Friday, November 20, 2009

The Hundred Dresses...

Last year the Young Women in our stake were given a challenge to work on a charitable service project and give a presentation at Stake Girls Camp of what they did with documentation, and pictures, and share their testimony of the Savior and the insights that they may have gained about charity, the pure love of Christ.
Our ward young women chose to make "100 dresses" for the Humanitarian Center of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, that would go to little girls, possibly throughout the entire world.
They incorporated a story called...
"The Hundred Dresses"
"A 1944 children's book by Eleanor Estes. The book centers on Wanda Petronski, a poor and friendless Plolish-American girl. Her teacher, outwardly kind, puts her in the worst seat in the schoolroom and does not intervene when her schoolmates tease her mercilessly. One day, after her classmates laugh at her funny last name and the faded blue dress she wears to school every day, Wanda claims to own one hundred dresses, all lined up in her closet. This outrageous and obvious lie becomes a game, as the girls in her class corner her every day before school, demanding that she describe for them all of her dresses.
Wanda ends up leaving school and moving to the city. After she has moved, a dress design competition at school reveals that she was, indeed, telling the truth: her winning entry consists of beautiful, detailed drawings of one hundred dresses, each exactly as she had described. Her tormentors are awed by her artistic talent.
But the story is not about Wanda; it is told from the point of view of her classmate Maddie, who feels bad for Wanda but is nevertheless particularly mean to her because she herself is poor and does not want to be the target of her wealthier peers. By writing sympathetically from the viewpoint of someone complicit in the social violence, the story confronts readers to question their own attitudes and behaviors."

The girls worked together sewing each and every dress over months and months leading up to camp, and ended up surpassing their goal of 100, and made 125 reversible dresses for a total of 250!

This week I had the privilege to help take them to the Humanitarian Center and turn in the dresses! It was an amazing experience. The sister missionaries there taught us about the many things that happens there, and some of what they see. When items are donated, they say it is like Christmas... they are so excited to have each and every scrap of fabric or item given, because nothing goes to waste and every single thing is used for something, not one scrap of tiny fabric is thrown out. They told us of the many experiences they had had receiving something, just at the same time they would know of a need for it. We were able to help tie a quilt and sew eyes and noses on some stuffed hand made teddy bears that were donated early that day.
It didn't seem like much, but they described the many small amounts of service given here and there, and showed what a great affect it had on people throughout the entire world. It made me think of the scripture in Alma 37:6 "behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass". The effects of service, no matter the size, reach very far and wide.
They asked the girls what they felt as they accomplished this great goal of learning to sew and making these dresses. And one girl shared that they had discussed when sewing one night, that they may never know where their dress ends up, but wouldn't it be wonderful to be married to a return missionary one day and be looking at his mission pictures in a third world country and see him with a little girl who was wearing the dress she made. (ahhhh, this made me bawl).
I have a testimony and I know that the thoughts we receive to reach out and love others, and show we care, come from God. He uses the Holy Ghost to whisper to our minds and hearts quietly and humbly.
And I know that as we serve others and give of our time and talents and move beyond ourselves and act upon those thoughts and listen to that still small voice, that this gives our Heavenly Father great joy. It brings us closer to our Savior, Jesus Christ and allows us to obtain a piece of His everlasting joy.


patsy said...

My girls loved that book... I should read it.

What a FANTASTIC project! so much good & such great lessons learned here-

love it!

Megan said...

That is such a great project! I love that idea. What a great group of girls.

Heidi said...

I didn't know before that they were reversible. What a great idea!

PaD said...

Good job Beth and girls. They look like the ones I do. I've been slacking off. I do about 4 or 5 a year. I'd better get busy. They might fire me. This is a great project for the girls. They must have all learned to sew. That is a skill worth having.

Anonymous said...

That is such a good idea! I love that book, I've read it many times.


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