Preparing for Sewing Classes in Haiti

 

Today my mom taught me how to make the projects that we will be working on with 30 Haitian students next month. Together we carefully worded step-by-step instructions and took photos of the steps. Now we’ll use an online translator to translate the English to Creole and then print copies so the students can follow along as we show them how to make a simple backpack and fabric storage container that hangs on a clothes hanger.

Mom is an ace at this. I am just hoping I don’t mess anything up.

At this point we don’t know the skill level of the students or how many sewing machines we’ll have available to use.

We do know that we will be dripping with sweat. After a never-ending Iowa winter, I will try very hard not to complain about the heat as I wring my skirt out. 🙂

Prayer requests:

  • That we will be flexible and go with the flow.
  • That the projects we have planned are appropriate for the students’ skill levels.
  • That the devotions I write to share at the beginning of each class will draw the students’ hearts to Christ.
  • That we can overcome the challenges of the language barrier.
  • That they will have bottled Coca-Cola available for my enjoyment (Okay that’s a totally selfish one, but seriously, one of the things I love about Haiti is drinking Coke out of a glass bottle.)

IMG_5429

 

Advertisements

And the Winners Are…

quilts

…Sharon Sweers (ISU quilt) and Shelly Olsan (Ballard quilt)

Thank you to all who donated toward our trip and to all of you who are praying for us.

We will head to Haiti on July 21 and return on July 28.

Mom has started planning sewing classes. We’ll be making backpacks. But before we go she’s going to have to teach me how to make them (because I’m not fantastic at sewing 🙂 )

Corey and the boys will be fixing and remodeling a building on the Mission to Haiti campus that was damaged during the earthquake several years ago.

I’m excited that my boys have the opportunity to experience a world very different from their own and to serve Jesus in a tangible way working alongside their dad. #blessedmama

We’re Going to Haiti (and Giving Away a Couple Quilts)

 

The last time I went to Haiti was November 2015.  It was a trip I took with my mom to teach sewing classes. Corey and I went together to Haiti two years prior.

During each of those trips I thought, “Someday, when they’re old enough, we need to IMG_1885IMG_5359bring our boys here.”

Then I got cancer and life as we knew it drastically changed. Everything was readjusted on the scale of importance. We focused on me, which was a necessary thing to do, but thoughts of a return trip to Haiti fell to the recesses of my mind.

Then last fall, I had the opportunity to ship some dresses to Haiti with a friend. After handing off a suitcase filled with dresses to Jessica, I didn’t give it much thought. Not until she texted me one day in December and said, “Kim, can I come over to your house and talk to you about my trip?”

So Jessica came and sat with Corey and me and showed us photos and cried as she told us stories and talked about how her teenage daughter’s eyes were opened in a new way to Jesus’ love for the world.

And that was it.

It was like God was nudging me, “Kim, it’s time.”

But that’s a big deal. Taking 4/5ths of our family to a foreign country for 8 days is not an inexpensive venture.

But Corey and I both know that we want our boys to see Jesus clearly. And we desire for them to serve Him. Of course they don’t have to leave American soil to do that, but I can’t think of a better opportunity to expand their worldview and their Godview than the place where my worldview and Godview were rocked.

So here we go…

We, along with my mom, plan to travel to Haiti this July. Though details aren’t set, Corey and the boys will likely do construction work while mom and I teach sewing classes at the vocational school we taught at in 2015.

The cost of this trip will be approximately $6500.

That looks like such a big number to me. But I was recently reminded that my God owns the cattle on a thousand hills, and when He leads us to something, He provides. Whether that’s from our bank account (everything we have is His anyway, right) or through the blessings of gifts from others.

My fantastic mother made the two quilts pictured and gave them to me to help defray the cost of our trip. If you feel led to donate any amount, your name will be put in a drawing for one of these quilts. Simply send a note with your donation letting me know which quilt you’d like a chance at receiving.

God is good. And I’m so thankful that He lovingly urges me on to do the things He wants me to do. And I’m beyond excited for the possibility of this experience with my mom and three of my four favorite men in the world.

Kim (and family)

Please don’t feel pressured to give, but if you do you, can write a check out to me and send it to 804 Timberlane, Huxley, IA 50124. Or you can donate through PayPal (make sure you specify friends and family, not goods and services) to ckharmsfamily@hotmail.com. (Don’t forget to mention which quilt you’d like your name in the drawing for.)

Last Chance to Donate Dresses for Haiti Shipment

 

Mom and I plan to send a shipment of dresses to Haiti in 2 weeks. We are still taking donations. If you have any formal dresses, sundresses or wedding gowns you’d like to add to our box, let me know.

Donations can be shipped to Jan Nelson, 680 1st St. NE, Britt, IA 50124.

If you are local to Huxley, you can drop them off at my house – 804 Timberlane.

