“Would those around our church miss us if we were not here?” Efoui Abotsi, adult Sabbath School leader at Omaha Memorial Seventh-day Church in Omaha, Nebraska, United States, asked. “What can we do to let our community know Jesus?”
It was a thought-provoking challenge that stuck with me for weeks. As I contemplated his questions, an idea began to formulate in my head. I had seen an article in the conference newsletter about a church five hours south in Great Bend, Kansas, that had made shower baskets for new mothers. Why couldn’t we do something similar?
The Holy Spirit would not let me rest. I shared my ministry idea with Marilyn Caughlin, personal ministries leader, and Agape Blankets was born.
The Holy Spirit reminded me that this is God's project, not mine. I understood this to mean it will “fly or die” on its own. Even when I journaled the names of the “giants” blocking this project and petitioned God to remove the obstacles if it was according to His will, I had no idea what a faith-building and spiritual exercise I had signed up for.
As the skeleton idea began to flesh out, I began to see doors opening: church board approval, a 60-percent-off sale on fabric, and growing interest in the church. Just when I thought the giants were falling, an unexpected giant appeared: we needed to find a home for these blankets.
My mind went to the children in the community who are taken to a safe place because something has gone wrong in their home. Those children don’t know why they must leave — all they know is that they are being taken from the people they love and cannot take their doll, truck, or stuffed toy with them. I pleaded with God to find a trusted authority to distribute the Agape Blankets to the little ones at risk.
God did remove all the obstacles. Douglas County Sheriff’s Department in Omaha became the home for the Agape Blankets for children at risk. Church members showed up to pray over the blankets as they completed them. Coloring books and crayons were volunteered, along with funds to purchase the fleece fabric. Since 2015, Douglas County Sheriff’s Department has received 185 blankets for children at risk during the year and in the holiday season. During the past two years, we have even repurposed scraps of leftover fabric to make lap blankets for the elderly living at Maple Crest Health Center in Omaha.
I praise our Lord for all the willing hands and willing hearts that help this ministry fly!
The original version of this story was posted by the Mid-America Union Conference Outlook.