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Threads and Webs
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By Wanda J. Pratt

People who sew have lots of threads — usually all over themselves, their house, and whatever work they are doing. People who use the Internet also have threads and sometimes these web threads and the sewing threads come together. Such a thing has happened to me recently to stitch me to some children in South East Africa through some people I don’t even know in London, Ontario. A friend sent me a request for some of my excess fabric stash for another friend of hers doing a mission project. That other friend was from London, Lynn Hill.

Lyn Hill from New St. James Presbyterian Church in London had gone to Malawi in 2009 along with other Presbyterian ladies from across Canada as a study tour to see how their money was used. The group saw Orphan and Vulnerable Children Centres in various areas, distribution programs for drugs and information for HIV/AIDS and clean water projects.

During their fact finding tour, they found one village which badly needed a centre for Orphans and Vulnerable children. They saw a pile of bricks there that the villagers had made from mud, straw, dung etc. They also noticed that the pile had grass growing out of the top. When Lyn and the ladies asked about the bricks, they were told that the village had been waiting for three years to make the money for the cement, rafters, and tin sheeting for the roof. The missionaries already working in the village estimated that it would cost aprox. $15,000-$18,000 US to complete the work.

Once back in London, Lyn and three others gave presentation to local groups showing the project. New St. James also had fund raising events raising the money in about four months.

Lyn and Cathy Reid returned to Malawi in 2011 where they were able to work in the new Community Based Care Centre. The new name took some of the stigma from being an orphan. About 65 children arrived at the Care Centre each morning about 7:30 where they are given a meal of fortified porridge. When the children left at 11:30 a.m. they had been fed some fortified porridge which was often the only meal they had that day. By the end of that one month the Centre was serving 100 children each day.

At the Centre's Grand opening celebration last October, the children were presented with toothpaste and a toothbrush donated by Lyn's dentist and they were taught how to clean their teeth. These are the pictures that accompany this article.

Lyn and 5 others from St. James' will be headed to Malawi in June 2013, this time armed with simple clothes for little ones, fabric and some treadle sewing machines. They plan to teach women to sew. These machines are still available from Singer for about $300. U.S. and the group plan to take a couple with them in June so they can teach the Malawian ladies how to use them. That will complete the thread from Ontario to Malawi. What a wonderful web God has created for all of us to enjoy and help each other.

More information is available at New St. James Presbyterian at www.newstjames.com.