 

Haitian Girls with New Dresses

My friend Jessica and her daughter Anna went to Haiti this fall and took a suitcase filled with our dresses.

This was her first trip to Haiti, and as she spoke to Corey and me about her experiences on the trip, we had to keep the Kleenex handy. God is so good, and he just does such amazing things when we say “Okay, I’ll go where you are asking me to go and do what you are asking me to do.”

Jessica took a bunch of photos and I’m sharing some of them with you here today.  They laid out the dresses in a classroom and let girls take turns coming in to try them on and choose one. It was the first time these girls have “shopped” for clothes.

Mom and I are thankful to be a part of the things God is doing with these dresses. And we are thankful to those who have supported this ministry.

 

Haiti Construction and Dresses Update

16111475_10208355313176842_716436549_n

This week mom sent about 50 sundresses, several pairs of shorts and a few formal gowns to Haiti. She said it’s the first time a shipment has had zero dresses made by her. Thank you to all who have donated dresses.

img_20161219_090014385_hdr

We also sent $2500 to go toward the construction of Pastor Cadet’s multi-function vocational school building. I believe they need about $2500 more to complete the building. If you are interested in donating toward the school, you can write a check to 500 Dresses with vocational school in the memo.

As we get updates on the construction process, we’ll fill you in here on the blog.

 

Let’s Help Build a Sewing School in Haiti

img_5372

Several weeks ago I received a message from Pastor Cadet of the sewing school in Beudet, Haiti. This is the school where mom and I taught when we were in Haiti last November. (Actually we spent most of the week teaching on the Mission to Haiti campus because the facilities there are much better.)

The school is currently housed on a concrete slab with tarps for a roof and sheets for walls. The one day we spent at the school under the tarps with the students was a good, but exhausting and eye-opening day.

img_5346

Teaching on the Mission to Haiti Campus

 

It was pretty amazing to see what they are able to do with such a primitive work space, but how awesome would it be for them to have a solid building with real walls and a roof?

img_5377

Teaching at the sewing school

 

Pastor Cadet laid out a construction plan for me and has asked for our help. We are excited to participate in this construction project and already have $850 designated toward it.

With our $850 added to the $500 Pastor Cadet has already saved, they are only short of their construction goal by $480.

If you would like to donate to the construction of the Beudet Sewing School, we’d love to have your contribution. Just write your check to 500 Dresses with Beudet Sewing School in the memo and send it to 500 Dresses, c/o Jan Nelson, 680 1st St. NE, Britt, IA 50423.

Let’s see if we can build a school in Haiti!

Below is the breakdown of the construction project costs. (The cost noted in both Haitian and US currency.)

Stage 1: foundation

Cement—————————1200

Iron bar—————————2000       5800 $HT or 485 USD

Natural building stone ——–1300

Coarse Sand———————–1300

Stage 2-Erection or Putting up

Coarse sand————-1100

Gravel———————-500            4800 $HT or 420 USD

Iron bar——————-2000

Cement——————-1200

Stage 3-Roof

Woods————–2100                5100 $ HT or 425 USD

Sheet metal——–3000

Workforce————————————–500 USD

Total: 485 + 420 + 425 +500 = 1 830 USD

img_20160911_175140897

Pastor and Madame Cadet with their children. Madame Cadet teaches at the sewing school.

My Life Since Cancer

IMG_20160629_200747271

Me and My Man 🙂

It’s been about six months since my cancer diagnosis, and a few of you have sent kind messages telling me that you are thinking of me and praying for me. I thought I’d take a few hundred words to update you on my health status.

I’m anxiously awaiting my final reconstruction surgery next week which, aside from hormone therapy and regular check-ups with my oncologist, will mark the end of my breast cancer madness. Hallelujah!

I’m doing great. I really am. Aside from the crazy discomfort of these awful reconstruction expanders in my chest, I feel normal. I feel healthy. I feel like Kim.

If you are curious about expanders, I recommend you google it. But I suggest reading articles written by women who have gone through it instead of articles written by surgeons. Doctors have this thing for substituting the word discomfort for excruciating.  They seriously need to work on their vocab.

If you are curious if I still trust in God, absolutely. He is good. Always. And he has blessed me in amazing ways over the past few months.

I could list dozens of things he has done to show me he loves me lots, but I’ll just share one example to give you an idea.

John Piper is one of my favorite Bible teachers, and his words have reached out and grabbed me several times in my adult life. But something he said in a video I watched early on during this cancer year sunk the roots of my faith in Jesus deep down into the dirt.

Last month I posted An Open Thank You Letter to John Piper  on my blog. And guess what? He responded to that post.  How awesome is that? In February, God used John Piper in a youtube video to reach into my heart, and in June he used him once again to remind me that I am loved, and I am cared for.

Nowhere in the 66 books of the Bible did God promise that I wouldn’t get cancer. He did, however, promise that he would never leave me. And he reminds me of his presence over and over in the most lovely ways.