Over the last six months we have started holding worship services each Sunday at Tytoo. It’s kind of like a house church, you could say. We are inviting, who we believe, are the overlooked in our community. Webert and his cousin, Blondino, lead the services. Another member from the community has really stepped up in leadership as well as one of our own security guards from the orphanage. We have seen a few of our orphanage children accept Jesus and get baptized. This past week-end Loveson and Jeffte also accepted Jesus! Stories of redemption are beginning to be told and it’s crazy what can happen when you ask for the Spirit to show up and work among a group of messy people.
Last week when ten women showed up at Tytoo’s gate all asking for me, I had no idea what to tell them, (see previous blog) so I extended them an invitation to our service on Sunday. This last week we also had a visiting team working at Tytoo and one of their projects was building us more benches for church. At first I didn’t really think we needed so many more built, but I was proven wrong as these ten women and their children filled our new benches.
It was the largest gathering we have had thus far and the Holy Spirit sent goose bumps up my spine as the shelter echoed with hallelujiah’s.
At the end of the service Blondino asked if anyone wanted to accept Jesus and a tiny woman made her way to the front. Tears welled in her eyes and her voice crackled as she told us all about her husband’s death and her struggle to care for her two young children. Before her husband passed away, he asked her to find a church so she could have a new family. So, on Sunday we held her hands and welcomed her into our messy family of believers.
This. This is the kind of holiday season I want to be a part of.
After church, a group of us headed to Minoterie to hand the keys to a brand new house over to Marie Marthe, a woman of the Starfish Program. As we clapped and celebrated, Marie Marthe reminisced on all the nights she didn’t sleep because the rain would fall inside on her and her five children. With the sweetest of smiles painted across her face, she told us how she couldn’t wait to sleep soundly when it rains.
How simple. How beautiful. How incredible. It’s amazing what $4,000 can do for a family, how their entire lives can be transformed by a simple concrete floor and a solid tin roof over their heads.
Sleep well, dear one.
Again, this. This is how I think Jesus wants us to celebrate his birthday.
This season, I commit myself to holding hands with the ones who feel unheard and forgotten. This season, I want to make a way for job creation and invest in something that will actually make a difference. This season, I want to have the faith to walk out the visions the Lord has laid upon my heart.
This season I’m also going to get a little crazy. So, brace yourselves, I’m about to reveal to you my craziest of ideas yet! I really feel like the Lord has laid a new vision on my heart and it’s time for me to go from praying about it and thinking about it and enter into a season where I put these thoughts into action. For faith without actions is dead, and I’m not about to be caught with a faith like that this time of year.
So, this is me, putting it out there for the world to see:
The vision of Rosie’s was given to me a little over three years ago. I was beginning to see the direct impact full-time employment could have for a family and I wanted to fight for that. At this time, I was also realizing Haiti wasn’t going to be a short-time gig for me. With an engagement ring on my finger, I wasn’t just making a commitment to Webert, I was making one to a life in Haiti as well. Rosie’s was a vision to continue making an impact on people’s lives by helping promote their goods and a means to have a business that would make my family sustainable.
Rosie’s has become a beautiful place, where people visiting can see all the beautiful things being made by its own people. It’s also a place to find rest and a cool, refreshing drink – who can’t pass up a cookies and cream milkshake or frozen lemonade when it’s 95 degrees out! Rosie’s income also allows Webert and I to have our family’s basic needs met (we are really proud of the fact that we do not have to raise support!)
About a year ago I started parking my vehicle in an empty lot next door. Many months passed and I never paid much attention to the space, but one day it was like the blindfolds had been taken off of me. All of a sudden I was envisioning a building standing there; a building so large I would have more space for retail, a café could be built and space for people to sit and hang out. The walls all of a sudden went from unfinished and grey to bright colors with elaborate gates!
So, for the past few months, any time any one comes to visit me, I pull my vehicle into this empty lot and tell them about my vision. Before I left for the States, a man randomly walked into Rosie’s and asked me if I was interested in buying the piece of land where I park my car. I joked that I would love to but I didn’t have the money. He offered me the land for $20,000 and walked out the door.
As I spent two months in the States, I thought about this space. I have lots of great ideas to expand Rosie’s, but I’m literally out of room to make any of them become a reality.
A week before traveling back to Haiti, my family and I made a road trip to Minneapolis, Minnesota to get Rubie’s passport. As I was driving home, with everyone else asleep in the vehicle, I began to think about Rosie’s. I thought about all the women I would have to face upon my return. I thought about the need for jobs. I thought about salsa and chips.
As I drove, I envisioned this space of women making salsa. I thought of all the people coming through Rosie’s eating all of our salsa. I thought about the groceries stores that only sell imported salsa for a ridiculous price. I thought about canning salsa and selling it to the grocery stores and to the beach resorts. I thought about the plantain chips that I buy on the side of the road and how delicious they would be in salsa.
I recognized the fact that I’ve never made homemade salsa in my life. I have never canned a single can of anything in my entire life either. I thought about how insane I was in that exact moment for even thinking about all of this salsa.I feel crazy even typing this all out.
So last week after I invited these ten women to church – because that’s all I could do – I Googled homemade salsa, made a grocery list and went to the local market and bought all the ingredients you need to make salsa. I invited some friends over to sample. I made up a bowl and served it to our visiting team at Tytoo. I brought the leftovers to bible study and shared my vision with the women there.
As I held hands with the woman who had just accepted Jesus on Sunday, I couldn’t help but think about her making salsa and that’s when the Lord gave me the name:
just a bunch of Sisters, gathered around making salsa,
making a way to take care of our children one can of salsa at a time
This. This is only something my God could dream up. Now it’s up to me to walk in faith and watch Him work His wonders.
So, who’s up for some salsa!?
I’m praying for the Lord to open the doors for us to buy my dream piece of land and build a beautiful, big new Rosie’s where salsa will be served every day of the week. Interested in being a part of something…something crazy that may just pave the way and break the chains of poverty? Something that may just bring the change we have been praying for? Something a little untraditional this holiday season? Well, this. This could be it.
The price of the land has now gone down to $17,000 and we believe the construction of a new building would be around $35,000.
Donations can be sent to
Touch of Hope
205 Old Mill Lane
Rock Rapids, Iowa 51246
*memo: Salsa Sisters or Rosie’s expansion*
Touch of Hope is a recognized 501(3)c and all donations are tax-deductible
OR click here to make a donation through PayPal
If you would like to hear more about my vision and learn more information about Salsa Sisters and Rosie’s expansion, please contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
Love from Haiti