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 18th November 2013

Want to be Part of a Miracle? A Challenge: #HomeForTheHolidays

Melting. That’s the word she uses to describe what’s happening to her house.

It’s melting. Disintegrating. Her house is eroding when it rains, because her house is made of mud, cardboard and a shoddy tin roof.

Her name is Adeline. And she lives in Haiti, in a one-room house that is smaller than your bedroom.

And she’s my friend.

My sandaled feet have met her dirt floor. Under her tin roof, I’ve pasted on a fake smile, trying so hard not to look horrified at her tumbledown house — that house that she had cleaned up on account of a few of us girlfriends dropping by.

Adeline is one of us, wanting to make a good impression, and so she had swept her dirt floor before I came.

Read that again: She had swept her dirt floor.

I’ve held hands with Adeline, and I’ve prayed with her, with tears streaming down my cheeks, even though we can’t understand a word each other was saying.

Meet Adeline.



Adeline doesn’t look like a woman who is living in a “melting” house, does she? She looks happy, healthy. She looks like a hard worker.

She’s all those things.

Adeline is a hard-working, joy-filled mama who shows up at work, every day, at ViBella Jewelry, to make a really good wage.

If she lived in America, she’d be the woman who’d laugh with you when you made a fool of yourself in the tampon aisle at Target. And she’d be on your doorstep with a casserole if your dog died. She’d be organizing Bible study. And she’d insist that you pop over for a cup or tea any time you please, no matter that the living room was a Lego-covered mess.

Except for the fact that she lives in Haiti. And her house is melting.

She’s been saving money for a new house, and she’s been praying, too.

And I’ve been praying for her all week, as we’ve been packing for Haiti and filling malaria prescriptions and figuring out if last year’s skirts still fit.

Our family will return to Haiti in a week, and we will see Adeline again.

What if I could hold her hands and tell Adeline this–

What if I tell her that her “melting” house melted our Jesus-hearts here in North America.

What if, when I visit her on Black Friday, I could tell Adeline that her sisters and brothers right here want to deliver her a real gift — a new home.


We want to give Adeline a #HomefortheHolidays this Christmas — not the kind of gift that people will hunt for in the bargain bin on Black Friday, but the kind of grace-gift that Christ paid for on Good Friday.

These are the grace gifts: the ones with no-strings-attached. 

That’s the gift that all of us want to give, all of us whose hearts beat like this: Jesus…. Jesus…. Jesus…

What if we could give her a simple home with concrete sides, and a sturdy roof?

We could be sisters helping sisters, building a home for the holidays….


vibella, adeline, house

I think we can build this — us together, right here.

And I think we can do more than build her house. I have seen how these efforts can begin to change whole communities. That’s what happens when we invest in individual people’s lives. 

I’ve seen firsthand how ViBella has changed the lives of whole families, and they in turn, begin to impact their neighborhoods. Empowered women like Adeline are changing the future of their country.

This is a chance for all of us to join together to “give hope this Christmas” for Adeline, and for all of her friends at ViBella.

This project is kinda big. My hands are shaking as I type. We need God to move mightily. And we are lifting this project up to Him, the Miracle-Maker.

Here’s how you can be a part of #HomeForTheHolidays.

BUY VIBELLA JEWELRY: The sales staff at ViBella is waiting for you right now. Place your order at www.ViBellaJewelry.com, and in the discount code section, be sure to type this: newhouse. <——That is really important!

ViBella artists have created beautiful necklaces and Christmas ornaments and purses — all of them beautifully handcrafted as Christmas gifts for your mamas, daughters, aunts, teachers, next-door neighbors … or yourself.

Thirty percent of every sale will go toward Adeline’s house. That means that every dollar raised will benefit real families in Haiti – the jewelry sales will support the women who make the jewelry, and 30 percent of the profits will help Adeline, a Jesus-sister who needs a real #HomefortheHolidays.

give hope, Christmas, ViBella

SPREAD THE WORD: This is an opportunity to use social media for His glory. Tell your friends about #HomeForTheHolidays. Share on Facebook by using the buttons below. Click to tweetHelp make a real #HomeforTheHolidays. We are sisters helping sisters this Christmas. Join us.

