Posted on : Monday August 13, 2012

By Sharon Mager, BCM/D Correspondent

GLEN BURNIE, Md.—Pat Schwarz, a member of Glen Burnie Baptist Church, is a quilter. She belongs to the Friendship Quilters Club in Linthicum, where club members make dresses out of pillowcases for third world countries. Schwarz had never participated in that project, but when Glen Burnie Church partnered with Severna Park Baptist to make plans for a mission trip to Nicaragua in August, Schwarz thought that the dresses might be a perfect ministry.

“It was as if all of a sudden the Lord spoke to me and said the dresses are just what they need,” she said.

Schwarz explained that in poor countries, if children are poorly dressed they’re at a greater risk of getting attacked. The better-dressed children are assumed to be from a higher class and are usually left alone.

Schwarz planned a sew-in day and about 10 ladies from both churches, attended and made over 20 dresses. Others made dresses at home. Altogether, Schwarz collected over 100 dresses.

“Instead of the pillowcases with ties drawn through the top, we’re making them with pretty flowers, bows, buttons, pockets and appliques. These little girls are going to feel so special when they get these dresses,” she said.

Schwarz is also using scrap material to make more dresses. “Not every child is a standard pillowcase size.”

In fact, they’re taking dresses for girls from 15 months old to adults.

They’re also collecting t-shirts, shorts and swim trunks for boys along with headbands and hair clips for the girls.

“I’m so excited. We’re taking them to the villages. We’ll stay in an orphanage and take a bus and give them out.”

Schwarz is taking the project even further. While sewing, she thought of the adage about giving a boy a fish, and he’ll eat for a day and teaching him to fish and he will eat for the rest of his life.

She led an initiative to purchase a sewing machine, take it with them, along with material, and teach the villagers to sew.

Schwarz initially wasn’t going to go on the trip, but as she made the dresses, she began feeling God to lead her to take the step.

“The Lord just laid it on her heart. I just knew God was going to call her and lead her on the trip,” John Rudman, pastor of Glen Burnie Baptist Church, said with a smile.