BEAUMONT—For foster children who frequently move from home to home, having an item to keep along the way can make them feel at home, which is important when coping with intense emotions.
In 2011, Belinda Gibson and Clarice Miller believed every child in Buckner’s Children’s Village in Beaumont should have something to call their own. So, they decided to give each child a handmade pillowcase with his or her name on it.
“I believe that it is God’s will to do this,” Gibson said. “Getting something with their name on it can make them feel special and give them a sense of belonging.”
Gibson and Miller, both members of First Baptist Church in Groves, started the ministry, making each pillowcase in their homes.
Rhonda Robichau, gift officer for Buckner in Beaumont, sends them the names and ages of every child who comes into the Children’s Village. Immeditely, the two seamstresses pray for each child.
“Following prayer, our Lord reveals in our minds what kind of design to sew onto each pillowcase,” Gibson said.
“No pillowcase is alike. We take a picture of every pillowcase to make sure no design is duplicated.”
To the children, these are more than pillowcases. This is a unique way to say, “This is my bed,” the women noted. The children show their gratitude for the pillowcase ministry by sending them written stories and thank you letters.
One day, Gibson stopped by the Children’s Village for a brief visit, but she was not expecting all the children to recognize her. They ran to her, thanking her.
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One of the children recently had arrived at the Children’s Village and had not yet received a pillowcase.
“Will my pillowcase come soon?” she asked.
That’s when Gibosn learned how important the pillowcases were to the children.
“Rhonda told me there was a little girl who was so tiny, she would cuddle up inside of her pillow case and use it as a sleeping bag while she watched TV,” Gibson said.
Not only are the pillowcases special to the children, they are special to their creators, as well. It is something they do to fulfill God’s will and show the children they care about them.
“Making these pillowcases became special to us very quickly,” Miller said. “Kids are very important to me. I’ve been looking for a way to help children, and God showed me this is it.”
Since they started the pillowcase ministry, the two women have sewn 540 pillowcases and plan to start making blankets for the infants in the Children’s Village. They hope the pillowcase ministry will plant seeds of hope, enable the children to sense God’s presence and recognize his redemptive purpose for their lives.
“We are going to continue doing this until the Lord tells us to stop,” Gibson said. “And even then, I hope someone will take over and continue what we started.”
Odufa Atsegbua served as a summer intern with Buckner International.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article originally was published Sept. 27, 2017. It was revised Oct. 5, 2017 to clarify and correct several items.