PRAY:  This is a huge undertaking. This house will cost $5,000 to build, and while we could take direct donations, we are hoping to do this primarily through jewelry sales. Our purchases of ViBella Jewelry assure that sisters like Adeline can keep their jobs. And … you end up with a beautiful gift to share with someone you love!

Adeline says through an interpreter:

“Vi Bella represents my husband, and a father for my child. Every bit of my hope falls here; it rests here because it is my only means of support. Working here has brought me closer to God. Each day here is a step closer. Prior to being here I had no hope in anything, including God, I had lost all hope. Vi Bella has helped me regain and rest my hope on God especially during our afternoon prayers. What I love most about work is the joy it brings us all. We can sit, joke, laugh and have our hearts lifted not just with happiness but joy.”

While in Haiti, our family will visiti Adeline at her home on Black Friday, busiest shopping day of the year here in the States. And on that day, I will have the privilege of telling Adeline face to face how close her sisters are to funding her house. I pray we will be very close, miraculously close!!



On Black Friday, we will pick one winner from all who ordered ViBella Jewelry, using the “newhouse” code, for a FREE NECKLACE and a CUSTOM METAL ART ornament or wall hanging, similar to the one pictured here. You can select your favorite word or name, and I will place the order — with your one word — while I am Haiti.


Let’s do this. Let’s build a real #HomefortheHolidays.

To God be the Glory…



{For information on hosting a Vi Bella party or becoming a Vi Bella consultant, please email homeparty@vibellajewelry.com.}

A FINAL NOTE: Please don’t feel any pressure to participate in this fundraiser, or to purchase jewelry. I’m just grateful for the opportunity to use this blog as a way to share about His work in the world. Thanks for your prayers!

  • JUST SO 100% IN!!! Let’s do this thing #HomeForTheHolidays INDEED!!! Placing my order now!

    • I love you Lisa-Jo Baker! Thank you for cheering me and supporting and encouraging, in advance of this. And thank you for inspiring through your #LaundryForAfrica project … and through your words on the stage at Allume during the Impact Panel. Those efforts had a huge impact on what God had been stirring in my heart.

      You are so dear to me. Thank you, thank you. The ladies of ViBella thank you as well!

  • Kelly Greer

    Blessed to be a blessing and build a house for Adeleide. My tree will give the gift of a new house! May God increase!

    • Oh Kelly … So much love to you. My tree is all decked out with ViBella this year. I love the doves… They are crafted from recycled oil drums by a man in Haiti.

  • Ditto what Lisa-Jo said. On my way over there now. Love you!

    • Wanna hug you tight, friend. Thank you so much.

  • S.Etole

    I just placed an order yesterday. Is there anyway I could have “newhouse” added to it?

    • I will check on that, Susan! I will let them know. I think we can make that work. Bless your heart, dear friend. Even if we can’t get the code applied, you’ve done a beautiful thing by supporting the work of these artists. Love you.

  • Monica Sharman

    I’m in, girl. I’m in.

    • Smooch! Linking arms with you. Thank you!

      • Monica Sharman

        Oh, DUH. I just made the order but forgot the “newhouse” thing. *grrrr* *kicking myself*
        I sent them a note in their “Contact Us” form and asked how to fix that. 😛

        • I will follow up tomorrow, too, and make sure your order gets counted. Thank you again. So very much!

  • Emily Wierenga


    • Your support? Means SOOO much. Thanks friend. You’ve been a good friend to ViBella. xo

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  • Susan Hill

    I just placed an order :0)

    • Oh Susan. God bless you. Thanking God for you!

  • Guest

    Just placed my order. Love it. Thanks to Lisa-Jo Baker for the heads up.

    • Bless you, “Guest.” So grateful. Can’t wait to share the very good news with Adeline, and all of the ViBella artists, whose lives are greatly impacted our purchases.

  • wearethatfamily

    I just bought my sister a bracelet and my mom a necklace for Christmas! #homefortheholidays is beautiful and so are you, friend!

