Friday, April 9, 2010

Where does one begin?

Well, my lovely friends, I am back! And what an amazing and life changing experience it was too. How do I go about sharing such wonderful things in a blog post?! I would be here for ever, and so would you too, if I shared everything. So, it may take a few posts to fully cover my time in Indonesia - bear with me!

Firstly, I have to share with you some photos of all the clothes and items before I left. This photo was taken the day before I went, and it is every item I took over. 170 items of clothes! It may not look like much here, but the table was piled high with goodies!

And I started to worry if I would fit it all in my bag, and if I would be overweight in the luggage department! So, I began the long process of rolling each item, and then tying them into organised bundles. And, thankfully, everything fit into a big sports bag, including clothes for myself!

And before I go any further, I just have to share with you some utterly cute dresses and skirts that were made by Janice from my church - so gorgeous!

So, onto the exciting stuff! I won't bore you with all the details, but we arrived in Papua on the Saturday the 27th after 24hours of flying and a layover in Bali. I was able to go to the orphanage on Sunday afternoon to visit, and introduce myself. It was also a good opportunity to see how many kids there were, and what ages and sizes. Well, in Indonesia you are often told to expect one thing, and then you find out that what you have been told is completely irrelevant and different. So I was told there were 25-30 kids at this particular orphanage, half girls, half boys. Well, I soon found out that there were 45 kids, and only 1 girl!

Oh help, was my first and instant thought. Whilst I did have boys clothes, I had the majority of girls things! So on the monday, my two friends and I went back to the orphanage to hold a games afternoon. Which they LOVED. And of course, we loved it too! I was then able to give them most of the boys clothes, and a cute little 'care pack' for the young girl. I put some pretty dresses, skirts, underwear and a toy monkey in one of Mellys donated bags.

We left the clothes with the lady in charge of the orphanage to organize and we were invited back on thursday for a birthday party. So it was wonderful to come back and see some of the kids wearing the clothes! And especially wonderful to see the little girl in a pretty green dress, and so awfully proud of her dress! You could see the joy that was evident on her face, and you could see that she felt special and pretty and important. Was such a lovely moment.

Because I felt like I hadn't given enough, or done enough for the orphanage, I used some donated money, and some of my own, to buy 2-3 months worth of food for them. We bought four 20kg bags of rice, two 10kg boxes of dried noodles, 5 pounds of sugar, a box of tea, 15lt of cooking oil, some boxes of cakes/biscuts and some other things that I can't remember. When we brought all this to the orphanage on thursday - they were overjoyed and so very grateful! It's great to know that this food will last them a good long while.

So, you may be wondering, what happened with all the rest of the clothes? Well, there were a number of very poor families at a local church, with alot of daughters. So we were able to give a good bundle of clothes to them, and the blankets that were made. My friend in Papua, Ina, is going to give them the items and take some photos for me. I look forward to sharing them with you at a later date.

On our last day, we went by boat to a remote village called Bukisi. My friends and I had been there once before in 2007, so it was wonderful to journey back there. We were able to play some games and sing songs with the 40 something village kids, who are incredibly poor. I think these kids are in a worse off situation than the orphanage kids. We found out that the orphanage is helped and looked after by a local church, where as these village kids have nothing. So we were able to give them the rest of the clothes. They were so excited! You could easily tell how happy and thrilled they were. I think they all felt so special.

There is one particular story I want to share with you. My mum had bought a little pink teddy bear last year and had put it away in the cupboard as a future present. So when I was packing all the goodies, she handed me the teddy bear to take with me. I wasn't quite sure how I was going to give the teddy away, as I didn't want kids to miss out.

Anyway, there was a little girl at the place we were staying, called Joanne. I reckon she would have been about 6 years old perhaps. So I felt like I should give her the teddy bear. Well, her eyes practically lit up and she squealed and went running off to show her mum. I later found out that this little girl loves bears, and had been praying for a new teddy bear. I mean, how awesome is that? That just has God all over it. Awesome stuff.

Well, I'll love you and leave you for now. If you would like to see more photos from my trip, please check out this public link for photos on my facebook page, here and here.

So, I'm going to have a little break and do some sewing for myself, and then I'll be back into it for round two! Who wants to join me?!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

.sew awesome.

Wow. Like seriously, wow! I so can't believe that this time tomorrow I'll be in a plane on my way to Indonesia! How exciting!

And you want to know what is even more exciting??
170 items of clothing for the orphans!! Now THAT is AWESOME! I am completely stunned and amazed and gobsmacked at how much has suddenly come together! I seriously can't think of any words that I can write here to describe the joy I am feeling. Everything fails to come close!

