Comfort for Body and Soul
A grant supports a project that provides Christian care kits for a Minnesota community.
Four-year-old Journey Hudson has lovable brown eyes and adorably chunky cheeks. On the day I met his parents, Michelle and Parker, in the small town of Fairmont, Minn., at the crossroads of friendly Americana and gorgeous spring weather, he was playing in the backyard of their humble home.
I came to ask him what he thought of his fuzzy fleece blanket adorned with little dinosaurs. He loves it, he said. “I use it when I sleep.”
Marge Thiesse, director of development at Martin Luther High School in nearby Northrop, stood next to me almost in tears. As she looked at the boy, she saw the impact her high-school students, who made the blanket, had on this family.
Over the course of several days, 55 students from the high school made about 500 blankets and bundled them into Christian care kits with Bibles, Pillow Pets, books from Concordia Publishing House and other devotional items. The kits were later delivered to a food pantry, a pregnancy resource center and a funeral home.
For the project, the high school received a $25,000 grant through the “Stand With Your Community” program, which was made possible by a partnership between The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, Thrivent Financial and Lutheran Church Extension Fund.
“It’s really neat to see so many people — kids my age — all working together for this project,” said high-school senior Deborah Watt. “I became even more motivated when we heard about the direct impact our blankets were having on the community. Sure, we knew where they went and what they were for, but before we had that direct feedback, they were just cute fuzzy blankets we made and never saw again. The blanket project is very special, I think, in that it pairs a physical comfort, a super-soft blanket, with a comfort for people’s hearts and minds in Jesus.”
On a Wednesday in May, students gathered in the gym to make the last kits. Music played over the loud speaker, while students sang together as they carefully snipped blanket edges for knotting.
“It was heartwarming seeing how our students pitched in and owned the project, working hard and having a wonderful time doing it,” Thiesse said. “It was touching praying with students over the bundles, asking for God’s blessings on those who receive them.”
The program initially got off to a rocky start, however, when the community’s health services department told Thiesse they couldn’t distribute anything Christian. But God led her to three organizations that were delighted to have the bundles. A spokesperson for the Options Pregnancy Center, an abortion alternative center in Fairmont, said a client had asked for more Bibles after receiving one of the bundles.
It’s all part of God’s plan. Paxton Gravlin, a sophomore at the school, summed it up this way: “I hope that these people that receive these blanket bundles come to know Christ, believe in Him, and know that He has saved us from our sins and is our Savior.”
It may be a super-soft and snuggly blanket, but for the Hudson family and others on the receiving end in this little town, it’s so much more.
- Read about the “Stand With Your Community” program: blogs.lcms.org/2016/stand-grants-enable-mercy