How Come and Sew Ministries, International (CASMI) began

by Steve Arnold

As I tell the story of this work and watch it grow I want to share with you the words of the Apostle Paul in I Corinthians 3:5 -11. God will use each of us if we stay available and surrendered.

“The Lord gave opportunity to each one. I planted, Appollos watered, but God was causing the growth. So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth. Now he who plants and he who waters are one; but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor for we are God’s fellow-workers; you are God’s field, God’s building. According the grace of God which was given to me, a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building upon it. But let each man be careful how he builds upon it. For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.”

Ministry leader working with Russian orphan

Sewing is a life skill that orphans can use to become independent - earn money.

Russian orphan using her new life skill sewing

Teaching sewing is a way to lead these children to Christ.


Our Beginnings

CASMI’s roots began in 1991, when Kathie started a sewing school in our home with a vision to reach out to women and children and model a Proverbs 31 woman while teaching them to sew. During these years it was Kathie’s heart desire to be used by God in the lives of each student, but she never imagined during the 10 years the school was growing that God was equipping and teaching her how to found and lead an international ministry for women and children in Russia.

The summer of 2001 an amazing opportunity came through the Josh McDowell Ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ, International. Because of Kathie’s knowledge of sewing and a lifetime friendship with the CEO of Josh McDowell ministry, we were asked to investigate the sewing programs and sewing needs of orphans in St. Petersburg, Russia. Josh wanted someone to investigate if anything could be done to develop or assist sewing programs in orphanages and spread the gospel while teaching life skills.

We learned that there were over 124 orphanages in St. Petersburg and over 600,000 orphans in Russia. Most of these children are “abandoned to the state” as 95 percent have a living parent and therefore are unadoptable.1 Estimates are as high as 200,000 street children living in St. Petersburg alone. Nearly all of these children end up in illegal activities such as drugs and prostitution. Similar conditions exist in nearly every orphanage in any country. We asked ourselves how can we make a difference? 

God’s answer was to found a ministry that would come from within the indigenous church. CASMI’s first outreach in Russia began through a pastor and his church in Lomonosov - a suburb of St. Petersburg. The JMM ministry gave the first sewing machines in Russia through the church and CASMI’s growth has continued to increase through church relationships.

After much prayer, Come and Sew Ministries International (CASMI) was founded in February of 2003 with the IRS. CASMI is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit ministry. In 2010 the ministry name was changed to Creative Workshops International due to the many creative arts that are now being used to share the Gospel.

1Abandoned to the State; Cruelty and Neglect in Russian Orphanages, Human Rights Watch, New York, NY, 1988 p.2