I have some wonderful photos to share with you all, but as you can imagine, I'm a bit pressed for time today! I just wanted to write a quick post, and also to say a HUGE thank you to everyone who has helped with Sew Blessed. To everyone who has made something, donated something, bought something, given money, prayed for me, and encouraged me - you are all such wonderful people. And you all know who you are - and I'm so grateful for each and every one of you.

Well, I won't be back till after Easter - so be prepared for some long posts and lots and lots of photos!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

So close!

I seriously can't believe that this time next week I will be in Indonesia! As much as I'm really excited, I'm also incredibly nervous and anxious. I keep thinking of all these things I want and need to be doing between then and now and wondering how I'm going to get it all done.

I was actually starting to get a bit stressed this week and feeling very unprepared for the trip. Not just physically and emotionally, but spiritually. Over the last couple of weeks, I haven't really had much time to sit and pray about the trip and really dedicate it to God.

But thankfully I was able to take some time out this week and really sit and pour my heart out to God. And His wonderful peace instantly invaded me and took away all the stress and worry I had been feeling. I stopped looking at the problems around me and turned my focus and attention back onto God. This is His trip to worry about and plan - not mine, so that has taken a great weight off my shoulders.

So, we fly out at 10:55am Friday morning (the 26th,) and I'll be back on the 5th of April. I can't wait to share with you all about my trip when I get back. Hopefully I'll have some amazing stories and experiences to share.
I will probably put another post up here before I leave, and I might get my mum to update this for me whilst I'm over in Indonesia, but I just wanted to say a huge thank you to everyone. Thank you to all of the kind and generous people who have donated fabric, elastic, finished items, bought items, blankets and toys. You are such amazing people and I'm so blessed by you! And a thank you for all the prayers and support I have recieved for this trip and journey - it wouldn't be possible without prayer! At the moment I have nearly 100 items to take over to Papua - how awesome is that!?! I wouldn't be anywhere near that target without wonderful donations. I'm so excited to see what God is going to do during this trip - I know He has big plans!

And finally, check out the pictures of some of the donated items I have been recieving. These have come from wonderful ladies in my church - thank you so much ladies!!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

My time in Indonesia....

I've had some people ask about the time I spent in Indonesia in 2007. So I thought I would write up a post about my adventures for anyone who is keen to read to it.
During 2007 I was involved with Youth with a Mission, which is a worldwide christian organisation. As part of the course I did with YWAM, there was a 2 month overseas mission component. So our team, which consisted of 4 staff members, and 7 students, went to Borneo and Papua.

(Photos clockwise from top left: Our welcome to Indonesia when the van broke down; organising a games day carnival for orphans in Borneo; a small wooden house we stayed at; some local village kids playing in the river; and us washing our dishes in the same river.)

This was my first time overseas, and I was none too eager to leave the comforts of home and life in Australia! And let me tell you, the culture shock was immense! I remember arriving in this tiny and dirty airport in Pontianak (capital of Borneo,) and being picked up by the local YWAM team in a rather old and very sad looking van. Well, soon into our hour long journey, the van broke down, and there we were, pushing it along the side of the road. And this was our introduction to Borneo!

We primarily lived in remote villages, and just lived and worked with the locals. We often stayed at a pastors house, and by house, I mean a wooden shack. We were very fortunate if we had access to a 'squatty potty' and more often than not we would bathe in the river, wash our clothes in the river, and wash our dishes in the river. Goodness knows what people were doing further upstream in that river!! It didn't bare thinking about!

(Photos clockwise from top left: Myself and Anna the girl from the Leperosy hospital; a beautiful beach in Borneo; a common form of transport in Indo - by dump truck! Incase you can't tell, there are about 20 people in the back of it; And finally, our missions team, with a local pastor, center.)

We preached in churches, held kids ministry times, did open air evangelism, led worship, slashed rice fields for the locals, planted cocoa trees, led christian seminars, painted an orphanage and fixed their roof, visited homes, prayed for people and played volleyball, amongst many, many other things. Actually, we played alot of volleyball. They are mad about volleyball over there!!

All through our time there, again and again, we would see God's grace in action. We were completely naive, and had no idea what we were doing. But God knew. And He worked and spoke through our sometimes feeble attempts. He touched hearts and changed lives. All up we saw 94 people come to know Christ and have a relationship with Him. And we were able to baptise 4 people. We saw a mans leg healed after praying for him. Amazing things happened, and I have so many stories I could share with you all. Hopefully some of these photos might give you a glimpse.

