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Sewing circle blesses children of Guatemala

April 1, 2014

By Carol Layton, C & C Special Writer

There was one thought that kept Carrie Pullen busy cutting, sewing and trimming hundreds of colorful little dresses for two years – “Can’t you just imagine the smile on a little girl’s face when she receives a new dress.”

The pillowcase-style dresses are decorated with lace, braid and rickrack and have created smiles all around the world – in India, Ethiopia, South Africa, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and most recently at the Good Shepherd Children’s Home in Xela, Guatemala. The home in Xela is an affiliate of Baptist Children’s Homes (BCH) and serves the children of the indigenous Quiché people of Guatemala.

Pullen and other crafty members of the Ernelle Brooks Circle at Rosemary Baptist Church in Roanoke Rapids are among the many North Carolina Baptists who have joined with BCH to bless impoverished and abandoned children in Guatemala.

The connection between Pullen and BCH began with a chance encounter at a conference attended by Pullen’s daughter, Andrea Woodell Eason, and BCH’s chief operating officer Keith Henry. Henry won a door prize from Eason’s company and as the two visited, Henry shared about BCH and its new outreach to Guatemala. Henry remembers, “When I told Andrea about the orphanage in Xela, her eyes lit up. She said, ‘My mom’s a Baptist. She and her Circle make dresses for third-world missions.’”

A few weeks later, Henry received a suitcase packed with 100 dresses and 50 cloth bags made for holding school supplies. Henry remembers, “That suitcase could not have held one more dress. It was like it was vacuum-sealed. I took a few out to show my wife and we had a time getting them back in – we both noticed the love and care that was put into every item. The school bags are lined in different colors of cloth.”

Pullen and her Circle have sewn so many dresses that there is no need to use a pattern. The simple design of the garment makes it suitable as a dress on a young girl or a top on an older one. Pullen usually sews at her kitchen table, but sometimes the Circle takes their machines to a spare room at their church and spends the day sewing together. The women always pray for the little girls who will wear the dresses and who they will never meet.

Henry plans a trip to Xela in early summer and will take more dresses. If you’d like to help Carrie’s Circle keep sewing for the children in Xela and other parts of the world, fabric and trim donations can be sent to Rosemary Baptist Church, attention Ernelle Brooks Circle, at 936 Jackson St., Roanoke Rapids, NC 27870.

Pullen’s Circle began with the idea to sew 50 dresses for a member’s niece who was going on a mission trip to Haiti. “After we made 50, we decided to go for 100. Later, we connected with other missionaries and hit 500. We’ve now made 980 dresses – plus school bags.” Pullen is grateful for the support the Circle receives, “We couldn’t do it alone. People have been generous to donate fabric and trimming to us. We find God’s blessing in our sewing ministry.”

To learn more about the Good Shepherd Children's Home, an affiliate of Baptist Children's Homes of North Carolina, visit www.bchfamily.org/guatemala.