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One Woman’s Dress

Who doesn’t enjoy a wedding filled with flowers, colorful dresses, glorious bouquets of flowers, and a radiant, bedeckeed bride walking the aisle to meet her groom? Summer weddings draw us to churches to be part of the ceremony that creates a new family when a man is covenantally joined to a woman. We love the story of how they met, the proposal and the beauty of the wedding. The bride’s dress is one of the highlights for it is the one physical piece that has been dreamed of, sought after, tried on repeatedly, and revered, maybe for future generations. Around the world we see different customs and styles of wedding apparel. In some poorer countries, brides don’t have the luxury of selecting from the myriad of styles or designer gowns. Several months ago, some Southwood women passed their own wedding dresses on to LOGOI, a ministry whose goal is to touch the lives and ministries of over 300,000 pastors and church leaders throughout 22 countries. LOGOI’s focus is on teaching pastors and leaders who desperately want to serve the Lord but lack training, resources, and support. Though wedding dresses are not the main focus of Ed and Carolyn Thompson’s ministry, they happily delivered our dresses and a dress from a church in California to Cuba in May and June.

Going through customs with the dresses is tricky and Carolyn uses a nondescript, beat-up duffel bag. Through people praying, the dresses made their way undiscovered into Cuba. Once in Cuba, Carolyn was concerned that she might not have much opportunity to find brides. Many go to school away from home and because they have to hitchhike back and forth to their homes through dangerous situations, they rarely come home. By the time she got to the third city, she was anxious! Carolyn still had all the dresses and hadn’t met a bride. But now they were at the Bible School where love and marriage can begin! And so the word went out: the gringa has some wedding dresses. First to come was a mother of a bride. A thank you from this mother was waiting when we got back – (they know how to do email in their country that bans it).  Here’s what she wrote:

Dear Sister in Christ

I’m writing to thank you with all my heart for the beautiful gift you gave to our daughter for her wedding. When she got home (students go to school away from home and have terrible times traveling since there is no bus service), she tried it on and it fit here as if it had been made for her She was so happy and, as you know, it will be used by many other brides in the years to come.

Vilma, wife of a pastor in Cuba

Another day found the school cook visiting Carolyn. She is very gifted in turning a feast for thirty out of food for ten. Her husband is the director of the school and a pastor. Their son is getting married, and of course, the bride had no wedding dress. And so, with great joy, this dear lady chose a dress. All of the families have promised to send pictures of each bride who wears the dress so the story will not end here. All of the brides have summer weddings planned. Once word was out that dresses had arrived, the students began to come and see Carolyn. A couple came quickly and the bride was so shy she maybe spoke three sentences. She delighted in looking at the dresses, much as if we would at a store here. This ‘shopping’ location was in the home of the seminary director. The dress selected was two sizes too big, but the bride quickly said she could alter it. When Carolyn asked if the groom had a suit coat, he said, “No.” Carolyn had five, and of course, one fit him perfectly. They walked away about three inches off the ground, tenderly holding their wedding clothes. 

Later on, a young man showed up bouncing with joy at the door. “Carolina, someone is here to see you.” His bride had graduated and was no longer on campus. So, did he have a suit coat? Of course not! Did one fit him perfectly? Yes, it did. He was so excited that he babbled on and on. He said his bride was “round and short.” We had a round dress to fit which he promptly held up and blissfully said, “My invisible bride.” He bounced out of the house with so much joy!

And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me’ (Matthew 25:40). The body of Christ is around the world. Weddings take place daily and may have a different look. But a bride and groom dressed in wedding clothes make the day more special. Women sharing their treasured dress with other women in another part of the world may not seem so life-changing yet our Southwood wedding dresses are part of helping this new covenant family mark the day they are joined as one.