(Photos clockwise from top left: Myself praying for a young girl in Papua; playing with kids; our turn to ride in the back of a dump truck {incredibly fun and scary at the same time!}; Myself and my friend Rachel baptising a young man, Wanto in the river; preaching in the open air in Papua; and the center photo is me and my friend Kim singing an Indonesian song we had learnt.)

And whilst it was an amazing and wonderful time of my life, it was also the hardest thing I have ever had to do. I missed my family dreadfully. There were no comforts there. The electricity was frequently not working, the heat and humidity was immense, and drinking water was either boiled or bought. The boiled water tasted like smoke and was hot to drink. The food was incredibly spicy (which some of our team loved!) Me, on the other hand, lived off white rice and fried chicken for 2 months! No such thing as a fridge over there either, so the chicken that was cooked in the morning, was left outside for lunch and dinner. 'Twas truly a miracle that we didn't get more sick than what we did!! And let me tell you, going to those places made me truly realise how much we take our lives for granted. To be able to turn on the tap and drink clean water is such a blessing.

(Photos clockwise from top left: our knights in a leaky tin boat! On our return from a village our boat ran out of petrol. Thankfully some passers by saw us and gave us a tow!; standing in front of the monument built to commemorate the 100 year anniversary of missionaries coming to Bukisi, a small remote village; kids ministry in Papua; Team member Jimmi found a water snake right in the spot where we bathed!; and last but not least - me holding a python Jimmi found outside where we sleep! And no, I don't make it a habit of holding wild snakes!)

Even though we were going with the goal to help and bless others, I really think that we were helped and blessed more. I remember going to a leperosy hospital run by Catholic nuns in Borneo. I admit, at first I felt quite uncomfortable, seeing these people in such horrible condition. Most of them were missing fingers or legs or arms.
But I remember this beautiful girl, Anna, who came up to me and put her hand in mine. I looked down at her hand in mine, and noticed she was missing most of her fingers. But I looked into her face, and that was shining with such incredible love and joy. It was like her face was shining a reflection of Jesus. And I felt so ashamed of myself, that I cried and gave her a hug. And well, she never left my side the whole time we were there. I was able to play chess with her (another game the Indonesians love!) and pray for her. I will never forget the impact that Anna has had on my life. As much as I was there to help her, I think I got the most help.

And I guess that is why I just want to go back and continue to help them. There is so much need over there, and I just feel so honoured that God has entrusted this mission to my care. That He has the faith in me to carry it through.

I think it would be fitting to finish off this post with my saying/motto for my time in Indonesia, which was "Puji Tuhan." Which in english, simply means, "Praise God."

If you would like to see more photos from my time in Indonesia, I have some albums on facebook, here, here and here.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Full steam ahead!

Myself, and a gorgeous girl from a village in Borneo.

Well, things have been rather busy here of late. Mainly because I am madly sewing items as I'm going to Papua in March! Yes, March!! And yes, it's actually happening!

Some of the blankets I have been making. The polar fleece was part of a huge donation by Lisa, and the cotton fabric is donated by my boss. I figure the polar fleece will be nice and soft for kids to lie on, but also useful as a covering too. Suprisingly it gets quite cold in the high mountain regions of Papua.

My friend Lael and I have reserved our flights, and we will be jetting off on the 27th of March, and coming back on the 6th of April. Whilst I am extremely excited, and a wee bit nervous, I am also pretty anxious to make sure I have enough things sewn and made to make the trip worth my while.

I've actually been counting down the days, and trying to mathematically work out how many dresses I can make in a day, or how many pairs of shorts I can make in however many weeks. And even though my maths is not my strong point, I've been coming to the conclussion that I just don't have enough time to do everything I need to do, and make everything I need to make.With everything else going on in my life at the moment, I was really starting to worry that I wouldn't make the deadline for our trip and have enough things made.

I was actually starting to panic and get quite stressed! And I was beginning to think I would have to postpone the trip.

Kids, playing in the river.

But, our amazing and great and wonderful God had it all in His hand. He answered my pathetic cries for help in a wonderful way, by having me cross paths with a wonderful woman from my church, Janice.
She loves to make clothes, and always wanted to make clothes for kids overseas, and is now very excitedly making clothes for Sew Blessed! How wonderful is that?! I just feel so blessed by her kindness and generosity, and by Gods goodness. He is always so faithful to provide, and I love being on this journey with Him. Talk about exciting and never a dull moment!

