Can a Sewing Machine be the Means by which a Woman can Leave Prostitution to Pursue a Better Life?

Can a Sewing Machine be the means by which a woman can leave prostitution to pursue a better life?

An Open Letter to the Ladies of Crosspoint church in Georgia
Dear Ladies of Crosspoint,
Thank you again so much for your gift of purchasing a sewing machine to provide a Rwandan lady the ability to earn a living for her family.
I’m especially thrilled to tell you how your sewing machine is being used to impact a life.
When I first came to Rwanda, I met an adolescent boy in a local shop where I would often stop for a drink or snack. He was always kind and courteous, and working anytime the store was open. Eventually, I came to know him, and he is currently one of our vocational students working hard to be able to become a mechanic and driver to afford a better living.
Shortly before I left for the USA this fall, he confided in me that his mother had again been picked up again by the police in her job selling herself in the streets. Unfortunately, here, women often turn to this lifestyle for survival. They have children to feed, no husband or family to help support, no means of getting a job or earning an upright living, and poor choices turn to a life that continues to spiral.
When I returned to Rwanda, I sat down with this student and his mom to see what other vocational options might be possibilities and to see whether Love Alive could help. I asked did she have any skills. Well, as a matter of fact, years ago she used to sew, but long ago either had to sell the machine to pay an urgent fee, or lost the job where she had use of a machine. Now purchasing a machine was out of her capabilities, so her skill was of no use. I talked with her at length about my desire to help her be able to get a respectable, moral, safe (Aids is widespread here) job, and whether she would be willing to commit to using sewing to make a living and give up her “night job.” She was thrilled.
She informed me she is a Christian, she’s willing to work hard and willing to use this machine to have a better life not only with daily provision, but ending the immoral ways she had been using for survival. We have also bought her extra sewing materials of various threads, cloth, needles, pins, bobbins, scissors, machine oil, and her first month’s rent at the cooperative where women gather together in the center and people bring to them what they need to have sewn.
Please pray for her, that she will be able to sew well and have enough business that she will be able to earn enough money each month for rent and food for her family. Also pray that God will bless her efforts to work hard in an honorable fashion, and furthermore, that she will resist the devil’s temptations to return to a former lifestyle. (When work gets slow, and food is lacking, it is reasonably tempting for a woman to think that just one night will help her financial situation. The change in lifestyle in some ways is similar to ceasing an addiction.)
Ladies of Crosspoint, I thank you personally for your generosity, and your desire to help a woman you have never met. She has repeatedly told me how happy she is and how blessed she feels. As I was leaving her home, the day I gave her your sewing machine, her older son told me, I think this was the best day of my life.
Thank you for making a difference in a life and in a family.
God bless you.

Trainings, Dinners, MP3s and Goats

Trainings, Dinners, MP3s and Goats

What do Conferences, Trainings, Dinners, Goats and MP3 players all have in common? Each can be used to show compassion and share Jesus.
As I sit inside my home, I hear my neighbor girls listening to Bible stories via Solar-powered MP3 Players, pre-loaded with hours and hours of the Bible in their language. I had brought several of these devices with me and had lent them one a few months ago. They continue to listen day after day, repeating the same stories and songs without growing tired of them. About a month ago, my neighbor told me that the girls had stated, “We think Laura wants us to accept Jesus. She gave us all these Bible stories.” Just this week both of them came to tell me that they have started going to church, have accepted Christ, and have set a date to be baptized. I am so thankful for technology that allows me to share the Gospel clearly even while I continue to learn the language. *Neither of these girls is in a good situation. I continue to work with their appropriate guardians to try to improve their physical environment and allow them an education or vocational training.
I was invited to take part in 2 youth conferences this past month, both held in rural villages. There I had the opportunity to speak and encourage these youth with God’s purpose for their lives and finding their identity in Christ. We also held Bible trivia with prizes of Bibles in order to distribute 30 Bibles throughout these churches, where very few persons have a Bible. While I share photos on Face Book, I wish I could video for you the way they jump and shout praises to God, kiss their Bibles and hold them close upon receiving their first Bible. Once one has a Bible it is generally shared with family and friends. One boy showed me this week the schedule he had made up among his friends for who had the Bible which days.
I continue to visit the Sunday Schools begun following our first Sunday school training to encourage the new teachers and help them in their new ministries. Subsequently, we are gearing up for a second training involving 15 churches in another area this next week.
We were able to launch our sustainable projects this month with the giving of 6 goats and several chickens to members of a local congregation in an impoverished village. The church leaders voted to choose the families who would be the first recipients of the animals, then we held a ceremony to give the goats. Each recipient enters a contract with the church to keep the goat until at least one baby goat has been given to another family in the church or community, then the goat is his to keep, sell or eat. The church members are thrilled about this project. While some families were chosen on basis of need, at some point many of these members are equally in need. I appreciated that one lady was chosen specifically as an evangelization tool for her family. This young lady has continued to be faithful despite much antagonism from her non-believing family. Just last month she became the Sunday school teacher for the children in our church. The leaders chose to give her and her family a goat as a display of compassion from the church to their family.
We ended the month with a special dinner that I’ve called “Sienna’s Supper.” Luke 14:13 states, “But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.” While I was wanting to hold an outreach specifically targeting the many crippled, blind and withered that beg in the streets, a young girl, named Sienna, sent me her saved-up allowance money asking me to use it for food for those in need. We held a feast at a fine local restaurant where 23 of our invited guests from the streets came and enjoyed fellowship, food and compassion. I hope we will hold a larger feast at Christmas time.
I am already working with local churches to plan for multiple Vacation Bible Schools to be held in November and December when children here are out of school; however, in the meantime, I will be returning to the States for about 6 weeks to obtain visa paperwork and visit many of you.
I look forward to seeing many of you soon. As always, thank you immensely for your prayers, encouragement and support!
For His Glory,
Laura Yockey

*For details on Sienna’s Supper, see previous blog: https://lovealiveinternational.com/2013/08/31/siennas-supper/