Good Shepherd Parish sewing for missions


Sewing for Missions ministry of Good Shepherd Parish

On Oct.14 Cheryl Randel, Carol Hartman and Joyce Shelton loaded up 185 finished children's hospital gowns gowns from the "Sewing for Missions" project at the Witt United Methodist Church and delivered themto the Midwest Mission Distribution Center in Chatham. 

Pictured in the photo are, from left: Johanne McDonald, Coordinator for MMDC, Cheryl Randel, coordinator of Sewing for Missions, Carol Hartman, a Sewing for Missions volunteer and Pat Fowler, MMDC monthly volunteer. The gowns and containers weighed in for a total of 48 pounds. 
By Joyce Shelton
Good Shepherd Parish
WITT -- Cheryl Randel, a member of the Witt United Methodist Women recently attended the Annual Work Day at the Midwest Mission Distribution Center in Chatham. The Witt UMW visit each year and work for a day at the Center. This was Cheryl’s first time to attend and she really amazed at all the projects being done.
Randel commented that the children’s hospital gowns project took a “tug” at her heart. She had an idea that she could sew up a few of the gowns/outfits and take them to MMDC.
She  presented her vision and ideas to the United Methodist Women (UMW) at their monthly meeting. A big push for the mission was given by Pastor Diane Bigley, when she spread the word on the church email. The “Sewing for Missions” project became a reality.
Randel immediately contacted MMDC and asked if she could get some patterns of the children’s hospital gowns and specific sewing instructions   MMDC was more than happy to comply with her request. She started talking with everyone she came in contact with about her “Sewing for Missions” project. She established several drop-off sites in the community for material. There were numerous phone calls and emails from people expressing their interest and wanting to get involved with the sewing mission. Offers of free sewing machines (some that needed repair), material, donations, were coming in fast and furious. It was definitely getting contagious! 
Randel set everything up in the basement of the Witt United Methodist Church. There are now 10 sewing machines that are in good working condition, thanks to a friend of Cheryl’s who fixed the machines and only charged for the replacement parts. The labor of love has touched so many lives in the surrounding communities.
There has already been two work days for sewing up the hospital gowns/outfits. There were more than 17  people who came on the first work day and more for the next one. It was extremely organized since everyone had their own specific job. Cheryl assigned people to cut out patterns and material. For those who were sewing impaired they ironed seams on the finished garments and pressed off other material ready to be cut out. Several people helped set up a light lunch for the group.  Some people worked for just a few hours and others stayed most of the day. It was a come and go work day as their schedule permitted. A few stopped by the church and picked up a pattern and material and took it home to sew.
As of this date, there are more than 180 hospital gowns/outfits completed and ready to be taken to the MMDC. MMDC will then ship the finished outfits to places like the Grace Children’s Hospital in Haiti, orphanages or other needy locations around the World. Each and every outfit is different, unique and so adorable.
On Sept. 26, the “Sewing for Missions” project was dedicated during the morning worship service. Most of the hospital gowns/outfits were displayed all over the altar rail. Persons who helped with the project brought forth an outfit and placed them on the altar rail. Pastor Diane Bigley praised Randel for her efforts on the mission work already done. She said that is was through Cheryl’s compassion and seeing the need, and acting upon it that has made the “Sewing for Missions” project such an enormous success.
Persons with questions about the Sewing for Missions project may contact Randel at Persons interested in helping out with this mission may also call 217-594-2426 and leave a message.
The “Sewing for Missions” is an amazing blessing for the Good Shepherd’s Parish, which consists of the Witt, Hillsboro, Fillmore and Coffeen United Methodist Churches. People from all faiths in the nearby communities of Witt, Nokomis, Hillsboro, Irving, Ohlman, Litchfield, Owaneco and Rochester have come forward to share their talents and work together on the sewing for mission project. 
The MMDC is located on an eight-acre campus, 4 miles south of Springfield, Illinois. Construction began in October 1999 and opened for ministry in March 2000. Volunteers pack kits, sort items, sew school bags, hospital gowns, and blankets, and box goods for shipment in the Center.
The mission of the Midwest Mission Distribution Center is to compassionately help God’s people in need locally, nationally, and around the world and to offer a center to fulfill the call for service to our neighbors in Christ’s name.
Disaster relief materials have been sent to people recovering from floods, fires, tornadoes, and hurricanes in the United States. Humanitarian aid, medical, and educational goods have been shipped to Afghanistan, Algeria, Belarus, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Ghana, Haiti, Honduras, India, Iraq, Jamaica, Liberia, Mexico, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Romania, Russia, Sierra Leone, Tajikistan, and Zimbabwe. In the nine years that the MMDC has been open, more than 1,800 shipments/disbursements have been made. More than 146 tons were shipped/disbursed in 2009.