? There were diamonds. There were diamonds. There was a lot of ore too. But there were diamonds. And so this one day, I get a message from the phone center. And so, we got a phone call from this truck driver in Gig Harbor and he wants to talk to somebody from World Vision. Can you give him a call? Yeah, so I actually he was close to Gig Harbor said why don't you know why don't you come on, and let's have coffee? And we sat down and his name was Mark Wagner. This was 2000, 2000 maybe? I took the job in 2000. So, it's probably that year. And so, Mark and I have coffee and Mark was 30 37 years old, I believe, truck driver. And again, this was in the early 2000s. Mark had a failed valve in his heart.


Dana 29:59

Now that surgery now is like an appendix surgery. I mean, they replaced valves now all the time and the success rate is, what is it Toby 98% or something probably. That's become a very standard surgery. In 2000, it wasn't. The survival rate was the success rate was about 50/50. The survival rate was not, you know, wouldn't make you optimistic. Let's put it that way. And so, Mark had had to have this surgery. So, he goes in, and he has the surgery, and it's a success. Mark's a Christian. Yeah, it's a success. And Mark says, Man, I got it. Because what was happening was he was he was tired. He couldn't, he couldn't, you know, he would walk, you know, six feet, and he have to sit down. And because this blood wasn't circulating properly, and they told him unless you have this surgery, you're probably not going to live. And so, Mark went had the surgery. And so, Mark said, I just wanted to celebrate life. And so he goes, I ran a marathon, I trained, and I ran a marathon. And he was the first person ever to run a marathon after this surgery. That was awesome and so, and he told me, he goes, I ran that marathon for me. He goes, I want to run the next one for God. And I said, was that mean? He says, I want to run a marathon. He said, I want to use that marathon to raise money to help the poor. Can you help me? We have any program. And by this awesome woman that worked for me to get to know the world, Lori Humphreys Laurie was my Lori was the brains I was the good looks. Lori was the brains, basically. And so, we said I was just so taken with him. And I just said, because he told me he goes, I've called the American Heart Association. I've called I've got this is when racing for charity was very, nobody was doing it. There was a few really small ones out there. But there there really wasn't that. And so, I said, Well, Mark, we're gonna figure out so he says, I'm signed up for an event in Vancouver Washington or Vancouver, Vancouver, Canada, no, Victoria, Victoria, Canada. I'm going to run this marathon. And that's the thing. So, Lori, and I put our heads together, like we got to help this guy realize his dream. So, we had nothing automated. Well, we made up forms that he could take. And he went and spoke in churches and told people what he wanted to do. And people would fill out a sponsorship form to sponsor, you know, Mark in his marathon. And we tied it to children suffering from HIV AIDS in Africa. So that's what his money was going to go towards. And so, the day of the race came, and so my [wife] Grace went with me, great. We and Karen Cardis, a really, really good colleague of mine at World Vision, we all went up to Victoria to watch Mark run. And Mark ran his marathon. And I think he raised you know, $8,000, just on these forums, going to churches, asking people to sponsor him. And that was awesome. And so, we had this little debrief with Mark afterwards. Invited him in the office, and I wanted him to meet certain people, you know, and so with this little debrief, and so we can do that at a lunch, and I'm thinking we're done. You know, Mark, awesome job. And this always happens to me. And then Mark pulls me aside and he goes, Dana, there's tens of 1000s of people like me who would do this for charity, if they had something that they could plug into and do. And then he challenged me. He said, there's thousands of us out there. And so long story short, Lori and I and Karen created this program called Team World Vision, which allowed athletes that we're doing any kind of, of athletic activity, to be able to create a website, you know, now this is as common as you know, mashed potatoes, create a website, ask people to sponsor you online, and then go run your race. And Team World Vision at World Vision is going to celebrate its 20th anniversary next year. It's the largest faith-based racing charity in the world. From Mark Wagner. From this one guy. They actually wrote a magazine article on him. They called him runner zero. He was the he was the very first guy from one seed, a guy a 35 year old truck driver with a bad heart. That's who God would pick though, isn't it? God wouldn't pick some Olympian or whatever. God would pick the 35-year-old truck driver with the bad heart. And out of one seed became many. World Vision now uses that program to raise money for clean water. And they've provided clean water for hundreds of 1000s of people around the world through these races that people run. Broken to beautiful.


Dana 34:48

So, I'll tell you about one more person, somebody that's really dear. Her name is Kelly Sim. Kelly. Her husband Jonathan worked with me at World Vision for many, many years. And several years. This was oh, gosh, how many years ago was this? This is probably about 2004 2005. There was a severe famine in North Korea. I mean, people were dying by the thousands every day and World Vision was doing. It was a very tenuous, very dangerous, very controversial program to provide feeding for starving people in North Korea because North Korea is the enemy, right? But, you know, Jesus, what does Jesus say to do with your enemies? Feed them love them, right. So, Jonathan was constantly flying from Seattle to Korea, to monitor and do this cross border feeding program. And Jonathan got a blood clot in his leg that you can get from sitting on these long flights. And the blood clot moved, broke loose from his leg and it went to his brain. And he lost consciousness and was taken to the hospital. And I got a phone call. Jonathan's in the hospital. And so, I go to the hospital. And Kelly, his wife meets me outside and she says, I need to talk to you privately. So, I said, okay. So, I didn't know Kelly that well, I knew Jonathan really well, Kelly and I met a few times, but I didn't know her that well. And so, Kelly pulled me aside and she said, I have to go into the room and make the decision to take him off the life support machine. She said, I have to go do that right now. Because she says there's no brain activity, there's no hope. And, you know, she's telling me this, and I'm like, What? And she said, I want his life to count for something. And she said, so we have 14 sponsored children that they would did as a family. He said, Would you look at our, the villages where our children are, would you find a village that needs a school, and I want to build a school in my husb... And this is while our husband is still on life support. And she's got to go in and, and they have two small kids, and their kids were two and four at the time. And she said, I want you to find me a village that needs a school and I want to build a school in my husband's name. And so, I gave her a hug, Kelly went in, they took Jonathan off life support. I went back to World Vision, looked up their donor record, saw the villages, grabbed a buddy named David Shaiman from the Africa region, and said, help me find something. And so, there was there these these prospective projects that would be written by these different programs around the world. And there was a Chikanta, Zambia, there was a little village that needed a high school. They had no high school, and the kids would have to walk 15 miles to the nearest High School. So, they would walk on Monday, 15 miles, go to high school. Stay in abandoned huts and houses and then walk back on Friday. That's how they did school. And so this village, this community needed a high school. So we got in touch with that community told them kind of the story. They say we will name it the Jonathan Sim Legacy School. And Kelly, Jonathan had a life insurance policy, Kelly tithes out of his life insurance policy, got the ball rolling, she did fundraising brought... I'll tell you that's that's a whole other story brought some other fundraisers in alongside of Kelly. And we were able to go to Zambia and cut the ribbon on that on that high school. And it's still there today, the Jonathan Sim Legacy High School. From broken to beautiful. And now these kids, it's one of the most modern high schools because Kelly wanted to do. It's got solar power. They have labs so the kids can do science. It's one of the it's one of it is in the middle of nowhere. I mean, Chikanta is nowhere-ville. But this beautiful high solar powered High School is in this community. And it's just an amazing and amazing place from broken to beautiful, from broken and beautiful.


Dana 39:09

I want to read you guys just to close this want to read you guys a story. This may be my favorite of all the ones that I've written. But this one, this story is called Broken Teacups. And I just want you to think broken teacups. And I just want you to think about that concept of broken to beautiful as I read this story to you, okay?


Dana 39:40

Psalm 3417 through 18 says the righteous cry out and the Lord hears them. He delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. He's talking about us. This isn't stuff He does for other people. He's talking about us.


Dana 40:00

Once there was a little house set on a country lane, some might call it ordinary, nondescript or plain but that would be deceiving. For in truth, we all know well, sometimes the simplest dwellings have the grandest tales to tell. And so, it is this morning as we venture through the door and to a lovely parlor with exquisite oaken floors. A room that's set aside, exclusive, proper, and held dear, considered extra special by the lady living here. This space so intimate has felt her decorator's touch from the fine handcrafted table to the maple china hutch. Resplendent in simplicity and always clean and neat, it serves as her daydreaming place, asylum and retreat. For here upon a papered wall, a shelf is firmly hung, holding treasured symbols, memories to which she's clung. Fragile, dainty teacups, quite exotic and antique. Each could tell a charming tale if only they could speak of 40 years of marriage, as her thoughts cascade and drift to her kind and thoughtful husband, Jim, and unexpected gifts. Teacups were her favorites. He'd surprised and he'd say I bought this for my darling just because it's Saturday. They'd laugh and he would hold her. Then he'd whisper in her ear. Each time you see your teacups, know how much I love you, Dear. All those special moments had become this fine collection. Precious now that she was left with only recollections. Illness in its time had finally overcome her Jim. And so she loved her tea cups, for they made her think of him.


Dana 42:07

Down the road a mile or so from where resides our lady lives a quiet shy young man whose given name is Brady. Brady is an artist. Well, at least he tries to be, painting portraits, landscapes, sometimes selling two or three. His art income is modest, nothing left for fun or frills. Commissions are infrequent and they rarely pay the bills. And so, he chases other work, odd jobs that may arise bringing in the money for his paint and art supplies. Today he'll be a handyman for someone he adores. The lady living down the lane. He'll wash and wax her floors. She keeps him rather busy, and he suspects the reason why has more to do with loneliness than skills he will apply. Every week she has a task. It could be lawn or gutters, fix and oil a hinge upon a squeaky door or shutter. She'll call him to the parlor there present his modest fee. Invite him to sit down a while and have a cup of tea. She'll ask about his painting, any news of sales or shows and what he's done and doing those she well already knows. For each of them their solitude these moments interrupt and Brady fancies tea with her out of her fancy cups.


Dana 43:36

Arriving at the front door Brady smiles and rings the bell. Our lady quickly answers in a voice that he knows well. Moving to the parlor as they visit and they chat, she gets a mop and bucket while he hangs his coat and hat. She tells him she'll be upstairs changing sheets and pillowcases and he can wax the parlor till they both can see their faces. They share a hearty laugh. She mounts the stairs, adjusts her shawl, and Brady moves the furniture from parlor into Hall. He's just a bit distracted as he clears the chairs away. He's thinking about the painting that he started yesterday. The color scheme he chosen, the dimensions and the scale. He dips the wrinkled mop head and the warm and soapy pale.


Dana 44:27

Perhaps a different texture, I could finger paint he jokes and starts to move the mop around with long and sweeping strokes. As he ponders whether oils would contribute or corrupt, he barely missed the edge that holds the saucers in the cups. Pulling back the handle, elbow cocked and carried high he barely missed the edge as he conceives a painted sky. While planning where the clouds he'll paint will fade from gray to black, he pulls upon the mop and takes one fateful half step back.


Dana 45:10

The handle hits that shelf just like a swinging wrecking ball and lifts it from the hangers fastened to the parlor wall. Floating for a nanosecond frozen in midair, the shelf and cups and saucers almost seems suspended there. But this is not enchantment, or a wizard’s magic hex. No spell can change or alter what is going to happen next. Brady with a face as white as England's Cliffs of Dover watches helplessly as fate and gravity take over. And 40 years of memories of love's exquisite lore of time and tears and tenderness come crashing to the floor. Brady stands immobile, unbelieving in despair, as quick and urgent footsteps loudly echo down the stairs. Then moving to the door while Bray then moving to the doorway there to stand with mouth agape, the lady let's a mournful Oh, and choking cries escape. Brady cannot find his words for what heartfelt expression do you utter when you smash someone's most prized possessions? I'm sorry, I'm so sorry, hung ineptly in the air. The lady moved unsteadily to sit upon a chair. Maybe I can fix them. I'll go get a broom and a box and broom. Brady leaves the mop and pail and rushes from the room. Running back and urgency and sweating like an ox Brady gently sweeps the shattered pieces in a box.


Dana 46:55

He turns to face the lady where she sits with wounded grace. Tears have left the grist glistening trail of grief upon her face. I have glue and towels and tweezers and a magnifying glass. He's stammering and stumbling speaking anxiously and fast. I know it looks impossible, but maybe I he pled then carried in mid sentence when she sadly shook her head. Brady, as she choked her words, her voice had cheerless grown. There's nothing you can do now. And I think you should go home. He stood there just so miserable. His feet like granite blocks. Stiffly he extends his hands and offers her the box. No, she said now distantly defeat infused her eyes. Please dispose of that for me. Then bowed her head. Goodbye.


Dana 48:00

Time, the plodding healer. In the nights and days gone by hasn't yet removed or dulled the thoughts that made her cry. It's not the loss of things themselves. No, that was not the treasure. 'Twas what they brought and mood and the thought that always was the pleasure. And now there's just an emptiness, an effort to recall the beauty that once found itself there on her parlor wall. She knows that gloom and moping won't reverse these aching hours and so she plans to spend the day outside amidst her flowers. Putting on her bonnet and a pair of gardening gloves she ambles to the porch to leave the thoughts of things she loved.


Dana 48:50

Standing in her doorway, something there catches her eye, sitting on the topmost step in paper wrapped and tied. She lifts it from the platform holds it firmly in her hands, is pulled back in the house by curiosities demands. Entering the parlor on the table sets the thing, retrieves a pair of scissors, oh, so gently cuts the strings, tears the wrapping paper where it's firmly taped behind. Then stares in silent wander as amazement fills her mind. A beautiful mosaic lies within the lacquered frame. A single ornate teacup is the image there ordained. Reds and blues and turquoise seem to shimmer and to dance. Appearing carved by purpose with purpose and not fragmented by chance. Skillfully assembled by an artist's loving hand, she's never seen a work of art so elegant. so grand. She leans upon the table for a careful, closer gaze, and what she then discovers she'll remember all her days. A gasp of exaptation from a joyous heart erupts. This masterpiece is fashioned from her broken, shattered cups. And lying with the paper, something she'd not seen before, a small and sealed envelope, the front her name had bore. Removing a handwritten card, she teared up as she read words that touched her very soul. And here's what it said, My friend, I'm just so sorry for my awful careless act. I made 1000 wishes that the deed I could retract. But knowing I can never change the past and make it right, I hope that you'll accept this gift that peace it will invite. I trust that God most merciful does surely understand. He takes our broken pieces and within his loving hands, the fragments that are jagged, sharp, unusable, discarded, when rearranged by Him, become redeemed and well regarded. So may this humble effort made of porcelain and glass reminds you that his faithfulness will comfort you and last. These words brought such tranquility and healing to Our Lady. For at the bottom, it was signed, Affectionately, Brady.


Dana 51:34

She finds herself emerging from the sadness that encased her and feels as if Almighty God himself had just embraced her. Now filled with new excitement she attends to one detail, bringing to the parlor, both a hammer and a nail. Placed with great intention as her gloom and sorrow flea, she hangs the bright mosaic where her tea cups used to be. She wouldn't trade this gift for all the paintings in the Louvre and knows within her heart of hearts that Jim, he would approve. With joy as her companion, she retrieves the card and pen smiling to herself, she thinks about a special friend. Then sitting in her parlor, there is no place she'd rather be. She starts a note, Dear Brady, won't you have come, won't you come and have some tea.


Dana 52:33

From broken from broken to beautiful, amen. God is the master artist. And and what we think is broken and shattered and unusable and destroyed and unfortunate and pick your adjective, in the hands of a master artists, God will take those broken pieces, and reassemble and that's what that song means, Sweetly Broken. That's what it means the our brokenness rearranged by the master artist into something beautiful. Isn't that awesome? That's what God does. And that's his promise for every one of us. Broken to beautiful. Lord, we just thank you that you are you are the God of oxymorons. You don't conform. The the world just doesn't recognize you doesn't understand you thank you so much that you give us a chance to get a glimpse of who you are, that our brokenness can become so beautiful, when we offer it to you. So Lord, I just would ask that wherever we are, in our lives today that we offer all that we are whether it's we're feeling joy and wholeness or whether we're feeling brokenness, and and that shattered feeling. God may we look with confidence to the master artist who is going to rearrange the pieces of our lives into something incredibly beautiful, not just for us, but for the world as well. For if the seed dies, and falls and it is buried, it will grow again and it will bear much fruit. Thank you that you let us be a part of your kingdom. In Jesus name. Amen. Amen. Be joyful. As you go today broken beauty. Amen. Amen, amen.


Jan 54:35

If what you've heard today inspires you to want to make a difference. I urge you to explore the Sew Powerful website at www dot Sew that's SEWPOWERFUL dot ORG. The website has great information about the organization. It's where you can download the free purse patterns or even make a donation. We hope you will join us again next week when we bring you another Sew Powerful story. Thanks for listening. Now, go out and have a Sew Powerful day.


What To Do When Jesus Lets You Down

The guest on today's podcast is the Sew Powerful co-founder, Jason Miles. Rather than an interview format, we are sharing the sermon Jason delivered to his church in July 2021. Using John, Chapter 11 as the basis of his sermon, the next 30 minutes or so will delight you as Jason weaves contemporary life into the story of Jesus’ love for Mary and Martha at the time of Lazarus’ death. And Jason wraps it up by helping us understand how Jesus loves each of us.


Host: Jan Cancila
Guests: Jason Miles


Jason Miles, Guest 00:00

He operates with a utopian future mindset. The world is all getting better; towards a glorious amazement. It's common story. He really believes that. And there are a lot of people who do; like the world's getting better all the time. But that one's not as popular. The other story that's even more popular is the dystopian future. Right? You got the utopian, and then you got the dystopian which means like, basically the Walking Dead zombie apocalypse. Right? Be honest. How many of you have seen the walking dead? I watch it. No one. No one's willing to say they watched The Walking Dead. Okay, all right. Okay. Yeah. So you two, let's talk. Okay, if you're not familiar, because clearly no one should watch that show. But it's, it's about a dystopian future in which the zombies takeover.


Jan Cancila, Host 00:59

Welcome to the Sew Powerful podcast. This is your host, Jan Cancila. You know, the sound of my sewing machine means it's time for another episode. So let's get started. The guest on today's podcast is the Sew Powerful co founder, Jason Miles. Rather than an interview format, I am sharing with you today the sermon that Jason delivered to his church. Using John chapter 11, as the basis, the next 30 minutes or so will delight you, as Jason weaves contemporary life into the story of Mary, Martha and Lazarus. And not only that, he wraps it up by helping us understand what all this means for each of us. Here is Jason Miles.


Jason 01:55

Morning, everybody. Can you hear me? Can you hear me now? All right, Nokia has that Nokia thing? Oh, okay. All right. Isn't that nice? Man. It just I know, all the old people say this, but it just flies by. I mean, all the parents in the room can relate. Like when you dedicated your kid you're like, well, it'll be forever tell they're old. And then it just blows past you and, wow! There they are at Rimrock driving your truck back from the mountains on their own. Which is actually literally what's happening right now with my kids. Well, PK has been leading us through John for the last few months, I don't even know. And he asked me to jump into John chapter 11 this morning. So if you have your Bible app, or Bible turn with me, John, Chapter 11. I have 17 pages of notes. Is that bad? Is that too many? Is that Alex? Is that too much? Not even close? Oh, no. I'm in big trouble. I titled this little message, 'What to do when Jesus lets you down'. I first ran that pass by my board of directors Cinnamon? And she said no, that's not good. That's not a good title. Jesus never lets us down. But I thought well, I mean, it kind of fits the story. So just go with me. If you want to refute my title, then just give me a couple minutes here. And we'll talk through the story of Mary and Martha, and the raising of Lazarus. But I just want to ask you honestly, just reflect back on your life. Has there ever been a time when you felt like Jesus let you down? I mean, I think if we're being honest, sometimes we would say that.