    • Kristen! Your heart is as big as the state in which you live. I’m just sure of it.

      Thank you so much for modeling what it means to step out in obedience. You’re doing this kind of thing every single day, on a very big scale, and I just stand in amazement of all that God is doing through you and your family. It means a lot to me, and to the ViBella crew, that you would stand with us today. Thank you. I saw your Facebook post, too. God bless you, friend. (Praying for you as you prepare for your trip to Kenya.)

  • Carly G. Dixon

    Popping over to buy something now! Praying earnestly that that sweet face sees a new home soon! Speaking at a conference tomorrow, will share the story and ask the ladies to open their hearts to help!

    • Oh Carly … Thank you so much. And that you’re mentioning this at your conference tomorrow? We are so very grateful. Praying for you as you prepare for your conference.

  • Lonnye Yancey-Smith

    I am totally in. Jewelry is my weakness. I like the idea of using my weakness for His glory. ‘Course He does it all the time, if I let Him. It’s just neat to see in black and white.

    • LOL! Lonnye … I love this comment so much. Five-stars. 🙂

  • Beautiful. Heading over. Give sweet Adeline a hug from me when you see her.

    • Laura … Thanks for the encouragement in advance. It’s scary to step out in faith, but far easier when friends standing with you. … On a somewhat related note: I have been collecting pinking shears. 🙂 See you Thursday. xo

  • Lisa Buffaloe

    Love this, Jennifer! Just placed an order. So grateful for the opportunity to help. Thank you, sweet Jennifer!

    • Lisa, So grateful for your willingness to take part in this. And thank you for spreading the word on Twitter!

  • stgibson19

    I participated last year when your daughter was raising funds to build a playground. The jewelry was absolutely stunning. I’m so excited to be a part of this and help build a home. God bless you for giving us the opportunity to do this.

    • Oh sister … Thank you so much for the way you’ve stood with us, and with ViBella, last year and again today. We’re so grateful for you!

  • You about made me cry, Jennifer – very inspiring! I just placed my order. Praying you can tell Adeline about a miracle next week–a competely funded new home!

    • You’re been such a good friend to ViBella, Laura. Thank you for all you’ve done today, too, to promote and encourage. xo

  • And now all we need to do is celebrate!

    • Under a disco ball of course. 🙂

  • Rebecca Presnell

    Pinned, Facebooked, Tweeted, and will re-blog as soon as I can stop crying. You are such a beautiful soul Jennifer, I am honored to know you. Through your words and pictures I feel as if I “know” Adeline, and will be honored to bring her a #HomeForTheHolidays. The ache is just so…ugh, no words! My heart. Just, my heart. I’ll be with you in spirit while your family travels to Haiti again.

  • This is awesome….I am sharing on FB…hope to be able to shop soon myself….may His generous Heart be lived through us!!!! Blessings as you travel and love the people of Haiti!!!

    • Ro! Thanks for sharing. Every single necklace, bracelet, Christmas ornament is one step closer to a new house for Adeline. Just amazed by sisters like you! Thank you!

    • Ro! Thanks for sharing. Every single necklace, bracelet, Christmas ornament is one step closer to a new house for Adeline. So we really appreciate that you are sharing this post on Facebook. Just amazed by sisters like you!

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  • I’ve blogged this with my own giveaway for participants. I’m so excited to do this thing with you, Jennifer. Adeline’s house might be melting, but you have a melting heart.

  • Lydia Lee

    Awesome project Mom! Can you buy me some jewelry PLEEEEEEEEEEASE!! It IS for a good cause. 😉

    • Lydia! Best.Comment. Ever.

      You’re pretty convincing. I’ll give it some serious thought, OK? 😉

      P.S. — ViBella is top on my Christmas list too. Hint, hint…

  • Mick Silva

    I’m in.

  • Oh friend – so excited to watch this happen. I KNOW that you’ll be able to tell her that it is 100% funded on Black Friday! Because of our Jesus! Guess I’ll be doing some shopping when I stop there tomorrow:-)

    • Me, too. So excited. And still a little shaky in my boots. 🙂 But we’re stepping forward in faith. Let’s do this!

