Handbags, purses, mobile phone cases and…new to the collection…key holders; with a smile, Dana sets out her handmade wares and proudly points out new designs and new color combinations. Dana, once rejected by her family because of her faith, has been able to stand on her own because of a microcredit loan from Open Doors. Even more than that, Dana also employs a number of women who help her. “This is not just a business,” she says. “This is also my ministry.”
In 2003 Dana found herself in a “crafts cafe” where during sewing lessons Christian expatriates shared the Gospel. She not only learned how to sew but she also came to faith. When the government deported Christian workers, Dana decided to continue their work. “I visit the women at their homes and teach them how to use the sewing machine. I help them to make new things. During the work, we talk about all sorts of things, and I talk about my faith too,” Dana explains. This does not have to be direct evangelism. “If I tell my own story, often that arouses curiosity and so we carry on talking.” If the women show a serious interest, Dana is happy to study the Bible with them. Of the twenty-two women she is now teaching craftwork, nineteen have come to faith.
Dana runs a risk in openly telling others about her faith. In her country, smear campaigns have been started against people who are too active in proclaiming their faith. Dana does not mention the risks, but when she is asked about them, she has to think carefully about the answer. For her the possible consequences are an inevitable part of being a Christian.
Ultimately, following Christ has brought her more than she could ever have imagined. “I have my own small business, I have a lot of contact with other people and now I am seeing my family again”, says Dana. When she became a Christian her brother threw her out onto the street. Dana was a disgrace to her family. “He forbade me to contact my mother and four sisters. It was an incredibly difficult period,” says Dana. But God is an expert in the impossible. And her brother had a change of heart. Dana says, “I was allowed to see my mother again. She died eleven months ago, and I was there. She believed in Christ. Three of my sisters have also come to faith.” Full of enthusiasm, Dana says that she hopes and prays that more women will come to her to learn how to sew so that she can tell them about Jesus.
Father, what an amazing heart and ministry Dana has! We give thanks and praise for the opportunities You’ve given her to share her faith with women as she teaches them to sew. We pray for a continued blessing on her life and her work for the kingdom. Please give her protection and strength as she is moved by the Holy Spirit to live boldly as a believer in Christ. Amen
If you are interested in purchasing any of Dana’s products please reply to Prayer@ODUSA.org. You will be sent information on the items and how to order them.