Jason 04:04

I remember a funny story from when I was, I guess it was 1991. So I was in my early 20s. And I was helping lead a youth group. And it was called Edge Youth Ministries. And as with all youth ministries, you need money for anything you want to do go to Disneyland, or whatever it is. And so I got a call, I got a call out of the blue. And the guy said, Hi, are you Jason from the Edge, you know, program? And I was like, Yes. And he said, Well, I'm from the Knights of Columbus, and we did a fundraiser this last month and we're gonna donate the money to your to your program. And I was like, 'What?' and I was like, How much could this possibly be? I had no idea. So he said, Well come. I said, I didn't want to ask that. So he said, Come on Tuesday night to our meeting, and we'll give you the present the check and, and all that. And I was just like, Yes, God is answering my prayers as you know, leader and helping me raise money. And so we get to the Knights of Columbus meeting, I get to the Knights of Columbus meeting and, and there I am sitting kind of there as their guest. And they go through the process if you're not familiar, that's a men's Ministry of Catholic Church, I think. And so, so they get through the program, and then they get to the part where, you know, they're gonna do the, the big check. And so the guy starts talking like our fundraiser was really good. And we raised $1500. And I was like, Oh, that's, that's not bad. That's, that's something so and then he said, and it's a delight to be able to give it to an alcohol and drug rehabilitation program here locally, called the Edge Alcohol Recovery Program. And Jason is here from the program. And I was on the front row, and I was literally sitting there. And I'm thinking to myself, do I lie and take the check? Like, what am I supposed to do right now? Clearly, they screwed up. I'm not the Jason from the Edge Alcohol Rehabilitation Program. And so I did, I literally just blurted out, I'm actually from the Adobe Christian Center, youth ministry, Edge Youth Ministries, and the oxygen just goes out of the room. And then one guy says, Ed, did you screw up again? I was just like, Oh, my Lord, please get me out here. So then I thought, what's gonna happen right now? Well, they still give me $1500. Or, like, am I out? And so they unceremoniously just moved on in the program and apologized to me after. And no, I did not get any money.


Jason 06:55

And so I reflect back on that. And I think to myself, that was just a little tiny, maybe Jesus let me down a little moment in my life, where I was expecting something. And it didn't happen the way I had hoped. And, but as it happens, I went on to actually do fundraising related stuff for like, 20 years. And I always look back on that story. And it always was kind of instructive. And I always think to myself, okay, I learned a lesson from it, you know. And I don't know, in your circumstance or in your life, if you have funny stories, or serious stories about when maybe you expected something, and maybe it didn't happen the way you wanted. But clearly, that's the circumstance from John chapter 11. So let's look at it together.


Jason 07:52

Here we are John, chapter 11. And we'll jump into it. Now, a certain man was sick, Lazarus, of Bethany, a village, in the village of Marian Martha, in the village of Bethany, the village of Marian Martha good-ness, can I not read? Now a certain man was sick; Lazarus, of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister, Martha. And it was the Mary who had annointed the Lord with ointment and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick. So the sisters sent word to Him saying, Lord, behold, him who you love is sick. And when you heard this, Jesus said, the sickness will not end in death. It's going to be for God's glory. Now, in verse five, it says, Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus. So we know that Jesus really had affection for this family. And in fact, if you look in the stories, there's three times that Mary and Martha are involved with an interaction with Jesus. It's really kind of telling about their personality. And you guys have all heard this. How many of you heard Martha you know her personality? Mary? Okay, so you're with me a lot. I I'm not gonna recap kind of what was was well known. But the first encounter sets the stage which is in Luke chapter 10. The first time the Bible references Mary and Martha. It says Jesus and his disciples are on their way. And He came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to Him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what He said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. And she came to Him and said, Lord, Don't you care that my sister left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me. And Christ, responded 'Martha, Martha. You're worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed. or indeed only one, Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her'. That was the first interaction. And it gives us the flavor of Martha. And Mary. Right. And, but I think it's important for us to realize that in John chapter 11, it says, Jesus loved these people. Jesus was okay with Martha. So I know we're all saying, oh, Martha was just out there. But Jesus loved Martha. And Jesus loves Mary, and Jesus loved Lazarus. And so this sets the context for the story. And Jesus has been told that Lazarus is sick, and He knows it, and then He knows that Lazarus died. And so here, Jesus delays in the story, and then He, He comes in verse 17, it says, When Jesus came, He found that Lazarus has already been in the tomb for four days. He was dead.


Jason 11:13

So then, Martha, when she heard that Jesus was coming, went to meet Him but Mary stayed in the house. Martha said, and can you can imagine it, here's Jesus coming, or he's coming this way. And, and here comes Martha. Can you just imagine what Jesus when he sees Martha, he's like, Oh, yeah, there's gonna be, there's gonna be something here going down. Right? You know that. And so really, I think what we get in this story is actually sort of an interesting little twist where we've got Martha and her interaction with Christ. And then we've got Mary, you guys get to be Martha. That alright? You're, the Martha's zone? Then there's Mary, you guys are the Mary zone. And then there are many people in this story. You guys are the many people that right? Not mini people, like little people. But like many people, okay. I know. That was not a joke about your height. I too, am under five, nine. And here she comes. So here comes Martha. And here's what she said, 'Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. Even now, I know that whatever you ask God, now God will give you'. Martha was the kind of person who made it an altercation. That's just who she was. She had a beef with Jesus and she made it an altercation.


Jason 12:45

Can any of you relate? Okay, be honest, do some of you, are you, are you prone towards maybe being straightforward with people? Maybe just speaking your mind? Is it just me? Anyone? Will anyone admit to that? All right, Janarie and I are like this, that I am like that. I will frequently get in trouble by being rather direct. And it's just how I'm wired. Martha was a doer. Martha was somebody who was working, serving, taking action. She was, you know, her name, like in the original language says, like, Master, it's like the feminine version of master of the house. Like she was literally the lady boss of the house. And that's just how she was wired. She made it an altercation. But remember, Jesus loved her. Right? Jesus loved her, even in her direct, straightforward manner. And Jesus said back to her, 'Your brother will rise from the dead'. And she said, just as a direct person would, 'I know that he will rise from in the resurrection on the last day'. And Jesus worked with her. Jesus talked to her. Jesus shared with her one of the biggest revelations in the New Testament: 'I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die'. Wow, what a statement. So from the altercation, we get a pretty profound sharing. And Jesus worked with Martha. Jesus didn't say, 'Get away from me. I reject you. You're an idiot. You talk too much. You're too loud. You have too much opinion. Get it? You know, go'. He didn't do that. He said, I'm the resurrection and the life. Your brother's gonna live. Right? Yeah. Aren't you glad? Yeah, that Jesus works through the altercations with the Martha's? Yeah, I am too. He even calls her back to faith. 'He who believes in me will never die'. He says, 'Do you believe this'? Just checking? Do you still believe that I'm the Messiah? And she says, 'Yes, Lord, I've come to believe you're the Christ, the Son of God, He who comes into the world'. Jesus loves the Martha. I think some of us beat ourselves up for being like Martha. And I think we need to forgive ourselves and just realize Jesus can roll with those punches. Jesus has an answer for the Martha. Even in the frustration of the situation; even in the the pain of what's happened that you thought wasn't what was best. Jesus works through in love with Martha.


Jason 16:12

You with me? Yeah. Okay. So you know where I'm going with this. Who's next? Mary, Mary. Now, it's interesting that the the altercation, it is really it does seem like if you read the story, it does seem like an altercation because Martha after she gives Him, her mind, leaves. And then she left. And she went back to the house. And she told Mary, hey, the teacher is here. And a lot of people were around the mourning process. They're grieving with Mary and Martha. And the Jews were there with her in the house were consoling her. And when they saw that Mary, got up quickly and left, they followed her thinking that she was going into the tomb to weep there. So when Mary came to the place where Jesus was, she saw Him and fell at his feet, saying, 'Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died'. Now, it's interesting. It's the exact same phrase. Martha said the same exact words that Mary said. But the heart attitude is clearly different. Right? She's weeping, as she says, and you know, you get the idea. She comes up, she comes up and she just, she just kneels down. And she just says, 'Lord, if you had been here'.


Jason 17:58

Some of us are worshipers. I was thinking I might sing a song right there, but I'm thinking, I'm not feeling it. So I won't do that acapella. But, I mean, if I was really brave, I would have sung the song, but I won't. Some of us are worshipers. And our first inclination is just to hit our knees. Just say, God,I'm holding on to faith. I know you'll make a way. I don't always understand. I don't always get to see. But I'm gonna believe it. I'm gonna believe.


Jason 18:48

Some of us are just wired to be like Mary. And Jesus is there with us. Jesus is there with us. Shortest verse verse in the Bible. When they When Jesus saw her weeping and the Jews, along with her were weeping, He was deeply moved in spirit and was troubled and said, 'Where have you laid him?' and they said, 'Lord, come and see'. And Jesus wept.


Jason 19:25

Mary made it an altar. She didn't get what she wanted. Martha made it an altercation. Mary made it an altar. She made it an opportunity to just cast her cares on the Lord, to say to him, 'Lord, I don't know. I don't know what you're doing. But here's my life. Here's our family'. I'd imagine that both of them were really freaked. Maybe he was the money maker, or maybe he owned the property. Who knows what? I mean maybe they just aren't honestly, it wasn't about financial things or security or safety. Maybe they just missed their brother. But both of them had this gripping pressing need. And they brought it to Jesus. And remember, Jesus loved them both. Jesus was ready to work with him.


Jason 20:18

There's a third group of people here in this story, the mini people, many people, and the many people were there, too. And if you read this story in verse 36, it says, the Jews were saying, see how He loved them, and see how He loved him, Lazarus. But some of them said, 'Could this man, Jesus, who opened the eyes of the man who was blind, not have also kept this man from dying'? In John chapter 11, it says, Therefore, many of the Jews who came to Mary and saw that He what He had done and believed in Him. But some of them went to the Pharisees, and told them the things which Jesus had done about the, the miracle resurrection of Lazarus. So we've got two groups there, we've got a group of people who see this miracle; Lazarus raised from the dead. And some of them turn their heart to the Lord and say, 'This is obviously the Messiah'. This is obviously a miracle. And in the context of the New Testament, there's there there's a turning point when Lazarus is raised; many people start to believe. But other people didn't. They use that as an opportunity to attack the Lord. So you've got Martha. She made it an altercation. Jesus worked through that. You've got Mary. She made it an altar. And then you've got other people who made it an opportunity to attack the Lord. They took it as a chance to say this isn't? This isn't right, this isn't. This can't be the Messiah. Jesus loves those people, too. He loves this group. Sorry, this is so weird that you? Is it weird that I made a whole group the bad people? PK is that wrong? I mean, Jesus loves the people who were attacking, who were criticizing, who were saying this can't be the Messiah.


Jason 22:45

How many of you feel like some today we're getting more and more of the attack? Does that seem true to you? The the evangelical or those types of phrases are now a bad phrase culturally, maybe. You hear like that sentiment? It's an angle of attack. I like Elon Musk a lot. I always watch his stuff. He sold all his houses. He's like the almost the richest guy in the world. Or maybe he is I don't know. He sold all his houses. And I saw this interview with him. And he, he, they said, Why did you sell all your houses? And he said, Well, he said, I didn't really need them. And it was just a vector of attack for my enemies. And I was like, Whoa! That's an interesting phrase: a vector of attack is an angle. Now I'm not equating Elon Musk to Messiah in any way, shape, or form. He's not like, I'm not, don't worry. But I'm not worshipping Elon Musk or anything like that. But the phrase was interesting to me, a vector of attack, vector of attack. And I feel like a lot of times when we're trying to live our life, there's a lot of opportunity for people to take a vector of attack on us.


Jason 24:05

So we had the altercation. We have the altar. And we have the angles of attack. So the real question is, what was the story they were a part of? What was happening in their life and what's more importantly, in a way happening in our life right now today in culture? What about our situations where we feel like maybe Jesus let us down?


Jason 24:32

I think there's three common stories that are playing out in the world right now, like big picture stories. There's a really, really common story right now. That's what you might call a utopian future story. A perfect future story. I really like this guy named Peter Diamandis. He did this thing called the XPrize where you you'll know about this stuff. Rocket people know this stuff. Peter Diamandis did this thing called the XPrize. And this guy, Burt Rutan, it was a big huge prize, $10 million, to if you could rock a rocket, launch a rocket into space, like private, not NASA. And this dude, Burt Rutan did it. And so Peter Diamandis became famous from that. And I like his podcasts and stuff. And he wrote this book called abundance, and he's not a believer. And when you listen to his podcast long enough, you really get the understanding.


Jason 25:29

He operates with a utopian future mindset. The world is all getting better towards a glorious amazement. It's common story. He really believes that. And there are a lot of people who do, like to world's getting better all the time. But that one's not as popular. The other story that's even more popular is the dystopian future. Right? You got the utopian, and then you got the dystopian which means like, basically, the Walking Dead zombie apocalypse. Right. Be honest. How many of you have seen the walking dead? I watched it. No one? No one's willing to say they watched The Walking Dead. Okay, all right. Okay. Yeah. So you two, let's talk. Okay, if you're not familiar, because clearly no one should watch that show. But it's, it's about a dystopian future in which the zombies take over.


Jason 26:27

And, you know, a lot of us can have that dystopian future mindset. It's all going down man. Coronavirus, that's just the start of something really, really even worse, and that's going to be a precursor to even worse. And the only people making any money you'll be the pharmaceutical reps. Just totally joking. I had to go there. Dystopian future. And even, you know, even Christians can get dystopian future utopian future mindsets. Well, the last days. That means it's all going down. Did you know I am pretty sure about this. Theologians in the room, check me on this. That is not a biblical narrative, utopian future or dystopian future.


Jason 27:23

You know what the biblical narrative is? A redemption story. We're in the middle of a redemption story. Mary and Martha and the many, were in the middle of a redemption story. That's the story we're a part of as believers. There can be plenty of people who believe in dystopian future and it's sometimes fun to watch, you know, the movies or whatever, because it's just whatever, it's really popular. You know, like, this is a phrase ... anybody see Pirates of the Caribbean? Of course, we've seen that one. Come on. What's the old the Barbossa guy says, 'You better start believing in ghost stories. Cuz you're in one'. That that phrase. People can believe in dystopian; other people, less common, can believe in utopian. I'm pretty sure as believers, we're called to be redeemed by Redeemer who sets us on a track to go forth and be a part of a redemption story in other people's lives.


Jason 28:32

Oh, applause Yes.


Jason 28:38

And I know it's it's easy to think about the end times. And the you know, in that there's reasons to think these things. Matthew 24. I'll just read a verse and maybe some of you are thinking about it as you ponder, dystopian, utopian, redemption. Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives and the disciples came to him privately, and said, 'Tell us, when will this happen? And what will the signs of your coming be at the end of the age? So the end of the world, what's what's going to happen'? And Jesus answered, 'Watch out that no one deceives you for many will come in my name, claiming I'm the Messiah, and deceive many. You'll hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you're not alarmed. Such things must happen. But the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom. There'll be famines and earthquakes, various places. All these things are the beginning of birth pains. And then it gets worse, and they will hand you over to be persecuted and put to death. You'll be hated by all nations because of me. At that time, many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other. The believers will hate each other and turn away from the faith. Many false prophets will appear and deceive many people, because of the increase of witness, the love of most will grow cold. But the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come'. I know that when we read that, it's so dark. So like, Oh, my gosh, let's not have any of that happen. It's easy to get fixated on that. It's easy for our minds to go to that. I think it's the dystopian futures are popular, because that's where our fears kind of go; our fears kind of take us to 'I better buy a shotgun'. And this is all going south and I need to move Ellensburg to be safer. I mean, these are all things we thought, right. Our minds go there. But that is not the emphasis of what Jesus was talking about. Jesus was in the middle of a redemption story with the disciples. And he was talking about how dark it's going to get before he comes back. Redemption. Redemption. You guys with me?


Jason 31:17

Man, I'm getting through my pages of notes. You know, the oldest book in the Bible they say? Job. Yeah, we know that right? Job 19:25. For I know, the oldest book in the Bible, okay, think about it: before any of the stuff with Moses and Abraham, like the guy who wrote the oldest book, Job wrote this. 'I know that my Redeemer lives, and he shall stand at last on the earth'. Can I get an amen? Amen. We go through bad stuff. We can make it an altercation. And Jesus is okay with that. He works through that with us. We can make it an altar. And he's right there, comforting our hearts. The Holy Spirit is the comforter. He's come. He's working in our hearts to comfort us. And we can make it an attack vector if we want. And clearly, Jesus said at the end of time, there will be people who see stuff. Maybe it's the hate, they're seeing, maybe it's the love of many people growing cold they're seeing maybe they just are tired of it all. They don't believe and they walk away. And they use even the good stuff that believers do it Christ is doing on the earth as a reason to attack. We've got the opportunity this morning to whatever is happening in our life, bring it to the Lord. Amen.


Jason 33:04

I'm gonna now read something. And if you're over 60, please don't sing. In the next two minutes, promise me, okay, you you just just don't sing. Because young people won't get it and they won't really feel the same feelings and it just won't be good. So but let me let me read the story. There's a guy named Alfred Ackley. He wrote one of the most popular songs of the last century. Whatever century that was, that the 20th century? I can't remember. Wwhatever it is. The last it's not the 19th century. Wait last century was a 20th century? Okay. Here, he was a musician. He was a pastor. And he was doing evening services and a young Jewish man came into the services. And they were evangelistic meetings. It was with a guy named Billy Sunday and they were preaching. And they talked to the young Jewish guy and he said, Why would I worship a dead Jew? The Jewish guy said Why would I worship a dead Jew? And it really bothered them; really bothered Alfred Ackley. He was the musician, musical leader. And it just stayed on his mind. And then on Easter Sunday morning, he was supposed to speak. And when he was driving to church, he heard on the radio, a really popular speaker and the radio pastor, preacher guy said, 'Good morning. It's Easter. You know, folks, it really doesn't make any difference to me if Christ is risen or not. As far as I'm concerned, his body could still be dust in some Palestinian tomb. The main thing is His truth goes marching on'. And Alfred was so mad. He was like hitting the radio. No, that's not right! And his anger boiled over that day. And he went home that night and his wife said, 'Why don't you write a song that expresses your feelings?' And he wrote down and he penned these words: 'I serve a risen Savior. He's in the world today. I know that he's living, whatever men may say. I see his hand of mercy. And I hear his voice of cheer. And just the time I need him, He's always near'. Remember, I told you not to sing. But y'all know the song, right? 'He lives. He lives. Christ Jesus lives today. He walks with me and he talks with me. Along life's narrow way. He lives, he lives. I know, he lives, salvation to impart, he asked me how I know, he lives. He lives within my heart'. That was one of those popular songs of the last century. And we probably all know it in our minds. And think about it. It's a personal testimony to the redemptive power of Jesus coming into our life making a difference.


Jason 36:32

For those of us who know him, and have experienced that, there is nothing that can dissuade us. Anybody gonna talk you out of it? Anybody gonna talk you out of it? Doesn't matter. I know, he lives. I personally know he lives because when I was nine, my dad left us, just took off completely, like without goodbye. Disappeared. And for 17 years, we had no idea, literally if he was alive or dead. And as you might guess, that really, really devastated our family. My oldest sister did her thing. My older brother did his thing. My other older brother did his thing. And I won't describe their things. I'll describe my thing. My thing was, I got really bitter. And my dad was a pastor of a Foursquare church. And you know, after a few years, you don't come back from something like that as a kid. You say yourself, I don't want to go to church. What are you kidding me? I don't want to hear anything that he had to say. Are you kidding me? No. But God, but God brought some people into my life, who were amazing. And brought me to Royal Rangers, a ministry of the Assemblies of God, and, and started to just care about me. And I was young enough that my mom could kind of make me go. And that kind of overlapped with them being cool. And it kind of just turned into them having an open door to do one thing. Bring me down to the altar. That's how it worked. Go down there. Tell Jesus how pissed I was. Let him do his thing. And you know, six months later, same thing. And I was still like, nine months later, same thing. year later, same thing. By the time I was in junior high, I was pretty much getting it that Jesus was the answer to the mess.


Jason 39:28

And I'm so grateful that those gracious people Bruce and Shelly Glines kept bringing me down to the altar, telling me about the love of Jesus. Letting me experience it and letting me work through the frustration. And I can stand here to say today and say nothing can separate us from the love of Christ: tribulation, distress, persecution, famine. (Sorry, stuffy, runny nose, gross.) Peril or sword. Romans 8, 'As it's written, for your sake we're killed all day long we're accounted as sheep for the slaughter'. Those first century Christians didn't have an easy. 'Nay in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loves us'. Can I get an amen? 'I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, or powers, nor things present, nor things that come height or depth, no other creature shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord'.


Jason 40:58

I gotta be honest. John, Chapter 11, doesn't really speak to me about Lazarus being raised from the dead. It's part of the story, it happened, I believe it. What speaks to me is there was a Martha, and she was really upset and here comes Jesus, and he helped her through it. And here was a Mary, and she was really broken. And here come Jesus, and he helped her through it. And here were many people and they saw the miracles and some of them believed and he helped them through it. And he loved them the whole time. Whether they did or didn't believe. That's the amazing story that we had to look out today.


