On July 5th and 6th, Healing Hands International hosted its first international Christian Business Women's conference. The conference took place in Santos, Haiti at the home of missionary Roberta Edwards.
While working in Haiti this past February, we met a group of women that had been in business for the past decade. One woman sells coffee, one woman old clothing, one shoes, one bread. This Haitian led group was perhaps, the most Godly group of women with which I have ever come into contact. Their respect for the Lord was obvious. I walked into the room where they were worshipping and immediately sensed the presence of God. We asked them to consider being part of the Women Worth A Million ministry, and they agreed.
These women live in the largest slum in Haiti called Cité Soleil. It is an extremely impoverished and densely populated area located in the Port-au-Prince. The area is generally regarded as one of the poorest and most dangerous areas of the Western Hemisphere and it is one of the biggest slums in the Northern Hemisphere.
Ten years ago, Roberta encouraged several women’s groups around the Port Au Prince area to begin practicing Christian principals in their businesses. She offered to walk alongside them, and help train them as they made this commitment.They laughed. They reminded Roberta that the Haitian way of life is to cheat and to steal. They argued that a business built upon the Godly principles of honesty, and putting others before self would surely fail.
But the women of Cité Soleil were different. They did not balk, or laugh at Roberta’s offer. They accepted the challenge of her proposal and set to work. Over the past ten years, Roberta has mentored these ladies. Roberta provided a small micro loan to the group and each of the 30 women paid back their share of the loan in six months.
These women, some of the most brushed aside women of the world, exemplify the upside down nature of the kingdom of God. Truly, the least of these are now the honored models for our Women Worth a Million program. We dream that every group of women we work with to go through the training that they and Roberta have engineered.
The goal of the Christian Business Women’s conference was not to come in and teach women an American way, rather, help facilitate a mentorship between older, more experienced Haitian Christian business women, and ones who are just starting out, encouraging and inspiring them to follow in the path of entrepreneurship based on Christian principles. Over the past three months, five women from the HHI board and staff as well as Roberta, collaborated in writing a business manual based on Biblical principles. The manual is a written guide through the process the women from Cite Soliel used to become so successful, both as spiritual and as business women.
The manual was the foundational piece to our conference. As we talked about the beginnings of a business, the foundational characteristics of a Christian woman were greatly emphasized. This woman must possess the fruits of the Spirit, the proof of the Spirit of God living inside of her. Breaking into nine small groups, each group told the rest of the women what Love, Joy, Peace, etc. looks like in Haiti. While speaking about faithfulness, one woman said, “Here in Haiti, faithfulness is hard to find. It isn’t easy to come across a person who is faithful to her husband, much less her God.” We were amazed at the spiritual maturity of these women, and their eagerness to speak about the vision the Lord has given each of them to be a better follower of Christ.
The women involved in this ministry continue to astound, humble, and inspire. We would love for you to invest with us in this work, and be blessed by the stories of these women. The Women Worth A Million Program is only possible with the generous monthly donations of Christian women across the United States. To view some of the products being made by these Christian business women, visit www.hhi.org/store. The proceeds from each purchase go directly back into the program in order to empower more women.