Another simple blanket. Don't you just love that colourful polar fleece?!

So a huge thank you to Janice for helping with Sew Blessed!

And another huge thank you to my wonderful boss, Gail, and her daughter Rebecca, who donated 4 big bolts of fabric!! I'm sure you can imagine how thrilled I was to recieve these beautiful bolts. They are just perfect!

I've already been making some skirts and dresses from the pink spot fabric, and blankets too from the cream and green fabric.

So once again, a big thank you to Gail and Rebecca of Patchwork with Gail B. Please, if you are a patchworker, or a sewer, check out their website, or visit the store in Bayswater, VIC. Please support them as they helped to support us! :)

And finally, two awfully pretty fabrics which were donated by my lovely friend Steph, in South Australia. Thanks so much Steph! I'm already making a cute as dress from the blue spot.

Talk about exciting times here at Sew Blessed!! I can't believe my dream and vision from God is actually happening, and I'm going to fulfill what we set out and planned to do. Exciting stuff!!

"The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him." Psalm 28:7

Ladies in Papua

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

December Update.

I'm sure I'm not the only one scratching my head, wondering what happened to August and September. I mean, it was only June a few weeks ago, right?

Sometimes it scares me how fast the days go by. Which always reminds me that I need to cherish each day I have on this earth, and use my days wisely. I'm making a determined change to stop wasting time watching TV or reading useless things, but to do something else with my time, and be wise in how I spend it.

I don't want to get to the end of my life and go, "what happened to my 20's? What did I do in my 30's?" I want to enjoy every moment, and most importantly, live each moment for God.

So, what has been happening here at Sew Blessed?
Well, I had the most wonderful shock and suprise when Lisa (no blog) donated 3 huge garbage bags full of kids fabrics and polar fleece!! I couldn't wipe the smile off my face for days!! Thank you so so VERY much to Lisa for her most generous donation. I already have so many ideas of what to make with the gorgeous fabric.

I'm still hoping and aiming toward going to Indonesia in March. I really need to get a wriggle on though and make some more items. If by some chance I have not got enough things made, I might have to postpone my trip and go later in the year.

But here are some more cuties that I have sewn lately. The pretty purple and pink small floral fabric was donated by Sandy (no blog,) and I'm sure some little girls are going to just love it!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

All things happen for a reason...

You know, I don't believe in conincidences. I really don't. I seriously believe that everything that happens in my life is a result of God and His hand at work. For example, the day I got stuck behind an awfully slow car on the road meant I was 1 minute late in missing an accident at an intersection up ahead. Something that I was impatient and annoyed about probably saved my life.

And it doesn't just happen to me either. I am sure alot of you have similar stories. My friend stopped at a red light a number of years ago late at night. When the lights turned green, his car wouldn't move forward. The car was running, but no matter how hard he pressed the gas, it would not move. (And no - he didn't have the hand brake on!) A few seconds later, a massive truck ran through the intersection in the opposite direction on the red light. As soon as the truck passed through, my friends car moved forward. True story! How great is our God?!

And it's not just in the big things of life either that I don't think coincidences exist, but in the small, seemingly unimportant bits too. Like with my sewing for Sew Blessed. See the pink dress up above? The pink material was a pillowcase I found at an Op shop a few months back. I wanted to use some of Mellys gorgeous fabric to 'pretty it up,' so found the lovely oval shaped fabric that matched in perfectly. That fabric from Melly was already cut into rectangles. I had to have a chuckle when I realised that the rectangles were the exact same width as the pillowcase, even minus the seam allowances!

I know some people would say that's just sheer luck and a coincidence, but no. I believe God has a hand in it all. Sometimes we just need to be open to let Him work. And open our eyes to see Him work.

So I just had to share some of the bits I have been making of late! Yay for finally having some time to sew!! The blue shorts were the first ever pair of shorts I have made. And I am so chuffed with them! I didn't have a pattern, but just sort of drew and guessed - and yay, they worked! Once again, I used some of Mellys fabric to smarten them up. I think I'll be making alot of shorts as the boys are constantly wearing them for playing and swimming etc.

I made the pretty green dress yesterday, once again using a pillowcase and some of Mellys donated fabric. I love this dress! I just added a simple casing around the middle with some Amy Butlers Daisy Chain, and threaded elastic through. Just to give it some shape and body. We think this dress should fit an 8-10 year old.