Jason 41:44

Okay, how do we apply this? Hardships happen to each of us. If we haven't already encountered a hardship, it will. Jesus is in control. Amen. We're in the middle of what kind of story, redemption story. Wait, what kind of story? We're in the middle of a redemption story. And Christ's love for us is unstoppable, unending, unchanging. And really, really honest. I know sometimes we think Jesus loves everybody. Jesus loves the whole world. But does he really love you, Tony? He really does. He really loves you, Jodie, he really loves us, as individuals. And he's gonna come and he's gonna help us through our hardship. Amen. Amen.


Jason 42:52

Why don't you bow your head and prayer with me this morning, I want to just pray for a minute for us. And ask the Lord to work in our hearts. And you might be here this morning and saying, I kind of get the Martha thing. I'm kind of, I'm kind of like that. And I want to encourage you this morning to bring that to the Lord. Some of you might be saying, you know, I have a lot of reasons to attack. Christians, churches, Jesus, I got a lot of vectors of attack. I encourage you this morning. You're not going to find love, like Jesus, anywhere else. Bring that to Him today. Bring Him your attacks. Lay it down at the altar. Ask him to deal with your frustrations with you. See what he does.


Jason 44:07

Lord, we come to you this morning. And we're just so grateful that you gave us amazing stories to look at. And we're so grateful that you love us that you really, really, really love us. And you're here for us today that you are a risen Savior, present in our time of trouble. Lord, we know you're working all things out. And God we ask today that those burdens on our heart, those things that are frustrating us those things that we can't get our mind past, we ask that you'd heal our hearts over those things. Heal our minds, draw us closer to yourself. Make a way where there seems to be no way. And God even in the midst of a hardship, we know you're with us. And we bring to you, our frustrations, and we bring to your desires and our hopes. And we just say, God, God, we need you. We ask it all today in Christ's name. And everyone said, Amen.


Jason 45:33

If you're here this morning and you feel like you need prayer, I'm nominating Alex and PK to pray with you. So if you want to come, just come forward and linger around here. If you want to have somebody pray with you. Would you do that, Alex? And PK, you're cool with that? Yeah.


Jason 45:52

We made it through. Thanks, everybody. Have a great day.


Take A Cake Break with Ginny Buckley

Ginny Buckley lives near Bristol in the UK. There she has organized sewing days, drawing in members of her church and local community to come sew a bag for Sew Powerful. In this episode, Ginny walks us through her planning process and how she arranged the room to ensure safety protocols, provide convenient access to the supplies, while still encouraging sharing and friendship. Ginny also reveals her secret weapon that draws in her bag makers, and she literally shares the recipe for her success.


Yatton, UK, sewing days, sewing for charity, sponge cake recipe, room setup, Sew Powerful purses, straps, webbing, pre-cut purse kits, bags, beginner pattern, intermediate pattern


Host: Jan Cancila
Guest: Ginny Buckley


We are Sew Powerful, How a Global Community of Seamstresses Is Changing Zambia One Girl at A Time, 2nd edition. By Jason G. Miles and Cinnamon, © 2016 & 2020 Jason G. Miles and Cinnamon, all rights reserved.


Jan Cancila, Host 00:04

Welcome to the Sew Powerful podcast. This is your host, Jan Cancila. You know the sound of my sewing machine means it's time for another episode. So, let's get started.


Jan 00:20

Hello podcast listeners. We are going to be speaking today with Ginny Buckley, and Ginny is speaking to us from the UK. And she has had a couple of very successful Sewing Days that she's organized with the ladies at her church. And I wanted to explore this more; I wanted to learn how she came up with the idea, what she did to plan for it, what the days were like, what the results were like. We're going to really get into this. So, you will be wanting to conduct your own Sewing Days after you hear what Ginny did. So hello, Ginny, how are you today?


Ginny Buckley, Guest 01:01

Hello, Jan. I'm very well today. Thank you. It's a lovely day here in the UK.


Jan 01:05

And where are you in the UK? Help us orient.


Ginny 01:09

I'm in the southwest of the UK, in a small town called Yatton, which is just south of Bristol. We're actually in North Somerset, which is, as I say, down towards the Southwest.


Jan 01:21

Very nice. And your weather now?


Ginny 01:24

The weather is lovely. We've had a spell of sort of coolish drizzly sort of weather. But today it's pulled it socks up and it's quite warm again, approaching probably 28 degrees, which for us is very warm.


Jan 01:36

And we're recording this in mid-August so this is summertime temperatures.


Ginny 01:41



Jan 01:42

Let me start off and just ask you, what is the COVID situation where you are right now?


Ginny 01:50

We're getting to the stage where restrictions have been lifted. But people are still advised to be sensible so the wearing of face masks is purely optional. We're very fortunate in that the majority of the population have been vaccinated at least once. I mean, even my daughter who is 20 has had two vaccinations. They're just starting to approach 16-17 year olds now. So, they've really zipped through the population.


Jan 02:20

Mm hmm. And when does school typically start there?


Ginny 02:25

Round about the fifth of September.


Jan 02:27

Mm hmm. And so is there any concern now with back to school and COVID and the children?


Ginny 02:33

I think there is. Yes, I think there is. And towards the end of term, which was the end of July, children were being told all the time, they have to go into isolation for 10 days because somebody that they knew or in their, one of their classmates have tested positive. So, it's all, it's all very tricky, and people aren't really sure what's going to happen.


Jan 02:52

Sure. This has got to be so challenging for children and teachers. And well, we know it's challenging just for everybody. Okay, well, on to happier subjects. You posted in Facebook some photos of, I believe it was two different Sewing Days you've held so far. Is that right?


Ginny 03:13

That's right. Yes. Two this year.


Jan 03:15

Two this year. And are there any more planned?


Ginny 03:19

Yes, we have another two: one next Wednesday, which is the 18th of August, and one on the 27th of August.


Jan 03:27

Well, I'm a little far but otherwise I would sign up and come. Alright, so let's back up. So, what gave you the idea to have Sewing Days? These were conducted at your church. Is that correct?


Ginny 03:38

That's right. Yes.


Jan 03:39

Okay. So what was the original idea?


Ginny 03:42

I felt really passionately about Sew Powerful. When I first discovered it, it spoke to me so strongly that I just wanted to share that with other people. I knew that I had church friends who sewed, I knew that I had church friends that would be equally interested or equally passionate about Sew Powerful, and I just wanted to just encourage them and just make as many bags as I could and send off as many as I could.


Jan 04:11

Okay, and so you decided that you would conduct four Sewing Days. And did you have to go to the people at church to book the room, or how did all that work?


Ginny 04:24

Well, fortunately, at our church we were without a booking secretary at the time. So, my husband, Martin, was looking after the bookings. So, it was very easy. I got my calendar down off the wall and said to Martin, Can I have these days? And that was it. I tried to book days that were a different day of the week each time, just in case people who worked part time, you know, so it wasn't the same day. They wouldn't exclude people. I also have them about 10 days apart, so that it would give me a break in between times as well because there's a bit of work involved.


Jan 04:59

Okay, and so because you're right there at home with the person who's booking everything, that went smoothly. And so what kind of items were on your checklist to prepare for these Sewing Days?


Ginny 05:14

I printed off about six of the beginner patterns and the same of the intermediate pattern, because I knew I had some friends that preferred one, some that preferred the other. And then I just started cutting out and making kits. So, I cut out fabric in beginner patterns and intermediate patterns, put each kit into a plastic bag (one of the ones with the Ziploc on the top), put a little sticker on saying what it was, just amassed as many as I could in the time that I had.


Jan 05:46

Mm hmm. And so, you had kits. And so how did you advertise? You know, you've done all this prep work, but how did you advertise it so that people in the church, and was it open to people in the community?


Ginny 05:59

Yes it was.


Jan 06:00

Or did you restrict it to your church?


Ginny 06:02

No, no. To start off with, we have a church bulletin or a newsletter, which goes out every month. I advertised it in there. We also have a church Facebook page. So, it went on that. It went on my own personal Facebook page, because I knew there would be some of my friends who would be interested. And we're belong to a Methodist Church, and the group of Methodist churches in the local area all work together. And they have a Facebook page as well. So, it also went on there. And on the Sew Powerful page, of course.


Jan 06:32

Yeah. Well, and that's how I knew about it. So that sounds really extensive. And so, what was the result of the advertising? Did you ask people to register or just show up, or what was the plan?


Ginny 06:46

I asked them to book in so that I had an idea of how many tables I needed to put out really, and how many kits I needed to prepare and how many irons we would need, to try and keep people distanced in the room. So, we weren't all waiting for the same one as well.


Jan 07:01

And then you had a little incentive besides the fun of, of making purses and the companionship. What was the other added incentive to come to the Sewing Day?


Ginny 07:13

Yes, some people say bribery, but I like your word incentive. I always offer cake; I always offer homemade cake to people as well. So, we have to have that. We have a cake break at about half past 11.


Jan 07:24

A cake break. And you know, one of our Regional Coordinators in the United States (I'll just give her a shout out), Chris Harwood, had a day, a Sewing Day, that she called, I think she called it Purses and Pies.


Ginny 07:38

She did, I remember.


Jan 07:39

And the local bakery there provided pies to the people who made purses. Apparently, offering sweets is a good idea, because what was the turnout? Let's talk about the first event. What was your turnout?


Ginny 07:53

We had about seven people on the first week. But there was quite a surprising visitor to our first, our first week because a lady had seen the Sewing Day advertised on the Sew Powerful page. And she lived 81 miles away from me, didn't know anyone in her area that sewed. She didn't know anyone that was connected to Sew Powerful. And she thought, I fancy that, my son lives in Bristol. So she tied it in with a visit to her son. And she came to join us for our Sewing Day, which was fantastic.


Jan 08:29

Wow. Well, let's give her a shout out. Do you remember her name?


Jan 08:32

Sue Harper.


Jan 08:33

Sue Harper. Well, thank you for making the drive. So, tell us about that first day. So, you put tables out. One table for each person?


Ginny 08:44

More or less, yes. We've got a number of six-foot-long tables at church, which we use for catering and things like that. So, we're very fortunate. The hall we use is a good size, and it's got a kitchen connected to it with a hatch. So, you know, there was always access to tea and coffee, things like that. I put out three of these six-foot tables down each side of the room. And then I put two tables at the far end, which was sort of diagonally, so they were connecting. So, we didn't just have two lines that didn't meet. We had a lot of extension cables so that people could, you know, plug in their machines, obviously. I put an ironing station, I had four, one in each corner of the room


Jan 09:24

Oh, good idea.


Ginny 09:24

So people didn't have far to walk and they didn't, not falling over each other or walking too closely to each other. I also put down the center of the room, I had another couple of six-foot tables. And on those I had the patterns and the kits. I had a box of scraps of fabric in case people wanted to do like appliqué or something like that. I had webbing for straps. I had fabric in case people wanted to cut their own bags out and I had various weights of interfacing as well. Oh, and my box full of accessories and bits and pieces like ribbons and buttons and that sort of stuff.


Jan 10:02

This sounds like the setup took into account safety protocols for social distancing. But then you made it friendly and convenient and appealing and easy to get to. Ginny, the layout sounds brilliant.


Ginny 10:20

That's what we tried to do. We just tried to make it as friendly, as you say, as friendly but as safe as we could.


Jan 10:26

Mm hmm. That sounds really smart. And so, you had 7 people come that first day, and they use your kits. Did anybody choose to cut their own? Do you remember?


Ginny 10:37

Yes, they did actually. There's another Sew Powerful lady who lives very close by, a lady called Jean Harrison, who we'd met recently


Ginny 10:45

in Sew Powerful. As an Admin, I admitted her to the Sew Powerful group, and recognized that she lived close-by, so I got in touch with her. She came and she was an absolute whiz. And she made about four bags of her own that she had brought, you know, with her, ready cut.


Jan 10:45



Jan 11:00

And I've seen photos of the purses that she's made individually before. So hello, Jean. Thank you. Okay. All right. So, she had brought some. Had anybody else made any before the Sewing Day, that they brought?


Ginny 11:13

Yes, actually, I've had Sewing Days previously, and recruited two what I call my super sewers. And so, they both were


Jan 11:22

Okay, who were they? Give us their names.


Ginny 11:24

Barbara Hook and Pam Blackwell.


Jan 11:28

Okay, Barbara and Pam. Okay, super sewers.


Ginny 11:31

They are; they've really got the bug. And they'll do things like they'll turn up and say, Hey, you are Ginny, here's another 17 bags for you.


Jan 11:39



Ginny 11:40

I've got them in a wardrobe and they're all going to be sent off to Sandy Simm before too long.


Jan 11:45

Mm hmm. Mm hmm.


Ginny 11:45

So, they keep bringing me bags throughout the year.


Jan 11:51

And I'll just ask this, do most of the folks that are making these bags for you, are they making their own strap or do they like webbing or is it a mix?


Ginny 12:03

It's a bit of a mix. Mainly webbing, but one or two make their own straps.


Jan 12:07

Okay. All right. I think I must be the laziest sewer in the world. I've never made a strap; well I think I made one strap. And then I said,


Ginny 12:15

Me too.


Jan 12:15

Oh, no, webbing. Webbing all the way.


Ginny 12:20

I did one that was a combination of webbing and fabric, because I didn't have quite enough fabric. So I just turned the edges under and put webbing over the top. And that looks quite nice.


Jan 12:28

That's great. Okay, so that was session number one. So, for the second Sewing Day, did you set it up the same way again?


Ginny 12:37

Yes, I did. We had seven people for the second, but some of the same people came, but we had some different people as well, who were unable to come to the first one.


Jan 12:46

Okay. All right. You have two more set up, and therefore two more dates in August. And if you would, give us those dates again.


Ginny 12:55

They are the 18th of August, which is next Wednesday, and the 27th of August.


Jan 13:02

Okay. And this podcast will come out on the 19th of August. So there'll only be one more chance after you listen to the podcast. And if somebody wants to participate in your Sewing Day, what should they do?


Ginny 13:16

Just contact me, send me a message or a message on Facebook.


Jan 13:21



Ginny 13:22

And they'd be very, very welcome. It would be lovely to see them.


Jan 13:24

Okay. All right. And so, they could just send a private message on Facebook to Ginny Buckley, right? That's, that's how your name shows on Facebook?


Ginny 13:33

Yes, that's right.


Jan 13:33

Ginny Buckley. Okay. Okay, so contact Ginny if you want to participate in one of her Sewing Days. And she wants to know in advance so that she can have the proper setup. And everybody brings their own sewing machine and tools?


Ginny 13:49

Own sewing machine and tools, yes.


Jan 13:51



Ginny 13:52

There's always a shout up: I haven't got my own picker, or has anybody got a tape measure? Oh, I forgotten those, or Oh, my mom's borrowed this or not put it back in the box.


Jan 14:02

That sounds pretty normal. Okay, so then the incentive, or the bribe, that you talked about was the homemade cake. And you personally make the cake. Is that right?


Ginny 14:15

I did. Yes, I did.


Jan 14:16

Okay, and promises to do the same for the upcoming events?


Ginny 14:21

Oh, yes.


Jan 14:21

Oh, yes. Okay. And is it the same cake every time?


Ginny 14:25

It's usually a variation on the theme. We had a plain sponge the first time and a chocolate sponge the second time because I had a young sewer who I know is particularly fond of chocolate cake. So, and it had just been her birthday, so I did it for her.


Jan 14:38

Oh, nice. Okay, so I know on the Facebook group, there was a clamoring for your recipe and are you willing to share the sponge cake recipe with us?


Ginny 14:50

Yes I am. It's very easy. I use old-fashioned Imperial scales, weights on one side and the pan on the other. But instead of using weights, I put three eggs onto the side where the weights would go. And so then I do equal weights of self-raising flour, margarine and castor sugar, which I think you call either super fine sugar or baker's sugar.


Jan 15:17

Right, right. super fine. Uh huh. Yeah.


Ginny 15:20

Then you cream the margarine and the sugar together till it's all soft and fluffy. Beat the eggs or whisk them, the eggs. And then gradually add the eggs in and a little bit of flour together till it's all mixed in. Mix it til your arm feels as if it's going to fall off and then mix it again so it's nice airy. Divide it into two cake tins or cake pans and cook it in the oven at 160 at the highest, maybe between 150 and 160 for round about 30 minutes. Maybe you have a look at it after 25 just to see. That's it. Oh, I usually put butter icing in the middle, which again is just butter and icing sugar, powder sugar, in the middle. And that's it. Sometimes it has melted chocolate on the top if I'm feeling fancy.


Jan 16:20

That sounds delicious. And I don't have one of those scales, but probably somebody does, so


Ginny 16:27

You could do it if you had digital scales, you could weigh the eggs. See what they weigh and do it that way.


Jan 16:33

Oh, good idea. Oh, very, very clever. Very clever. So, it's three eggs, margarine, [self-raising] flour, sugar, right?


Ginny 16:43

That's it.


Jan 16:43

That's it. Wow. Very good. And then beat it until it feels like you're about to lose your arm and then keep going.


Ginny 16:51

Yeah, that's right. Or use an electric beater or use an electric mixer. That's a bit easier as well.


Jan 16:57

Yeah, well, even one of those hand, hand mixers, you can get pretty tired doing that. So alright, and so now we know the secret to the cake and the incentive. We know that she's had cake. You had lemon at the first one?


Ginny 17:11

It was just a plain, it was just a plain vanilla sponge the first time.


Jan 17:14

Oh, vanilla. Okay, chocolate. Can you give us a hint what you have planned?


Ginny 17:18

Well, I'm not entirely sure. It might be, oh, I'm not sure.


Jan 17:21

I've put you on the spot.


Ginny 17:24

It might be another plain one, another vanilla one, I think, I'm not really sure.


Ginny 17:27

Okay. All right. Well,


Ginny 17:28

I'll look for inspiration on Tuesday. Lemon perhaps. We'll say lemon, actually, it might be lemon. Yeah.


Jan 17:34

Lemon, lemon. Okay, lemon this coming week, and then TBD for the last week, right? All right. Very good. All right. So what would you say to someone who had thought about doing a Sewing Day, but they thought, Well, you know, maybe this is too hard, or I don't know anybody, Or, you know, I don't really know how to get started. How would you encourage them?


Ginny 17:58

I would say if you're a member of Facebook, just put a little advert out there and say this is what I'm thinking of doing, would anybody be interested? And I think you might be surprised by people saying, Oh, that sounds a good idea. Oh, yes, I like the sound of that. Especially if you say, I've made a few of these bags myself. It's not hard. I'll help you every step of the way if you need me to. You can always promise cake and that encourages people as well.


Jan 18:25

And did you give them the pattern booklet to take home? Or do you keep those


Ginny 18:30



Jan 18:30

for your Days?


Ginny 18:32

I said they could take them if they wanted to. Hoped that they would take them and be inspired to make more.


Jan 18:37

Sure, right, because then they have the pattern pieces and the instructions right there, and then they can go forward. And then have you offered to collect the bags that people make? And then do you send them to Sandy Simm, as the country purse collector?


Ginny 18:53

Yes. I made sure that all the booklets that I gave out, they have Sandy's address in, but I made sure they have my address in as well. So, people have a choice of either sending them directly or they could bring them to me.


Jan 19:04

Okay. And what about the note card that people put in the purse? Did you do that?


Ginny 19:10

We did last week, actually. One of my friends came with her daughter who was just 11 and she sat and she did lots of sticking and gluing and being creative.


Jan 19:19

Oh, how nice.


Ginny 19:20

She had a good time.


Jan 19:23

Well, I know the girls in Zambia love those note cards, and I'm sure your friend's daughter had a good time making them. And the girls in Zambia will relate to them, I'm sure. Well, Ginny, thank you so much for your time today. It's always a pleasure to talk with you. And I love your Sewing Days. And thank you for sharing your cake recipe. Now, is this a family secret that you've revealed or how did this recipe come about?


Ginny 19:50

It's what my Mum used to do. It's not a secret really. It's the cake my Mum used to make, yes.


Jan 19:55

Oh wow. It sounds lovely and you always show a photo of it when you show the photo of your Sewing Days and all the bags that the ladies are making. So please keep up the good work. It's always fun to talk to you. And I love hearing about how the Sewing Days came about and how you put it all together. So I want you to know how appreciative everyone at Sew Powerful is for everything that you do. And I know the girls in Zambia love getting the bags that people make from your group. So thank you so much.


Ginny 20:28

Oh, thank you, Jan. It was a pleasure to talk to you, as ever.


Jan 20:31

You too. Thank you. We'll talk to you soon. Bye-bye.


