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What happens when a girl from a middle-class American family discovers the needs of people on the other side of the world? This is the story of a teenaged suburban cheerleader named Arlene. Soon after she married her husband, Steve, they traded in the American dream for a cross-cultural adventure in a Muslim-majority country of 230 million.
From learning a new language to making a home in a crowded city neighborhood, the cultural barriers seemed enormous. The Richardsons were often overwhelmed with the economic needs of their new neighbors, as they observed them struggling to provide for their families in the face of crushing poverty. Even greater were the spiritual strongholds that held them in the grip of religious tradition.
How could they even begin to help?
The unexpected answer came in the form of a cardboard box of quilts from North Carolina and a tiny village woman who became a treasured member of their family. Arlene, who had never sewn a quilt in her life, launched a business venture that brought Muslim and Christian employees together under one roof, designing, cutting and sewing quilts for beds 7,000 miles away in America.
Threads recounts the Richardsons’ journey—the sorrow, joy and unbelievable answers to prayer that sustained them in their labors and drew their family into a story that only God could write.
Arlene Richardson is founder of HeartCraft, an organization that helps people in need by marketing products from small and medium-sized enterprises in the developing world. She is also involved in Pioneers, a mission organization with work in 95 countries. Arlene and her husband, Steve, who is the president of Pioneers-USA, have four daughters and live in Orlando, Florida.
232 pages, 2012, BottomLine Media.