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.)

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A Meaningful Life

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The truth is, if what we choose to do with our lives won’t make a story meaningful, it won’t make a life meaningful either.” – Donald Miller – A Million Miles in a Thousand Years

I had the opportunity to read two fantastic books over the course of my week in Haiti (mostly in airport terminals, airplanes and the wee hours of the morning after the rooster gave me my 4 a.m. wake-up call.)

The above quote is from one of those books. I will have more to say about our trip once the words dancing around in my head settle into cohesive thoughts, but while I wait for that to happen, I wanted to share this.

I (and I’m sure mom agrees) want what I choose to do with my years on this earth to make a meaningful story; a meaningful life.  A life in which my words and actions point people to Jesus.

And I want to thank all of you who prayed for us and supported us in other ways while we prepared for this trip and during our week in Haiti. You play a role in making 500 Dresses meaningful.

(Now go enjoy some turkey and some Black Friday shopping 🙂 I’ll be back with some Haiti stories after the holiday. )

 

240 Pounds of Sewing Supplies

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We’ve got 240 pounds of supplies ready to head to Haiti! Thank goodness for a burly husband to carry these into the airport for us. 🙂

A glimpse of what we’re taking:

  • 2 beginner sewing machines
  • 1 serger sewing machine
  • 8 formal dresses
  • 40ish sundresses and shorts
  • lots of fabric
  • bags of scissors, zippers, needles, thread, snaps, buttons, seam rippers, pin cushions….
  • Soccer balls
  • Chocolate (I hear our students love chocolate. We should get along just fine.)
  • Wedding gift (Can’t wait to go to Brunel’s wedding!)

Thanks to all who donated supplies and money to help us make this happen.

 

Sewing In Haiti

Boy sewing

This boy was one of our students on the last mission trip to Haiti. This time around mom and I will teach a small group of more advanced students. Mom is working on lesson plans for a halter-type bridesmaid dress and a bag that will incorporate practice with zippers and binding. (Then she’s gonna have to teach me, so I can help her teach the students 🙂 )

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh. Rather, serve one another humbly in love. Galatians 5:13.

How You Can Support Us In Our Haiti Trip

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Mom and I are heading to Haiti on November 14. We will be staying on the campus of Mission to Haiti in Port-au Prince, and will spend our week teaching sewing to a small group of vocational students in Beudet.

I am excited that mom is coming along for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is the fact that we will likely be working only on treadle machines. (If you want to know how well I get along with treadle sewing machines you can check out this old post from my last trip to Haiti – The Treadle Battle.)

People have asked how they can help us, pray for us, support us… Below I am listing a variety of ways you can join us in our adventure.

Provide Supplies – We will each take 2 checked bags which we will stuff with as many sewing supplies as possible; both for use in our classes and to leave for the women to use after we have gone. Here’s what we are looking for:

  • Fancy Fabric – satins, taffeta (anything you might make a bridesmaid or flowergirl dress out of.) We can take smaller pieces, but would prefer to have lengths of at least 4 yards.
  • hook and eyes and/or snaps
  • zippers
  • good quality thread
  • needles, both for machines and hand-sewing
  • sewing scissors
  • seam rippers
  • binding material and/or prepackaged seam binding
  • tape measures
  • rotary cutting board and rotary cutters
  • straight pins
  • misc. sewing supplies

Prayers

  • travels – that we make our connecting flights and our luggage arrives with us (When Corey and I went in 2012, our luggage decided to come a day late, and we absolutely should have missed a connecting flight, but God chose to show us how big he is by getting us on the plane.)
  • health
  • the ability to teach in a way the students can understand
  • to be able to successfully use treadles – Mom is practicing on her old machine 🙂
  • that the devotions I will be writing to present at the beginning of each class will be understandable and reach the students for Christ.
  • that my hubby and three boys will survive a week without me 😉

Financial – If you are interested in providing support financially either to defray the costs of our trip, or to cover the expense of supplies we will need to purchase, you can send a check made out to 500 Dresses, to Kim Harms, 314 Centennial Dr. Huxley, IA, 50124 (These donations are not tax-deductible, as 500 Dresses is not an official NPO.) Make note in the memo line what you would like the donation to be used for.)

Thanks so much in advance for your prayers and support. We’ll keep you updated as we learn more info about the trip.

