Ivan Speaks Life

Monday, July 21, 2014

Meet Ivan. His wife passed away just weeks ago. She was a member of our sewing co op in Rwanda. 

He welcomed us this week there on our first day with open arms. He became our voice as we toured the homes of our artisans and he stayed with is at the shop to help us share stories and design ideas with our seamstresses. 

Friends, this man has the heart of Jesus. He could have stayed away in mourning, he could have not come back to the co op and we would have all understood, but he chose to love us well. He stepped through his heartbreak to serve as our bridge to our beloved seamstresses and our new sisters and even more the women his beautiful wife shared her days with. He chose to honor his wife. 

Nothing prepared me for meeting them. Nothing prepared me for sitting behind their machines, for pedaling them and having them wrap a million hugs around my neck. I was constantly holding a hand in the shop, usually Mary Sunshine or Solange. 

Nothing prepared me for how much it would mean for Ivan to see that her work mattered, that it wasn't small. See, this Rwandan co op, they are only 14 women, they are our smallest line and not our top sellers, but as Jessica's husband Joe said, they pack a punch! They got to see this week that because of them WE have jobs too! If it wasn't for their work, their amazing designs, I wouldn't have a job. We are partners in every sense.  Ivan got to see that what his wife did wasn't small at all, in fact because of all of you it is huge and his wife's memory lives through each story that is told and is carried in each bag that goes over one of our shoulders. 

Ivan's work matters too. His voice was our bridge and without it we would have been simply lost. We are all in this thing together. We all breath life into one another. We are family, and this trip sealed that through tears and shared grief and indescribable joy. 

Ivan spoke life this week. I pray that as I continue to tell these stories I will do the same. 

Love and blessings, 


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