Today’s post is written by Holy Hen House sponsor Kari Seibel – a compassionate entrepreneur of Trades of Hope.
Towards the end of April, the 24th through the 30th to be exact, I was repeating this verse to myself every day when I woke up. Sometimes I said it every hour or every 5 minutes. Be strong and courageous, and do the work. I had a lot of work in front of me to do. On top of normal mom “duties” like laundry, meal prep and kiddos, we were in the process of moving and getting the house ready to sell. Then my son broke his collarbone that week on Sunday. The movers were coming on Thursday and I was scheduled to fly to Haiti on Saturday with Trades of Hope. All in the same week. I won’t even mention the car troubles and other hiccups we had that week. Be strong and courageous, and do the work. The Lord God is with you.
All I could do that week was put one foot in front of the other and do the next thing God put in front of me. I was in crisis management mode. Only by the grace of God did everyone survive that week with even a shred of sanity left. Be strong and courageous and do the work. I tell you this so you can imagine the mental state I was in when I left for Haiti at 5:40 in the morning on Saturday. Fragile. Emotional. Raw. Stressed out. Way over my head. Tired. Grumpy. And the list could go on and on.
Have you ever been to a third world country? Until Haiti, I had never been out of the United States. So to say Haiti, which is the poorest country in the western hemisphere, is a whole different world is not an understatement. The roads are unfinished bedrock and gravel that has been rutted by rain running down the side of the mountain. The water is not safe to drink or even get it in your eyes. Many people do not have indoor plumbing…. so no toilets or showers. Chickens, goats, cows and pigs root though mounds of garbage. The ride from airport was interesting as there are no stop lights, stop signs or even lanes really. There is just one confusing mass of cars flowing in every direction. Do not be afraid or discouraged for the Lord God is with you.
That first night we were able to have supper with Shelley Clay and her family (See more of Shelley’s journey here. Shelley runs one of the artisan groups that we partner with and their mission is to keep babies with their mamas. They are the “Un-orphanage”. To hear from someone, who is on the front lines working with people every day in the fight against poverty, that what you are doing by selling jewelry is making an impact and changing lives is a powerful thing. To know that every bracelet I sell helps a mama feed her kiddos and send them to school is very humbling. Especially, when you consider what my first thoughts were of Trades of Hope. Do the work. The Lord God is with you.
In January, Shelley told us about Joanne, a woman who sat outside Shelley’s gate for three days in 90 degree heat with her one year old looking for a job. On the third day, Shelley felt compelled to offer her a job and by that afternoon her son was in the artisan daycare center while Joanne learned how to make cereal box beads. The next day there were twenty ladies sitting outside Shelley’s gate looking for a job, good word travels fast. There is a direct correlation between what we do here in the US and what Shelley is able to go in Haiti. When Trades of Hope sells items, Shelley can go out to her gate and hire another mama. I desperately wanted to meet Joanne because I tell her story at every home party and the thought of her and other mama’s in Haiti, desperate to feed their babies, fueled my passion to go to see our dignified partnership in person. Be strong and courageous and do the work.
But I could not find Joanne when I walked around the artisan house. I finally found her after asking for help; I had walked past her a half dozen times and did not even recognize her! Shelley said on average our artisans gain about 30 pounds the first year of their employment because they are able to eat regularly. 30 pounds! It’s no wonder I didn’t recognize her. Families like Joanne’s are why I do Trades of Hope. Why I do home parties even though I would rather be home reading a book. Why I ask other woman if they would like to shop, host or join our mission. We are changing lives one bracelet, one party, and one woman at a time in Haiti and in 15 other countries. Be strong and courageous and do the work. The Lord God is with you.
What is God calling you to do? The laundry? The dishes? To volunteer at church? To tell someone about his son, Jesus? Whatever God is calling you to do, maybe it is even Trades of Hope, be strong and courageous and do the work that God has put in front of you.
"This fun tote is just what you need for a family outing or a day at the beach! It's the perfect carryall to fill with your favorite finds. Spun from long, strong vegetable fibers, these bags have a beautiful natural appearance and extreme durability.
Bangladesh women are often neglected and shunned because they are widowed, divorced, or single. The widows are often cast out by their families who don't want to pay for them. In small villages of Bangladesh, these women frantically search for work in order to take care of their young children. Trades of Hope partners with these women to sell their handmade products! By creating these beautiful items, these women are now able to stay at home with their children while earning an income."
*** Enter the Holy Hen House + Kari Seibel Trades of Hope giveaway! ***
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4. Earn extra entries per comment and friends tagged!
*Giveaway runs from July 26th to August 1st and ends 11pm Central Time.
Winner will be announced August 2nd!