Ginny 20:35



Jan 20:37

If what you've heard today inspires you to want to make a difference, I urge you to explore the Sew Powerful website at That's SEW POWERFUL dot ORG. The website has great information about the organization. It's where you can download the free purse patterns or even make a donation. We hope you will join us again next week when we bring you another Sew Powerful story. Thanks for listening. Now, go out and have a Sew Powerful day.


The Voicemail Episode with Many Guests

The voicemail episode is a compilation of voice mail messages left by our Sew Powerful friends. We asked them to finish these phrases and share their thoughts with us via voice mail: The reason I volunteer for Sew Powerful is…What I like best about Sew Powerful is...The best thing that happened to me last week was...I am asking for prayers for.... The result is an uplifting, interesting and fun listen as our volunteers tell us what is important to them. Enjoy.


Sewing for charity, making purses for Sew Powerful, quilting, girls, Zambia, sewing, volunteers, love, prayers, Lusaka, jobs for women, school, importance of education


Host: Jan Cancila
Guests: Leslie, Natalie Wellman, Shirley, Sharon, Chris (from Iowa), Angelia Johnson, Kathryn, Laura, Mary Ann, Jan, Sue, Millie, Linda, Donna Moscinski, Chris McMullen, Chris (from Texas), Jan, Deborah, Jean, Betty Johnson, LaQuita, Sue Banman Sileci, Torey, Julie Winchell


We are Sew Powerful, How a Global Community of Seamstresses Is Changing Zambia One Girl at A Time, 2nd edition. By Jason G. Miles and Cinnamon, © 2016 & 2020 Jason G. Miles and Cinnamon, all rights reserved.


Jan Cancila, Host 00:04

Welcome to the Sew Powerful podcast. This is your host, Jan Cancila. You know the sound of my sewing machine means it's time for another episode. So let's get started.


Jan 00:20

Hi, this week's episode is something different. I hope you think it's fun. I certainly find it uplifting. This past week, I asked you to call a special phone number and leave a message. And I asked you to start out by saying your name and city and then answering one of the following questions: 1) The reason I volunteer for Sew Powerful is or 2) what I like best about Sew Powerful, or 3) the best thing that happened to me last week was or finally 4) I'm asking for prayers for. Some of you chose one of these topics and some of you chose all. I have to say this has been one of the most fun episodes I've ever recorded. And listening to your uplifting messages certainly made my week. I hope you enjoy.


Leslie 01:18

Hi, this is Leslie and the reason I volunteer for Sew Powerful is that it gives me a purpose for the skills that God has given me and because I know it's important to love my neighbor as myself. Love you. Bye.


Natalie Wellman 01:39

Hello, my name is Natalie Wellman. I'm from New Hope, Alabama. And the reason why I like Sew Powerful so much is number one, I love the cause, helping girls stay in school. And number two, I love to sew the purses. They are an outlet for my creativity. God bless you. Thanks. Bye.


Shirley 02:05

Hi, this is Shirley in the Greater Houston area. And I just want to tell you a little bit about what I like about Sew Powerful. I am especially fond of the connections that I'm making. I am connected to the seamstresses and the girls and Zambia. But I'm also connected to women around the world, and some few men, too, around the world, sewing purses. It's just a vital part of what Sew Powerful is: connection. The second part of that is that we are empowering women and empowerment through education is going to change the world. Thanks. Have a great day.


Sharon 02:54

Hi, my name is Sharon. I'm calling from Moline, Illinois. The main reason for volunteering for Sew Powerful is their mission behind the little purse, which includes education, food, water and hygiene, health and good jobs. You may find more information about this all-volunteer ministry at Sew please check it out. Thank you.


Chris 03:23

Hi, I'm Chris from Iowa. The reason I volunteer for Sew Powerful is I have always been drawn toward missions and Sew Powerful is a way for me to use my God-given talents to be hands and feet of Christ by sewing purses, encouraging others to sew purses, praying over each package of purses before I send it on its way and to encourage others in supporting this worthwhile ministry.


Angelia Johnson 03:50

Hi, my name is Angelia Johnson and I'm calling from Vancouver, Washington. And one of the reasons why I wanted to volunteer for Sew Powerful is that it does really impact the girls' lives in Africa. And I think that's a really great thing to do. I also like the fact that it's, you know, an easy thing to do. The purse is nice. And like I said, it really does help girls in need, have a future. And who couldn't and wouldn't want to give them something as simple as a purse to impact their lives dramatically for years to come. Thank you.


Kathryn 04:32

Hello, my name is Kathryn. I live in the United States. I am calling today to ask for prayers for my daughter who is traveling cross country to a new job. Thank you so much. Goodbye.


Laura 04:50

Hi, my name is Laura and I'm calling from Fremont, Nebraska. What I like about Sew Powerful is that they continually find ways to meet the needs of the people in Zambia, first with the sewing Co-Op, which employs local women to provide school uniforms for the students and then was expanded to make the feminine hygiene products, so girls don't miss school when they're on their period. I am fortunate to participate in Sew Powerful's mission by sewing purses and writing notes of encouragement for the girls.


Mary Ann 05:21

Good day my name is Mary Ann, and I'm calling from Wilbraham, Massachusetts. The reasons I volunteer for Sew Powerful are because I have a passion for teenage girls, creativity, and stitching with a mission.


Jan 05:33

Hi, this is Jan from Arkansas. The reason I volunteer for Sew Powerful is because I feel very strongly about their goal of keeping girls in school. I'm a retired teacher so I am all in when it comes to helping children get an education. In the model Sew Powerful has set up, I'm able to use my sewing skills and creativity (and not to mention the pile of fabric I have) to make purses that will enable girls to carry feminine hygiene supplies to school. Now the purse does to things: girls don't miss school due their period and and thereby fall behind. And they feel loved and encouraged because someone cared enough to make them a lovely gift. And also the washable reusable feminine hygiene pads are made by women in Zambia. Sew Powerful employs them to sew the pads. They earn a good living, they learn a marketable skill and have dignity in their work. I think Sew Powerful is a pretty amazing program. And I hope more and more people learn about it. And I hope that more people will support their mission through sewing and through donations.


Sue 06:53

My name is Sue and I'm from Oregon. The reason I volunteer for Sew Powerful is that I love the mission. I love the fact that we can hands-on see these girls receive the supplies they need to stay in school. I also love the fact that we provide their local jobs for the moms. I was fortunate enough to go to Zambia and I know that these moms truly value what we provide for them so that they can provide for their families. So with these two different areas of focus, I really feel that God is using Sew Powerful to change the Ngombe Compound there in Lusaka. And as we expand to Livingston and Chingola I know that it will be the same. And because we can be so hands-on it is very rewarding to see that God uses our efforts to help others. Thanks for this opportunity. Bye.


Millie 07:57

Hi, my name is Millie and I'm in Bristow, Virginia. And I am happy to volunteer for Sew Powerful because I can use my passion for sewing to enable young ladies halfway across the world to stay in school and get a good education.


Linda 08:25

Hi Jan, and all of the Sew Powerful family. My name is Linda Faught and I'm calling from Mesa, Arizona. I started sewing for Sew Powerful in 2018 after I retired, because like a lot of the other ladies, I was looking for a way to sew and be creative with a purpose. Jan introduced me to Sew Powerful, and the day I read about it on the website, I felt like it was exactly what I had been looking for. I love it so much because of the wonderful people who give so much of themselves to make the charity such a success. The Facebook group is filled with the nicest, upbeat and enthusiastic members from all around the world. It's so great to get to know them all. We also have the opportunity to watch videos of the girls in Zambia and a lot of the women that have been hired to make soap and reusable pads. Every video touches my heart so much. The whole experience has really enriched my life. I'd also like to ask for prayers for my sweet sister-in-law who fell and broke her hip and wrist last week. She's in a lot of pain and currently in a rehab after spending a week in the hospital. She doesn't sew purses for Sew Powerful, but she is a member of the Facebook group. And she's a very generous donator so thanks everyone, and goodbye.


Donna Moscinski 09:55

This is Donna Moscinski from Chicago, Illinois. I wanted to share with you and the purse makers and the Sew Powerful supporters the best thing that happened to me last week. I've been making purses since 2016 honoring my life's rhythm along with my commitment to the purse making. Some months I do real well, many months I don't. This summer, I'm moving out of the house I've been in for 35 years. And so my purse making time has taken a big hit. But in getting ready for this move, I took down all the quilts that I've had hanging up and looked at some of my stock and just realize I have way too many things. So I did it post on my blog and connected it to my Facebook page, that if anyone was interested in getting any of my quilts (some are brand new, some are used, some have been hung for years) that all they would have to do is drop me a note, make a donation to Sew Powerful and the quilt would be theirs. Well, I'm thrilled that out of all the quilts I put up, the majority of them have gone and I know that there have been some great donations made to Sew Powerful for this. I'm I'm loving knowing where some of my most precious quilts are going. I feel good that I'm doing something for Sew Powerful even though I'm not actually making purses. However, I have moved all of my fabric, and I think that I will get back to purse making very soon. Blessings to all.


Chris 11:37

My name is Chris McMullen. I'm calling from Blue Springs, Missouri. The reason I volunteer for Sew Powerful is because I taught middle school students for many years and this continues my passion for girls that age and for sewing.


Chris 11:51

Hi, my name is Chris. I'm calling from Tomball, Texas. What I like about Sew Powerful is the spirit of the leadership team and the way they dedicate themselves so much to improving the plight of young girls in Africa. The best thing that happened to me last week was watching the example set by our Olympic athletes, of sacrificing teamwork and the way that I that motivated me to do even more. And I'm asking for prayers for a friend of mine, Shirley, who is suffering from cancer and needs the lifting up of prayers to help her in her recovery. Thank you.


Jan 12:26

Hi, this is Jan and I'm calling from Texas. The reason I volunteer for Sew Powerful is I feel like I can really make a difference. I know that the girls in Zambia need our help to be able to go to school, and the adults need help with employment, and that's something that we can contribute to as well. It's just such a win-win, the dignity of work and the benefit of education.


Deborah 12:53

Hi, my name is Deborah. I'm a Sew Powerful chapter leader for the Lacy~Oly Crafty Sewers in the state of Washington. I volunteer to help ensure school girls and Zambia, Africa stay in school and obtain educational opportunities. And it's amazing that a simple handsewn purse and inspirational note card has such a positive impact on these lovely young ladies. And that is what keeps me involved.


Jean 13:20

I am recording this message on behalf of Jean Rix. Here is her message. Hi, my name is Jean and I live in Kent in the UK. The reason I volunteer for Sew Powerful is that it is a win-win situation. The girls get to go to school and gain confidence to attend all month, and hopefully love the little bags they receive. And I get to enjoy my sewing on my vintage machine. Thank you Jean.


Betty Johnson 13:53

Here's the message I received from Betty Johnson, one of our Regional Coordinators. Betty happens to be traveling out of the country so she sent me a Facebook message and this is what she said. What I like about Sew Powerful is more than just one thing. First, I love the mission of the organization. Next, I like that everyone is involved as a volunteer. And I like that we partner with World Vision to have our purses shipped to Lusaka. Next, I like being part of an organization whose members strive for a common goal together, like oars all rowing in sync in the same direction. I like the professionality of the leadership and the way they include the members on different projects. Thanks Betty.


Laquita 14:43

Hi, this is Laquita Herrin from Kingsland, Georgia, in the USA, the best thing that happened last week was I was able to get in my variety pack of belt webbing from and finished my second purse to be able to send to Sew Powerful. So you're just a blessing, to have this group and to have these women that share their help is a blessing. Thank you.


Sue Banman Sileci 15:13

Hi. This is Sue Banman Sileci calling from Sao Paolo, Brazil. What I like most about Sew Powerful is that we have a bunch of people all working together on one project, doing good work and getting the job done. It's such a great community. Bye Honey.


Torey 15:34

Hi, my name is Torey. I'm calling from San Jose, California. I like so many things about Sew Powerful. First, the leadership of the organization recognizes that we are not the experts. They empower and involve the Zambian leadership to drive decision making and direction for the ministry. Second, they give real jobs to women in the community who then are able to support their families in a dignified manner. And third, they ask all of us to use our God-given gifts and talents to help keep girls in school. And fourth, I get to buy fabric. It's a win-win.


Julie 16:15

Hi, this is Julie Winchell from Arlington, Washington. What I love about Sew Powerful is not only are beautiful purses being created to be filled with supplies to help the girls in Zambia stay in school all month long. But I also love the fact that the women of Zambia are being empowered by the jobs that Sew Powerful offers them so that they can build a better life for themselves and for their family.


Jan 16:43

If what you've heard today inspires you to want to make a difference, I urge you to explore the Sew Powerful website at That's SEWPOWERFUL dot ORG. The website has great information about the organization. It's where you can download the free purse patterns or even make a donation. We hope you will join us again next week when we bring you another Sew Powerful story. Thanks for listening. Now, go out and have a Sew Powerful day.


Make it In The Hoop with Peggy Creighton

Attention all machine embroiderers and friends of embroiderers. In this episode, the creative force behind the free Sew Powerful embroidery designs, Peggy Creighton, walks us through her process, explains ITH, and hints at what will be available in the months ahead. Peggy explains how to use her designs on your embroidery machine. Then she encourages all purse makers to engage with a friend who has an embroidery machine as a way to introduce them to Sew Powerful in a partnership of friendship and creativity.


Sew Powerful, Purse flap, machine embroidery, free embroidery designs, digitizing, embroidery machine, hoop sizes, how to applique, Hatch digitizing software, embroidery thread


Host: Jan Cancila
Guest: Peggy Creighton


Jan Cancila, Host 00:04

Welcome to the Sew Powerful podcast. This is your host, Jan Cancila. You know the sound of my sewing machine means it's time for another episode. So let's get started.


Jan 00:19

Hello podcast listeners. Today we have the pleasure of speaking with Peggy Creighton. And we are going to talk about the special offering that that we're able to enjoy once a month because of the artistry of Peggy Creighton. And we're specifically talking about the embroidered flaps, the special designs that Peggy has developed, that you can add to your purse. But if you don't embroider, don't hang up (or whatever the appropriate term might be) because we want to talk to you about how you can be involved in this as well. So let's let's talk to Peggy and let's find all about this. Hi, Peggy. How are you?


Peggy Creighton, Guest 01:04

Hi Jan. I'm good. How are you?


Jan 01:07

Fine. Oh, I'm I'm so fine. So every month on the first Friday of the month on our website, on the website, there's a new embroidery design to put on your flap for the beginner pattern, right?


Peggy 01:26



Jan 01:27

Yeah. And so how long has this been going on? And what are the plans?


Peggy 01:32

Well, we have plans to offer a new flap each month for 12 months, for a full year. We started in May, with the In The Hoop purse, which came with a flap of its own. And then we offer the First Friday Flap, June, and July. And we now have August coming out and we'll continue through next May, for a total of 12 flaps.


Jan 01:57

Wow. That's that's amazing. And I understand that there's more than one size that you offer, depending on the hoops that you have available on your embroidery machine that you have. What what are the sizes?


Peggy 02:11

So I didn't want anyone to be left out. And we have from a 4x4 hoop, which is just simply the design that's centered on the flap, up to an 8x12 hoop which includes the entire flap with a quilted background. And then an in-between size which is a 6x10 which is almost a complete flap as well, with the quilted background.


Jan 02:35

Okay, let's let's break these down. So, when you talk about In The Hoop flap or In The Hoop embroidery, let's just define that term in general, what is In The Hoop, and sometimes it's abbreviated as ITH.


Peggy 02:50



Jan 02:51

Okay, what is ITH?


Peggy 02:53

So, ITH stands for In The Hoop. And when you complete a design in the hoop, it's the whole design. For example, a lot of people enjoy making the little In The Hoop purses of one sort or another because you can completely stitch the zipper and the front and the back and so on, have a little purse, all done In The Hoop. Well, this is an In The Hoop flap that we're offering. So, what you're going to get with the 8x12 size is the complete flap: the front, the lining, the quilted background and the embroidery design. Now obviously with some of the smaller hoops, you can't complete an entire flap because the flap is larger than the hoop itself. But you can complete most of the flap, and with the 6x10 you can get the quilted background and the embroidery design. And then with the 4x4, you won't get the quilted background but you will get the embroidery design that that looks like the other two.


Jan 03:54

Well, so the steps that we follow when we do the In The Hoop part is, I hoop some stabilizer


Peggy 04:04



Jan 04:05

and then I, then there's a stitch-out for the outline of the purse so I know where to lay my fabric.


Peggy 04:12



Jan 04:13

You take us through the steps; you're better at this than I am.


Peggy 04:17

Okay, so with the largest hoop size, the 8x12, you will have an outline of the flap itself to show you where to lay your fabric. You're going to put down a piece of quilt batting and then you'll lay your fabric on top of that; it's called floating. And so, you can use some spray adhesive if you, if you want to keep them together and lay that on top of your hooped embroidery stabilizer. And then you're going to stitch the quilted background. And then you're going to stitch the embroidery design that's centered on the flap. And then you're going to stitch the lining that goes on the back of the flap so that when you take it all out of the hoop, you just trim the seam allowance and turn it, and your flap is complete.


Jan 05:04

When we put the lining on, we're putting it right sides together, just like when you're sewing. And it's the same as the step that you would do on your sewing machine, but the embroidery machine stitches out the seam for the flap. And what I love about it is the precision of the stitching because sometimes mine get a little crooked or a little wonky, or the corners aren't really nicely rounded. But every single time when I use my embroidery machine, it's following the program and it always looks perfect. So, I love that.


Peggy 05:43

I love that too. That's my favorite thing; saves me every time.


Jan 05:50

Yeah, me too. And and I, I made the In The Hoop version and then I used the 6x10, which doesn't do it. I had to take it to my sewing machine to apply the lining and when I turned it, it was a little wavy on the side. I had to retrieve my seam ripper and then redo that. But yeah, okay, well, that's great. And, you know, what I love about you offering all three of these designs is, even if I have the largest hoop, I could choose to do just the cute design, the 4x4, either on the front of the flap or on the back or on the pocket on the inside. Or honestly, not even on a purse, somewhere else. So, I mean, they're, they're just so darling. So, let's talk about the ones that you did. What was the first one that we did in May?


Peggy 06:48

May was the In The Hoop purse.


Jan 06:50

Right, Okay.


Peggy 06:51

And then June was an applique flower.


Jan 06:54

Right? And you know, what I loved about the stippling, which is the background design, is that it looks like a little set of leaves. And it was, it's so precious. And it it looks just like that on the 6x10 also. Okay, so then we go to the next month, which was June, which, how would you describe June?


Peggy 07:19

I called it Daisies, but you can call it whatever you want. I I just like the flowers and the little bee and the kind of daisy quilted background.


Jan 07:28

Right, yeah. And so it has the petals for the daisies on there. And then of course, for the 4x4 or just, you know, to do it, just to do the daisies without the stippling is just so charming. Okay, now let's move to July. And what did we have for July?


Peggy 07:49

So July, it's a dragonfly. And it has sort of an ethereal look, you know, because their wings are almost translucent. And so, the stitching was designed to have that almost translucent look. So, it's really pretty when you pick a dark fabric or a darker fabric so that the wings can show up there.


Jan 08:09



Peggy 08:09

It has a nice stipple background.


Jan 08:12

Right and, and again, the 4x4 was was just so cute to do the dragonfly. So we are, this podcast will drop the day before your design will drop. But let's give a little hint about what they're going to be seeing in August, for the August First Friday Flap. What will they get?


Peggy 08:36

So it's a pieced flap. And you're going to be quilting both parts of the pieced flap with two different quilting designs, just a crosshatch and then an elephant outline. And the elephant outline is behind the African continent. And there's a star where Zambia is, with a little pink heart (or whatever color you want it to be), a heart outline around it.


Jan 09:04

Well, this was a little bit more complex than the other ones because of the piecing. But again, if you were sewing it on your sewing machine, you would put right sides together and so what happens on this one is you get the crosshatch on the top half of your flap. Then you put right sides together with the bottom half and it stitches the two pieces together. Then you, then you open it up and flattened out so that you have your top piece and your bottom piece, and it does a top stitching horizontally right across there to secure it. And then it starts doing the stippling on the bottom half. And wow, was I surprised to see that it started stitching out the outline of elephants and I mean, Wow, that is just beautiful and amazing. And then I got to do an applique for the outline for the continent of Africa. So, I just thought that was such a beautiful, beautiful design. Now, for the month of September, can you give us a sneak peek about what you have in mind for September?


