When Millie, a retired missionary, was asked if she would be interested in taking some simple little dresses to Colombia on her next short-term mission trip, she was enthusiastic. After contacting her Colombian friends, Millie said she would like to take three hundred dresses. In four short months the dresses were made and shipped to Bogotá.
One of the locations where dresses were distributed was Juan Rey. Millie, with the help of local pastors selected different colors of dresses in each size then headed down the street to visit the children in their homes. The girls enthusiastically selected the color of dress they wanted to wear. Some of the girls even immediately put a dress on over their existing clothes as big smiles lit up their faces.
John Martyn, the United Methodist pastor in Benton, Kansas, and his wife Melinda were on the January mission trip with Millie and helped distribute the dresses. Estelle, a Colombian pastor’s wife asked Melinda if she had anything she wanted to say to the girls. Melinda said, “The ladies who made these dresses have the love of Jesus in their hearts. Because of that, they have a love for you.” It touched the hearts of the girls. Melinda says it was very special to have the opportunity to distribute the dresses and witness the impact that receiving a new dress had on the girls.
Melinda says that making and seeing the dresses delivered forms a connection. “That connection is not only important for them, but it is important for us because we become so isolated in our culture that we do not realize God is reaching out to other people too. We have no better way of touching those lives than through the gift of the dresses.”