Paul and Silas on a mission to Phillippi were led to a river to speak with the people gathered there. Among them, was a woman named Lydia. Lydia was in the business of dying cloth purple. In those days, dying cloth purple was a difficult process using shellfish to get the color purple. The people who could afford such purple cloth in those days were royalty. Lydia was a 'worshipper of God', and as Paul and Silas shared their faith in Jesus Christ, her heart embraced the message of God's forgiveness and salvation in His Son; she and her household listened, believed, and were baptized. She didn't stop there, she offered the men hospitality. She urged them to stay with her; she shared her home, her food, and her wealth with them. She was known for selling specially dyed cloth used by royalty, and for offering hospitality, and being generous to the church's early missionaries of the news of Jesus Christ. One of the marks of faithfulness is sharing and providing for those in need and Lydia did this very well.
(ACTS 16: 11-40)
HOPE, the word needs no explanation, but Wikipedia says it well; 'Hope is a belief in a positive outcome related to events and circumstances of one's life'. Every premature baby has parents who cling to the hope of their child growing and becoming what they were destined to be. The hope of someday soon, leaving their incubator for their parent's arms and going home.
Lydia's Hope is the effort of women and children who take their gifting in the arts, and use them for Royalty. Premature babies need extra warmth in order to conserve their energy to grow. Lydia's Hope provides for these children knitted hats and baby quilts to keep them warm and give them every chance for their survival and growth. Our hats and quilts go home with these children, and if the child doesn't survive, they go with the parents as mementos of their child life and existence. Every baby hat and quilt is lovingly put together for the child that will be unknown to the quilter or knitter, but that child has been prayed for in the hopes of their survival, for their strength, courage, growth, giftings, and eventual heart knowledge of Jesus Christ. Every parent of these children are prayed for that they would know Jesus and have wisdom as they begin the journey of parenting their child and be comforted as their child is cared for in the hospital.
We want to be like Lydia, receiving each child with hope for their future, and welcoming them to this world. They are royalty to us. Because 'purple' in Biblical days was used to actually describe variations of the color red, we hope to slide shades of red to purple in each of our blankets. The efforts of this venture are from people, who, like Lydia, embraced the message of God's forgiveness and salvation. There is no single church represented here, but a body of believers who believes there is a need at Shawnee Mission Hospital for hats and quilts at the NICU unit of the hospital.