How often have you shared Jesus’ great words of wisdom with someone in need of something they don’t know how to obtain?
“Don’t worry…But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be provided for you.” (Matthew 6: 25-34)
Better yet, how often have your attempted to reassure yourself with this promise…but in the back in your head still doubting…still worrying…and attempting to formulate a back up plan just in case God doesn’t come though?
I am the first to step up and admit that I am more than guilty of this. If there was a 12-step program for worriers I would enroll myself in a heartbeat.
“Hello. My name is Jillian Kittrell and I am addicted to worrying and not having enough a faith.”
I think my struggle with trusting in God’s providence to always provide for me is one reason why He sent me to Haiti. Here, my faith is sometimes all I have. I am having to learn, by default, that if I am going to make it at all I need to seek first the kingdom and let Him give to me as needed.
And above all, I believe God sent me here to be witness to some of the most beautiful believers- people who live day to day- seeking the kingdom- and patiently trusting that God will provide for them when the time is right.
Naudeline and Wedline are two of those believers.
These two sisters grew up at CHCH for most of their lives and transitioned out a few months before we moved here last year. Although I don’t remember spending a whole lot of time with them when I would visit here short-term, I do have pictures of them braiding my hair from way back.
With an obvious talent to do hair, my best friend Julia and her sister Laura sponsored them to attend cosmetology school. And although they both graduated from cosmetology school and had knowledge of a trade, the reality was evident: they could have all the talent in the world, but with only 20% of this county working in formal jobs, the chances of them obtaining a job was slim to none.
So what could they do? They would need to start their own salon. And it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that starting your own salon, whether in America or in Haiti, takes money. And money, as you can imagine, was the last thing Naudeline and Wedline had available.
For over a year the girls waited. Living in rented homes provided by a congregation in Lander, Wyoming, Naudeline and Wedline continued to practice their skills on friends and family. Weekly they would come to the orphanage and do our girls’ hair, nails, and makeup for free. Sometimes, they would even come and hold classes for our teens on how to do their own hair.
The more I got to know the girls, the more I became impressed with them and the more God broke my hearts to their needs. I really felt as through God was leading me to find them support- not a dependent type of support- but support to start their business and become independent and successful women with the talents God had given them.
A year and a half after moving out of the orphanage, Laura (Julia’s sister), also felt God tugging at her heart to help these girls. Being the owner of her own salon in Jonesborough, TN she understood exactly what the girls needed to get established and get going. So Laura packed up a box for them full of salon supplies and love. In addition, I was able to give them some money from the transition account to help supplement for any other supplies they needed. As I gave the oversized box to Naudline and the envelope of money I looked at her and apologized for how long she had to wait to receive support to get started with her dream of owning her own salon. Fully expecting her to agree with the strenuous and somewhat unfair wait, she simply laughed and said, “It is ok. I always knew God would provide sometime. And He did, right?”
My heart dropped. He provided. Yes, it took a long time but for her that was beside the point. He provided. He cared enough for her to provide. Simple.
Naudline and Wedline finished buying all the supplies they needed and when Laura and Julia came to visit in March, Naudilne was proud to show off all that she had. Laura passed on some advice and although we were all thrilled with the things she had one problem remained: where in the world were they going to start a salon?
After doing some research, they found some street front property would be perfect. Problem was, it was expensive. And with no money left to give them, what were we going to do?
Their apartment was full of salon supplies. They had all the experience and knowledge. And yet they still couldn’t get started. I began fervently praying that God would send someone to provide for them. And the girls, well they just had their faith. God will provide. Simple.
And yesterday….once again…GOD PROVIDED!
Our Lipscomb team is here at CHCH right now and was blessed with some available funds to give away to those they felt both needed it and deserved it. Before their trip even begin, Phil Kinzer, our preacher from Nashville, told the group they wanted to focus doing short term things for long term effects. It is one thing (although wonderful and needed) to bring someone a bag of rice, which will feed him or her for a day or two. But the Lipscomb team wanted to give to someone or something that would create long-term effects, that would provide for someone past a few days, and that would encourage independence and self-sustainability. And although I never planned on asking for them to support Naudeline and Wedline, one night, while Phil and his wife sat in my house, it spilled out. In hindsight I believe it was the Spirit. But I asked. I told them their story and their struggles. I told them about their potential and their faith. And I told them how this type of gift could not only help them short term but could honestly change the rest of their lives.
