A Beautiful Haitian Bride

 

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This beautiful bride is Manoucheke Pierre, wife a Steeve Derard, an employee of Mission to Haiti. The two were married last fall, and they were kind enough to send me some photos to post for you to see.

Manoucheke is just one of many brides who have benefited from Dorcas Ministry Shop.The bridal gown rental business keeps a variety of sizes and styles of wedding gowns on hand for brides-to-be to rent for their big day. Unlike in the United States where brides buy a dress and grooms rent a tux, in Haiti the bride rents a dress while the groom has a suit tailored for him. (Steeve’s brother is a tailor and made his suit.)

Brides can also purchase flower girl dresses, bridesmaid dresses and mother-of-the-bride dresses from The Dorcas Ministry Shop. (The flower girl makes an appearance in the last photo.) Keep on giving us your gently used formal gowns, and we’ll keep providing the shop with new merchandise.

Be sure to take a look at Manoucheke’s bouquet. Y’vette, Mirlaine and Sonia, three women I had the opportunity to work with last year, make pretty fabric bridal bouquets at the shop.

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Beautiful Bridal Gowns for Haiti

When I was a little girl I used to like to try on the fancy dresses that my seamstress mom made or altered for pretty much every bride or prom goer within a 100 mile radius of Britt, Iowa.  I’d pretend I was heading off to a formal dance or getting ready for my wedding. (Shhh, don’t tell anyone…I’m pretty sure mom’s customers don’t know I modeled their dresses in front of my full length mirror.)

I currently prefer jeans and flips-flops to frills and lace, but I do like to look at pretty dresses. I thought you might too. We recently received these two beautiful dresses to send to Dorcas Ministry Shop in Port au Prince. Enjoy the photos 🙂

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A Church Without A Building – Iganga, Uganda

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This is one of the first photos I received from Florence in Uganda. A group of students and school teachers are standing in front of the building that served as both a place of worship and a primary school.

After my initial contact with Florence, mom and I decided we’d like to help Faith Power Assembly Church and the community of Iganga by sending some dresses and shorts for children. In addition we planned to send sewing supplies and a financial donation for them to purchase a sewing machine to help them realize their dream of opening a vocational sewing school in their church/school building.

Then this happened…

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…A storm severely damaged the structure and rendered it unusable. They have been able to secure enough funds to frame it back up, as you can see in the bottom two photos, but they are still in need of metal for the roof.

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We don’t plan to morph 500 Dresses into a building fund blog, but mom and I talked about it and have decided we would like to wire a one-time donation to help defray roofing costs. We were already planning to wire approximately $75 for a sewing machine and will still designate that money in that way. But there is no way they can start a sewing school until they have a completed building, so we think it is a worthwhile detour from our “normal” ministry to send a donation for building supplies.

We’d love to see the vocational training become a reality, and I’m confident that God connected us to this church for a  reason.

Please don’t feel pressured to give, but any donations we receive in the next two weeks will be designated toward roofing costs.

If you have any questions feel free to email me at 500dresses@gmail.com. If you’d like to make a donation, send it to our temporary address at 500 Dresses, c/o Kim Harms, 809 Ashwood Dr., Huxley, IA 50124.

 

The Vocational Tailoring School Dream in Uganda

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When I was a kid, I was a pro at taking things for granted. (Actually,I’m still pretty good at it.)

Like learning to sew for instance. How dare my mom make me sit at the sewing machine on a beautiful summer day to finish 4-H projects when I could have been doing much more important things like meeting Amy at the pool or talking on the pink phone with the extra long cord that I got for Christmas.

But she did dare and I did learn (and chances are the pool plan wouldn’t have worked anyway because  Amy’s mom was probably making her finish her 4-H projects too.)

Unlike me, there are many women around the world who would LOVE the opportunity to learn to sew. Not only would they not take it for granted, the ability to sew could become a way to feed their children and keep a roof over their heads.

In Iganga, Uganda, Faith Power Assembly Church has a dream to open a vocational school. Currently, the church sends women to tailoring centers for training when they have the funds to do so. So far, they have sent a small handful of ladies for training, and Florence Were hopes to employ these ladies as teachers to train more women in the craft. In the meantime, the women who have been trained are making money with their skills.

“Of the first four ladies who learned tailoring, two have secured verandas within our trading center where they are sewing from and earn a living. One is sewing from her small room where she lives and one is yet to complete her course.”

We are grateful for the opportunity to help Florence and Faith Power Assembly Church in a small way by sending sewing supplies  and possibly even a couple small lightweight electric sewing machines along with our dresses and shorts.

The cut-off date for this shipment hasn’t been made yet, but will likely be mid to late June. Any supplies received after the cut-off will be saved for the next Haiti shipment.

 As always, thank you so very much for your involvement in this ministry.

 

 

 

Do You Trust Me? The Risk of Obedience

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Maybe they’ll just think I’m looking for something on the floor.

That was my hope as I slid off my chair and onto the hardwood. Down on my knees to pray.

I did not want to kneel three feet from where my boys were busy attacking villages in their “Clash of Clans world.”  I didn’t want them to think their mom was a weirdo.

What I wanted to do was finish my little Lent Devotional reading and get ready for church. I wanted to check it off my list and move on to important things like making sure my kids shoved pop tarts down their throats before heading out the door.

But I couldn’t finish the reading while arguing with the voice inside my head saying, “Get on your knees and pray.”

“Well, that’s just silly. I’m perfectly comfortable right here.”

“Get on your knees.”

“But I don’t have much time.”

“Get on your knees.”

“But…okay, I’ll do it.”

And I did. It wasn’t magical. Actually it was awkward.

I don’t remember my prayer from that morning. But I do remember that later as I sat in the fourth row on the left side of the church auditorium and our pastor began preaching about obeying God in the little things, I got goosebumps on my arms.

God did not ask me to kneel on the floor to pray because it was “holier” than praying on the chair. He wanted to see if I would obey in a little thing.  And I did.

I don’t always obey in the little things. In fact, the next week when my worship leader/sound guy hubby had a week off from heading to church early to serve, I knew God was asking me to get on my knees again.

I was reading the same devotional in the same chair, and I just couldn’t do it.

Now, Corey is one of the most incredible humble and God-fearing men you will ever meet, but I couldn’t get on my knees on the hardwood because I didn’t want him to think I was a weirdo. It’s one thing for your kids to thing you are a weirdo. It’s entirely different when it’s your husband.

So that day I failed, and I will fail again and again and again. In the little things and the big things. But you know what’s great about our God? His mercies are new every morning. Every single day for the rest of my life I have the opportunity to choose obedience. Past failures do not negate the opportunities for future obedience.

I think of that when I look at 500 Dresses and what God has allowed me to be a part of. I don’t like to sew. He knew that when he asked me to do this. But you know what? What keeps being pounded into my head is that obedience has a little to do with the act itself and a lot to do with believing that God is smarter than me.

Though there are a few simple dress patterns that I have gotten pretty good at making, sewing is still not something I do for fun. But because I started sewing, I now have this fun opportunity to organize the gifts and service of others. To get their donations from here to there and be a liaison between Iowa and Haiti, and now Iowa and Uganda. I’ve met incredible people both in person and online. I’ve had the opportunity to spend time in Haiti, and I have found a home for many beautiful formal dresses that have just been taking up space in American closets.

So if God is asking you to do something uncomfortable and weird, don’t be afraid to try it. Maybe it’s just his way of asking, “Do you trust me?”

I have a feeling we would all benefit from taking the risk of obedience a little more often and just getting on our knees on the hardwood floor.