Peggy 10:19

Um, yes, it's a Zambian girl with a fancy headdress. And so, you'll be stitching the different parts of the headdress to look like different fabrics, but it's actually stitching that takes on the appearance of different types of fabrics, several different stitches in the headdress. It's a lot of fun.


Jan 10:39

Wow, that one sounds beautiful. I can hardly wait to see that one. So, Peggy, what would you say to somebody who, who says, Well, this all sounds great, but I don't have an embroidery machine.


Peggy 10:55

Well, not that many people have an embroidery machine. We're just encouraging everyone who sews, those who embroider and those who don't, to get involved. But suppose you don't have an embroidery machine but you have a friend who does, maybe the two of you could partner up and one could do the designs for the flaps and you could do the purse. The two of you could make a purse together. I actually made a purse that way with a friend of mine who has a great hoop bigger than mine, and she could do the whole hoop in her, she can do the whole flap in her hoop. And she did some of those for me, and and we made a purse together. So, it's a lot of fun. It'd be a great activity to do at your home, or maybe at your church or one of the chapter meetings could be something like that. It'd be a great thing to do.


Jan 11:45

Well, and you know, on Facebook, I belong to some embroidery groups, and they have 40, 50, 60,000 Facebook members. And I started looking at them thinking, well, they could be making purses, or if, even if they didn't want to make the whole purse, like you said, they could make the flap and then partner with somebody who would just take it from there, and even if they only do the small design, or even if they choose to do the entire flap in the hoop. What a great partnership and what a great way to get more people involved.


Peggy 12:24

Absolutely. I mean, it would be a great thing to share and draw more people in. And for those of you who are going to be working some of the shows, the flaps that I've made and taken to the shows always go very quickly. There's another idea.


Jan 12:40

Yeah, absolutely. Well, so maybe if you don't embroider, or if you do and you've never tried this, what Peggy does is take a design, and she takes it from one format into embroidery format, which is called digitizing, and it is, believe me, it is not an easy process. Peggy, tell us a little bit about when you started digitizing, how you got involved. What made you want to digitize to start with?


Peggy 13:14

My granddaughters. I have three granddaughters who all just love dolls. And the very first thing I did for them once they were born, I wanted to make a soft doll for my twins, twin granddaughters. And I started with that, and I wanted to digitize the face. And so, I like to draw. I'm not much of an artist, but I can sketch out a few things. And that was my first digitizing, was making faces for their little soft dolls. And I actually have a little company that I started years ago, Frog Pond Toys, and began with the little stuffed dolls and then other soft, soft toys and things to go along with them. All different kinds, mermaids, and I don't know, cowgirls and various space aliens, all kinds of things. It was fun. I've been doing it for, golly, I don't know, six, seven years, I think.


Jan 14:10

Wow. And what kind of software do you use? Because this is all done through software, right?


Peggy 14:18



Jan 14:19

So what software do you use?


Peggy 14:21

I use Hatch. It's a professional software by Wilcom, pretty well known in the industry. High learning curve. It's not too difficult to master if it's something you're interested in. But I do recommend that you have some drawing software as well. You need to make vector drawings that you can digitize. So, all of my drawing is done digital. I make vector drawings on my computer in my drawing software and then I use those drawings that I've made to digitize the stitches that I stitch out in each design.


Jan 14:59

I'm curious: do you use


Peggy 15:05

Touchscreen, a pen.


Jan 15:06

A pen? Well, I mean, yeah. Do you use a pen? Or do you just do it with keystrokes? Or how do you, how do you draw these?


Peggy 15:14

I have a touchscreen, I also have a touchpad. And I do have a pen. So, I use all three tools, depending on what I'm drawing, how detailed it is, how small or large it is, those sorts of things.


Jan 15:27

And then, like, if you're doing a face, you get one eye the way you like it, you can copy and paste the other one. Is that right?


Peggy 15:34

Right. You can mirror it to the opposite side.


Jan 15:37

Mm hmm. Oh, that's cool. And how did you learn this? Were there classes or videos or you just powered through it? What what happened there?


Peggy 15:51

I self taught. I learned to sew actually self-taught and embroider self-taught. And I just taught myself the software. I was highly motivated, with my granddaughters. So, I mostly just got on some different groups. But I, like I said I could already draw, and I'd been doing the digital drawing for some time, so just kind of transferred that skill then digitizing.


Jan 16:18

Okay. All right. Well, you know, I, I love to do embroidery and I've tried to digitize before, without without much success. And I had, I had a piece of software that would take a drawing and it would sort of auto-digitize it. But the results weren't very good at all. I mean, you know, it really, it really takes an eye and it really takes patience to be able to do this.


Peggy 16:45

I pretty much don't use auto-digitizing for anything.


Jan 16:50



Peggy 16:50

I draw everything from scratch. And I, you basically can put your drawing into your software, but then I completely draw over it with the stitches. Every single stitch is digitized.


Jan 17:07

And what are some of the different kind of stitches that you you put into a design? What are some of their names?


Peggy 17:14

Well, you know, that's funny, because there really aren't that many different stitches, but it's how you use them


Jan 17:21



Peggy 17:22

you know, to make the different effects. And, and you do have some things within your software that you can do with your stitches, but you just have a basic running stitch that you can use, you know, to outline a design. And then you'll have like a satin stitch that you can make a border around, like an applique or something like that. And most of the designs fit into different categories, like the dragonfly was a fill design. And even though it's sort of a see through, it's kind of a type of fill that you can make, can make it sort of loose and open and sort of see through. And then the applique, of course, is going to be an outline. And because you're going to stitch some fabric down, so you outline around that to stitch your fabric down. And then you're going to repeat that outline in a satin stitch to hold the fabric down in the applique. And then whatever, you know, little details you add to the applique are going to be done like in a running stitch or something like that, or a little design. Like on the Zambia outline, I had a star where Zambia is and it's just a fill stitch. And then I had a fancy stitch around it in a heart shape.


Jan 18:40

Well, I want to talk about applique for a moment. And I don't know if this is, has evolved, or maybe it was just the designs that I was buying originally. But it seems like in the olden days (five years ago) that when you were, that when you were doing an applique, they were encouraging you to cut out the exact design and lay it down. But I always had problems with that because if you didn't get it 100% exact, then you had frayed fabric or, you know, around your edge. So


Jan 19:16



Jan 19:17

what, how do you recommend that we do an applique design?


Peggy 19:22

I prefer not to do that. Some people, some designs come that way, with the pre-cut. And those are really designed for someone who has a digital cutting machine, or maybe a Sizzix with a die cut, for example. And that way the cut is perfect. Then when you put that perfectly cut piece of fabric down to stitch it there are not going to be any little frayed edges or anything. But if you're going to trim it yourself, and this is part of the art of digitizing, you can determine within your design whether it's going to use a pre-cut or a trim-in-place. And I always select trim-in-place and that way you stitch down your fabric before you trim. But you do need to have some special scissors to trim very, very close, right on that stitching. So, you need to stitch down tightly and then trim right on it, no edge hanging over or anything like that. The little tweezers can help you pick off any loose threads and things before you do the satin stitch around it.


Jan 20:31

Yeah, I've always had much better luck with the trim-in-place. So, I, the embroidery machine stops, and I take the hoop out, and I take it over to my table very carefully not to apply any kind of different tension to the fabric because then it's not going to line up again. But then I have my curved scissors. And I carefully, carefully, carefully cut around the stitch line. And then I put it back. And then that's where the satin stitch from, finishes off the applique there.


Peggy 21:06



Jan 21:06

And it, yeah, and it gives it a really pretty sheen and a really pretty finish.


Peggy 21:13



Jan 21:13

Okay, so what would you say to somebody who's thinking about maybe getting into embroidery? Would our First Friday Flap designs be a good way to get started, if if you have an embroidery machine or thinking about getting one?


Peggy 21:31

Well, there's a wide range of them. And I would start with one of the easier ones, maybe the applique flower before I tried anything else, or maybe one of the fill designs. But yeah, absolutely that, you know, it's always fun when you see something that you didn't think you could do and and then you're able to do it. So that's the joy of doing machine embroidery. I could never do that myself just freehand, free motion, on my machine, like some people can. But with my embroidery machine, I can make beautiful art, you know, more than I could ever imagine doing free motion on my machine.


Jan 22:12

And you know what I think is so interesting, you have your, the beautiful design that we have. But then just depending on the fabric that you pick for your purse, and the color combinations that you choose for your thread, two different people could have totally different-looking outcomes from the - and beautiful - but from the same starting point, right?


Peggy 22:37

Absolutely. That's the beauty of it. And, you know, all different color schemes can can bring out different effects. I'm working on a bird design right now with two different fabrics. And they're both very different, but it's the same design.


Jan 22:52

Yeah, yeah. Well, and and, you know, I did the dragonfly, and I did it once on a very dark background and I did it once on a very light background. And when I did the lighter background, I needed to change the thread colors of the dragonfly because it wasn't showing up. And so, you know, there's there's some creativity in doing this with a pre-set design, where you, where you have to make all these choices and imagine how it's going to come out, so.


Peggy 23:30

That's true. You have to have an eye for color and and tone and hue and all those things, you know, in picking out what thread you're going to use. And you can be very creative with all your color choices.


Jan 23:45

But you know, what I love about your design is that there's a PDF file that comes with it. And you have the the suggested colors that you used in your original design. So that's a good starting point, depending, and then you may have to adjust it depending on your fabric. And or, you know, not everybody has the, every color


Peggy 24:07



Jan 24:08

that that you might have or, you know, and I have quite a few colors, but I don't have every color. So, I, you know, I'll look at the color chart and I'll say, Okay, what color is closest to this? And sometimes it doesn't make a great deal of difference. But you know, sometimes it does, and you pick colors for shading or to give it a depth perception that that the colors can really make a difference, right?


Peggy 24:38

They really can. And you know one thing that is a problem, and it has been for me, the software that is with my machine, it changes designs. A lot of times it has to do with the memory that's within the machine itself. Sometimes it's the limitations of the software itself, but it'll change the colors that are in the original design. And if I just look at what my machine pulls up, I may be totally off, it may not create the beautiful design I was hoping for if I follow what's on that screen, you know, based on my software. So the color charts are really helpful to help me get back to what the original design looked like and was intended to look like and that sort of thing. So, I try to provide those every time so people can, you know, have a better idea of what they want to see at the end when they stitch it out.


Jan 25:34

And what color thread, what brand of thread do you normally have in your design as the color choices?


Peggy 25:40

I use Floriani,


Jan 25:42

Oh, Floriani, okay.


Peggy 25:43

Floriani thread, but the Floriani is a top-quality thread. I do use some other brands, but most of my digitizing, I specify the Floriani colors. And you can find conversion conversion charts that will show you what Sulky and, you know, other brands match up to those.


Jan 26:03

Right, right, right. Yes, and I use that a lot because my, when I got my embroidery machine, my provider recommended the brand that they carry their store, and their store is 2 miles from my house so I've stuck with that. And that's performed well on my machine. So I do have to use those conversion charts to find something and sometimes it'll do it automatically. And sometimes they'll just be big gaps and then I have to get out my little book with with all the threads in there and and try and make that conversion myself.


Peggy 26:37



Jan 26:38

Yeah. Okay, so let's, let's sort of sum this up. So, if you embroider on the first Friday of every month through May of 2022, we have three free designs for you. And you can use them depending on your hoop size. And if you have the largest hoop size, you can use all three. And if you have the smaller, then then you'll have to choose the one that fits your hoop. And we're doing that through 20- through May of 2022, the first Friday of every month.


Jan 27:13

If you don't have an embroidery machine, I bet you have a friend who does. And we want you to reach out to that friend and talk to them about Sew Powerful and the free design that we offer. And you know, if you're not an embroiderer, to get these designs, I mean, you normally have to pay a pretty penny, especially for an In The Hoop design, and we are offering them for free. And Peggy's work is top notch and she has donated it to Sew Powerful and it's just such a huge blessing to us. And we want to bring more people to the Sew Powerful ministry and if you can help us by encouraging your embroidery friends to come over and take a look. And they will find the these embroidery designs under the Purse Pattern menu options. So, it's Purse Project, and then Purse Patterns is where these are found. And so they will be out there and there's a photo and instructions and a little write-up every month and just have fun with it. We'd love to see the photos of what you do.


Peggy 28:28

And the beautiful flap samples that are there are all stitched by Jan.


Jan 28:33

I might edit that out. I do have to say it's been really fun working with Peggy on this project and, you know, we consult on on colors of fabrics and what's going to look good and I, you know, have to show her a photo and say, Did I, did I do this right? Does this represent your work? And what a blessing Peggy is to Sew Powerful. So, we're we're so glad that she's done this and again, it's just such a spectacular gift, free of charge, right there on our website and they'll be there for a long, long time and we, we'd just love to see what you're doing with it. So, thank you so much for your time today, Peggy. This has been great.


Peggy 29:20

Thank you, Jan. Thanks for all you do.


Jan 29:23

Well, thank you. Well, you know, and I want to talk about one more thing here really quickly. Peggy does the inspirations for all of the note cards, and you can see her artistry in the note cards. And so, take one of those ideas and create a note card to put in the pocket of the purse you make using the embroidered flap.


Peggy 29:47

You know you can stitch on cardstock and so you can stitch the dragonflies on cardstock if you want to.


Jan 29:55

So you could use your embroidery machine and you could do one of the designs. Oh, that would be fun to match up your note card with a design, and then add your text. Oh, what a great idea, Peggy. Thank you. Let's, let's see who does that first. Be sure and post that in the Sew Powerful Purse Project group on Facebook. That would be amazing so.


Peggy 30:18

Or you can take the color chart and you can cut out the outline of Africa and use that as a pattern to put on a note card, too.


Jan 30:27

So many creative ways here. I think we could, we could go on. Do you have any more suggestions here before we wrap up?


Peggy 30:39

Have fun.


Jan 30:39

Have fun that is the key, and and make those purses with love. The girls in Zambia are counting on us. All right. Thank you, Peggy. We'll talk to you soon.


Peggy 30:51

Thank you, Jan. Bye bye.


Jan 30:51

All right, bye bye.


Jan 30:55

If what you've heard today inspires you to want to make a difference, I urge you to explore the Sew Powerful website at That's SEW POWERFUL dot ORG. The website has great information about the organization. It's where you can download the free purse patterns or even make a donation. We hope you will join us again next week when we bring you another Sew Powerful story. Thanks for listening. Now, go out and have a Sew Powerful day.


Zambia at the Olympics with Felix Manyika

As we celebrate the Olympics, meet the Marketing and Communication Officer for the Zambia National Olympic Committee, Felix Munyika. Even with an early defeat in women's futball (soccer), the NOCZ is proud of its team's showing. Zambia sent a delegation of 50 athletes in 5 sports to the Tokyo games. Listen as Felix reveals how the Olympics in Zambia has parallel goals to those of Sew Powerful with a prediction our two organizations could find synergy in the future.


athletes, Zambia, olympic games, sports, national olympic committee, people, country, lusaka, olympics, Tokyo, Olympic flag bearer, hat trick, teqball, olympafrica


Host: Jan Cancila
Guests: Felix Manyika


Jan Cancila, Host 00:04

Welcome to the Sew Powerful podcast. This is your host, Jan Cancila. You know the sound of my sewing machine means it's time for another episode. So, let's get started.


Jan 00:20

Sew Powerful podcast listeners, we are in for a treat. Today I have the honor of speaking with Felix Manyika. And Felix is the Marketing and Communications Officer, now get this, for the Zambia National Olympic Committee. So, I'm very excited for this podcast to be broadcast during the first week of the Olympics, and with our Zambia connections, so please listen, you're going to be amazed at what you hear. Felix. Hello, how are you today?


Felix Manyika, Guest 00:57

Thank you. I'm good. How are you Jan?


Jan 01:00

I'm very well. Thank you so much. Tell our listeners: where are you located? Where are we talking to you from today?


Felix 01:07

All right. Yeah. So, my name like you said, my name is Felix Manyika. I'm the Marketing and Communications Officer for the National Olympic Committee of Zambia. So, the National Olympic Committee of Zambia, headquartered in Lusaka, the capital city of the Republic of Zambia, is an organization that is in charge of the administration of Olympic Commonwealth and Africa Games. Yeah. So we are based in Lusaka, the capital, that's where we do our operations from, but we do have a wide coverage across the country.


Jan 01:40

Oh, excellent. Okay. And so, in Lusaka, right now, what what season is it? What is your weather like today?


Felix Manyika 01:49

Yeah, this time of the year, this is July 23, with temperatures going up to, going as low as 13 degrees. Yes. So, this time of day, it's a bit chilled. And yeah, the weather is good.


Felix 02:05

Okay. And, and of course, those temperatures are in Centigrade, and our listeners in the United States will have to translate that into Fahrenheit. Okay. Very, very good. Yes. Okay. And so, you, you're in Lusaka, but your athletes are in Tokyo as we record this, right? Okay. All right. Can you tell us what is the COVID situation in Zambia right now, how are people doing?


Felix 02:37

Yeah, I think now, as of now the COVID situation in Zambia is improved. Yeah, because a good number of people have started getting their vaccines, their COVID vaccines. Yes, cause we, for the first batch of vaccines that are given, I think about 280,000 people got. So today, they just started the second one with the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. Yes, and the response has been good. People are going out to get the vaccine so that we can forget about the COVID virus. So yeah, I think the situation is good. People are responsive, you know, putting in mind all the COVID-19 prevention protocols and precautions, wherever, whenever they want to go out, you know, you're going to visit other places. Yeah. But for public places, like sports centers, and other sports activities, they're still not open, because of, they want to cushion the number of positive cases that have been recorded daily. So public gatherings and other activities that bring a lot of people together are not being done. We're giving it a ten day period by the President so as to the history is to fewer than. And that's been, you know, the goal and the way foward when it comes to public gatherings and other sports activities in the country.


Jan 04:02

Okay. And Okay, so we've got that that background, but you're, you're serving on the Zambia National Olympic Committee. I don't really know what a National Olympic Committee does. So, could you tell us a little bit about what the Committee does? And then in a minute, we'll get to what you do on the Committee?


Felix 04:25

Yes. Right. So the National Olympic Committee of Zambia, which also is also known as the Commonwealth Games Association of Zambia, is a board governing sports body that is in charge of administration of Commonwealth Games, Olympic Games and Africa Games. So, what we mean by that is that the National Olympic Committee of Zambia makes sure Zambia participates in multi-sport events like Commonwealth Games, Olympic Games as they are doing now. All Africa games, our Regional Games in southern Africa and also supports the development of sports in the country through various programs, such as that sports workshops and also providing support to national federations with sports federations, affiliates, the National Olympic Committee of Zambia and so it becomes part of us. We have Olympic sports and Commonwealth sports. So as that now we have about 29 sports that are related to the NOC and benefit from the programs that the NOC offers. Yeah, so in terms of sports development, assisting athletes, we have a number of athletes that are on IOC scholarships, that's Olympics scholarships to help them improve in their careers. So, I get this question through the NOC. Yeah, so we do a number of programs. But the basis of all this is sport and promoting Olympism Commonwealth values in Zambia.


Jan 05:53

Okay, cool. And you are the marketing and communications officer. Now, I have to admit, I took a peek at your LinkedIn profile. And I know that you do more than than what you do for the the Olympic Committee. But first, let's start with your your duties for the marketing, for marketing and communications. What what are your responsibilities?


Felix 06:17

Yeah, so I know that an organization like ours is a not-for-profit organization. Yeah. So, it for me for my job title, it gives me some, gives me a challenge to achieve certain things when it comes to the marketing perspective. Because we we, if people are not in sports, then we need to go an extra mile to convince them to be part of us. Yes, so but on the communication aspect of my job. I think for you to find out about us, you had to search out something, maybe on the internet, and something like that. So my job enables me to make sure that if someone wants to look for information about the National Olympic Committee of Zambia, they are able to find the appropriate information they need. Yeah, so I manage the digital space for the National Olympic Committee of Zambia, which includes their website, or social media platforms, you know, making sure that information is out there. I also manage internal communication between the executive board and the staff members. And also between the NOCZ and also the public. Yeah, whatever goes out to the public, most of the time passes through my office, in coordination with the Secretary General's office, and also the administration office. So, I'm a link between different channels, I act as a link. But to put it in simple terms, my job mostly involves putting a good public image of the National Olympic Committee of Zambia out there, through social media and also online digital space.


