Haute Couture in Haiti

How Dorcas Ministry Shop is revitalizing the economy—and women’s lives—in Port au Prince

Her brother-in-law and sister, Bill and Ann Nealey founded an organization called Mission to Haiti in the early 1980s, and Bill regularly encouraged the Giuntas to visit the country. "Bill would always say, 'Why don't you come to Haiti with us?' But we resisted. We just didn't feel the call," said Esther.

In 2006 Esther agreed to a short-term trip, and the country reminded her of the poor area in Italy where Pino grew up. "I came back home and said, 'It's (Haiti) what you know. Only it's a lot worse."

Months later, Pino resigned from his pastorate and the couple was added to Mission to Haiti's staff in January of 2007. Pino's personal testimony of an impoverished childhood has allowed him to reach Haitians in a way other people can't. And Esther's passion for the people has led to a business opportunity she could not have dreamed up on her own.

She originally planned to open a used clothing store with a supply of items that had been donated to the mission from abroad. "Bill kept prodding me to find a way to help someone earn a living with some of the (donated) clothes," she said.

A location for the store was secured in 2009, but Esther recalls preparations coming to a halt in January of 2010 when "the earthquake hit and everything changed."

The store became inconsequential when the third-world country's already impoverished capital city was decimated by a 7.0 magnitude earthquake. Esther vividly remembers the horrors of the quake, but looking back she also sees God's providence in the change of plans it set in motion.

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Kim Harms

Kim Harms is a regular contributor for Today's Christian Woman and freelance writer living in Iowa with her husband and three sons. In addition to writing, she operates 500 Dresses, a ministry providing clothing and sewing supplies to women and children living in poverty. Kim can be found online at KimHarms.net or on Twitter at @kimharmsboymom.

Free CT Women Newsletter
Business; Calling; Missions; Outreach; Service
Today's Christian Woman, September/October , 2013
Posted August 30, 2013

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