*In Mission together with Witness

Puzzler's Corner Blog, Midwest District, DS Margie Crawford Blog

Often, I encourage faith communities to share their stories of how our Lord has touched their lives and inspired them to be vital and vibrant in their neighborhoods.  People need us now more than ever.  I often reflect upon the words of Mathew 9 and 25 as I seek to answer the question: “What more can I do for the world?”  The Lord has always given me an answer that has helped me create new ministries, meet new people, become an advocate and learn how we, as God’s instruments in and for the world, are transforming lives, beginning with our own. 

I want to share one way that I continue to follow what the Lord is asking of me.  When I was growing up, home crafts were more popular than they are today.  One of my sisters crocheted constantly. My mother knitted and sewed.  And another sister did needle point.  I decided I wanted to learn how to crochet.  Because I am left-handed and my sister is not, we struggled to find a way for me to follow the patterns, so I had to adjust and crochet with my right hand.  I was excited to begin my first project.  I believe it was a scarf, but it turned into a triangle.  Frustrated, I set it aside.  A few months later, I copied the pattern my sister was making for an afghan.  Or at least I thought I did.  My attempt also turned into a beautiful triangle.  My sister and I never figured out what I kept doing wrong, but after a couple more unsuccessful attempts, I decided crocheting was not for me.

When I began my first appointment in Michigan, the church I served offered prayer shawls to people who were grieving, preparing for surgery, going through cancer treatment and celebrating life milestones.  I wanted to be a part of this special ministry, so I bought a “learn to crochet” kit.  The kit produced a baby blanket with a hood.  I hoped this time would be different; and prayed to God for help.  If I could complete this project, then I would begin crocheting shawls for the church’s ministry. 

The baby blanket was perfect.  Unlike my earlier projects, it didn’t turn into a triangle.  I was ready to make my first shawl.  It was a simple pattern, using Homespun yarn. Two rows of double crochet, followed by one row of single crochet, until the shawl measured between 48 to 54 inches.  And it worked! No more triangles. 

That was 15 years ago.  I have lost track of the number of shawls I have made for strangers, friends and family members.  Some have gone to those in Hospice care, others to newborn babies.  I have prayed over the shawls as they were made; and prayed with those who have received them.  I have witnessed the blessings a shawl brings to someone’s life.  It is a mantle which helps to lift their pain, ease their burden and spread the light within us. 

I want to thank all of the churches who participated in the District’s first call to provide shawls, blankets and hats for persons in this area. (Read More)  This ministry is one among many that we can do to share God’s love for others.  I invite each of us to ask this question:  “What more can I do for the world?’ as the Lord continues to send us out into the mission field.  And Amen.

*MidWest District Vision and Mission Statements

Vision: In Mission together with Witness

Mission: Our mission is to connect and support vital ministries of Jesus Christ

The churches of the Midwest District of The United Methodist Church are healthy, vital, outer-directed and are united in actively making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. As clergy and laity, we live out our connection through cooperative initiatives, local and worldwide mission, mentoring, sharing of resources, and mutual love and support.

Our mission calls us to:

  • Train, equip, encourage, coach clergy and lay leaders for transformational ministry
  • Provide effective multi-layered communication
  • Promote networking and clustering among clergy and churches
  • Engage together in acts of mercy, and justice and spiritual growth
  • Be proactive risk-takers and change agents