Storyteller. Grace Dweller.

I’m Jennifer — wife of an Iowa farmer, mom to two girls, new book author. I believe in you, because I believe in Jesus. You matter to Him, and you matter to me. more »

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Monday 14th August 2017

We can’t do EVERY-thing. We can do SOME-thing.

This is one of the most heartbreaking photos I have ever taken. Take a look:

mud pices

When I snapped the photo, I thought I was seeing miniature pottery bowls drying on mats in a Haitian village.

I asked our translator if I was correct.

“No, those aren’t bowls,” he said. “They’re mud pies.”

He told me that a woman mixed dirt with oil, and then lined them up on mats, to dry in the sun. Later, she would take them to market to sell. As food. Did you hear that? These mud pies would be eaten. By people. This is not some bizarre Haitian delicacy. Some desperate people in Haiti have eaten dirt because it gives their starving bodies a false sense of feeling “fed.” Moms who love their children — as much as I love my girls — feed dirt to their kids to ease the pain of an empty stomach.

One of the really depressing things about this image is this: right now, there’s enough food to feed the world. In fact, statistics show, we grow enough food for 10 billion people. And yet we still haven’t ended hunger.

I remember coming home from Haiti that year, feeling so powerless to do anything. What difference could I make?

God kept impressing these words upon my spirit:

“Jennifer — Just because you can’t do EVERY-thing, doesn’t mean you can’t do SOME-thing.”

That was the year our family began to partner with two organizations that are doing a lot of “somethings” in Haiti. One of those organizations, Touch of Hope, has done such incredible work in one particular village, that I am moved to tears every time I return. You can literally see the transformation. 

An Invitation to Do SOME-thing

I’ll bet you know how I feel. You’ve witnessed the pain in our world — in another country, and right down the block. It all feels so overwhelming, and you might wonder, “what can I really do that will make any difference at all?”

Today, I am inviting you into a project that will bring tremendous hope and healing to real women, real mamas, so they never have to consider feeding mud pies to their babies.

I’m crazy-excited about this project. Here’s the fun part: This project is all about salsa, greeting cards, soul-sisters, jobs, ice cream, a gift shop called Rosie’s, laughter, … and Jesus! 


This, my friends, is going to be FUN.

It’s called The Rosie’s Expansion project, spearheaded by my dear friend, Kayla Raymond, and her family, who operate Touch of Hope in Haiti.

Meet Kayla and her family:


Kayla has dedicated her life to being Jesus’ hands and feet. Even if she can’t do EVERY-thing, she knows she can do SOME-thing.

And get this: she’s inviting us into her latest amazing project: The Rosie’s Expansion Project.

Let me tell you more: 

Among other things, Kayla runs a gift shop and ice-cream shop in Haiti. It’s called Rosie’s. Many visiting missionaries purchase Haitian-made goods at the store. Because of these efforts, jobs are being created. Most recently, Kayla created even more jobs for a group of women who make hand-stitched greeting cards, and another group of women — called the Salsa Sisters — who make amazing salsa. (The salsa is sold at restaurants in Haiti that serve locally-sourced products.)

Business is booming.





We get to be a part of this! Kayla is working to:

1 – expand the business,
2 – create more jobs,
3 – highlight Haitian-made goods in the Rosie’s gift shop,
4 – make room for new employees who continue to be added to the payroll.

The project: construction of a $100,000 building for a bigger Rosie’s gift shop, a workshop for the card-makers, a kitchen for the Salsa Sisters, and more!

This will create jobs for gift-store employees, card makers, and the Salsa Sisters. This project will encourage the purchase of Haitian-made goods by the constant flow of missionaries in and out of Haiti.

The facility will be located near a well-traveled road used by thousands of short-term missionaries every year, who can stop for an ice-cream treat, a sampling of salsa, and a whole room full of Haitian products to purchase!

Our family is totally in! Would you consider joining us, by making a donation — big or small? Let’s help Kayla trade those mud pies for job creation, for salsa, … for the hope of Jesus. 


Every year, I pray about a project that we can do together to make a difference in Haiti. You’ve trusted me, and you’ve walked alongside the projects that I’ve shared with you. As a result: you’ve been a part of some pretty amazing things.

Look what you’ve helped accomplish in the past:

In 2016: you raised thousands of dollars for hurricane relief in Haiti, in just a matter of days.

In 2015: you helped raise $15,000 to build homes for Haitian families living in tents.

In 2014: you contributed to a project (spearheaded by a group of Iowa kids) to purchase bikes for Haitian kids.

In 2013: you built a home for our Haitian sister Adeline because her mud house was “melting.”

In 2012: you helped build a playground at a school in Haiti.

Thank you, thank you, for being His hands and feet.