Jan 07:57

Well, and I saw that you published on LinkedIn, a copy of the handbook that you provided for your athletes going to Tokyo. And I have to say, it was very impressive and very thorough. And you talked about some cultural differences, not to speak loudly in public and things like that, so that they would be comfortable in Tokyo. So how did you put that together? How how much input did you have to get to from other people to put pull that off?


Felix 08:33

Yeah, so for for that one it was a work in progress. I think I we took about three months to get it done. So we need we had to involve different people. We had to talk to our foreign affairs ministry so that they can get in touch with the Zambian embassy in Japan, for us to get those norms and guidelines of our athletes expected that to to present themselves in public once they go to Japan. So, we had the government involved in that area. We also had input from Federations that gather Football Association of Zambia, that's the Soccer Association in the country where they had to also bring in portraits of the athletes that would be going to the Olympic Games there because we didn't have everything in a central place. So, we had to ask for different parts. And then I had to put everything together so that you can have the first ever handbook for any multi-sport event so that it can also act as a guide for the international media. You don't have to be asking questions. We just share the copy and they'll know what athletes who is in Team Zambia, what athletes are comprised of Team Zambia and it will make their job and our job easier because it will be easy to find the information and the event they will be participating in at the Olympic games.


Jan 09:51

Well, I people who know me know I'm a big fan of handbooks and I thought yours was exceptional. I thought it was really good. Tell us what sports will Zambia be represented in Tokyo.


Felix Manyika 10:07

So, Zambia will be represented in five sports at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. We have women's football, soccer. Yes. We also have judo, swimming. We have boxing and athletics.


Jan 10:23



Felix 10:24

So, 30 athletes make up Team Zambia at the Olympic Games in these five sport disciplines.


Jan 10:32

Could you repeat the number? How many athletes?


Felix Manyika 10:36

  1. We have 30 athletes.


Jan 10:38

Oh, wow. And when and when you say athletics what what is that?


Felix 10:43

Track and Field. Track.


Jan 10:45

Oh, Track and Field. Okay, track and field. Okay. All right. Got that. All right. As we record this, your women's football are in the US, we would call it soccer, team has played their first round and they played against the Netherlands. Right? And so, tell us a little bit about that match. I know the outcome is not what you would hope for, but it sounds like it was a good showing for your team.


Felix 11:14

Yeah, so for a team that was making it's Olympic Games debut, its a team full of young players. Our captain is just twenty-one years old. And I think going into the game against the Netherlands, we didn't, we didn't expect results. But we did our best and we managed to do what we aimed for. I'll give it put it in this way. Netherlands is one of the top ranked teams in the world there. I'm first guarantee that they're defending champions European Champions. 2019 World Cup Finanlists when they lost to the USA. 2019 Women's World Cup.


Felix 11:54

And Zambia is a small nation that is just getting into football, especially women's football, women's soccer. So, for us, though we didn't get the results we wanted, their performance was impressive. We have World Cup (player) Barbara Banda who scored the hat trick because she became the first African player, woman, female player to score a Hat Trick at the Olympic Games and the first African player male or female to score a hat trick since Atlanta '96.   Yeah, so for us, it was also just being proud of the girls. They put up a good show. The Olympics is the biggest stage in the world that an athlete can perform on so I think was it was a learning game, and though we lost the learning game, and I can guarantee you the next game we will perform better and if things go as planned will we might even record a win against the Republic of China.


Jan 12:54

So, are they eliminated now with one loss or? So, they get to play again?


Felix Manyika 13:00

Yeah, they still have two games to play.


Jan 13:02

Oh, good.


Felix 13:03

After two games, thats when we will know our fate.


Jan 13:07

And what about your other athletes: the boxers, judo, swimming and track and field? When do they participate?


Felix 13:16

Yeah, so tomorrow being a Saturday, we have the second game. Zambia will be up against China. So the women's team. But after that, our best boxer, Stephen Zimba, will be in the ring. He is a welterweight boxer, 67kgs, to be up against a boxer, I've forgotten his name, but he's from Samoa. That will be a first fight for the boxing guys with another fight, boxing on Monday 26th (July), our flyweight boxer, Patrick Chinyemba, with be up against Alex Winwood, from Australia.


Felix 13:52

But before that on a Sunday, our Judoka, Steven Mungandu, will be on the mats Sunday afternoon, Central African Time. I've yet to find out who is the opening to be facing, but the schedules that we do have, our athletes will be in action from Saturday up until Monday before a few days rest, then they get back to the action.


Jan 14:19

All right. All right. Well, that's quite the schedule. Um, how are the athletes chosen to be on the Zambia Olympic team? What's that process?


Felix 14:33

Yeah, so the the process for being on the Olympic team involves the different qualifying criteria according to sport. Yeah. So, for the female football team, they might they had to go through an African qualifier where they came out first in Africa to go to Olympic Games. They are the only African representatives at this year's Olympic Games. And soccer, the female team so you had to go different facing different countries. They may judge the only so qualified for the Olympic Games.


Felix 15:08

Then for the boxers, they had to go to a qualifying tournament, that was last year, 2020 in March 2020. That is before COVID-19 hit. We managed to send a team to send a team to Senegal, Dhakar in Olympic Qualifying Tournament where our boxers, the three managed to get two silver medals and one gold medal. Yeah.


Felix 15:32

So for the Athletics, Track and Field, we have two sprinters, one male, one female. One female, her name is Roda Njobvu. She qualified through a qualifying event that was held in the country which attracted different countries around the region. So, she had to set a national record of about 11.12 for the 100 meters (a run this decade) (something decade) and also, she managed to qualify for the 200 meters at the Olympic games with the time of 22.65. Yeah, that's it. Below the qualifying time for the Olympic Games. So Roda will be co-participating in two events, the 100 meters and the 200 meters, while Sydney - Sydney Siame will be participating in the 200 meters, Men's 200 meters. Sydney Siame was the first Zambian athletes to qualify for the Olympic Games when he qualified, at the qualifying event in Switzerland back in 2019. Yeah, so we do have two track and field athletes.


Felix 16:42

For the judo, Stephen Mungandu also went through a qualifying phase, and he attended different championships, both the regional Africa and also international stage for him to make points to qualify for the Olympic Games. So, he was ranked going to the Olympic Games was ranked eighth in Africa, in this sixty-six kg category. That's how he qualified for the Olympic Games.


Felix 17:10

Then we have two swimmers, two swimmers, Tilka Paljk and Shaquille Moosa. They qualified the three decided places because of their ranking on the FINA ranking points on the African continent. Yeah, so they went through qualifying tournaments, but they had to, to get points for them to by (FINA undecided) places. Yeah. So no one was specifically chosen. They had to go through different qualifying criteria for them to meet the Olympic Games, so yeah, qualifying standard.


Jan 17:44

It sounds very, very competitive. I imagine that the people are that are chosen are very excited to be part of the Olympics. Is that it considered a big honor?


Felix 17:55

Yeah, it's a very, it's a very big honor in a country like Zambia, because, you know, in the past, we've only, we've only managed to qualify a few, a few athletes, you know, six, five, because this is the first time in 35 years that we have a team of about 30 athletes. Yeah, because the last time we had this was in, in Seoul, 1988. So, from that time up to now, though, we've managed to win two medals between this period, but the representation hasn't been that much compared to how we are being represented at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic games.


Jan 18:35

Can you talk to our listeners a little bit about the funding for for this program? I mean, there's training, transportation, uniforms, all kinds of things. Where does the money come from to support your Olympic team?


Felix 18:53

Yeah, so for the National Olympic Committee of Zambia, they do have partners in the country that work with, on a local level. I'll give you an example for training. We do have what we call the OYDC Sports Development Center. It was the center, it was actually set up by the International Olympic Committee, yeah, back in 2010. But that took transition from being an entity under the International Olympic Committee, to being a private entity ran by a management board instead. And we are quite nice. So that's where we take our athletes for competing. They use different facilities from that place. And these are some of the partnerships that we use, but on a bigger scale, the NOC mostly benefits from programs that are offered by Olympics OAID when it comes to having athletes ready for multi-sport events and medal games. Yeah. So, we do have local partners on a national level but also partners on the Olympic worldwide family. I'll give an example. The Norwegian Olympic Committee. The Norwegian Olympic Committee is one of the partners that has helped the National Olympic of Zambia in so many ways: athlete development, governance issues, sports development. So, they just sponsor different kinds of activities that are run, activities and programs that are run by the NOCZ. Yeah, but most of the funding comes through the programs that are offered by the Olympics. Yeah.


Jan 20:27

Okay. One of my favorite parts of the Olympics is to see the Parade of Nations. And it is just so optimistic to see all the countries come together in harmony for for one short period of time. I have, well, you know, I looked up the order, and I was expecting Zambia that starts with Z or Zed to be near the end. But no, Zambia is number 77 out of 205 nations. And that's because it's in alphabetical order by the host country's alphabet. So, if you're watching for Zambia, don't wait till the very end. They're, they're right before the middle. So how do they have athletes feel about being in the Parade of Nations? Do they get that same sense of pride and excitement? And then the flag bearer has been chosen? And um, who was he? Or she? And how did that all come together?


Felix 21:41

Yeah, so the athletes were really excited to be going down what we filmed as the Olympic Games and walk down the aisle at the Olympic Games. Yeah. So, they were they were excited about that. And now flag bearers, we have two, male and female, we have Tilka Paljk who became the first athlete, swimming athlete to be a flag bearer for Team Zambia at the Olympic Games. Since the history, like from the time we started participating in the Olympic Games, never a swimmer to be a flag bearer and we had Tikla Paljk was also accompanied by Everisto Mulenga, a young, promising boxer, who was actually ranked fifth in the world, 57kgs, going into the Olympic Games. So, these are young athletes that the nation is looking up to, and they are given a responsibility to be to be flag bearer for the country, of which they was their (filters) must be with honor and they are so happy to be named. And up to now they are still excited, because you can see the posts on social media, how the event went, and how they just felt being given it was a huge honor to carry the Zambian flag at the biggest multi-sports event for both of them. And they are really excited. And yeah, we are happy for them. Very happy for them.


Jan 23:01

Oh, that's fantastic. Now, it's been in the news that there's a COVID outbreak in Tokyo. So, what special precautions do your athletes have to take as being part of the Olympics in Tokyo? What are they doing there?


Felix 23:21

Yeah, so we do have our COVID eyes on that side in Tokyo and the athletes that we've been receiving, you know, getting our athletes should conduct themselves that against, there's been a reduction in the number in the movements that athletes need to do in a day. Yeah, they're being confined to their rooms, and their training centers. Yeah, in an observed and observed and observed situation where they need to be, they need to be seen what they're doing away from their rooms, because they need to be in just needed basis to avoid interactions, much interactions and engagements with the other athletes. So, they are being encouraged to take their, take care of themselves, because they need to protect the next person. It is not just about them, but just so the next person. So, they are really abiding to the precautions that have been set by our COVID diagnosis. And as of now we've not recorded any COVID-19 positive case from the delegation that traveled to Zambia and then 95% of the delegation is fully vaccinated. Yeah. We only had about one I think one person, and he's not an athlete, who did the first dose of the vaccine. He has to finish a second dose, but 95% of the athletes have been vaccinated, fully vaccinated prior to the Olympic Games, so now they just need to take care of themselves that said, and make sure they're not passing the virus to the other teams.


Jan 24:56

Well, I'm really glad they're taking care of themselves. But, you know, part of the idea of the Olympics is that athletes from one country can get to know athletes from another country and this year, that's not possible because of isolation. Yeah. When, when your athletes come home, what will be the public reaction? Is there a celebration? Do people recognize the athletes? Are they considered heroes? What happens?


Felix 25:28

Yeah, so I think for us one thing that we've managed to tell the public and make sure the public understand is, that the Olympic Games, the idea of just, one, qualifying for the games is a big achievement, such that whatever the outcome, whatever results athletes get when they go to the Olympic Games should not determine how they should be received, because them qualifying to the games is a big achievement. And we celebrate that achievement, because the Olympic Games are a once in a lifetime, you know, experience for athletes. Some people go to Olympic Games once and they never go back. So, they need to enjoy that moment.


Felix 26:11

So, we celebrate with them. And we guide them, despite the results that you get that said, you've achieved the ultimate goal any athletes looks forward to. So yeah, they're celebrated as champions, you know, we say with these young athletes, and I'm sure once they are back an event will be organized to celebrate their outing. And if they come with a medal, that's one good. If they don't come with anything, medals and whatnot, we still celebrate the athletes because these are ambassadors on the Zambian stage. The point there, the good exposure, which will act as motivation, and also we encourage them to do better themselves to learn from the experience. And if they have a chance, going back to the Olympic Games, they'll perform better than they did last time.


Jan 26:58

That is that's wonderful. You talked a little bit about qualifying for the Olympics. But I guess my question is, I want to go back to, to younger people, to the youth. Is it, for various sports do the youth participate at a, certainly an amateur level, but at a youth level in some of these sports? The football, the swimming, track and field, things like that?


Felix 27:31

Yeah. Yeah. For what I understand from what you've said, is, just to clarify, if you say from a youth level that's an amateur level, like, I'll give an example, soccer players then I would say, only the (finest, from the shadow destiny) to play outside the country, most of them playing the local leagues. Yes, they play in the local leagues. These that are just starting out, you know, the government is trying to put in minders to make sure that the league is competitive or whatnot, but they're just starting out yeah. But they still managed to achieve making it to the Olympic Games. Yes, I think one of the things that influences most young people when they come to sports, and we have a good number of people young and emerging athletes that participate in sport, at an amateur level, is very, very low level because that's one of the extracurricular activities that our children in the country, young people take by teams, so sports is one of the activities that most of our boys participate in. That's why you find that even they mention sports. Like you mentioned Teqball. Teqball is a new sport and people have shown interest to be vital teqball, because they...


Jan 28:50

Back up, what is teqball and this TEC BALL, right? [correct spelling is TEQBALL]


Felix 28:57



Jan 28:57

So explain this sport? I've not heard of it.


Felix 29:03

Yeah, so Teqball is a football-based sport.


Felix 29:10

Yeah. So what I mean is they use the ball, that ball is used to satisfy football, but they played on a table while I gave versus a table tennis table.


Jan 29:10



Jan 29:20



Jan 29:23

And they have a paddle?


Felix 29:24

It's like, no, they use their feet.


Jan 29:28

Their feet on a table? Oh, my grandmother would be very upset.


Felix 29:33

So, it's an emerging sport in the world right now. And it's, it has applied for recognition by the IOC. Yes. So, we will, we will see it at the 2023 Asian Games as a demonstration sport. It will be there as a demonstration sport and people get to see what this sport is made of, what happens in the sport. Yeah, it's quite an inventive sport, if you see videos, I'm sure you like it.


Jan 30:06

I'm gonna have to look it up. I'm sure it's on YouTube, so I'll have to, I'll have to check this out. Um, you know, Sew Powerful is very involved with especially children living in poverty. Are there opportunities for children who don't, you know, don't have the money for sports uniforms and athletic equipment, how can they participate in athletics in Zambia?


Felix 30:37

Yeah, so from the National Olympic Comittee of Zambia point of view, there's a project under the IOC called OlympAfrica project. So, the project involved NOC's like Zambia, out in a center, a community center where athletes, young people want to join sports can go to benefit from the different facilities that are provided. And that the Olympic Committee, they can do. So, for Zambia, we are located in an area called (spike dam en dayway), and they have a densely populated area is a big community of where we provide the center to young people, they use the center on a daily basis from eight hours up to up until 4pm. Well the services are free, they just come in, join a gym, if you want to start playing volleyball, if you want to start playing basketball. So, we just help them grow through this sport so that when they reach a certain level, they move to more competitive sports. So, for us, it's more like a foundation space for them. We do have athletes from the age of from 10, up until 18. So, after 18, that's when they move on to the bigger professional team.


Felix 30:38

So, I can say that we have about veteran sports that athletes come through to benefit from Yeah, we have field and die sports and also in the sports. And it's it's a project that has been running for quite some time, we have a good number of athletes that have passed through the system to the OlympAfrica system and gone on, they've gone on to perform at the highest level. For example, football, we have some guys that are going to big international men's team right now that have been through the center through the system. So the idea is just trying to help young people stay away from other vices, they have something they can carry on something they gain consideration out from whatever they're doing, just to help themselves also develop into better people. Yeah,


Jan 32:47

Well good that that's good to know. Okay, here's my final question for you. Do you see any parallels between the goals of the Zambia National Olympic Committee, and what Sew Powerful is trying to achieve in Zambia?


Felix Manyika 33:06

Yeah, so I've been taking a look at what you guys are doing in Zambia. And I think it's quite commendable, you guys are doing a very good job. Just that I was so surprised that I didn't know about what Sew Powerful does, until you mentioned it to me. So, if there isn't anyone to check out what you guys do, and I think I've gotten people that have benefited from programs that are still benefiting from a program benefiting from programs, but I just didn't know that this is under Sew Powerful. Yeah.


Felix Manyika 33:57

So as part of the things we are trying to achieve at the National Olympic Committee of Zambia, and then not just on focusing on sport, but also away from sports, trying to improve the livelihoods of the people that are around our center, the communities. I think we have so much in common and we can work together to achieve this because away from sports most of us are trying to help community members in terms of (HSE) classes, you know, social business ideas, something that can just keep them busy. You know, to have things running, we also have classes for different things. We are trying to revamp our library so that they can be accessed by an increased number of people. Trying to bring in computers because right now the technology edge is taking over. So, someone needs to be computer literate in this age. So we are trying to do that through different programs.


Felix Manyika 34:35

Yeah. So, we use the Center for different programs that assist not just the athletes but also their parents, their siblings, different programs that we are still trying to work on things. Just make something big and I think Sew Powerful is one of the organizations that we can work with in order to achieve that. Yeah, because, you know, I'll tell you something that's really sad with the COVID-19 vaccine, the COVID-19 situation in the country. You know, because we had to close the center to the people that are accessing the center because no large gatherings, no sports activity during a short period of time I think between 2020, June, March when we closed our center, up to January 2021. Eleven of the girls that were attending our center fell pregnant during that period, and after doing the research, it was found that they didn't have things to do, they didn't have something to keep them busy. So, they had to resort to such things that it's really sad for us because we're trying to help them but because of their circumstances, it's more like a draw back in their own development and also and their career development away from their personal life. So, I think if we have more partnerships and initiatives coming on board, we can help the community and just try to build a better future for Zambian children, young people, especially for the females, because I think they are mostly the victims in such a scenario. If we don't try to make partnerships with people at the new sports organizations then we are failing not just ourselves but also them.   So, I think Sew Powerful is doing a very good job and I will take this opportunity after this conversation to reach out so now we can work together to make things work.


Jan 36:27

Well, Felix, thank you so very much for your time today. And I've learned so much about athletics and the Olympics and Olympics in Zambia. And we look forward to talking with you soon. So listeners please check out the website for the the Zambia National Olympic Committee and be sure and root for the Zambia team as we watch the Olympics.


Jan 37:04

If what you've heard today inspires you to want to make a difference, I urge you to explore the Sew Powerful website at That's SEW POWERFUL dot ORG. The website has great information about the organization. It's where you can download the free purse patterns or even make a donation. We hope you will join us again next week when we bring you another Sew Powerful story. Thanks for listening. Now, go out and have a Sew Powerful day


Pinners Conferences, Here We Come with Mary Inchauste and Kathleen Broadfoot

Sew Powerful's first exhibition in front of Pinterest enthusiasts will occur October 8-9th at the Pinners Conference in Indianapolis. Listen as Mary Inchauste, Show Manager, and Kathleen Broadfoot, the willing and able support coordinator, describe how they are preparing for this show. Their enthusiasm is contagious as they explain how a Pinners Conference might be different than a traditional Quilt Show. They elaborate on why they have taken on these roles, what tools Sew Powerful has supplied them, and why you too should consider volunteering to work in a Sew Powerful booth at a show near you.


Pinners conference, booth setup, show volunteers, quilt shows, pinners, Christmas presents, craft, Chicago, American Sewing Guild, show managers resources, check lists, donor dinner


Host: Jan Cancila
Guest: Mary Inchauste and Kathleen Broadfoot


We are Sew Powerful, How a Global Community of Seamstresses Is Changing Zambia One Girl at A Time, 2nd edition. By Jason G. Miles and Cinnamon, © 2016 & 2020 Jason G. Miles and Cinnamon, all rights reserved.

Pinner Conference Indianapolis,

American Sewing Guild,


Jan Cancila, Host 00:04

Welcome to the Sew Powerful podcast. This is your host, Jan Cancila. You know the sound of my sewing machine means it's time for another episode. So let's get started.