Oh, and some other big news. A dear friend of mine is going to Indonesia in March next year, and I am hopefully going to tag along with her! She is going to Bali and Papua for 2 weeks, which is exactly where I wanted to go. So I am now madly sewing items to be ready in time! I can't wait!!!
So I shall leave you with a photo of a beautiful beach in Papua....
... and the damaging after effects of such a beach, with sunburn!!
I still have scars on my shoulders!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

In awe...

You know, back when God gave me the idea of Sew Blessed, I must admit I had some narrow vision at the time. I only saw this as a small-scale-one-woman-mission. But God has bigger things in mind than what I can only imagine, and I am constantly in awe when people want to get involved with my project and help. Not in awe that people are generous, for I know you are! But just in awe that people are catching the vision that God has placed in my heart. And that is exciting!

And God is going over and above, and exceeding my every expectation with Sew Blessed. When I dream small, He dreams big! So, I have recieved two wonderful donations that I would like to share with you.

I had the most lovely email a few weeks back from the talented and fabulous Melly, from Melly and Me. She had seen my Sew Blessed blog, wanted to get invovled and help, and she said she would send me some goodies in the mail.

Now, what a suprise I got when this arrived soon after....

My jaw was seriously on the ground, as I excitedly explored through the goodies Melly had sent.

Not only did she send me a stack of gorgeous fabric from her stash, she also sent some of her fantastic Melly and Me patterns so I can make some toys for the kids! And she included 2 of her gorgeous bags! Look at the bags! Aren't they super cute?!

Well, I'm sure you can imagine my excitement! So a HUGE thank you to Melly for these wonderful items. I can't wait to start making some toys for the kids!
And to anyone else reading, go visit Mellys blog and check out her great patterns!

Now onto my second donation, which I just recieved in the mail this morning. A sewing friend of mine from Western Australia, Linda, has once again shocked me by all these fantastic items she sent me.

Linda has made 16 fabulous pairs of shorts, 6 pretty skirts, and has also included a massive roll of elastic, a pack of ric rac and lace, and a huge spool of thread!! Wow! Thank you so much Linda! It is all just wonderful and perfect.

So yes, if I wasn't feeling so dreadfully ill with the flu I would be jumping around with joy and excitement! Such wonderful donations, and once again - a huge thank you!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

An update..

(Papuan kids playing Soccer)

Well, things are getting quite exciting here! I have had alot of people interested in helping in some way with Sew Blessed, which is such an encouragment to me! It is wonderful when other people catch my idea and vision, and get involved and help. What a joy!

I've had ladies from all over the world keen to be involved, which is just fantastic! So a huge thank you to you all! So many children are going to be blessed by your generosity.

I have also been feeling led to consider Papua as a place for my first trip. I went there in 2007, and I have a number of contacts there. I've been told there is an orphange with 25 kids in need of some love and care. So I'm praying about this, and seeing where God would lead us to go.

Isn't this little girl just delightful? We went to their village for a day (would you believe, their village is called K19? Most of these people have been placed in areas by the government, and the villages are given numbered names to keep an easy record of places and people.)
Anyway, this little girl was so shy, but she kept following me around for the whole day, and eventually I was able to snap this photo of her. What a darling she is.

Thank you to my friend Julie for this donation of wonderful fabric! I can already picture little dresses, and headscarves, and toys, and all sorts of good things! Thanks Julie!

"The less people speak of their greatness, the more we think of it"

Sir Fances Bacon

Monday, August 10, 2009

How to help?

I've had people asking me how they can get involved with "Sew Blessed,' and help out. So I thought I would outline a few suggestions of ways you can get involved.

Basically I need fabric to make items, whether it be clothes or little toys. Now, any fabric is welcome, including fabric from a shop (say Spotlight) off the bolt, or good secondhand items, like pillow cases, sheets and old cotton shirts etc. As long as the fabric is still in good useable condition, I can make plenty of items from things like pillow cases or shirts. Maybe raid your linen closets and see what you no longer need and send it in. Or go through your husbands wardrobe and find some shirts he no longer wears. It's amazing what you can actually make from a mens shirt! I've made a dress from one, and once a few cute trimmings are added, like some ribbon, and buttons -it's gorgeous!

If you can sew, and you'd like to help make items - go for it! I've included a few links on the left in my sidebar which are for easy tutorials for making clothes. Or you can come up with something yourself!
If you have any other ideas, or suggestions to get involved, please contact me - I'd love to hear from you.

And just to finish off with a photo of some gorgeous fabric that has been donated. Thank you Sandy for sending it in - it's just gorgeous, and I'm so blessed by your generosity. Watch out for coming photos of the finished items!