BLESSINGS BY THE BAGFUL
The Story of the Tapestries of Life Bag Project
Tapestries of Life Ministry (TLM) is a non-denominational organization whose founders, Steven and Catherine Brewer work to rescue children from the violence, child prostitution and drug trafficking of Juarez, Mexico. Compassion for the 10,000 homeless children there drives them to build a safe, Godly home for the children at Casa de Los Gemas (House of Gems), an orphanage now under construction in Guadalupe, Mexico. The also head, “Mercy Ministry”, which reaches the poor and homeless in the streets of Anapra, Loma Blanca and the surrounding areas of Juarez. That’s where my story, “Blessings By the Bagful” begins.
On a short term missions trip to Anapra with TLM, Mercy Ministry, my group met 250 families who had waited in line for hours in the hot Mexican sun to receive a few vegetables, eggs, beans and rice, etc. I was shocked to see such adverse poverty, cardboard homes, hungry, sick children without proper clothing or shoes, all so close to American soil. I was moved to tears watching young mothers with a baby in their arms and little ones at their side struggling to carry the few things we gave them. I felt their frustration as they went on their way not knowing if the eggs would make it home intact, or, if they’d lose some vegetables along the way. All they needed was a simple shopping bag to hold things. Things they desperately needed to feed their families.
God touched my heart at that moment and planted a seed for a solution to this needless problem. That night I shared with my friends my frustration, knowing ALL the conveniences I had, yet these dear people didn’t even own a shopping bag! I asked, “Why couldn’t we make bags for them, ones they could use and re-use? AND THEN, we could give them even MORE things that they need!” Thus the “Bag Project” began.
We returned to Minnesota eagerly awaiting the next fabric sale so we could begin buying fabric for our goal of 250 bags, 1 for each family. But, God had bigger plans. We received a call “out of the blue” from a businessman who had some surplus fabric. He said he had 2-500 yard rolls to donate! We thought, “We’ll never use all that fabric!” (“Oh ye of little faith!”), so, we agreed to only take 1 roll. My basement became a volunteer sweatshop where people cut fabric and sewed bags. Each time we finished a bag, my 4 year old granddaughter would ring a bell to celebrate. Our first year we made 405 bags, almost double our original goal! But, there’s more….
God continued a good work in us. We began to pray over every bag, for the family who would receive it, for their salvation, healing, and that God would provide for all their needs. One day during prayer God gave me a word of knowledge: God said if we filled the bags for the first time, He would remain faithful, and like the 5 loaves and 2 fishes (Mark 6:10-44), He would continue to fill the bags again and again. And so He has.
What goes in the bag? Enough food to feed a family of 4 for 1 week. Clothing, blankets, shoes, school supplies, sundries, reading glasses, clothesline, umbrellas, toys and much more. ALL BRAND NEW! But, most importantly, each bag holds a Spanish Bible!
One thing we’ve learned is you CAN’T out give God! He blesses this project again and again. Each year new businesses call us with “surplus fabric” to donate. We have NEVER had to buy fabric for the bags. This year we hope to complete 6,500 bags with over 100 people in 3 states sewing! We, prayerfully made over 11,000 bags by the end of 2006 and we still have more fabric waiting for us. We still need more volunteers to sew. Through God’s blessings we are now able to provide enough food for approximately 50,000 meals each year. Not to mention all the clothing, toys, blankets, Bibles, etc. Now, when I go to Anapra or Loma Blanca or Guadalupe, I still see people struggling to carry things home. But, today it is because of bags overflowing with blessings of food and clothing. ALL from God’s promise to fill and refill those bags. He is SO awesome!
I’m affectionately know as, “The Bag Lady” for organizing this project. It’s a title I am honored to have. I am privileged to serve my God allowing Him to work through me as He provides His BLESSINGS BY THE BAGFUL to the people of Mexico. Won’t you help us?
For more information on Tapestries of Life Ministries, how you can help to complete the orphanage, get involved with the bag project, donate items for the bags, and/or make a financial contribution, email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at: 915-764-2688.
Please help us bring the children home! God will give you blessings by the bagful too!
Name withheld upon request.
For bag making instructions just click the link below, print and sew!!