I was born in the Christmas City, (Minden, NE) and raised in the center of the U. S. (Kearney, NE). A job transfer for my husband brought us and our four children to North Carolina in 1985. Locating Knightdale UMC on the third day, just blocks from our new home, I vowed to God “You have me where you want me, now use me.”
After a temporary layoff in 2009, I found volunteer opportunities within the church and community. It took the February 2010 earthquake in Haiti and the April 2010 tornados in Raleigh, to reveal my passion to help. My involvements with UMCOR and community disaster relief helped me to recognize that mission is often right outside our back doors.
I tried to deny and turn away from God. I wanted to be a volunteer who shows up to do the work, but God said, “Sheila, I need a mover and shaker, someone who will make it happen.” These conversations with God helped me understand how Jacob wrapped his son in a garment of love, and that coat of many colors became my vision of wrapping our brothers and sisters in a garment of God’s love, by providing basic human needs of clothing during difficult times in their lives.
With mentoring from Pastor JoElaine Harris and support from the Knightdale UMC Mission Team, Dream Coat Ministries was birthed. Grants from the NC Conference helped establish a store front location that would be open to the community. With God as the owner, Dream Coat is staffed by part-time volunteers and inventory is by donations. We try to find purpose for something old or unused in one household to bless another.
Since the doors of Dream Coat Ministries have opened, we have served individuals who are domestic violence survivors, recovering from house fires, are homeless or balancing a small monthly budget. I am blessed day after day by how God leads me through Dream Coat Ministries, and helps me understand that God will completely meet, not only my needs, but the needs of my brothers and sisters.