So, here’s a challenge: try reading this article without misting up and shedding a tear or two…

I am literally lost for words by this story from HOPE MK… I challenged the team to think about the ‘upgrading trading for Jesus’ idea which I blogged about in the summer. And the following day when I wasn’t there the most amazing thing happened.

The following comes from http://hopemk.com/news/greater-plan-revealed/

Grab a coffee & a box of tissues, sit back and read this amazing story of God at work…

In the middle of the week of Hope MK activities we were prompted to pray that God would do the miraculous; that those involved would experience things which could be explained in no other way than to say ‘it can only have been God’.

After four days of work on our projects we sent our teams out across the city with specific challenges. We’ll write more about those projects & challenges in due course – but we wanted to share an amazing story, and it seems absolutely right to share it now.

Two teams were sent out with the challenge to ‘trade-up’. One team were given a small amount of money and told to buy everyone on the team a small item of little value, then to see if they can swap that item for something slightly larger and of slightly greater value. Another team was provided with a pot of bubbles each and given the same challenge. We hoped that by the end of the afternoon they would have traded-up to a collection of items which could be given away as a blessing to those who might need them. The teams didn’t disappoint. The team which was given cash returned with a wide range of items, including a large mirror, pot plant, flowers, a scalextric set & three items of furniture. All of which will be given away to people who need them, or for whom they’ll be a blessing.

The team which was originally given bubbles did equally well. But they returned with an extraordinary story. In the bus on the way to town one of the team members said they thought it would be great to ‘get a wedding dress’. Some people laughed, but they discussed it and agreed to pray about it, before setting off to start trading. After a couple of trades, with just a frisbee & a dodgy looking jewellery box, two girls ventured into a bridal shop. They explained to the attendant what they were doing, and what they had with them, and shared that they’d love to be able to bless someone with a wedding dress. As you imagine the scene, you can picture the lady falling about on the floor convulsing with laughter. But something extraordinary happened.

She pointed to three wedding dresses and asked the girls which one they would like. The girls (presumably assuming that she was joking) selected a dress. The lady, Michelle, told them that they’d unknowingly selected the most expensive dress, but she said that she wanted to give it to them; she wanted to bless them with it so that they could bless someone else. Michelle looked at the price tag and explained that the dress cost £1119! The girls were in shock and probably still thought she was joking. But she put the dress into a bag and gave it to them. The girls offered to pray for Michelle, giving thanks for her generosity, and pray for whoever would be blessed by the dress.

As they shared the story with the other members of their team, and on the bus journey back, the overwhelming response was one of laughter; it was such an incredible & unexplainable thing to have happened. It just didn’t make sense – we couldn’t explain it. We gave thanks to God for Michelle & her generosity. And we laughed, because we couldn’t find a more appropriate response. As we shared the story with the other 100+ young people, most agreed that it made no sense and that the only way it could be explained was ‘it can only have been God’. What an incredible, extraordinary story. But it doesn’t end there…

We were left with a wonderful problem: how do we bless someone with the dress? We wanted to honour our original intentions & Michelle’s generosity, but where do you begin? The young people who were given the dress started to pray that God would let us know who to bless the with the dress. Some of the staff prayed the same. We understood the practicalities would make it difficult; even if we knew of one or two people who were due to marry, there was no guarantee that the style or size of dress would be appropriate.

On Tuesday, three days after we started praying, we received a call from someone in a local church who wanted to knew of someone who needed a wedding dress at short notice. She shared the story of Tim, a member of her church whose brother is very ill, and as a result Darren and Lesley moved their wedding date forward. They had a lot to sort out in a short time, and a dress was one of the items still to be sorted. Tim collected the dress and took it to show Lesley. They’d had three or four other second-hand dresses offered by friends, but upon seeing the dress she fell in love with it and decided that it would be the dress she’d wear for the wedding. When she was told the story of how God provided the dress she was moved to tears.