I’ll let Kayla describe the project that we are supporting as a blog community in 2017:

“I know God wants Haitians to have jobs. He wants there to be dignity in the way we walk and in the way we work. There shouldn’t have to be brothels where women sell their bodies so their babies can eat. There shouldn’t be institutions where babies are left and abandoned – separated from their mamas – just so they can eat.

And, so while I cannot fathom it or comprehend it, I know God does. He is just, and He is making a way for mamas. He’s setting our hearts on fire and giving us such ridiculous ideas to pave a way for more jobs and less babies in orphanages. He’s doing this through Rosie’s and through so many other beautiful companies that I get to partner with here in Haiti. He allows me to keep looking these women in the eyes. It’s the hardest thing I do, but it keeps this fire inside me so very alive. Their desperation moves me to action and I just plead that you would join me and move with me. That we would work towards a day where less mamas come knocking on the gate, desperate for help, but instead get to rise each morning, knowing they have a job to go to and get to walk there with dignity. Proud to support their babies and send them to school.

There’s got to be a way to break this cycle of poverty and I believe it begins here: job creation.

Our goal is to raise $100,000 for Rosie’s expansion. We have the first $30,000 raised + we have finished purchasing the land in Haiti where we will build the expansion.”


Pray. Give. Share.

We don’t have a specific goal for our blog community, but I am hoping that we can contribute hundreds, or perhaps even thousands, to this effort in the coming week. Every dollar counts! But if you can’t give financially, please pray for this project, and share it on social media today.


If you would like to DONATE to Rosie’s expansion today, click HERE to donate through PayPal *** please add Rosie’s expansion in the “add special instructions” box ***

or send donation to:

Touch of Hope
205 Old Mill Lane
Rock Rapids, Iowa 51246

*memo: Rosie’s expansion*


Please consider sharing this post with your friends on social media. Not everyone chooses to share financially, but we can all share on social media! 

We want to spread the word and make a BIG difference with this fundraiser.

As an incentive to share and give, I am giving away three Haiti-Happy Gift Packages. Each gift package will include:

1 – One “Happy Caribbean mug.” This ceramic mug is handmade using authentic Haitian clay.

2 – A four-pack of greeting cards (like these) hand-stitched by Haitian women.

3 – Haitian chocolate from Singing Rooster — locally sourced in Haiti and delicious!

Each giveaway pack has a retail value of $34. 

Two ways to enter the giveaway:

1 – THE DONOR PACKS: I would love for you to pray about giving to this project — even just a few dollars. Every dollar truly counts! As an incentive to give, I am giving away TWO of the gift packages to people who donate to this important project. *** Simply email me at jdukeslee@gmail.com to let me know if you gave, and I will enter your name in the drawing for one of the TWO Donor Packs.***

2 – THE SOCIAL-MEDIA SHARER PACK: Some of you don’t feel led to give at this time. But you can help us out by SHARING this post on your social-media accounts. Simply let me know via email or in the comments below, that you shared. Every social-media share earns you an entry in the drawing. One winner will get a gift pack! 

I will draw winners and announce those ONE WEEK FROM TODAY on next Tuesday’s blog post.

Let’s do this! I can’t wait to see what happens!

“Just because we can’t do EVERY-thing, doesn’t mean we can’t do SOME-thing.”



Hey Tell His Story crew! It is a joy to gather here every week with you. The linkup goes live each Tuesday at 4 p.m. (CT). If you would use the badge on your blog, found here, that would be great! And if you would visit at least one other blogger in the link-up and encourage them with a comment, that would be beautiful! Be sure to check the sidebar later. I’ll be featuring one of you over there!

Our featured writer this week is Tiffany Parry. It’s hard to be the new girl, isn’t it? I love Tiffany’s practical encouragement on this… as she says, “If you find yourself embarking on the new and unfamiliar, maybe this encouragement will make your journey just a little less sweaty.” Find Tiffany here.

To be considered as our featured writer, be sure to use our badge or a link to my blog from your post. xo Jennifer

  • I tweeted the post and shared on FB! Having trouble getting the donate button to work so I can make a donation though

    • OK, Kristin. extremely grateful. Can you tell me what you’re seeing on the donate button? What happens?

      • It brings me to Paypal but gives me this white screen with the message below:

        “Your session is invalid or expired.
        You’ve been inactive for a while, so we logged you out to help protect your account. Please return to the merchant and restart the payment process.”

        So I made sure I was logged into Paypal and tried again and it still happens…it lets me go back to my main account home screen but I can’t find the place to donate from my main home page.

  • Shared on Google+ and Donated!! 🙂

    • SO grateful. xo Emailed you my heartfelt gratitude. Teary-eyed here!

