I never could have predicted that when I started to make quilting my hobby it would be used for a much greater purpose.
When my husband and I moved to Puxin to join our ministry team, my neighbour Shujuan showed me the best places to buy groceries and taught me how to cook simple Taiwanese meals. Every time Shujuan stopped by our house she brought a bag of seasonal produce, steamed buns, or fresh grapes from their field. How could I ever repay such generosity?
A bright idea
One day, Shujuan saw a bright coloured quilt I had made and commented on it. Right then I knew what I could do. I would teach her how to make a quilt. Over the next three months, every Tuesday Shujuan came over to my house. We chatted away while we cut, arranged, pinned, and sewed. By the time we finished hand-sewing the binding onto the edge of the quilt we had talked about food, Thanksgiving, the difference between Catholics and evangelical Christians, temple worship, heaven, and Christmas. One Tuesday a friend of hers was driving by my house and saw Shujuan’s scooter sitting outside. She immediately called Shujuan and asked where she was.
Before I knew it, her friend was sitting across from me and the three of us continued in conversation. As with most people, she asked me why we had come to Taiwan. I shared with them the restorative work God had done between myself and my parents and how God wanted to do the same for families in Taiwan. Just then, my husband poked his head into the room to ask me if I’d like him to buy me a tea. I gave him my order and thanked him as he left.
Shujuan chimed in, ‘You two are so sweet. Why?’ she asked. You see, generally speaking, the working-class Taiwanese rarely show such affection toward one another, especially in front of others. The easy answer was, because he loves me of course, but it was more than that. I thought for a moment. ‘Because God loves us,’ I replied. ‘My husband uses God’s love to love me and I use God’s love to love him.’ It was the first time they had ever heard that there is a God who loves and that we could experience this love ourselves.
I would go on to use quilting to disciple young girls as well. We’d read a Bible story together and then start to create a block with an image from the story. As we quilted, we’d discuss the story, our lives, God, and how the story could help us. By the end, they would have a quilt full of stories to remember who God is, what he desires for us, and be able to share these stories with others.
You see, in God’s hands, quilting becomes a tool to build relationships with people and introduce them to him.