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

Advertisements

240 Pounds of Sewing Supplies

IMG_20151113_094545556_HDR

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.

 

Haiti Bound

haitibiound copy

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?

file0002021342320

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.

Our Uganda Connection

100_2660

 

Florence Were (third from the right in the photo)  is a pastor’s wife in Iganga, Uganda. Her husband has been leading the Faith Power Assembly Church in Iganga since 1998. The church has a congregation of 150 (including children) and a desire to reach more people for Christ.

Florence works with women, counsels youth and advises and oversees the Sunday School program.

The Weres have three children: two biological and one whom they found and took in as their own.

Basically, she’s a wife, a mother and a part of a church family. Just like me and many of you.

According to Florence, Islam is the predominant religion where they live in Southern Uganda, but  Christianity is beginning to take root. The church tries to reach out to those who don’t yet know Jesus through open air meetings, door-to-door preaching and a mercy ministry.

“We show them that we love and care for them by helping their needy with what God provides for us,” she said.

Our dresses and shorts will provide the Faith Power Assembly Church with more provisions to take care of tangible needs among believers and within the Muslim community. We have the opportunity to help the church to be the hands and feet of Christ.

You may remember, Namusubo.

SAM_1426

 

Because of the Operation Christmas Child gift she received from my son Carter last year, her Muslim family allows her to attend a Christian school. So who knows what will happen when more people receive Christ’s love in the way of dresses and shorts sent from Iowa.

I wish I could sit over a cup of coffee and chat with Florence. Bits and pieces of information passed back and forth sporadically via email is great, but I have a feeling I would very much enjoy her company. And I think she could teach me a little something about the important things in life.

As always, thanks so much to all of you who support 500 Dresses. 

 

 

A Story Of Obedience and A Boy – a guest post

IMG_1903

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!

 

Dorcas Ministry Shop Story in Today’s Christian Woman

IMG_2084

This summer I had the honor of writing a story about Dorcas Ministry Shop and the wonderful woman behind it for Today’s Christian Woman. It recently published online and will also be in the fall print edition.

You should read it:  Haute Couture in Haiti

Not because I wrote it, but because Esther is awesome. Dorcas Ministry Shop is awesome. Mission to Haiti is awesome. And seeing God’s hand in the whole thing is awesome.

(If you donated a formal dress, it is in Miami right now and soon to be heading to the cute little shop in the photo.)

A Change of Perspective in Haiti

Kim Teaching 5Brunel translated as I shared a devotion.

Back in the day when Carter and Owen didn’t need deodorant and ate less food than I do, I started writing a series of devotions for them loosely based on their “little boy” experiences. My dream was to write 30 devos, have my fantastically talented brother illustrate them and then create a book. Well, the book hasn’t been published, but it hasn’t been a complete waste either. Some of the devos have found their way into publications, and I’ve been able to use them on various occasions. Most recently on our mission trip to Haiti.

My new friend, Paula, and I took turns sharing a short devotion at the beginning of our afternoon sewing classes with the youth. My speaking-in-front-of-a-group nerves melted away when the kids’ school teacher giggled as I talked about my boys coming home caked with mud from the creek.  Smiling back at her, I had an awesome moment of realization that she and I are both just regular moms. We simply happened to have been born into very different life circumstances.

Several similar moments over the course of my Mission to Haiti trip changed the way I think of Haitians.  Instead of thinking of “the poor Haitians” en-masse, I think of the school teacher with the smiling eyes who used hand motions to tell me she was pregnant with her second child. I think of our translator Billy who sat with me on two occasions and talked about his life. I think about Alix who will soon move from his mud and thatch house to a home with a roof that Corey helped build. I think of  our student Marilyn who was by far a better seamstress than me…

Haiti is a poor nation. But that nation is made up of individual people who are not so different from you and me. They just lack the opportunities that we take for granted. I’m beyond grateful for the opportunity to take that perspective changing trip.

***

Below is a copy of the devo I paraphrased for the kids in Haiti, along with an illustration by my brother.

dsc036051

Psalm 51:7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean. Wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. NIV

“The sun is out!” Michael was thrilled. He shoveled his pancakes in his mouth and went to find James. After a week of rain, the boys were tired of being stuck in the house.

They pulled on their rain boots and hurried out to the creek behind the house. It was like a wonderland of water and mud. Soon they were on their hands and knees on the wet mushy ground digging for worms.

Covered in mud up to their elbows, they played happily letting the wet dirt soak into their shorts and t-shirts. By lunchtime, they had a bucket full of worms and bodies caked in mud.

“Let’s go home and get something to eat,” said James pulling a long worm out of the ground.

“Yeah, and I want to get this mud off my arms and legs. It kind of pinches my skin when it dries,” said Micheal as he worked on getting the mud out from between his toes.

Their mom started laughing when two mud-caked boys arrived at her door. “You can’t possibly be James and Michael. You look more like mud monsters. Let’s go over to the side of the garage so I can hose you down,” she said.

James and Michael watched the mud run off of their skin and down the driveway along with the water from the hose.

“Do you know what this reminds me of?” their mom asked.

“A big mud puddle?” asked James.

“Well,  it does look like a big mud puddle, but that’s not what I was thinking,” she said. “What it makes me think of is how Jesus washes away our sins.”

“Oh, like our sins are the mud?”

“Yes, and when we ask Jesus to forgive our sins, what does he do?”

“He washes us clean, just like you are doing with the hose.”

“Right! When Jesus forgives us he takes our dirty sin and washes it away.”

As the boys watched the muddy water flow down the driveway, they decided it felt pretty good to be clean.