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Knitting Friendships

Knitting Friendships

By Holly Johnson

This summer I had the opportunity to go to Swaziland for the first time. I first heard I was going to help out with Vacation Bible School. I was excited about meeting the children and experiencing VBS with them. I could not wait to arrive in Swaziland and go to the Ntondozi Church of the Nazarene. I knew this would be the place of possibly developing any great relationship(s) since we planned to be there numerous times during our trip.

The first day we visited Ntondozi I met a 10 year old girl. She was quiet and sweet, and we really connected. I wanted to give her a gift before I left, so I decided to use the yarn I brought (for busy work on the plane) to make her a scarf. When we returned the next day, I took my yarn and knitting needles with me to work on her scarf while we all talked. I quickly had a crowd of children asking, “What are you doing?” Some of the children braided my hair while I was knitting. Then several women and young girls came around to watch me knit, too. They started asking how to do it. I handed my needles over to several women for them to practice. I was amazed how quickly they caught on and how eager they were to learn. During this time of teaching, I began having good conversation with a few of the ladies. I was excited about this because the women were shy and did not talk as easily as the kids. One of the ladies began to tell me about her son and what it's like being a single mom. Her sister came over and sat with us and began to share her story as well. Soon, they were asking me questions. They asked me about America, marriage, what God likes, and what He disapproves of. One of the ladies shared her hurt and her feelings about God. She felt He didnʼt answer her prayers fast enough. The woman felt they were on their own, trying to figure out how to deal with this very difficult life. I told her I understood those feelings too and have felt the same way from lifeʼs disappointment and hurt.” Then I prayed for her. I asked God to give them physical protection, provision, as well as hope and healing from their pain.

Initially, I thought I was going to see a pain like I had never seen before in Swaziland. I soon realized their pain is just like ours. God gave those two girls and myself a connection of humanity. I am amazed how God used my hobby of knitting to help me connect with these women in such a deep way. Looking back on my experience, I can connect these "dots". I see how God uses not only our gifts but also our pain for His Glory. I am thankful He is a healer. Now, I desire to speak His hope to others in the world!