13 women trained to sew with another 7 on the waiting list. 15+ children who have been part of our childcare program. Multiple projects completed, including tote bags, coffee cozies, infinity scarves. Piles of donated fabric received and upcycled into lovely products. Yes, all of these are elements of the Make Welcome story. As our story unfolds, growth seems to be the plot line of the latest chapter, both organizationally and in impact...and we need help!
We’ve got openings for volunteers in several key position. Might you be a part of Make Welcome’s story? Here’s what we’re looking for in a volunteer:
Someone who loves Jesus and wants to invest in the lives of refugee women & children.
Someone who is flexible - almost every class time involves a change of plans, so volunteers need to be able to adapt with grace!
Someone who puts service above personal comfort - sometimes the classroom is really hot. Sometimes there are language barriers that are hard to get past. Sometimes a screaming baby needs to held and comforted for long stretches. Whatever the case, service isn’t always easy, so we need volunteers who will embrace that.
Someone who wants to come alongside to both serve AND to learn - the women we work with are amazing. They’ve endured great hardships, and have as much (or more) to teach us as we have to give to them. Volunteers need to have an attitude of humility and see their work with Make Welcome as an opportunity for personal growth.
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August 25, 2012
I was unprepared, basket of peppers and zinnias in hand, yard-sale pots and pans in the back of the car. I was unprepared when she opened the door, ninety pounds of worn woman with black eyes deep in malnourished sockets. Black eyes that lit up and shone bright with delighted surprise at the simple gift in my hands. This was my first welcome, my first fresh-from-the-camps encounter, my first standing-so-close to the edge that I could almost see what her eyes had seen. I was unprepared. I may never find my breath.
September 9, 2012
I saw her again yesterday, walking in the parking lot of the apartments many refugees call home. I did not recognize her at first, long black hair shining down her back, cheerful blue skirt billowing in the breeze. Our eyes met. She smiled and waved furiously, recognizing the car that brought the basket. Her eyes, her wave, her posture: all revealed the beauty that hope brings, the health that nourishment brings. #Godatwork
March 29, 2015
A delectable aroma escaped the opened door. I hurried to leave my shoes on the step alongside dozens of other pairs as she took both my hands, ushering me into the crowded front room, into a birthday party unlike any I have ever attended. A pastor stood by the window, crepe paper flowers alongside his worn bible, speaking in one of the languages of Burma. I was quickly guided between rows of young children (sitting quietly! listening!) to a seat on the couch. My sister-in-Christ, Julia, friend of the family, partner in mission, sat on the floor next to me.
We listened. Our ears did not understand but our spirits were in agreement. We sang the songs with them, two languages at once to one tune. I wondered if this was how God hears all of us at the same time, hearts attuned even if the words are different.
We prayed, ending with the familiar “Amen”, this language of Hebrew knitting us. In harmony, in one language, we sang Happy Birthday, with an added verse: “May God bless you always.” The food—fried chicken, noodles, shredded vegetables, soup, agar, watermelon, pineapple cake with strawberries—poured out from the tiny kitchen in a steady stream, served by children, loaded onto 6’ round tables with 8” legs. Knee to knee on the floor, conversations and laughter flowed.
And what of the woman? She beamed. She glowed resplendent in lavender, in a handmade, wrapped-and-tucked skirt and side-buttoned blouse sent in love from another woman half a world away, where her two eldest children had remained behind. Today she was celebrating birth and life. Today, she welcomed friends and church. Today, God was evident. #Godatwork
Today, she wrapped her arms around me.
- Written by Lisa Roszler, Make Welcome Sewing Instructor, Product Designer, Refugee Advocate, and Friend!
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