KidsView  | The Adventist Review for kids and those who always will be kids at heart | April 2015

When a Dress Made a Difference

By Chantal Klingbeil

Perhaps you have heard of “paying it forward.” The idea is that you do something nice for someone else, and then instead of that person doing something nice back to you—that person “pays it forward,” and does something nice for someone else. Then your kind deed starts growing bigger like a rolling snowball and touches thousands of others. 

Paying it forward is not a new idea.Ellen White told a story where she did something nice, and because of it others did too; they “paid it forward.” 

In the late 1880s, John Nevins Andrews and his two children were working as the first missionaries for the Adventist Church in Switzerland. They wanted to help others learn of Jesus, but did not have enough money to do all they had planned.

About the same time, a friend of Mrs. White’s gave her a beautiful new silk dress. It must have been a very nice dress for it cost $45 (today a dress like that would be worth about $800). While Mrs. White loved the dress, she wanted to help the mission work in Switzerland.

She took the dress to an Adventist who owned a dress shop and asked him to sell it for as much as someone would pay for it. He sold the dress for $50, $5 more than the friend had paid for it.

Ellen White immediately sent the $50 to help Pastor Andrews and his mission work. When others heard of her generosity, they too gave to the mission work, and gave much more money than she did. 

When Pastor Andrews thanked her for her gift, he told her that just the right amount of money came at just the right time. Mrs. White’s decision to give encouraged others to give. 

If someone does something nice to you, “pay it forward” by doing something nice for someone else. Just imagine all the great things that could happen if everyone “paid it forward.”


To read the story in her own words, check out Manuscript Releases, vol. 6, pp.132, 133, by Ellen G. White.