Submitted by: Susan Schnell
Seventh-day Adventists place a high value on children. In light of the Bible, they are seen as precious gifts from God entrusted to the care of parents, family, community of faith, and society-at-large. Children possess enormous potential for making positive contributions to the Church and to society. Attention to their care, protection, and development is extremely important.” 1
Fearfulness, helplessness, and anxiety are words to describe the enduring emotions that may take a child captive when he or she is removed from their home by authorities such as Child Protective Services. The cause of removal from the home is often drug abuse, neglect, behavioral problems, intellectual disability, or incarceration. And, after possibly having witnessed a parent get arrested, a child is thrust into a new way of life with nothing but the clothes they chose to wear that day. It is an experience filled with confusion, sadness, and loss. Although a life of maltreatment is now behind them, the uncertainty of the future can leave children in these tragic situations feeling frightened or alone. 2
To help ease the transition into foster care, It’s My Very Own (IMVO) has emerged as a ministry that helps create and deliver “Bags of Love” filled with basic necessities, books, toys, and a handmade quilt to remind these children that they are not alone. It is an organization designed to be easy to duplicate, and be practiced by others in any location.
Peggy Lowe started out making quilts for IMVO in the Riverview Community Church in Greeneville, Tenn. Her pastor’s wife recruited her six years ago. Now Lowe organizes the northeast Tennessee chapter that reaches the displaced children in seven counties.
As of March 12, 2019, Lowe’s chapter of dedicated volunteers have distributed 798 bags made with love. In order to collect funds for this project, Lowe sends letters to churches in these counties and spreads the mission by word of mouth. The Kiwanis Club in her area donates $500 once a year, and other organizations also give generously.
Lowe has seen God work in many marvelous ways to fund their club, and the supply of donated fabric is growing instead of depleting.
She has also seen Christ’s hand in using their bags to reach specific children. She recalls a time where a social worker requested a special quilt with backing, so a weighted blanket could go inside. Lowe finished it on a Friday afternoon, and thought to wait until Monday to deliver it. However, she was impressed to deliver it that day even though she didn’t expect anyone to be on the job that evening. When she arrived, not only was the social worker in his office, he was also overjoyed to see that Lowe had brought the special quilt. As it turns out, he planned to gift it to a six-year-old girl who had been in foster care for three years, and was finally getting adopted by a family.
The adoption ceremony was that evening, and seeing God’s hand at work through her quilt, which brought a warm smile to the young girl’s face, was an experience Lowe won’t soon forget.
“It’s been my passion since we started,” said Lowe of handcrafting each bag with a purpose, accompanied by her fellow volunteers. “It gives me a reason to get up in the morning, and an increased focus on something besides myself,” she said while emphasizing: “It’s not just me — it’s a group of people willing to work on behalf of others who don’t really have a whole lot.”
Georgia-Cumberland | September 2019