 

Haiti Bound

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Mom and I are heading to Haiti in November. Yay!!

We don’t have a lot of details yet, but we think we will be teaching sewing classes to vocational school students in Port-au-Prince through Mission to Haiti.

We will also be attending and probably helping to prepare for Brunel’s wedding, which will be held on November 20. (You may remember this summer we asked for donations toward the cost of a marriage license for Brunel. We were able to send him $100.)

Brunel and his fiance

Brunel and his fiance

We’ll let you know more about the trip when we have more details, but in the meantime, you can start praying for us (and for Corey who will play mom and dad while I’m gone for the week. I predict much pizza and ice-cream will be consumed and very little laundry will make it into the washing machine.)

Going on a Mission Trip?

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Our supply of dresses tends to ebb and flow. Currently it’s flowing.

This a great thing, and we are excited every time a box or bag of dresses arrives at our door. But because we have a good-sized inventory right now, we’ve decided to see if anyone out there is interested in taking some of our dresses and shorts with them on a mission trip.

I’ve mentioned here in the past that shipping is our greatest cost. Many of you have graciously donated money to cover shipping, but we’d much prefer to spend $50 -$100 to send an extra piece of luggage with someone going on a mission trip than several hundred to ship a 45-pound box overseas. The cost to ship to Haiti is doable as it is close to the US. But elsewhere it gets pricey.

If you are headed overseas and interested in taking some dresses and/or shorts with you, please send a facebook message or an email, and we will work out details with you.

A Story Of Obedience and A Boy – a guest post

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I had the opportunity to guest post today for Alphonsine Imaniraguha over at A Soothing Voice. The story is one some of you have heard, but it is one of those amazing “only God could do this” kind of things. Something I still can’t think about without tears.

I’ve known Alphonsine for a couple years, and if you have spent any time over at 26 Letters, you are probably familiar with her too. She is allowing God to use her tragic story for his purposes. (If you every have a chance to go hear her speak, do it!)

If you are visiting here from A Soothing Voice, thanks for stopping by. Take a look around to see what 500 Dresses is up to. And if you have a desire to take part in our ministry, we’d love to have you join us!

 

God’s Will is Always the Best Place

“What was the best part of your trip?”

I’ve fielded that question many times since Corey and I returned from Haiti. So many really good things happened over the course of our week, but I have determined that the very best part was an ongoing overwhelming sense that I was exactly where God wanted me to be.

I got worn out. (Take a look my tired self in this photo just before our flight back to the US. If those puffy eyes don’t say exhausted, I don’t know what does.)

Dave Paula Kim and Cory

And I missed my three handsome fellas back home. (Look at those faces. How could I not miss them?)

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And this introverted gal longed for a couple hours in a place void of people and noise. (My comfy bedroom chair was calling my name by the end of the week.)

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But even when I was a little homesick or uncomfortable, I knew I was smack dab in the middle of God’s will.  And there is no better place to be. Whether in the densely-populated poverty-stricken capital of Haiti or a cornfield-surrounded two-stoplight town in the middle of Iowa, God’s will is always the best place.

And I’ve found that often when I am in God’s will he allows some really good things to happen.

One of those things on my Haiti trip was the opportunity to fill this pastor’s arms with dresses for his ever-growing congregation. Pastor Brucelee (Phonetically his name sounds just like the iconic martial arts expert, though I’m sure I just mutilated the spelling.) leads a church of 900+ people, and it was a blessing to me to be a blessing to him.

Any really good things ever happen to you when you were right where God wanted you to be?

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Beautiful Girl

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It makes me smile to think of all the little girls in Haiti who are wearing dresses made by my mom. Lots of you have made dresses, but it is not an exaggeration to say there are hundreds of girls in Haiti wearing beautiful dresses made by Jan Nelson. This little girl from Thomaseau put her dress on as soon as she got it. Words cannot describe the blessing it was to see face-to-face this sweet girl in her dress. It is such a drop in the bucket as far as need in the country is concerned, but God can use every little thing for his purposes and glory.

Proverbs 19:17

Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord,

    and he will reward them for what they have done.

Thank you so much for all the  ways you have helped us get dresses and shorts to Haiti. Check out the Mission to Haiti link on the sidebar to find out more about the awesome ministry where we ship our dresses.