Oak Hill resident Tracy Stewart with orphans in Uganda.
by Tony Tucci
“30 dresses” — the words popped into her mind as she was using a leaf blower in her backyard in the Windmill Run neighborhood in Oak Hill one day. They came again as she was sleeping that night.
By morning, Tracy Stewart, 41 year-old wife and mother of five school-age children, knew what she must do. She was to make 30 dresses and deliver them to orphaned girls in Africa.
“I got some butcher paper and started to sketch some designs.” She told her husband, “This is what the Lord has directed me to do.”
She and her husband Dave both work at the Oak Hill United Methodist Church. She is office manager and he is youth director.
Stewart said she designed a dress with ties at the top so it could be adjusted to fit any size. The skirts were cut at different lengths so they would fit girls of all sizes.
It seemed like an impossible task, but Stewart said she kept getting assurances from her inner voice that said that things would fall into place. And they did.
One man donated an airline ticket. Several women church members volunteered to help with the sewing. The church’s mission coordinator, Chris Jackson, made contact with several orphanages in Uganda; and the Wesley Foundation at the University of Texas agreed to provide tie-dyed t-shirts for the boys.
“It’s just been amazing,” Stewart said.
And so, when Stewart boarded a plane for Uganda last October, she had not just 30 dresses, but 119, plus 100 tie-dyed t-shirts.
Stewart saw the need in Africa, and promises to return this year with 1,000 dresses. Her plane leaves for Uganda Nov. 20. She’ll need help, of course, but that doesn’t discourage her. She believes she is following the Lord’s direction. And, as her inner voice keeps telling her, she can succeed.
People or groups that want to join the effort can phone her at (806) 433-2788.