CHANGING THE WORLD ONE STITCH AT A TIME
By Karen Bochinski
It all began seven years ago at a Women’s Bible Study on a Tuesday morning at Calvary Chapel of Escondido. Kelly and Lisa were leading the study and as an icebreaker for us gals they asked each woman to share her favorite Bible character. My turn came and I said “Dorcas”. Some of the ladies were not very familiar with her. I said she was always doing good and helping poor people as we read in Acts 9:36. She did lots of sewing. This woman has always attracted me because she was a doer and she “did”. I believe the Lord gave me those attributes as well and I needed to be a “doer” like Dorcas.
I have been involved in the nursing home ministry for many years. I love those ministries where the rubber meets the road, physically being with the person I am blessing and to establish a relationship with them. The joy and contentment I get from that is beyond anything I could ask for.
I would observe how the residents were always cold and wanted something to cuddle. They would beg me for a way to keep warm. I ran to the cabinet and would pull out a bib that they used at mealtime and I would wrap the bibs around their cold bodies.
The residences would be so grateful for a bib to keep them warm. That broke my heart in two. A bib? They deserve more than a bib to keep warm. “This is not fair”; I thought. “ I need to do more”. I would see Esther, a resident at Palomar Heights Home, in pain. I hand her a pillow to cuddle and her face would have a smile for a minute or two. This broke my heart in half. I saw a need where the rubber meets the road, to physically be there and give them something of great comfort! “Lord” I thought, “Did you show me this to bring this comfort?”
I also have a BIG passion for the children in the foster care system. I was introduced to a special camp called
in the year 2000. A couple from Idyllwild, named Tony and Tina Massa, came to our church and talked about this camp. The Lord grabbed my heart in a BIG way and directed me to their training sessions. I figured everyone would be there and the room would be filled with people because this camp needed counselors. Instead I was in a room with a handful of people learning about being a counselor. Camp Alandale
Wow-- another need! This camp really needs counselors. The more I learned the more I wanted to be up at camp with these abused and neglected children. I said “Lord”, I wonder why you would want me to do that. I hate camping, I have physical issues and I want to sleep in my own bed. The Holy Spirit just kept nudging my heart and said “In spite of it all you need to GO”. This was totally God’s will in my life, not my will.
I did my first high school camp and my life was changed forever. There are many defining moments in my life. The birth of my children, my wedding day, etc. Experiencing camp was one of them. God gave me an unconditional love for these hurting children that I have never experienced in my life. Some of the kids were so mean to me and I would still love them.
It was so amazing! This is totally God, not Karen, to love on a kid who can’t stand you. To have the Lord totally work through me and use me was a miracle in its self. The real me is controlling, bossy and blunt. Up at that
made me the opposite! I came back a changed woman. The Lord took the controlling, bossy and blunt and used it to create camp God Dorcas Circle. The Lord continues to change me. He’s transforming my controlling into organizing, my blunt words into loving words of conviction, and my bossiness into creativity.
I am so happy that the Lord directed me to open up my home to the whole world to help me change the world one stitch at a time. I have learned a lot through
Dorcas Circle that continues to change me again. There were months when no one would come to my home and I would feel so sad. I saw this GREAT need with camp and the nursing home ministry and was so discouraged.
One lady, named Monica, came when she could and I told her how discouraged I was. I tried so hard to get the word out about Dorcas and how much help I needed I whined and complained to her. I am really good at expressing my emotions, probably too much. She said to me, “Did you pray to God about this situation?” And I said “No”. Wow another defining moment. Deep in the root of my heart I wanted “Karen” to lead
Dorcas Circle but God the one in control and he will make or break Dorcas Circle. If he wants this ministry to continue HE will provide the people not Karen. I needed to be HIS servant to get the word out. If He wants this ministry to continue, it will.
Tony Massa, now the director of Julian Oaks Ministries, approached me many years ago and said, “How would you like to come up and do a sewing craft with the campers for five summer camps?” I was so excited that I would get to go to camp as a day trip to be with the campers. What an opportunity to serve and go to camp, one of my favorite places to be.
Dorcas Circle goes out to the mission field!
So every other Tuesday I would bring sewing machines and supplies up to Julian for the campers to make a craft. On the way up, I would bring ladies with me to help out. We would chat all the way to Julian and back, set up the room, and have our special one-on-one with the campers. The campers would have a choice to make a backpack, tote bag, pillow, or Bible cover.
During this craft, many campers knew nothing about sewing. They would sew on buttons or appliqué a unique design or patch to their object. It would be so exciting to see a camper sew their first button on. The motto “Changing the World one Stitch at a Time” had its defining moment as I witnessed camper learn a skill that would be with him or her for life. That joy overtook me again!
The Lord has truly blessed Julian Oaks with a ministry. But with that comes along expenses.
Dorcas Circle decided to do boutiques to help raise funds for camp. The ladies and I make homemade items to sell at various boutiques during the year. We did our first Quilt Raffle, and it was beyond successful. Through the boutique, sponsorships, and raffle we raised just over $2,000 for Julian Oaks Ministries.
The Lord has blessed me with these wonderful women who come to my home and share the same passion that I do about blessing the widows and orphans of our society. My biggest blessing is Bonnie Ramirez. I would have never met a woman of God, a total servant, if I had not opened up my home. Bonnie and I go to different services and do different ministries yet
Dorcas Circle has brought us together for this work.
She stepped out of faith and came to my house and the Lord has used her to change me, and
Dorcas Circle as well. Again, God is control and brought Bonnie here for a purpose. The Lord put on Bonnie’s heart to make salvation bracelets. She has raised so much money for camp making this beautiful jewelry that creatively shares God’s love for us. One hundred percent of the proceeds go to Julian Oaks Ministries. She has the same passion I have for Julian Oaks and the children to whom it ministers.
So, to sum this all up, if the Lord puts an idea in your heart, do not ignore it! Grab that idea with a passion and see how your life will change, to live in HIS will and not your own.