Sewing with Love and Faith
By Jenifer Jones
In South Asia TMS Global cross-cultural witnesses (CCWs) run a textile business that provides meaningful employment to people caught in the devastating cycle of extreme poverty. Women of primarily Muslim and Hindu backgrounds sew and embroider quilts, pillows, table linens, and more while earning fair wages in a safe, loving environment.
Running a business can be challenging under normal circumstances. Keeping a business going during a pandemic in a place with strict lockdowns, even more so. In the midst of so many challenges, it can be tempting to worry. In what follows, one CCW, Sarah Wilson,* shares two stories that reminded her to have hope and not be afraid.
One of our artisans, Anjali* has decided to start regularly attending a fellowship that meets in our neighborhood. Anjali’s husband, Vasant,* makes Hindu idols for a living. Vasant struggles with addiction and poor mental health. He is often abusive, and Anjali has suffered with depression as a result of the challenges in her home. Throughout the last year, Anjali has grown tremendously in her faith in Jesus. God has consistently given her peace, hope, and joy in the midst of her struggles.
My husband, Paul,* went with Anjali and her daughter for their first time to church. She’d been having some persistent leg pain, and during prayer time, God healed her! After fellowship, Anjali invited Paul for chai tea at their house. When they walked in, Anjali showed Paul the area where she used to keep her Hindu idols. She has cleaned the shelf, and in its place a poster of Jesus now hangs. Although she’s been walking with Jesus for years, the public, bold display of her faith to her husband, extended family, and neighbors is huge! The best part of this is that Vasant has experienced more peaceful, calm days since Anjali took the idols out of their home. Anjali’s heart cry and boldest prayer in this season is that Vasant would come to know the saving grace of Christ and join her in walking with Jesus.
Another artisan, Surya,* has been very honest and open about her reluctance to jump all in with Jesus. Although she believes Jesus is real and good, she doesn’t want to leave her Hindu idols behind. She’s afraid of how her extended family and neighbors will perceive her. She’s been in this lukewarm place for a while – studying the Word, praying, but continuing to worship her other gods. But recently there’s been a shift in her. After she heard Anjali’s testimony of God healing her leg pain, Surya decided to go to church the next Sunday.
The week leading up to her visit to church, our teammate David* got a serious infection that required treatment in another city. Surya prayed for him without ceasing. On Sunday, he was well enough to return home. Surya got up in front of the congregation to share her testimony of how God answered her prayers for David. At the end, she said, “I don’t know what is happening to me. All of a sudden, I have this faith. And I’d like you all to ask God to give me more.”
Over the weekend, Surya’s son, Anik,* developed a fever. As his health continued to worsen, Surya took him to the doctor and discovered that he had dengue fever. His platelets started rapidly declining, and he was admitted to the hospital. Our state was in the middle of a dengue epidemic. Many people in our neighborhood had died or become seriously ill, so Surya was very scared. While Anik was being admitted, Surya also came down with dengue. Our team went to her house to pray together for Surya. After we left, Surya’s fever completely went away. She then went to the hospital to stay with Anik and his platelets miraculously rose back into the normal range and he was able to be discharged! Surya messaged us, saying, “God really is always with me.”
As I think about how I’ve worried and fretted over the business and our community in light of what God is doing in our midst, I find myself overwhelmed at the goodness of our Heavenly Father. God really is always with us, and if we seek first his kingdom, the other stuff really will be added to us! Really. Truly. So, fear not!
Whatever our circumstances, we can take comfort in the fact that God is always with us. Whether he intervenes in miraculous ways like in the stories above or chooses to work in a different way in our lives, we know that we can trust him when he tells us to “fear not.”
Luke 12: 32-34 (ESV): “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
* Pseudonyms are used for security reasons.
Jenifer Jones is a writer with TMS Global. A mission organization in the Wesleyan tradition, TMS Global trains, mobilizes, and serves the body of Christ as it joins Jesus in His mission. It serves cross-cultural witnesses (currently in 28 countries) and provides mission training, coaching, and resourcing to local churches around the world. For more information, visit tms-global.org. Photo: Two artisans work on quilts as part of a business-as-mission in South Asia. Through relationships with the business owners and with each other, employees are learning to put their trust in Jesus.