On Wednesday afternoon Lesley put on the dress and married Darren. The dress was perfect and Lesley looked gorgeous! They had a wonderful day which was full of smiles & laughter, as you can see from the photos below.

What a privilege that God has allowed us to be part of this amazing & incredible story. Ephesians 2:10 says that ‘we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God *prepared in advance* for us to do’. How awesome that He chooses to use us to fulfil His incredible plans. Even when we heard the story of the wedding dress and questioned what was going on, He had a plan. All along God knew about Darren & Lesley’s situation, and He had a plan to bless them and meet their need. And remember that God didn’t simply provide a second-hand dress for this special occasion. The girls in the shop picked the *best* dress from those offered. God always provides the best (check out ‘water into wine’ in John 2:10 – only the best!).

We join with Darren & Lesley and their families and celebrate their marriage. But please remember that Darren is still seriously ill, and join us in praying for healing for him and a long & happy marriage for them both.

We pray that Darren & Lesley will realise how special they are to God, and will give thanks to Him for this incredible blessing.
We pray too, that Michelle would be reading the Bible she was given by the girls who prayed with her, that God would speak to her through His word & that He would reward her extravagant generosity!

It can only have been God!

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8 thoughts on “So, here’s a challenge: try reading this article without misting up and shedding a tear or two…

  1. A week of putting faith into action, a morning of teaching about listening to the Holy Spirit and an exercise to ‘test it out’, a word being given to a young person on a minibus, a few people praying about it, young people having enough faith to trust God and being obedient enough to make a cheeky request of a shop keeper, and then faith enough to pray believing that God always had someone in mind for the blessing he’d arranged.

    What an incredible story – what an awesome God – what an absolute privilege to have witness it!

  2. Sadly this story sums up what is wrong with the materialistic society in which we live. The lady who donated the dress sounds like a very beautiful woman who should be highly praised for her love and warmth. However, why did you think it was a good idea to donate the dress to somebody to wear rather than sell it? There are literally thousands and thousands of people who have NOTHING. That dress could have been sold to buy food or clothes and other essentials for them. A wedding dress is NOT essential. The lady who got married is beautiful and would have looked gorgeous in whatever she wore. It is OBSCENE that we live in a society that encourages people that it is acceptable to spend over £1,000 on a piece of clothing when others are starving.

    Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” Matthew 19:21.

    • Thank you Lois for this…challenging indeed.

      The irony being that we are using computers each… and probably have homes too. Such a challenge to give more away to those who have nothing.

      I would be interested to read in what way you have sold what you possess to give to the poor… I once sold my entire DVD collection… yet I have so much more that I could sell to give away. megga challenging words from Jesus.

    • When we were given the dress we were completely amazed, and at first had no idea what to do with it. We considered selling it and using the money in other ways. But we had to be true to what we’d set out to do – we were seeking to trade-up in order to get items we could then give away in order to bless people. It was on that basis that the lady in the boutique gave the dress – the girls explained what they were doing and why, and what they intended to do with the dress. We asked God to let us know what he wanted us to do with the dress – who He intended to bless with it – but if there wasn’t a clear answer we agreed we’d consider other options. Very quickly the answer came, we tested it and discerned it was the right (and obedient) thing to do.

      I share your anti-materialistic view, especially when it comes to weddings & their associated costs, and always challenge couples to focus on what’s important as they plan their wedding. In this case, given the very sensitive situation, it wouldn’t have been right to have that conversation with the couple concerned. Time was too short, and too precious. We simply wanted to pass on the blessing we believe God had in store for them.

      Sadly, but not unexpectedly, the Groom died just two weeks later. As you can imagine it is still a very difficult time for the family at present. But there is every possibility that the blessing may be passed on further. But that’s a conversation for another day…

      • Thank you for this… very helpful thoughts and insight as to why and how of the exercise. I didn’t know the groom had died 2 weeks later. That is so sad. Yet, what a special gift the dress was to the couple at that time, that even in heart ache and loss, God is there.

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