I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you
with inner strength through his Spirit. Ephesians 3:16
We first want to mention that we are so grateful to God for supplying funds for the classrooms. We have seen enough donated to build a much needed toilet and one classroom. The 6 hole toilet is finished and the classroom is well under way!
We've been keeping busy up to the end of February with the sewing school. We are right now taking a two week break. We finished a 6 week Advance Class which ended up lasting a month longer. It was our first time and even though we miscalculated the time schedule, all the students learned a lot about making long sleeve button-up shirts and pants. This was a first for these ladies to make pants that fit them. Yes they had to make a shirt and a pair of pants that fit them. I told them, because many of them have never worn pants, that they could do what they wanted with them after the class was over – use it as a rag, PJ's, or give them away – I didn't care, but they had to know how to make a pair of pants that would fit and be comfortable! It was quite the chatter in the class as each lady finished up their pants and had to model them and the shirt! That was one of the times I really wished I knew the language!!! So why did I make them make pants that they will likely never wear! UNIFORMS! Uniforms are an important item here. All the children that are able to attend school have to wear a uniform, and if you know how to sew you will likely be asked to make a uniform. So knowing how to sew a button-up shirt and pants is important. We ended up having 12 students receive certificates at the end of the class. Two of the ladies that were finished early (because they had their own machines and sewed both morning and afternoon) were sewing uniforms for children in a local school.
But this isn't all the excitement in the last few months. We had my sister Leona and her husband Fraser visit again. They were here for about 2 weeks and we had a great time showing them around. We were able to get them a visit in with the sponsor family they are supporting, and the family that another of my sisters' support too. Leona was able to teach the students a couple of items, a little fabric box and fabric flowers. They turned out great and I later asked the students what they did with it or used it for. Some put it on their coffee table as a conversation piece. Some have it displayed in their work place and hope to have offers to make more for others. Some have used it for sewing scraps! It has always been a treat to have a guest and have them teach something that is new and different. Fraser and Leona have been a great help to the ministry here and we are so ever grateful for their advice. Sometimes you just get stuck when you are looking from the inside. Many thanks to the two of you and many others who have been helpful in the ministry here.
We are really seeing the need to have a bigger place for our sewing school. We have been feeling that God is leading us to a bigger building or two. We see the need to have a 'production line' for those students that have graduated and don't have a machine of their own. We are looking for a place that would hold classrooms for beginners, production, storage, a place to sell items, and an office, and maybe a place for fixing machines (Peter's gotten pretty handy with that!) We are waiting patiently for God to reveal to us just how and where this will be. Patiently, because I'd really like to be in it before the new beginner class starts March 16, yes, I repeat patiently! We have just 'out grown' the room we are in, and we see more possibilities for those that have learned to sew. We are so excited!
We have had 5 students purchase machines from us since September. (Only a couple pictured here.) We buy the machines in Kigali and get them put together and set up for the buyers. Other students have gotten them also, and we are glad to hear that, and that they are continuing with sewing.
Peter has been able to visit other churches and wants to set up more speaking engagements. He sees that God is opening doors to this type of ministry. He has the great opportunity of teaching God's word every day in the sewing classroom, and has the students share occasionally what they have learned and that is exciting.
Please continue to pray for us and these items mentioned above. God bless you as you serve Him where you are and for supporting the ministry here.
Peter & Diane Salmond