A Prayer of Surrender

“God, if there’s anything I can do or anything that I have, I’m yours. It’s all yours.”

Six years ago, Jill Dannenberg prayed this prayer of surrender. She owned an embroidery shop in Zeeland, Michigan, and one day, she felt the Lord prompting her to shut down everything in the shop to pray.

This prayer led to a stirring in Jill’s heart. She went to her husband Paul and shared that the Lord was asking her to sell the embroidery business. While the timing wasn’t ideal and the reason was not clear, Jill and Paul agreed that they needed to obey.

The business sold for the asking price in just two weeks.

After the embroidery business sold, the Lord started revealing Living Threads.

“I had no idea what I was going to be doing. And I just started journaling until I had quite a bit written down, and then I told my husband what I thought God was calling us to and we started Living Threads.”

Jill called six close friends and asked them to come to a meeting.

“I didn’t tell them what it was about,” Jill shares. “I just said ‘I want to share something with you, what I sense God calling me to do.’”

Those six friends came to the meeting, and within days, two of the ladies called to say that when Jill was ready to start, they were ready to start with her.

The embroidery shop building was on the Dannenberg property. When the business moved out, the Kenya_LivingThreadsQuilt_Small_optbuilding was empty, so Jill and her team transformed it into Living Threads’ first home. For the first year, they met in this small space with no running water and no bathroom.

One day Jill was at the City on a Hill café for a Bible study. Afterward she stayed to get some work done. “I sensed God saying to me ‘you need to find out what’s involved with coming here.’ And I sat there thinking ‘you’ve got to be crazy, we’ve got no money, we can’t move here.’”

The Lord kept prompting Jill until she finally went in search of the building director. When she found his office with the door wide open, she asked what was involved in moving into the City on a Hill building.

 

“He gave me a tour,” Jill says. “And the first room we walked into, my heart felt like it was going to jump out of my chest. God does that – it’s like He’s saying ‘pay attention, Jill, I’m showing you something.’ He did it with International Needs – it was a presentation on Kibera and I thought my heart was going to jump out of my chest!”

Jill shared that they had no money for rent, and she returned the next day with a volunteer, a board member, and her husband. “We sat on the floor and started praying,” Jill says. “It was a big empty room and we just said ‘God, if you want us here you’re going to have to work a miracle. Because we have no money.’”

Kenya_LivingThreadsVolunteers_Small_optA week later, Jill and a Living Threads volunteer stopped work to pray. “I said, ‘Let’s spend some time in prayer because I think we should ask God to work a miracle and somehow give us four months of free rent at City on a Hill.’” Ten minutes later the phone rang and it was the director of City on a Hill. He shared that the board had approved them and approved six months of free rent.

Living Threads moved into City on a Hill. “We had no money to buy paint or anything,” Jill says. “So I just started calling paint stores. ‘Do you have paint you’ve mixed wrong and don’t know what to do with?’ That’s how we got our paint colors. Lots and lots of things were donated.”

“After the four months that we had prayed for, we had enough money to start paying rent, so I went back to the director and said ‘I know you offered us six months, but we were only asking for four, so we’re going to start paying rent now and you can help somebody else.’ That’s how God provided – He answered that original prayer.”

Through Living Threads’ support, hundreds of children in the Kibera slum get to attend International Needs Saturday Bible clubs, where they receive nutritious food, emotional support, and Biblical teaching. Jill’s obedience and an answered prayer continue to offer hope to grieving people in the United States, as well as children living in poverty in the Kibera slum in Kenya.