  • Karrilee Aggett

    Love this… shared on Twitter, both fb pages, Pinterest, and G+ – because, of course! (Plus – those mugs!)

    • G+! Man, it’s been forever. So we got the donation button problem resolved. Sorry for the hassle.

      Super grateful for you, my dear. You’re always such a great supporter.

  • Shared on twitter, Facebook & Pinterest

    • So grateful. These shares are already making a difference.

  • Tigger Bug

    One thing. One thing is doable. One thing is more powerful and brave than we would admit. Thank you for posting this, Jennifer. Also, I <3 those mugs!! #beautiful
    PS – Shared to Facebook and Twitter. 🙂

    • The mugs are so, so cool. And of course … I love the HAPPY theme. 🙂 … They have lots of other designs too, which you can check out by following the link provided in the post. So many great products.

  • Amy Sprock

    Shared on Facebook!!!

  • Deborah Flora

    I absolutely love that mug!

    And what a great project!

    • The mugs are gorgeous. Click the link above and find more great products like it.

  • Shannon Wilson Spease

    Shared on Facebook! Sounds like a wonderful cause to help!!

    • Thank you so very much for sharing. It means a great deal!

  • I shared on FB and will look at the finances when I get home from work to see about a donation. <3 . Thank you for sharing this with us. That mud pie story… whoah.

  • Monica

    I shared on Facebook and Twitter. I would like to help and will keep them in mind for a future gift. This month’s extra expense went to our son’s homeschool books for the year.

  • Brooke Montgomery Cassinelli

    I shared on FB, Twitter and Google… Thank you for sharing this story. 🙂

  • karen

    Shared on FB…..

    • karen

      And on Twitter

  • Susan

    My hubs got an unexpected bonus today and I was wondering where its tithe should go! Rosie’s Expansion IT IS! Blessed to give. I will share everywhere. LOL

  • Thank you for sharing this with me. I have a heart for missions. Yes, we can all do something. This should be our motto in everything. Yes, I will give and share right now. Thank you for the opportunity to share.

  • Happily shared on Facebook, Twitter & Pinterest!

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  • This is such a good lesson for all of us. Sometimes I can get overwhelmed that the needs in the world are too great; what difference can I make? But just because I can’t do everything doesn’t mean that I can’t do something. To the one person I help, I’ve made a lot of difference. Thanks for the encouragement, Jennifer!

  • It’s the start of a new school year (I work with Native American kids), I’m feeling a little overwhelmed about how much there is to do and how hopeless the kids are that walk through our doors. But I CAN do SOMEthing. I will love them, pray for them, and try my best to give them a solid education so that they can escape the cycle of poverty and violence that they live in.

  • Thanks for carving a path through the overwhelming sensation that my tiny influence is just not influential enough. One gift, one person, one encounter at a time. Thanks, Jennifer!

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  • Heidi Lara

    Shared on Facebook. This has a new significance for me as I recently accepted a position at a mission board. Missions has always held a special place in my heart. Thanks for your generous heart.

  • Valerie Trapp Fouche

    Shared on FB. My husband is from Haiti❤

  • Mary Beth

    Shared on Facebook. Everyone can do something.

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  • Sarah Geringer

    Sharing on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Thank you, Jennifer! Our church built a fishing village in Haiti, and I’m glad to help again by sharing the news!

  • Jennifer – I tweeted and shared on Stumble Upon! I will also pray as to my part – donation, purchases, and sharing your mission. What a lovely post. You and your friends are truly servant leaders!

  • So very wonderful ! I just donated through PayPal. And sharing now on my Hospitality FB page Welcome Heart, Welcome Home AND all social media channels – Every Table Tells a Story FB and my home page. I love the mugs. And can you steer me in the right direction:
    I’ve been looking for a non-profit to support with my custom hospitality jewelry line – to share a dollar from each purchase and I’d love to partner with Touch of hope- not that I’m a best seller but like you said, “something” – not sure how to go about that process. Thanks for posting this and it does make me cry a little – that mud cloth.

    PS I’m in Ames at my husband’s family for the week – (: Iowa is lovely this week!

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  • Julie Loos

    Thank you for sharing this ministry, Jennifer! My heart breaks for those mommas wanting to give hungry tummies something, but can only give dirt.
    I shared on my Facebook page!
    I’m going to share this with my hubby and then pray about giving a gift.

  • Sue Andrea

    Almost forgot-shared on Facebook and insta!

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  • Dear Jennifer!! I’ve been a bit unplugged over here and I’m just now seeing this worthy cause and your kind feature of my post. Thank you so much for sharing. I’m a little late, but I’ll be sharing too. Big hugs.

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@jenfulwiler You model this well, Jennifer. Loving Jesus and serving him boldly with your gifts.