The singer had been brought especially to bless the church. But no-one had expected this. Old, yes. But no movement? Just dead, with no vital signs. Was there any possibility of revival? Most agreed that this was unlikely and was really sad. But one lady thought there might be a chance.
Her faith was certainly bigger than ours. We thought there was no possible hope. How wrong we were. When an old man turned up with the singer alive and well we were amazed.
How did he do it? We are not sure but the joy of every single one of the ladies present when the singer was plugged into the single socket in the darkly lit room, and we saw the sewing machine come to life was irrepressible!
As the ladies sang and danced they compared the restoration to that of Lazarus – or “Lázaro” in Portuguese. And each day the women gather to sew they refer to the singer machine by name and laugh.
Over the last two months we have been coming alongside this small group of ladies in a local church to see how learning to sew may be able to help their lives. For Sara, one of the group, acquiring a skill may mean she can be the one who can provide additional income at home. Unemployment in this area of the city is sky high. Her husband and four boys, all in their late teens and early twenties, have no work locally.
Some of our small group can sew but need to have the confidence and ability to know how to use this skill to make money. Others have never had the opportunity but are loving the chance to learn together. Starting off with small projects, they are doing things we take for granted; how to use a pair of scissors, to thread an old machine, and think creatively.
The wonderful thing about sewing in Mozambique is that you have the benefit of the “capulana”. Everyone loves the capulana. Brightly coloured cloth that is used as a wrap by every lady and fashioned into a shirt by every man. Babies are carried in them and sleep on them. Families have matching outfits made from the same capulana design for all manner of occasions. And for our ladies the capulana has been the starting point for many things: shoulder bags, pin-cushions, small zipped pouches and aprons to name a few.
It has been fun to see the ladies grow in confidence and enjoy being part of this learning group. We have tried to use what we possess, even three legged tables, rather than spend money we don’t have. Lazarus, being used in this picture, is one example of seeking to do this.
But expanding the vision and making real change is going to need some thought, planning and wisdom. We have started to talk together and talk to others about what might be possible. It’s a challenge but let’s see…