FREEPORT Still a seamstress for her children and grandchildren, Sharon Mockridge of Freeport took on a new passion in 2017 when a friend gave her a pattern to make mission dresses for young girls in third world countries.
Since then, Mockridge has partnered with three missions to make and send the dresses for the young girls each year. To date, she had made 257 dresses, hoping to surpass her annual goal of more than 40 dresses. Her dresses went to Honduras and Nigeria.
It’s my passion, she said. After I retired from FHN, I retreated to my sewing cave in my basement to take my sewing to a new level. My kids have grown up and I don’t sew as much for my grandchildren, and when I learned how these dresses can make such a difference, I make it my new mission.
Mockridge, who has also volunteered with Big Brothers Big Sisters in the past, is on a mission to make sure kids have what they need. Retirement led her to seek a new goal. Making the mission dresses responds to this sentiment.
I love to sew. It gives me a purpose, she said. I spoke to churches in the area and learned that mission attire is essential. I started with 36 dresses in my first year, which went to Honduras. I just keep going.
The pattern of the dresses she sews is for a 6 year old girl. Mockridge said she quickly learned that dresses are suitable for girls up to age 9. Most of her material is donated by Amitys Attic, where she also volunteers. Amitys Attic also donates pillow cases, which Mockridge uses to make dresses for older girls. Pillowcases are longer than younger girls’ dresses.
I also look for flat sheets, which also work well for the fabric of the dresses, she says. I buy extra stuff like yarn, decals and other stuff to add detail.
She adds: Making the mission dresses is a renewed goal in my life. These are kids who need the dresses, and from what I’m told, they bring them big smiles. I smile when I think about it, and I was told it was God’s blessing.
Valerie Schubert of Rural Freeport has served on a mission in Honduras for the past 20 years with Because Eternity Matters, taking many dresses that Mockridge makes out of her suitcase.
Schubert is currently serving a mission in Casa de Luz, Honduras. Schubert said she could witness firsthand the expression on each young girl’s face when they donned a colorful dress for the first time. She said it was a priceless and rewarding moment to know that kindness from over 3,000 miles away could change a life.
Children are thrilled to receive new clothes, as opposed to used clothes which are often the only type of clothing affordable to the families we serve, said Schubert. It is not uncommon for our little girls to scream with pleasure when they find a particularly fun design among the dresses on the day we present the handmade surprises to our daughters.
When I share with our ministry children about Sharon and her dress-making missionary work, the children find it fascinating that a kind and generous woman in another nation, living nearly 3,000 miles Lovingly sew each dress with precision and attention, she added.
Mockridge is humble about the gifts she gives through the mission robes. Helping others gives her a feeling of caring. She said as long as her hands and eyes continue, she will too.
It’s like that caring feeling you have as a family, she says. I don’t know these little girls, but I am thankful that they are thankful for what I do. I am only a bridge. I have three missions this year and I hope to make 150 dresses by October. I’m excited. It’s not just about knowing how to sew. It’s about touching lives
Jane Lethlean:[email protected]; @ DOGWMN2
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