What We’ve Learned
1st Corinthians 12:7 in The Message says “Each person is given something to do that shows who God is; everyone gets in on it, everyone benefits.”
Through our Peace Through Pieces quilting ministry we are using quilting as healing art for women who are victims of torture and sexual violence
in central Africa. A quilt is creative; a quilt is warm; a quilt brings comfort and blessing and healing. A quilt is beautiful. A quilt shows care and love.
Each of these attributes of a quilt is also an attribute of our loving God. Quilt making offers plenty of opportunity to show the world who God is.
Here are some of the things we have learned from this work.
We’ve learned that God works mightily in the ordinary. The smallest seemingly most insignificant things can grow the kingdom—a mustard seed, yeast,
an everyday thing such as quilt making. When God spoke to Moses from the burning bush sending him to release the captive Israelites Moses asked,
“Why should they believe me? What sign can I give?” God replied, “What’s in your hand?” God used the ordinary—a shepherd’s staff—
to show who he is. And he’s working through ordinary quilts in central Africa to show who he is.
We’ve learned that healing and peace come to the makers of a quilt as well as the receivers of a quilt.
We’ve learned that in Burundi when a friend is grieving or sick or troubled, a common token of comfort is to give that friend a blanket.
Quilting works hand-in-hand with an already existing tradition.
We’ve learned that when people are traumatized, their left brains shut down and they operate in right brain only.
One way to aid healing is to force left brain and right brain to work together. Quilting is an ideal activity to help bring about that healing—
you can’t do it without engaging both left and right brain together.
We’ve learned that in Burundi if you improve the life of a woman, you improve the life of a whole village.
We’ve learned that in every village where the women we’ve trained are quilting, everyone in the village wants what they have learned.
The women we are working with, women who have been raped, and rejected by their family and community—sometimes even forced to live out in the bush
—have not only been restored to their homes through the efforts of THARS, they have gone from being victims, essentially the “lepers”
of their communities, to being celebrities.
And finally, from the workshop we directed in 2008, we are seeing the healing of tribal hatred. When the 20 women gathered
for the week-long training, some were arrogant and rude and directed hurtful, hateful things towards the Twa women who were the teachers.
By the end of the week, they were apologizing to each other, saying how much they appreciated their teachers and saying that even though
they arrived from different backgrounds and different communities, they leave that place as friends. God is using quilt making to heal hatred
among the Hutu, Tutsi, and Twa tribes of central Africa
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