Back in Nicaragua for a time I had no manufacturer. Our only one in China got shut down due to COVID-19 and there was a time where our production was shut down. I was faced with a decision. Keep going or give up? I handed it to the Lord and prayed for him to come through.
I began to weigh and survey my surroundings and options. Two people I was living with were kind enough to brainstorm with me and introduced me to an American missionary couple. Looking back on it I think that couple was sent from God because I never saw them again, they spoke perfect English so they could translate for me, and they were there trying to find jobs for this Nicaraguan couple they met; Daniel and Juanita.
They were sharing with me that this couple they were trying to help was attempting to make a sewing school for 20 plus females who are living in poverty and need jobs to be able to supply their family. These girls had to drop out of school because they did not have enough money for feminine care products and they missed too much school. So these missionaries were looking to connect the sewers with somebody to buy their products. Right away I knew this was a God thing and I hired them right away.
I did not care what they could make I did not care if all they could make was a wallet but I knew I wanted to be in with them. I could not believe that this is what I had been looking for.
I only had five weeks left in Nicaragua so by that time I knew I had to show up every day. When I showed up they didn’t know how to make the pants based on measurements at all. In Nicaraguan culture, they take one look at the person, (I swear they are wizards), and they can make whatever that person desires based on looking at them. I thought, “You can literally not look at all my customers I do not know if we are going to have to do something crazy like taking pictures of them, I don’t know, but this is not going to work”.
We went to the biggest market in Central America twice which is about an hour and a half away. We would ride with the locals there and I probably looked at every single piece of fabric in that place. When you walk in it is pure madness like New York City on steroids, but you do not know what anyone is saying. It’s all foreign language, not the cleanliest, it is extremely hot, and there are people crammed upon you.
It’s impossible to find anything, but I had to muster up enough grit to keep going.
So I spent the last little bit of my money buying fabric that they warned me I cannot use. In my head, I’m thinking we’re going to have to make this work. I purchase this fishing shirt material and by this point, I probably should have listened to them. I can’t use anything else because they did not have the fabric that I wanted at all in Central America. My only other option would be to outsource the material which I didn’t have time to do because that would take two months alone to get the material in. So I bought six different types of fabric and we made six new pairs of pants.
None of them worked.
By this point, after much debate, we were able to compromise and find the sewers fabric to make our new line of swimsuits.
This whole experience was a rollercoaster of ups and downs and uncertainties, but I have learned to never give up and on the brink of hopelessness there is always a way. I could have chosen to completely quit this company when I had no manufacturer, but the Lord told me that I am a finisher and to keep going no matter what obstacles lay in front of me.
I’m really glad I listened to Him because now these 20 plus girls get to be employed, and now they get to provide uniforms for their local schools and produce our new swimsuits. Also, Daniel and Juanita get to share the gospel with them every Saturday and teach them a real skill they can use for the rest of their lives to provide for their families.
I am always humbled by how the Lord always provides a way and honors the faith that may feel little, but that he uses for good. I pray you feel encouraged by this and if roadblocks seem to be coming at you from all angles, take heart, Jesus has already overcome!