Jan 00:19

Welcome to the Sew Powerful podcast. Today I have the pleasure of speaking with Mary Inchauste and Kathleen Broadfoot. And Mary and Kathleen are working together to manage the show, the Pinners Conference, in Indianapolis in October. And they're going to talk to us about their experience putting the show together, the work they've done in the past for Sew Powerful. And if you listen to what they say you might be inclined to sign up to be a show manager, too. So, let's get started. Mary and Kathleen, how are you today?


Mary Inchauste, Guest 00:57

We're great.


Kathleen Broadfoot, Guest 00:58



Mary 00:59



Kathleen 00:59

Very good.


Jan 01:00

Where and where are we talking to you from? Where are you?


Mary 01:03

We are in Indianapolis, Indiana, basically in my dining room at the moment. There's some artwork behind us. And we're very excited to be part of the Pinners Conference.


Jan 01:13

Well, excellent. Excellent. So you are, Mary, you are the Show Manager. And Kathleen, can you sort of explain your role? How are you helping Mary in this?


Kathleen 01:25

Well, I'm saying that my my duties are as Support Coordinator, which means whatever she asked me to do, I'm going to do, I'll take responsibility.


Mary 01:35

Don't you just love it? The perfect answer!


Kathleen 01:39

But just, you know, we're going to work together on it, just make sure all of our I’s are dotted and T’s are crossed. And just work together to make it a very successful show.


Jan 01:52



Mary 01:53

We have a, we have known each other for a while. We met through Sew Powerful. And by day, I'm an architect so I have a lot of project management experience, coordinating some fairly large projects. So I feel like this is just, you know, a natural step to be part of this Booth Manager position.


Jan 02:11

Well, certainly, yes. A 10 by 10 booth versus, I understand, you designed much of the Indianapolis airport. Is that right?


Mary 02:19

I did participate in that project as as one of the Project Managers for five years, so I'm very familiar with every detail.


Jan  02:29

Well, that's, that's fantastic. We were thrilled when you signed up, I have to say. Okay, so the show that you're going to be the manager for is the Pinners Conference, and it's October 8th and 9th and it's at the fairgrounds in Indianapolis. The Pinners Conference is different, and this is a new foray for Sew Powerful. The Pinners Conference is different than a quilt show in a few different ways. Can can both of you talk about that a little bit? How do you see it as different?


Mary 02:58

I think the most important part of it is that its target age group is a younger audience that, mostly under 50 years years, and that's a broad range, not just quilting, so anything that would be a craft that someone would be using Pinterest for would be participating in the conference. So, we think we'll be able to get our message to a completely different crowd than maybe would attend a quilt conference.


Kathleen 03:25

That, I agree with that. And I think too, this is going to be a really artsy crowd. When I think about Pinterest, I think about different techniques for doing different things. So, in fact, I'd just seen a little video this morning, and it showed cake decorating. It showed other kind of artistry, like painting. And in the video also it had like a mother and maybe an eight-year-old daughter, and the eight-year-old daughter was decorating a cupcake. So, you're just going to get a different crowd. The the quilt shows are wonderful, you know, again, everybody comes to see those, to see the newest, the latest, the greatest different designs and that, but this is design on a different kind of level.


Mary 04:10

I also think the crowd is maybe going to be more receptive to learning something new because they're young. And they're going to be involved in all of these different crafts, probably more of a startup, whereas I think of a quilt show, someone who's already been quilting. So, it's a craft they're trying to perfect, not necessarily a craft that they might want to start or become proficient in. So, we're hoping we recruit those new Sew Powerful purse makers.


Jan 04:39

Well, that's cool. And you know, your show in October is the first of three Pinners Conferences that Sew Powerful is going to participate in. So, you're in October and then we have Salt Lake City in mid-November and Scottsdale (which is Phoenix) the week after that. So, you're going to be our guinea pigs for the Pinners Conference. So, we'll all be interested to hear exactly how that that comes out. Kathleen, I know that you've participated in some Sew Powerful quilt shows before and Mary, with your architecture background, I know that you've participated in other exhibitions or conferences where you had to do something similar. But let's start with you, Kathleen, tell us what shows have you participated in and what were your roles there.


Kathleen 05:26

I was at Chicago and Paducah, Kentucky and Atlanta, and I was a volunteer. I was a volunteer, I stood at the front of the booth. And if people had questions, I would answer questions, passing out brochures, saying, Have you heard about the purse program? You know, just in general, being very friendly and open and, you know, asking if they had any questions. And that's what I did at pretty much all three of the quilt shows. They were very similar. All three of the quilt shows were very similar. And you had the same kind of questions about every time. And what I loved is when people would just come and stop in front of the booth. And they would just look. And then you'd say, you know, do you have a question about this? Or again you hand them a brochure. Would you like to hear about the purse program? Not just say, Do you sew or do you, I don't know, the question I like to ask was, again, would you like to hear about the purse program? That wasn't just, it was, it was a yes or no question, but you could hand them a brochure and they automatically look at the brochure, automatically look at it. So, you've got the foot in the door by doing that. But as far as my role, I was a volunteer, and I had a lot of fun doing it.


Jan 06:50

Well, and it sounds like you've traveled to every show you've been to but now you get to attend a show right in your own backyard.


Kathleen 06:56

That's still 20 miles for me, but I will be sleeping in my own bed at night. Yeah.


Jan 07:01

That's cool. That's cool. Mary, what about you? Have you been in any Sew Powerful shows or anything similar?


Mary 07:08

No, I had hoped to be in Chicago, and then I ended up with a really bad cold. So, I cancelled. I mean, I left the hotel room paid for. So, I really was disappointed. But Kathleen brought my purses and kind of took took over for me. So, I'm looking forward to this; this will be a lot of fun.


Jan 07:32

We have some materials that are sort of put together for the Show Managers in an, in a way that's new, that we haven't done before. And I want to talk about those. And I want to get your impression as to whether or not these are helpful for you or whether you feel like your creativity is being stifled. And and actually, if you have some suggestions for us, that would be great, too. So, let's start with something new that we have this year, which is the Quilt Show Manager's Handbook. Have you had a chance to go through that? And what do you think about it?


Mary 08:07

I definitely have, it's excellent. It has good links to different areas, you know, so you can, I've gone back and researched some portions of it that maybe I wanted more information. And I think it's, I think of it as a really good roadmap so I can get to the end of the road as most effectively and efficiently as possible and be ready for the show. I don't think it inhibits our creativity in any way. It actually is helpful because you're not standing around trying to make a decision.


Kathleen 08:36



Mary 08:36

Oh, should we put this here, or how to set it up. It's very straightforward. And from a branding, you know, in my work, we talk to our clients a lot about branding and how important it is to make a good statement to the, you know, to represent who you are and having a booth design that's well thought out, it's very important. It's, and I totally support what you've put together.


Kathleen 09:05

And it's obvious it's had some time spent on it as a guideline. That's what I like.


Mary 09:10

And I bet the experience from the past quilt shows is reflected here in the way that it's put together and the thoughts, thoughts that are involved. Even the most helpful thing like, be sure to bring a toolkit, be sure to bring a First Aid kit,


Kathleen 09:24



Mary 09:24

be sure to bring a stepladder.


Kathleen 09:26

The comfortable shoes, I love that: wear comfortable shoes, wear comfortable shoes.


Jan 09:33

That was in there twice.


Mary 09:34

There are things that you would, if you were the first time doing it, you would have to think about an awful lot of things that right now it's covered in that as a roadmap. So, it's excellent.


Jan 09:47

Okay, all right. Well, and so you alluded to the booth standards. And I will tell you, I've been to two different shows where this worked two different ways. In one show we had everybody who had an opinion about how to arrange the booth. That booth took forever to put up because every single piece of, of merchandise and display had to be, like, decision by committee. You can imagine that was not good. The next year there was, like, a piece of paper and it was like, follow this. And somebody said, Well, I think it should go there. And I said, Oh, sorry, this is what we're doing. It's on the paper. And that was like, Oh, okay. And I mean, that was like a two second conversation versus a 20-minute conversation for every single thing. So, we don't want to inhibit creativity but at the same time, setting up the booth should be the least of your worries. I mean, you're doing preparation to get there. And then you just want to execute that that, you know, that, that part. By the time you're at that point, you really aren't up for debates and discussions about how you're going to do it, right?


Mary 10:57

It's also it's a big-time commitment.


Kathleen 10:59

It it is.


Mary 10:59

So keeping the time commitment for the setup and the teardown should be minimal, really.


Kathleen 11:04

Yeah, exactly.


Jan 11:06

Yeah. And so, then you also talked about the checklist. And I think there's things like zip ties and duct tape, and just a lot of things that you probably already have in your, in your home that you've acquired over time. And


Kathleen 11:21



Jan 11:21

you throw those into a box. But there are a few things that you may or may not have, but your neighbors or or your other volunteers may have, like folding tables. What what do you think about that?


Mary 11:36

We've collaborated on those so we'll have our game on for the tables, there's no problem.


Kathleen 11:41

And and something like this, like I, my sister and I do craft shows. So, I have tables, you know, it's just going to make sure of the right measurements. I have tablecloths, so things like that, again, we're good at collaborating on to make sure the booth is fully staffed in that way.


Mary 11:56

And I have a semi-empty garage. So, we're just gonna get get ahead of time, we're gonna start stockpiling in one place.


Kathleen 12:05

That's right.


Mary 12:05

You know, like, we have to have those wooden dowels for the the quilted (what are they?) banners. So, I'm just like, I'm gonna get them and I'm going to put them in that sack. Everything in there,


Mary 12:15

we're just gonna get it in one place. So, when it gets down to the wire of the show, Kathleen can come here. I live very close to the fairgrounds, I have carts and I have access to ways to move stuff, and we'll just have it all together. And I don't have to be running around. And the checklist then is fabulous. Because you can mark down that, oh, we already got that.


Kathleen 12:15



Kathleen 12:36

Right. And we want to get as much done as possible beforehand. So, you know, that's another good reason for having this is to say, Oh, you know, I need that. Again, I know in Paducah, I think it was, we borrowed the neighbor's hammer a lot. I forget what we needed it for, but we borrowed it a lot. And then you know, of course, we'd have to return it. But it was like, Oh, we should have thought about bringing a hammer, so.


Jan 13:02

You could be singing If I Had a Hammer right about now.


Kathleen 13:05



Mary 13:05



Jan 13:06

Yeah, and you know, the little First Aid kit is in there too. And not that I think we've ever had to use it, but it just made me feel better to know that if somebody smashed their finger, whatever, there was, we had a Band-Aid. I think it, it helps our volunteers know that we're thinking about them, and we have their best interest at heart. And the other thing that's really important is that fold-up stepladder because we're hanging things eight feet up off the ground, and


Kathleen 13:36

We have two, we're ready.


Mary 13:37



Jan 13:38

Yeah. I can tell you, you are exactly ready. Okay, then we have a brand-new thing this year called Show Manager Survey and Supplier Requisition form. And the purpose of this is, again, it's similar to the checklist in that you think about a certain things and you're going to learn about your show in-depth more than just the casual attendee, or even even booth volunteers. So, you're going to need to research whether the show requires Sew Powerful to have insurance, what any tax implications might be. Even though we're nonprofit, in some places you still have to file as a nonprofit.


Mary 14:21

For sales tax.


Jan 14:22

Yeah, for sales tax. And, yeah, so there's some things in there that ask you some fairly detailed questions about that. So that does require a little bit of research, but we try and point you in the right direction to be able to get all that information. And then the most important question is, how many attendees do you expect? Because that then generates an order for you for supplies that are going to come from Sew Powerful based on expected attendance.


Kathleen 14:56

I think we're gonna have very good attendance at this. I think it's a, it's a new thing. With the time period that it's in, in the fall, people are wanting to get out


Mary 15:07

It's pre Christmas


Kathleen 15:08

Pre-Chritmas, they're going to be thinking about Christmas presents, even though our booth doesn't really stand for that or not (how do I want to say that?) that's not coming, they're not coming to buy Christmas presents from us. But they're thinking ahead. And they're, they're thinking again about how to get their creativity


Mary 15:26

I think there'll be a lot of enthusiasm to attend the conference in the fall, in that time window.


Kathleen 15:32



Jan 15:32

Right. Yeah, the weather should be nice.


Mary 15:34

It's not close to Thanksgiving. So, it's when people are gearing up to be thinking about


Kathleen 15:39



Mary 15:40

a whole variety of crafts.


Jan 15:42

Well, and we will have the We Are Sew Powerful book that could be a nice little Christmas present there. So how are you doing in finding volunteers to work in the booth? What what have you done and what are the results? And what do you still need?


Mary 15:57

It's pretty simple. We, we made a list of who we knew that already made purses. And then I told other people to fill out the form and they were coming. So so that sounds kind of dictatorship. But you know, I, I think you have to really get point-blank with people and say, we really need you. You, the gal at my office, she hosted a little sewing party at her house, and she made a purse and she's, she'll be perfect. And so, I said this morning, I said, I need you to fill out the form. I need, I put out a calendar invite and I was pretty direct with people. And I'm saying this (you may cut this out of the podcast) but I think you, when you're looking for a volunteer you have to be pretty direct, like, We need you. And then people really are more likely to step forward. If they think you are kind of wishy-washy about it, there's plenty of ways to spend your time. Do you agree?


Kathleen 16:54

I do, and I'm going to go around to the local, we're very blessed in our area, within maybe 60 miles, we've got 10 or so wonderful quilt shops. So I'm going to be sure and take the brochures to those along with maybe a sticker on the brochure saying, you know, come to the Pinners Conference, or just come see our booth at the Pinners Conference at the State Fairgrounds on October 8th and 9th (I think that's the dates), anyway, and just really say, Hey, you know, look at this website and come to our booth, in fact, volunteer for our booth. It's a lot of fun, and we'd love to have you, so.


Mary 17:31

We use social media, too. So right away, I sent out a post on Facebook. And so, one of our volunteers saw the post and immediately got on and filled out the form. So, I think you have to use a multifaceted approach


Mary 17:45



Mary 17:45

to reach as many people as possible.


Kathleen 17:49

And it won't just be the one time. We'll probably, you'll probably post it or requirements for it.


Mary 17:54

We'll continue to keep doing it because we'll have updates and


Kathleen 17:57



Mary 17:59

I, so far I haven't used my personal Facebook because I haven't, but it's possible that that would be appropriate too. In the past my office posted a (well I wonder if it was Facebook or Instagram) but they actually featured that I did this and was contributing because they like to


Kathleen 18:23

Give a social


Mary 18:24

Yeah, to show that their employees are contributing, giving back to the community and what we would be doing; they thought it was really interesting. So, I probably will see if I can enlist them to do another posting. It would probably be more effective if it's closer to the time of the conference because their things reach our clients and vendors and people in the local area. So, it got, so our marketing gal, who was shocked by this, she goes, We got one of the highest number of Likes from that


Jan 18:58



Mary 18:59

that post of anything they had done up to that point, point


Mary 19:02

from that posting. So we put, you know, a project a school's completed, a project just finished, numerous things on there, so


Jan 19:02



Kathleen 19:11

And I think people love to help, too, you know, and if it's something especially, again, going to a quilt shop. And I just joined American Sewing Guild, and I went to one of their meetings, which I'm going to keep going to, and I had my little demonstration about the Sew Powerful purses, and they all took a brochure. But people love to help, especially if it's something they can do. And something, you know, I said, and these were experienced sewers and so I said, you know, you can make a purse in, from from start to finish in two hours. You know, it doesn't take up a lot of time. It takes a minuscule amount of fabric. And that people like to help when they can, they love helping.


Mary 19:51

So I think that, you know, in my case I have my job, my industry partners, but you could reach out to your church, you know, if you're involved in another organization. Everybody has a group


Kathleen 20:02

A group


Mary 20:03

that they have interest in. So I'd encourage people to think outside the box, that there might really be some good avenues to find new people. If you just kind of brainstorm a little bit might who that might be.


Jan 20:16

Yeah, I think so too. And you mentioned filling out the form, and we're talking about on the website, under About Us is a section called Volunteer Opportunities and that's where you go. And you pick the, the time and place of the show that you want to be a Booth Volunteer for and you just fill out the form. And it comes to me and then I forward it on to the Show Manager, and then they have your contact information. And it's a great way to volunteer, and I've done it myself, and it is, it's really fun. And you know, the time flies by like that. And just shifts are, have you thought about how long your shifts are going to be?


Mary 20:57

I think we're going to do two-hour shifts, and then people could, you know, do double, or they do one and then go to the show for two hours, and then come back for a second shift or whatever works with their schedule.


Kathleen 21:09

That's what I was gonna say, 2 hours is not that long.


Mary 21:11

And if we need to overlap, if we need to overlap, you know, maybe somebody has only a one-hour shift or something we can be flexible too.


Kathleen 21:20



Jan 21:20

Yeah, cool. Well, yeah. And, and two hours goes pretty fast when you're talking to a lot of people. And it was always amazing to me that they would see the display, and they would have this puzzled look on their face, like, you know, and then they would say, are these purses for sale?


Kathleen 21:36

Right, right.


Jan 21:37

You know, that was a very common question. And that really led led, then, to May I tell you about the purse project? And so yeah, it was it was always a good lead-in. Have you thought about your Donor Dinner?


Mary 21:51

I have. I have lots of suggestions of where it might be. We need to think about logistics for parking and for people to get there. So, there's, there's a gazillion choices here.


Jan 22:03

Can you talk about what the Donor Dinner is, and and the purpose of it?


Mary 22:09

Well, I think the purpose, first and foremost, is to just get everyone to know each other, who are going to be standing in the booth and give you time to do your personal chatting, introduce yourself, talk about your family, how you've got into Sew Powerful so that when you're in the booth, that's just another piece of information that makes it easier to work together when you're there in the booth. And we were targeting for Thursday evening, after we had gotten the booth set up, thinking people would still be in the area. It could be that some of the people are coming from a little distance away, like you drive 20 miles. So, we would try to pick a restaurant that


Kathleen 22:50

Is easy to get to


Mary 22:51

Is easy to get to, not terribly expensive, wide variety of food choices.


Kathleen 22:54

And that doesn't have a lot of music. When we went to Chicago, I believe it was, and Jason and Cinnamon, and there were Donna Moscinski and a couple other people. We went to a place that had a live band and it was loud.


Jan 23:12



Kathleen 23:14

But it was fun. It was fun. And it was nice getting to know other people, you know, again, who have similar interests to you who are working on the same project you're working on, it was fun.


Mary 23:25

Well, and then you get sewing tips, you get tips on, you know, where you got your fabric. You got tips on how to decorate the purses differently, like, how to just understand what the program is all about. Because you'd have to tell, you have to tell others about it.


Kathleen 23:44

It is; you get to know people on a personal level.


Jan 23:46

Well, and you know, you can also invite local purse makers or even donors, if you're aware of that, just to join you for the dinner. They don't necessarily have to be people that are going to be in the booth.


Mary 23:58



Jan 23:59

One of the advantages of having a Sew Powerful booth in your hometown is that people can bring their finished purses to the booth. Tell tell our listeners about that.


Mary 24:13

Well, you know, there's some, there's some energy involved in getting your purses bagged up, packed up, take/drag to the post office. It costs money to mail them. So, the advantage of it here is if you bring them to the booth or even drop them off to me or Kathleen before


Kathleen 24:30



Mary 24:31

then now all of that effort is taken care of because it'll be shipped, packed up and shipped at the end of the show and the costs covered by someone else, not a purse maker.


Jan 24:42



Mary 24:43

And the nice thing is, she lives on the north side, I live on the south side. So we got them covered by all bases here.


Jan 24:50

Well, and this could be a call for purses so that you could display those at the show.


Kathleen 24:54

Exactly, exactly.


Jan 24:56



Mary 24:57

And as people drop them off, you know, we can either switch them out on the panels or, didn't you have a basket in Chicago where people brought their purses?


Kathleen 25:06

We did.


Mary 25:07

So you could see what other people have made. It's very inspiring to see the different purses that people make.


Kathleen 25:15

Oh, it's amazing to see, you know, what, what the different, using just different fabrics, but using the same pattern and how they can look so different.


Mary 25:24

And so lovely.


Kathleen 25:25

And lovely. Oh, my goodness, yeah, there have been some incredible ones we've seen.


Jan 25:30

I know at one, one show that I did, we had a nine-year-old person made the beginner purse. And of course, it was basic, and it wasn't perfect, but it was obviously recognizable as, as an, as a purse. And then we had people who had been doing it for years, and they were all fancy. And of course, the value of the purse is that it's a vessel of love to deliver the the reusable feminine hygiene supplies so the girls can stay in school. But yeah, it's just so fun to see all the different styles and techniques and embellishments and how people do straps and just, little details are amazing.