After a few days of prayer and after meeting the girls in person, the team decided to pay for a full years rent on the street front property. God had heard our prayers, saw their faith, and decided to provide through the students at Lipscomb University
So yesterday the team called in Naudeline and Wedline to the CHCH. The girls from the team wanted cornrows and manicures. So for a few hours the girls held a mini-salon in the pavilion and got to spend some good quality time laughing and fellowshipping with the Lipscomb girls. The team wanted to surprise them with the money and after the salon time was over Naudeline and Wedline were invited to join the team on the balcony of the visitor’ dorms. Thinking they were just going to get a small tip for their services, they had no idea what was about to given to them.
The Lipscomb team had prepared a card for them containing all the money and I sat on the ledge, camera in hand, ready to capture their faces when they would find out God had once again provided for them- and this time- it would drastically change their lives forever.
Naudline and Wedline sat down and one of the girls from the Lipscomb team handed each one of them $20.00 dollars and thanked them for doing all their hair and nails. And then Diane stepped in and explained how in America it is customary to tip you hairdresser. “So here is your tip,” she said. She handed them the card full of money.
The team looked at the girls, anxious for them to open it up and discover what was inside. And as the girls opened it and saw all the cash needed for their salon their jaws dropped.
“It is real?” Wedline asked Gerome. “I think so,” he replied.
After minutes full of laughter, excitement, hugs, and multiple thank yous to both the team and God, Naudline and Wedline finally realized that their dream had just come true. They told the team that whenever the come to Haiti they can come to their salon and have a lifetime full of free services. And with smiles on their faces the whole team accepted the offer!
Naudline and Wedline are going to name their salon Radiance Salon after their dear friend and mentor Laura. And hopefully within a month they will have their salon up and running.
I am more than thankful that God provided for these two girls. And I am so thankful that He did it through my friends at Lipscomb. He loves His children in Haiti and this story just goes to prove how much He needs us to be His hands and feed in taking care of those who can’t take care of themselves.
Now, Naudline and Wedline are on track to provide for themselves- to be independent and successful. No longer will they have to rely on support from Americans but they will hopefully be able to take care of their own needs.
Beyond the example of God being a loving provider, the main thing I want you readers to realize is this: sending a child to trade school is great. Many of our kids can’t go on to University for various reasons. However, sending them is not enough. Only sending them to learn a trade is pointless unless we can follow up and support them to get starting in using that trade. Naudline and Wedlin had the skills, had the trade, had the certificate, but still couldn’t do anything with it. They had no way to make an income to get started. So what good did the trade school do for them?
Obviously now they are about to open their salon, but what if those supplies and this money was never generously given to them by their Christian family in America? I’ll tell you- they would be sitting in the house, praying that someone would send them money, begging teams every time they come visit, tempted to give in to sinful ways to make a living, trying to find a man to provide for them in exchange for whatever he asks, or possibly, when their rent was up on their house, living in the streets.
I don’t mean to be all “Debbie Downer” on you but that is the reality of a young girl in Haiti. And I don’t doubt the possibility that that could have been them. Let me just give you a statistic. Since 1999, the CHCH has sent 7 kids to various trade schools. Out of those 7 kids, only 1 has been successful in finding a job and 2 out of the 7 have turned to crime in order to make a living since they have been unsuccessful with work.
That said, trade school is great, but it needs to be followed up with the ability for them to get established in their trade. Trade school will teach them to do something, but it won’t give them a job. As citizens of Haiti, a job is something they will have to create for themselves.
Please be praying for Naudline and Wedline. I am so beyond excited for them and their future. And although I am not sure what they could do to my hair, I plan on being their first customer at the Radiance Salon: Haitien Division for a manicure and pedicure!
Special thanks to Laura Johnson at Radiance Salon and the Lipscomb University Haiti Missions Team!