Eva Bossenberger may be 100 years old but she is still using her talent to positively impact others. With her gift of sewing, Eva regularly creates hand-sewn dresses for little girls all over the world through a donation program at Samaritan’s Purse. And it all started with a big request from her pastor!
Practice Makes Perfect
When Eva was a little girl growing up in Detroit, Michigan, she spent hours watching her mother work as a seamstress. In turn, Eva picked up the skill, practicing and practicing until she got it down pat. Eva worked alongside her mother to help support the family, especially during the busy seasons between October and December when warm coats were in high demand.
At the same time, Eva’s parents also raised her in church and she developed a strong faith in God, which would eventually direct her to use her gift of sewing to help others. As Eva got older, she began to make her own clothes as well as clothes for her daughters. Widowed at just 36 years old, Eva worked as a police officer and grocery cashier to provide for her children. She also made clothes while staying involved in church as a Sunday School teacher, choir member, and mission supporter.
A Big Request
Eva’s dedication to the church over the years did not go unnoticed, especially not by her pastor. Eva’s pastor asked the woman if she could create 180 home-made items for Operation Christmas Child through Samaritan’s Purse. The popular charity program uses shoeboxes to transport non-perishable items like toys, school supplies, and clothing to children in need across the globe just in time for the holiday season.
For the now-100-year-old, it was a huge task but she was excited about the challenge. She decided that she would make beautiful dresses that could be placed inside shoeboxes and that it would be her way of serving others. “At first it took me a day and a half to make a dress. Now, I can get three done in a day,” she admitted. It requires her to wake up at 3 or 4 in the morning, but she doesn’t mind at all. “I love it. I can’t get up on a platform and give a message—that isn’t my work. The Lord gave me hands with no arthritis, so I do a lot of sewing,” Eva said of her work. “I’ve been given a talent and I make use of it. I’m doing what the Lord has asked me to do,” she said of her work.
A Greater Mission
On the Samaritan’s Purse site, the organization gives a detailed statement about the mission of Operation Christmas Child. “Operation Christmas Child is a project of Samaritan’s Purse, an international relief organization,” the statement reads. “Our mission is to provide local partners around the world with shoeboxes filled with small toys, hygiene items, and school supplies as a means of reaching out to children in their own communities with the Good News of Jesus Christ. We ship these simple gifts outside the United States to children affected by war, poverty, natural disaster, famine, and disease; and to children living on Native American reservations in the U.S.”
For Eva, she believes that her work is a testament to the fact that you’re never too old to try your hand at something. She also hopes that the dresses will bring joy to girls across the world. In fact, she likes to envision what it’s like when the girls open their gifts. “I can see it in my mind. Plane landing and their little hands out for a box, and they open them up and they’re just thrilled. God bless each one,” she said.
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