Kathleen 26:13

And when they hear the story too, I think that's when it really hits home, you know, when they hear what the purse is actually meant for. That's when it, that's when it really tugs at your heart.


Jan 26:25

Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. Well, Mary and Kathleen, Show Managers Extraordinaire,


Mary 26:33

So far, so good.


Kathleen 26:36

Yeah, so far, so good.


Jan 26:37

So far, so good. Thank you so much for your time. And this, this has been a really fun chat talking about Sew Powerful quilt shows. And if you're a listener, and you would like to volunteer, we still need many volunteers at many different shows. So, check out our website, the website under About Us and Volunteer Opportunities. And at the time we're recording this, we still have an opening for a couple of Show Managers for later in the year. So, if you listen to Mary and Kathleen, you know, we're going to walk you through it so it won't be overwhelming. It will be, it's not easy, we're not saying it's easy. We're saying you're going to need to put some effort into it. But we will hold your hand as you go through it. So


Kathleen 27:22



Jan 27:23

thank you to both of you. And it's been a pleasure. And I will talk with you soon. And in fact, I'm going to go to the Indianapolis show and be a booth volunteer. So, I think I need to fill out the form.


Mary 27:35

Would you fill out your form?


Jan 27:35

I guess I'll do that after we hang up here. So. Okay, well, thank you so much.


Mary 27:44



Kathleen 27:44

Thank you.


Mary 27:45

Bye Jan.


Jan 27:46



Jan 27:49

If what you've heard today inspires you to want to make a difference, I urge you to explore the Sew Powerful website at That's SEW POWERFUL dot ORG. The website has great information about the organization. It's where you can download the free purse patterns or even make a donation. We hope you will join us again next week when we bring you another Sew Powerful story. Thanks for listening. Now, go out and have a Sew Powerful day.


The Wisdom and Callings of Barbara Stroup

Meet a remarkable woman with a passion for helping others. Using her own life experiences and her deep and abiding faith in the Lord, Barbara Stroup has compassion for those who find themselves in challenging circumstances. Listen as Barbara shares her life story, amazing world travels, words of wisdom and surprising connection to Sew Powerful.


California Baptist University, Philippines, South America, Honduras, Nicaragua, Managua. South Africa India, Macedonia, widow, minister, widows and orphans, Teen Challenge Girls, Department of Social Services


Host: Jan Cancila
Guest: Barbara Stroup


We are Sew Powerful, How a Global Community of Seamstresses Is Changing Zambia One Girl at A Time, 2nd edition. By Jason G. Miles and Cinnamon, © 2016 & 2020 Jason G. Miles and Cinnamon, all rights reserved.


Jan Cancila, Host 00:04

Welcome to the Sew Powerful podcast. This is your host, Jan Cancila. You know the sound of my sewing machine means it's time for another episode. So, let's get started.


Jan 00:18

I want you to imagine a person who has a heart for service, is kind to others, loves the Lord and follows His calling when they see people in need. So, they build a ministry, and they get others to follow along. And then their passion becomes your passion, and you bring others along on an amazing journey. Plus, they are a charismatic bundle of energy. Now, you might think I'm describing Jason Miles, and you would be correct. But this description also fits a lovely woman named Barbara Stroup, who just happens to be Jason's mother and our podcast guest today. Welcome, Barbara Stroup. How are you?


Barbara Stroup, Guest 01:11

I'm well, thank you. Thank you very much.


Jan 01:13

We are so excited to talk with you and there is so much to uncover here, so so let's just get started. Barbara, where are we talking to you from today? Where are you?


Barbara 01:26

Yuba City, California. It's in approximately the middle of the California State.


Jan 01:31

Okay. And it's in the northern half of the state


Barbara 01:34

Northern half, where all the the fruits trees and all the beautiful things that we produce that feed a lot of people in our country.


Jan 01:41

Oh, how wonderful. And where are you from originally?


Barbara 01:45

I was born and raised in, about eight miles from here, in a small community. So, this is my native state.


Jan 01:52

Wow, that is so unusual to talk to a native Californian. Tell us a little bit about growing up as a child there in California. What was your family situation like there?


Barbara 02:06

I was the second child of four children. My Dad was a farmer. At the end of his career, he raised and had ranch fruit. In the summer, it was busy with harvest, harvesting peaches and prunes and walnuts. And my dad would be up early and leaving. And my dad had five siblings. My mother had four siblings, and we had many cousins. So, we went to school in the same school that my mom and dad went to, that their cousins, their siblings went to the same school, same high school. So, we had a plethora of many cousins. And that was good. It was real close time. And not everything was perfect, which, no family has everything perfect. But basically, we were kind of middle income. We weren't rich. We weren't poor. We had everything we needed. And I went off to college when I was 18 or so and got a degree from a university in Southern California called California Baptist University.


Jan 03:09

What did you study in college?


Barbara 03:11

Sociology and Psychology. That was my degree.


Jan 03:14

And that led to your career choice. Is that correct?


Barbara 03:18

Yes, it is.


Jan 03:19

So So tell us about your career.


Barbara 03:22

I worked for Department of Social Services in San Bernardino beginning, but then moved back to Yuba City and spent 25 years as a program manager, a social worker supervisor, supervising social workers who were working with low-income families who needed help, who had children, who needed a fresh start. Some of them had addictions, some of them had other circumstances, but we were working with them to try to get them self-sufficient and protect their children and be a positive supporters of the community that they lived in.


Jan 03:59

And I understand that you were a single mom, raising your children, is that correct?


Barbara 04:06

I had been married 15 years. And so, from the time Jason was nine and a half, 1980, till I married my second husband, I was a single mom. I had three older children, and Jason was the youngest. And so, I worked in my career, and I connected myself very closely with my church family. That was my lifeline, to be honest with you, and I continued to do what I needed to do as a single mom. It wasn't always easy, but I always had support of my parents, my husband's parents and family were very supportive of me. And so, time goes on. We moved along and my children grew up. And I continued my career and retired from Department of Social Services as a Program Manager four or five years before my second husband, and I got married and started actually ministering and going overseas on missions trips.


Jan 05:02

Okay. You've mentioned that you became a minister of your church. Is that correct?


Barbara 05:08

Well, not on staff at anybody's church. But


Jan 05:11



Barbara 05:11

at the end of the second marriage, I had a degree and I had been working with Teen Challenge Girls for 15 years and working in women's ministries, and my second husband just thought it would be good. He wanted me to get a minister's license. And that's how that happened. So, I did some studying and I had to take some tests, and I passed the requirements for our denomination, and I got this minister's license. That doesn't make me any different of a person, but I have this thing that says, I'm a minister,


Jan 05:40

Well cool. Okay, we're gonna come back to that in a moment. But you've mentioned Teen Challenge Girls a couple of times. Can you tell us a little bit about what that program is?


Barbara 05:50

Teen Challenge is a program that was started by a man about 60 years ago; his name was David Wilkerson. He went to New York and was troubled about some teenagers who were on trial, who were in addiction behaviors, and just started working with them. He felt a call to that. And it started this program called Teen Challenge, which was kind of a life changing program for people who had addictions, who had issues in their life, who could not function in society as responsible citizens, who needed help. And it's basically been a very, very successful program. Probably 85% of the women and men who go through Teen Challenge programs stay clean and sober, stay productive. And that's the highest percentage of any treatment programs that have been recorded at this point. So, it's still a very active Bible program for people who have life controlling problems. It doesn't have to just be addiction. Some people come in because they're suicidal, or they're depressed, or they have addictions, like I said, and it's, it's really a discipleship program. It's not just a rehab program.


Jan 07:01

And so, what was your role when when you work with them?


Barbara 07:04

When I work with them, I went in individually, because when they go in into the house, they can't share amongst themselves what their issues are, their problems. So, it was expedient and good for them to bring somebody in who could do that under the umbrella of my minister's license. I wasn't as a psychiatrist, I never went in that way; I couldn't do that. But I was a minister of the gospel. So, I would go in and women who wanted to talk to me personally, were allowed to do that on a weekly basis. A lot of times, it was women who just came in through the front door, who were just detoxing or just trying to get themselves clear-headed and stabilized, having just maybe come off the streets. So, I would go as I was called, and it became a weekly thing. They would, staff would select women who wanted to see me, and I would go in and talk to them. I'd say, you know what you say to me, it's confidential, unless I think you're gonna hurt yourself or somebody else, I have to share that. Otherwise, you can be assured I'm not gonna go tell anybody. And I think that confidence that the women had was a great blessing, because I've had many women come back over the years and tell me that just being able to talk to someone was so helpful.


Jan 08:10

That's amazing. That is amazing. Now, you alluded to some travels. And are these the travels that you and your husband, Jerry did together?


Barbara 08:21

The majority of them are, yes.


Jan 08:23

Well, tell us a little bit about number one, why were you making these trips? And where all did you go?


Barbara 08:29

We were making the trips because early in my husband's life, he went to a youth camp and really felt like the Lord had shown him that he would be ministering to people with many different cultures, not just locally where he lived in Oklahoma. And he felt very strongly about that and he became a minister of the gospel. Right after that he started going in that direction, went to Bible school, got a doctor's degree in ministry, as a matter of fact, from a university in Oklahoma, and began to be pastoring. He was pastoring churches, pastoring, pastoring. And so that vision actually hadn't happened yet. But when he and I got married in 2008, he resigned his church that he had been into it for 18 years, it's about 35 miles up in the foothills above where I live now. And we began this travel adventure, fulfilling that vision that my husband had when he was 15. He reconnected with a friend who had he had gone to college with, and then they were called him in a song. They traveled and sang, on the weekends when they were in college. My husband was a gifted pianist, gifted. And so, he would play the piano and they'd all sing, and he got reconnected with this man right after we got married. The man only live about 35 miles from Jerry. He never even knew that but, so he was ministering in the Philippines a lot. So, we started going to the Philippines. We went to South America, Honduras, Nicaragua, Managua. Jerry and I went to South Africa with Jason and Cinnamon. We went to India with ministers, friends, and we're able to minister there. We went to Macedonia and help build the first Bible college that Macedonia had ever had. We went to, I'm trying to think of all the places we did go. It was quite an adventure. It was wonderful. And it really was the fulfillment after 50 years, what Jerry saw in a vision and just really felt the Holy Spirit telling him when he was 15, really, actually became a reality when he and I got married. And we were both senior citizens at that point. But that didn't stop us because God opened that door, and it was this right season for us to do that.


Jan 10:46

Well, Barbara, I've noticed that you've spoken of your husband Jerry in the past tense. I understand he passed away last August. So, it's been less than a year, right?


Barbara 10:58



Jan 10:58

Yeah. So how would you want Jerry to be remembered? How would you describe Jerry?


Barbara 11:07

Jerry really was, and actually this was a statement that Jason made at his service. He was the beat and the physical part that I would say that exemplified Jesus in every way. He was a kind, loving man. He always said, You can't offend me (because he always, people in the church get offended about everything) because I'm dead in Christ. And you can't offend a dead man. You can't offend a dead person. So, he'd say you can't offend me. But he was a person that loved people. He touched people. Everywhere he went he he was a shepherd. He was a true shepherd. And he was, what he said and did, he really was that person. I was blessed to have him as a husband. He, he helped me. He really enlarged me. He, he covered me, and he just really helped me grow in some areas that I needed to grow in. It was a real God thing. And I felt very blessed to be his wife. I knew when we were married, I knew that I would be the one that buried him. He had buried two wives with cancer. He was a widower twice, gracious, but he moved on in his life. He never stayed in the past. I never could get him to compare with one of his former wives. He just wouldn't go there. He would not do that.


Jan 12:25

Smart man.


Barbara 12:27

Very wise man. But I feel nothing but thankfulness and being blessed as having had him in my life. He was a wonderful man. Godly, very godly man.


Jan 12:38

Well, thank you for sharing that, Barbara. We're gonna take a quick break. And when we come back, we're going to talk about a couple of things. Number one, how your life changed after Jerry passed away and how you recognize some of the struggles you were going through in others and what you've done about that (which, listeners, does this sound familiar? Anybody we know?). And number two, we want to talk about your trip to Zambia with Sew Powerful early early on. I think it was one of the first trips and we want to get your impressions of that as well and and talk a little bit about how you are a supporter of Sew Powerful. So, listeners please stay tuned. We will be back in one minute with Barbara Stroup.


Jan 13:23

Have you gotten the second edition of the We Are Sew Powerful book? This updated version of the original bestseller, 4.9 out of five stars by the way, is again authored by Sew Powerful co-founders, Jason and Cinnamon Miles. It is available on Amazon in paperback or for your Kindle reader. This latest edition is packed full of moving stories about how Sew Powerful came to be, the volunteers who make it happen, and the way this small movement has grown into a global mission to break the cycle of poverty through education and the dignity of work. And don't forget, when you place your order, if you use and designate Sew Powerful as your preferred charity, Amazon will donate a portion of your purchase right back to Sew Powerful. And now back to our podcast.


Jan 14:26

Welcome back. We have been speaking with Barbara Stroup, who is Jason Miles' Mom. Barbara just shared with us that her husband of 12 and a half years passed away in August of 2020. And so, for Barbara, she's been widowed for less than a year. Barbara when you first lost Jerry and you were a widow, what were some of the struggles that you faced? What were some of the needs that you had that maybe weren't being met?


Barbara 15:02

Well, first of all, I would like to share that I asked the Lord to show me when Jerry went to the hospital and give me a word. What, what, what's happening here, Lord? And that morning, came home and read My Daily Bread, which I read every day, and did get showered and tried to go back to the hospital. He was unconscious, he'd collapsed in our bedroom floor, and he didn't ever regained consciousness. But so, I came home, I read My Daily Bread, and I'd asked the Lord for word. And the scripture that was given to me with Psalms 116. "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of one of His faithful servants." I knew then that Jerry was in heaven, that he was, it was his time to go. That was a clear word to me. So even though his body had not completely stopped, that helped me going forward with that. I felt a great comfort from my church family, my family, my own children, a lot of support. It's just in that first, first time period, you're just kind of numb. I guess numb.


Barbara 16:10

What I said at one point, in the beginning of the process was I was, felt like I was hemorrhaging. That's the only way I can describe it emotionally, I'm assuming, obviously, not physically. But I had confidence, I knew the Lord was with me, I knew He'd give me a strong word. If you can make good out of a hard place, God directed my steps, He prepared me, He, He provided the money for the cremation, He gave me words. I really felt comfort in that even though my heart was bleeding, that there would be a sun again in my life, and progressively, and it's a progressive thing, it doesn't happen overnight, you begin to heal. And the memories became greater than the grief. Of what we had together, the man he was, the great memories that we had, those became my lifeline. And I had to watch myself not to make him an idol because I think women have a tendency to do that. But so, I stayed connected to the church, stayed connected with people who love me. And I became very busy in working through some of the financial things, the things I needed to deal with that Jerry had left. And there were some, there always is some, the business of life, the business of life.


Barbara 17:35

Working through those things for took me probably the first three months. My children, especially Jason and Cinnamon, came and stayed with me for a week, helped me with those things. And that was good because I didn't have my partner in life to say, what do you think about this? What should we do about this, you know? So, Jason and Cinnamon came alongside. I have a very dear friend who's been a friend for 45 years who was right there to help me. And so, we walked every day, one day at a time, and read the Word and stayed close, walked through the process of grieving, which you need to go, you have to go through it; it's a process. But there is sun gradually.


Barbara 18:18

My friend described grief process as a square with a big ball in it. And at the top of the square is this little red button. And in the beginning, because the ball is so big, that it hits that red button frequently, bang, bang, bang. But as time progresses, the ball starts decreasing and the smaller the ball gets, the less you hit that red button, which is the grief button. And that was such a good picture for me, because I see that has happened in my life. And so, Jerry's six children were very loving and kind to me and supportive. And I have seen how God has opened my eyes to what it means to be a widow. I had no clue. I always wanted to be a widow, though, is that interesting, that I would say that to the Lord? But in my years that I was walking and having to have another label on me, which was a divorced woman, I always said, Lord, I want to be a widow, please, I don't want to be a divorced woman. Because I felt like in the day where I was raised, being a divorced women in the church was not something that you looked on with favor, regardless of what the circumstances as you had to get a divorce. So I, it's kind of a joke to me when I think about it. I don't tell a lot of people, but I actually am a widow now. That's what I prayed for. But I stayed involved.


Jan 19:41

And you've told a lot of people now.


Barbara 19:44

Yeah. I am a widow. And as I walked through that, one of the ladies in our church just seems to have this just huge burden for the widows in our church and a ministry she'd worked in in Canada with widows and so I said, I'll help you with that. I guess I hadn't quite crossed the road from being an administrator and a women's ministries leader and pulling meetings together and being a widow. I guess I was kind of kinda in the middle of that road. So, I told Bridget I would be glad to help her with that. And we've had a couple of widows' functions. We tried to connect with our widows in our church, those who just seem to be out there in the periphery with no one contacting them. Sometimes they don't have families. They're lonely. That's not right, scripturally it's not right. God had a heart for the widows and orphans and He directs us. That's one of the greatest things is that taking care of the widows and orphans that we should do that. So, I got involved with Bridget. We've had a couple of widows meetings, we've contacted, we've sent letters out. Really just feel a burden and this door has just become wide open.


Jan 20:53

That's so inspirational, Barbara, thank you. I understand that you traveled to Zambia in 2015. That was the first official Sew Powerful trip for purse distributions. Can can you talk a little bit about that? And you went on that trip with Jerry, right?


Barbara 21:10

Exactly. Right. We were excited when we were invited, and we felt like physically we could go on that trip. We were supporters of Sew Powerful from the beginning. And we flew to Zambia, we met Esther, we went to the school. Those children were such a blessing, such a blessing. And when I reflect back, they love Jesus, they came out singing, they were happy, they were upbeat, they were smiling, and I, and I'm looking at their circumstances thinking God, it has to be You. These children are impoverished, they have nothing that we consider important in our world. They have one drinking fountain with the school with 900 children. They go home to, who knows, you know, mostly single mothers, that they're probably lucky to have that one meal a day that they were being fed at the school. And so, I'm kind of convicted in my own spirit about taking things for granted and how blessed we were in this country and, and got such a different picture. You don't have to have a lot of things to praise the Lord and be happy. It's an attitude that you take on yourself.


Jan 22:14

Hmm. And you said, you have a favorite scripture verse that you feel like everybody has a testimony. What is yours?


Barbara 22:24

My favorite scripture verse is Revelation 12:11. And that is that they overcame him (the dragon, the Satan) by the blood of the Lamb Jesus and the word of their testimony. And so, I really strongly believe our testimonies are, are the things that we just go forth and tell people about. You know what, what my testimony is, without the Lord Jesus, I probably would never have made it this far in my life, to be honest with you. So just the things that have happened to me and how the Lord has helped me through every season of my life, every issue of my life, and it has not all been pretty. But God has always been faithful to me.


Jan 23:03

That's amazing. Well, Barbara, that would be an inspirational place to wrap this up. And I want to thank you very much for your time and, and just sharing such personal and inspirational things with us. Thank you very much.


Barbara 23:19

Yes, you're very welcome. It's my privilege.


Jan 23:22

It's it's our privilege for sure. Have a great day. We will talk with you. Hopefully I'll get to meet you in person one of these days.


Barbara 23:28

Yes, that would be great.


Jan 23:29

That would be great. Okay, thank you very much. Bye-bye.


Barbara 23:32

You're welcome. Bye-bye.


Jan 23:36

If what you've heard today inspires you to want to make a difference, I urge you to explore the Sew Powerful website at That's SEW POWERFUL dot ORG. The website has great information about the organization. It's where you can download the free purse patterns or even make a donation. We hope you will join us again next week when we bring you another Sew Powerful story. Thanks for listening. Now, go out and have a Sew Powerful day.


Jan Cancila has been making purses for Sew Powerful since 2014. She serves the organization as Director, Global Volunteerism, the Area Manager for Shows and Events-Mid/South USA and as the Houston Regional Coordinator. She was a public speaking major at Hanover College and holds an MBA from Our Lady of the Lake University. Jan had a 25-year career with The Coca-Cola Company before owning and operating a linen and party rental business in Houston. She is married with two grown sons, a lovely daughter-in-law and two remarkable granddaughters. Jan’s published work includes more than 100 online articles for Reach Jan with comments or suggestions at