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Zion quilters attend 'Coffee & Tea Time' to honor Lutheran World Relief quilters

Mouse River Journal of Towner, North Dakota

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Five quilters from Zion Lutheran in Towner attended the Coffee and Tea Time in honor of area Lutheran World Relief (LWR) Quilters. Doris Nelson, Helen Anderson, Mary Thompson, Sandy Stadheim and Sharon St. Aubin brought for display three of the quilts made by Towner quilters this year. Sandy also won the door prize for the day.

Joy lea Knutson, secretary at Bread of Life Church in Minot, welcomed the group of about 100 quilters to the church. Jonathan Buuck, Philanthropic Advisor, profusely thanked the quilters for their part in helping provide $14 million worth of Quilts and Kits that are distributed annually. LWR spends nearly $1.7 million to operate its Quilt and Kit Ministry. Shipping costs LWR about $2.25 per quilt.

This October, Jerry Thomas and Sandy Stadheim delivered Zion's fall quilts to Midwest Motor Express in Minot which transports the quilts to Minneapolis at no cost. Once in Minneapolis, the quilts are baled and wrapped in plastic and shipped via ship or airplane to places overseas.

In addition to information about quilts, Buuck showed a video of women receiving child care kits. He also asked for LWR stories from those in attendance. Stadheim shared her experience of making quilts in the evening with three other teachers while she was teaching on a reservation.

One of the teachers, Ruth, scoffed the quilting project and did not participate. A few years later, Ruth was hired in Kosovo as an English teacher. Upon arrival she learned the school had no paper, scissors, books, writing materials, crayons, rulers, etc. After some frustrating weeks, Ruth contacted Sandy to tell her about the day that the LWR truck arrived at the school and supplied the children with education and health kits and quilts. Today Ruth is a firm supporter of the work of LWR.

Erna Eidmann is a member of Minot's Bread of Life Church. She joined the Towner group for lunch at the Homesteader as she formerly was a member of Norway Lutheran Church. Erna invited the Towner ladies to her apartment for dessert. She served a delicious pear pie. She also shared a story regarding LWR.

Erna was born in Germany and was about 7 years old when World War II ended. About that time, World War II left an estimated one-fifth of the world's Lutherans homeless. Hungry refugees all over Europe cried out for help. Service to all suffering people became a vital part of Christian witness.

Lutheran churches in the United States mobilized to help in Europe through a new agency called Lutheran World Relief. Erna's parents sought a new life in the United States and

Lutheran World Federation and Lutheran World Relief were helpful resources. The Rimatzki family (father, mother, three sons and Erna) left Germany and were sponsored by the Eidmanns who lived south of Towner, close to Norway Lutheran Church. Eventually Fred Eidmann was mesmerized by the crystal blue eyes of Erna and they were married. Erna, initially a displaced person in the United States, became a citizen and is a cherished member of the communities in which she lives.

Around the world, LWR shares far more than relief supplies. With 100 local partners, LWR works to improve harvests, health and education in some 35 countries each year. LWR partners train local women and men to produce local foods, dig low-cost wells and protect and restore their local environments. Some partners are small village groups on the edge of the Sahara. Others are nationwide programs that may reach across the Andes.

Over the course of 70 years, LWR has learned a lot about walking with people who set out to better their lives and communities. A couple of their partners are The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation which this year provided $400,000 in support toward ongoing relief work done by LWR. Lutheran World Relief received a Starbucks Foundation grant of $350,000 toward its project Pro-Cafe: Protecting Ecosystem Services for Sustainable Coffee Livelihoods, a two-year project that contributes to the protection of the local ecosystem, provides sustainable livelihoods, and fosters community in the Guarino River watershed in Caldas, Colombia. These are only two of the many partnerships of LWR. When disasters do occur, LWR partners may be on the spot well before the world notices and still needed long after the crisis no longer commands front-page headlines.

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Original Publication Date: November 4, 2015

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