It’s So Much More than Just a Video …

Video. It’s my passion. I love it. I grew up watching fairly tale movies. If you sat me in front of a movie when I was little I would be so enamored with what I was watching that you most likely had to walk in front of me to get my attention. And sit me in front of that movie enough times I would start saying the lines and singing the songs along with the princesses. I was in love with movies. I’ve been lucky enough to grow up and have a job that is a part of my passion. When Martha came to me and asked if I would be a part of this trip and make a video for her, of course I jumped at the chance. Take some time off work and travel out of the country?! Who wouldn’t say an immediate yes?!! Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would have the experience I did.

I’ve been reading Love Does by Bob Goff the last few months. Just taking my time and really reading through it – taking it in. Bob knows his stuff. About a year ago I was out on the road at the Democratic Convention for work when my phone rang. I was out getting my crew coffee when I looked down and saw Martha’s name on my phone. I answered and the first thing I heard was “I’m going to start a children’s clothing line!” …. hold on … say that again?! Here’s the thing about my sister-in-law: she gets ideas at least once a day about something new. So when I heard this it didn’t really surprise me that she had a new idea. What did surprise me was the fact that she wanted to pair it with her non-profit, and not only did she want women to produce the clothing, she wanted students to design the line and women in Haiti to produce the line. Whaaaat?!?!! That sounds crazy right?! I thought so. I’ll admit it. Like I said, she gets ideas at least once a day, but this one seemed different.  Here’s another thing about my sister-in-law: her heart is bigger than yours and mine combined. And I think it’s her heart that gives her ambition and drive. She told me how she was going to talk to O’More College about their students designing the line and then how she was going to start a free trade in Haiti to give 10 Haitian women jobs. ….. are you speechless yet? Good. I was too.

Now here we are almost a year later and she’s doing it. We’ve all been praying for her, but it seemed like such an impossible prayer. Once again, I’ll admit that. I would pray for her and what she was doing, but, to me, it seemed like such an impossible thing to pray for. Like I almost felt bad for praying for this because it seemed so far-fetched. Amongst the many genius things I’ve underlined and highlighted and circled in Love Does, one of the things Bob talks about is how “ …God delights in answering our impossible prayers. The kind of prayers made in a dark cell by someone holding unwashed hands. Prayers asking for the things we couldn’t possibly think could happen for us or someone else. Ones we might even feel a little bad saying, as if it’s just asking God for too much.”

That’s all my mind has been thinking the past few months. Pray bold and pray big. Don’t be afraid to pray for outrageous things. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be standing in front of one of these women watching them learn to sew on an electric machine for the first time. Seeing their face light up when they made a button-hole or a certain stitch or threaded their machine correctly and Crista or Sarah looked at them with a large smile and said “bon travail” (meaning good job).

I remember when my first niece was born. I always imagined what I would feel when I saw her for the first time. How big my smile would be. How long I would hold her. How my heart would feel when I held her for the first time. My brain would literally try and make the scenario up in my brain so my emotions could be prepared for the moment (you see I tend to be a huge type-A person … I try and prepare for every scenario as best I can … flaw and attribute of mine – different blog for a different day). You see no matter how much I tried to prepare for holding her and seeing for the first time, my heart was 10 times more emotional than I ever thought I would be. The same thing happened while I was in Haiti.

Imagine a place where houses are consistently unfinished. Where kids run around with no shoes on. Where dogs are so thin and so scared that they don’t come up to people willingly like we’re used to seeing with our dogs here in the US. A place where cars are not an option of transportation for a 3 mile journey. Road lanes don’t exist. Imagine a 3rd world country. I did. Of course I fell for one of the little kids down there and a dog as well (if you know me then you knew this was bound to happen!) … I couldn’t stop imagining taking them home with me and offering them a different life. But, overall, I think I prepared myself as best I could for the visuals that I saw. What I wasn’t prepared for was the love in the hearts of these women that are a part of this project.

These women love Martha. I mean they really love her. The first day the women came to the Parish Hall to work with Crista and Sarah, Martha walked in and went to say hi to each and every one of them and one woman in particular held her just a tad bit longer. Hugged her just a tad bit tighter. She had the biggest smile on her face while she was hugging Martha. I was lucky enough to be standing there with my camera guy and both of our cameras were pointed at the moment. I’ll say it again: these women really love Martha.

And their love for Martha is so much more than just loving her for the kind of person she is. I mean she’s an awesome person so, naturally, everyone pretty much loves Martha when they meet her, but the opportunity and the possibility of a different future for these women and their families is why they love her. They love her for speaking out about her idea. They love her for her passion. They love her for being hopeful. They love her for being strong and never giving up on the project. They love her for the ambition she’s thrown at this project. She’s creating a possibility that these women have never dreamed of – that they most likely could never have imagined at all for themselves. I got to speak with most of the women and when I asked what this project meant to them and they all could not stop saying thank you and how big of an opportunity this project was so they could provide for their family – so they could care for their children – so they could provide an education for their children. Their love for Martha is so much bigger than I ever anticipated.

Martha’s “crazy idea” of starting this clothing line grew with love. The love and the passion she has for this project is what breathes life into it each and every day. Over the past year I’ve gotten the opportunity to see this project start from a small idea and develop in to women in Haiti sewing the patterns for this clothing line. And while in Haiti I got to see a different side of my sister-in-law. A side that is so filled with love to help people that she’ll stop at nothing. She had an idea that was so filled with love and compassion that you can’t help but jump in and join her. I mean she took an idea, went to a design school and got a clothing line designed. She then found a town in a 3rd world country and is able to give 10 Haitian women a job sewing this clothing line. On paper, in black and white, it still sounds crazy! But I love it. And Martha loves it. And the women love Martha. The little town of Ti-Bouk love Martha for what she’s doing for these women.

Love. It’s been there from start to finish in this project. It’s been there in different ways. These women and the town of Ti-Bouk love Martha for what she’s doing. Martha loves it so much that she stopped at nothing to make it happen. She loves it so much that I was able to go with her and document the journey. I love it so much that I will continue to pray the impossible prayer. Love has so many meanings for each of us. I love my parents for the person they’ve molded me in to. I love my brother for the way he loves me as a sister. I love my dog for her awesome personality and her company she gives me. This trip to Haiti gave me a new perspective on love. I circled this whole section Bob wrote months ago when I started reading Love Does:

“…I understand just a little more how God has pursued me in creative and whimsical ways., ways that initially did not get my attention. Nevertheless, He wouldn’t stop. That’s what love does – it pursues blindly, unflinchingly, and without end.”

For me, this experience down in Haiti wasn’t just about making a great video. It started out as that, but it was molding into an experience where I see how much God loves me. He loves me so much that he let me be witness to these women and their lives changing. He loves me so much that He showed me Martha in a new light. And it’s not until now, seven months after circling and underlining this specific passage in Bob’s book, after having been witness to aDARable in progress, that I see how much love has done. It’s pursued blindly. It’s pursued unflinchingly. It has no end in sight.

Bob was right. Love really does.


– Jen


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