As a member of the ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church of America), Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Valley City participates in many mission projects that benefit people in developing countries.
One group, called The Good Samaritans, focuses just on quilt making.
“We have a group of 15 or so (14 ladies and one gentleman) who faithfully sew quilts every Tuesday for Lutheran World Relief and also give to Abused Persons Outreach Center and others that need a touch of love with a handmade quilt locally,” said Janice Stowman, chairperson of the church’s women’s group.
Hundreds of quilts are sent world wide each year and to graduating seniors of the church, the APOC, Barnes County Social Services and the WIC program.
On Saturday, the group will be selling their quilts at a mission fair fundraiser from 8:30-11 a.m. at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Valley City. A bake sale will also be held.
Also included in the mission fair is displays of the many mission projects. Another part will be the sale of Asante Network handcrafted items from women of Africa.
The fair is an effort to raise money to purchase more quilting materials, and the Women of Our Saviors, who sponsors the quilt and bake sale, give proceeds to many local, state and worldwide missions.
“Because our women’s group wants to give as much as they possibly can, that’s why we have fundraisers,” Stowman said.
The Good Samaritans meets every Tuesday, piecing together quilts to be sent to Lutheran World Relief, which is a mission of the ELCA. All ELCA churches work together for mission projects, including making school supplies kits and baby care kits along with the quilting project.
Ethel Gusaas, who is the chairperson of the quilters group, said in addition to making quilts, the group also makes lap robes for the veteran’s hospital in Fargo and baby quilts for all babies baptized in the church.
“We’re a busy group,” she said. “We enjoy each other’s comapny and enjoy making things for other people.”
Mission projects benefit people in poverty countries, many being in Africa, Stowman said, adding that some quilts go to the needy in the U.S.
“The quilts are used for tents, for warmth, they have many, many uses,” she said.
Stowman said the mission groups are also so happy to give locally.
“I see the joy of even our graduating seniors (receiving quilts),” she said.
“To get a handmade quilt, I think makes them feel really good and special and even more so for somebody who doesn’t have much. Anytime somebody gets something handmade, people can feel the love.”
“I think there’s nothing like cuddling up in a handmade quilt,” Gusaas said with a smile.
Stowman also said their school kit project has been very successful. This year, they sent 63 school kits to those in need.
“These kids don’t have the opportunity to go to school because they don’t have supplies,” Stowman explained. “School kits give them an opportunity to go to school.”
Stowman continued, “We who have so much we can share with people who you know don’t have anything.”
Stowman said she’s glad to be part of a concentrated effort of the ELCA. “We can do so much more when all of us work together.”