      (Thanks for picking up the ViBella suitcase, friend!)

  • Susan Tilney

    Done and done! What a wonderful thing!!

    • Aw, Susan! Thank you so much for your order. We’re changing things, one piece of jewelry at a time. 🙂

  • Oh Jennifer! I love this and your big beautiful heart. What an inspiration–it really is such a gift to give. Can’t wait for you to post those pics of Adeline’s face when she finds out she’s getting a new house for Christmas 🙂 xo!!!

  • What a lovely opportunity…for you to share and us to participate!! Thank you, Jennifer. I’ve placed my order and can’t wait to see your photos and read about your trip.

    • Thank you, Mary, for linking arms with us. So appreciate you!

  • I just placed an order & was so excited I forgot to put “newhouse” in the comments. 🙁 Can this be fixed? What an awesome way to use the way you were impacted at allume to impact others!!

    • Hi Mary! First of all, thank you for your order. You are making a difference in real lives of some pretty amazing women. Second of all, I have notified ViBella, and they will make the change.

      Third, did you happen to be in the conference hall during the Impact Panel? I was so stirred that afternoon.

      Thank you again for your support of this!

  • 1lori_1

    I’m in!

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  • 1lori_1
  • pulsepointdesign

    Just shared this post with all my FB followers!! Can you tell us exactly how much you have left to raise? I’d like to donate even if I don’t purchase jewelry. Do you have a link to use for cash donations?

    • Hello! Thank you so much for sharing the post with your FB followers. That means so much. Yes, we do take donations, by check. You can email me at Jennifer@jenniferdukeslee.com for more details!

  • Elizabeth

    What a gift to be a part of this heart project. Love your heart for Jesus and for Haiti and for your precious momma heart friend. !!!! Can’t wait to watch the miracle unfold.

    • It’s been a joy to watch this grow this week. Wowsers! Thanks for being a part of this. To God be the glory!

  • ViBella Jewelry

    Jennifer – ViBella Jewelry would like to thank you for chasing your heart’s desire to help Adilene – not only by providing her with a new house … but more importantly want to thank you for how you love her and our other workers. Thank you God for giving Jennifer this desire to make a difference in Haiti, and thank you for the difference Jennifer makes in all our lives who are privileged to know her. You outdid yourself when you created this beautiful lady; and you planned her every day! We pray for your blessing on her desire to make a difference in Adilene’s life. Help us all to love well … to see other’s through your eyes Jesus … and to extend grace to everyone that comes across our path. Amen and Amen.

    Psalm 139

    You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body;
    You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,
    how I was sculpted from nothing into something.
    Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;
    all the stages of my life were spread out before you,
    The days of my life all prepared
    before I’d even lived one day.

    • I loved doing work where the Spirit is moving. And the Spirit is on.the.move with ViBella! So grateful for Julie’s vision, and for all the women and men who are a part of making this happen every day. You guys inspire me.

  • Patty Barbour

    Thank you for posting this blog. My heart was touched as I read about Adeline and even though I started making jewelry myself, I am definetely going to place an order today. I pray God will bless your efforts on behalf of Adeline and all the women there and will do a mighty work beyond anything you dare to dream about. Our God is able when we are willing to be available and you, my dear, are very much willing as we can all see in the beautiful words you have shared with us. May God bless you and your family as you take this trip.

    • Oh Patty.. Thank you for your order. So blessed by you. We are going to get that house built — necklace by necklace. 🙂

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  • ‘Melting’ my heart. I am waiting to hear if they can ship to Canada.

    • Rebekah … I found the answer for you. And the answer is YES. 🙂 If you need anything else, just let me know. Otherwise, I’m sure the ViBella staff will get back to you tomorrow.

  • Nancy

    I put “newhouse” in the discount code but nothing happened. is this ok?

  • JUst bought my momma a Christmas present:)

  • I think this is the coolest idea! just ordered some ornaments!

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