Joy of a Patchwork Quilt

Jodie handed me the hard cover book with the original faded paper jacket still on it.

“You need to read this.”

Then the eighty-year old, a former school teacher from Utah, proceeded to tag clothes at the thrift shop where we both volunteered on Mondays.

I took the book home and placed it on the top of a TBR (to be read) pile that grew to swaying heights. Now, five years later, I picked up the book and can’t seem to put it down. My husband is eating “interesting meals” as I linger on every paragraph, reflecting on the concepts and words.

Created for Commitment: the Remarkable Story of the Founder of the Bible Study Fellowship had seemed like a “yawnsville” when Jodie, a former leader in BSF, passed the book to me. Fortunately, this woman who taught challenging classrooms knew that my withered soul could use a dose of inspiration.

One of the parts of this biography that resonated with me occurred when Audrey Wetherell Johnson returned to England after three years in a Japanese internment camp in China. A missionary with China Inland Mission, she arrived with the frayed clothing on her back. She wondered how she would attain garments that did not advertise her imprisonment.

As the ship she sailed journeyed through the hot, steamy Red Sea, on a sandy region a marquee had been erected. “ENGLAND WAITS TO WELCOME YOU HOME.” With 600 other ex-prisoners of war, Audrey went to a Red Cross station where she was outfitted with shoes, clothes, a coat and a small suitcase to carry their things.

The added bonus was a patchwork quilt!

That was the part of her story that drew tears from my eyes. After all the suffering that these men and women had endured at the hands of the enemy, on their return, a comforter made by English hands was provided. A masterpiece stitched by homeland volunteers using precious scraps of material in loving designs. A warm, cozy way of saying, “Welcome back.”

So many sew-ers create quilts for disaster relief, to commemorate or to provide for penniless persons like Audrey. The encouragement given by these fabric gifts cannot be measured.

This gesture made a difference in the life of Audrey. As she states in her book, “How much more abundantly does our Father provide for us than we ever expect.”

Jodie gave me a book to read that has changed my heart and thinking. A story with a patchwork quilt.

“Thou has caused men to ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water; but thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place.”  Psalm 66:12

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  1. What a meaningful gesture! Like a hug that can meet one in the most silent and most vulnerable moments: the silence of falling asleep and waking or wrap around one while faint from loneliness or grief.


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