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This week, we’ve been going back in time.  On Monday, we went to a party where our family was welcomed.  On Tuesday, we went to the “laundry mat” (where our family passed before the party).  On Wednesday, we went to a fruit stand on the streets of Xenacoj (a place we passed before the “laundry mat”).  And today, we go back just a little further in time.

As I mentioned previously, Monday was a day of culture learning and general adjustment.  In the morning, we had the opportunity to meet Susie.  Susie is German’s wife.  She prepared most of our meals while we were in Guatemala.  She is an amazing woman.  She always has a smile on her face.  We often saw her carrying her baby (the youngest of six children) around on her back our hip while she continued to work.  Her heart for serving others is incredible.

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Before we took to the streets of Xenacoj on the way to the party, Susie gave us a back weaving demonstration.  Back weaving is a method for weaving fabric together which is used by many women in the community to create beautiful shirts and other cloths.  This is one of the main things that women do in an effort to raise money for their families.

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They start with balls of threads which have been colored and washed to prevent bleeding, and they use several sticks and pieces of wood to hold their weaving works together.  It’s an amazing process that requires hours of work and a lot of attention to make sure everything is tight and patterns are correct.  The end product is beautiful.

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Susie was working on a blouse for someone while we were there.  She puts a lot of effort into making sure it’s just right.  It doesn’t look like a shirt yet, but it will.  She will actually make two long pieces of fabric that are a mirror image of each other.  Then she will join the two pieces of fabric to form the shirt.  It’s a laborious process.  But the end product is beautiful.  Her handiwork will be used practically to keep clothe another, and the blouse will also help someone look nice.

(Note:  Many people today use machines to make clothing (even in Guatemala).  The clothing you are wearing now was likely made by machines and may even have been made in Guatemala.)

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There’s something special about the idea of hand-made clothing.  It feels special to know that someone made these clothes just for you or me.  Susie’s handiwork reminded me that we are hand-made by God with a purpose.  We are God’s handiwork.  In Ephesians, Paul confirms this:

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.  Ephesians 2:10

There are times when we struggle with our sense of purpose.  We feel like we’re rough and unfinished.  We wonder why we’re here.  We often search for meaning and purpose by chasing after things that don’t really matter.  Today, I’m reminded that God created you and me to do good things for others.  Our life is not a waste when we are helping others – when we are doing good works.  The STRETCH challenge for today is to go and find someone to serve.  And be encouraged – you are God’s handiwork!  God made you, and he created you to do good things.  What a great reminder!

What good work has God prepared for you today?

When was the last time you received something hand-made?  How did it make you feel to receive something that someone had made just for you?