Ms. Pearl Willis sat on the front porch of the Good News Coffee Shop in the Roseland neighborhood of Chicago, and shared with us story after story of God’s “unstoppable-ness.” Her testimony is a story of hope, and of the providence and provision of the Lord, and Ms. Pearl was happy to share with us the many blessings that she has seen over the past 30 years in her Roseland neighborhood.
Ms. Pearl began by saying “This is not something that I had planned to do with my life...but I truly believe the Word of God when it says, ‘For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you a hope and a future.’” (Jeremiah 29:11)
She thoughtfully unfolded how God saved her from a life of addiction. The Lord rescued her from alcohol and drugs, and set her feet on a path of restoration and mercy. Her testimony is a beautiful story of God’s redemptive power! He lovingly transformed her life into a vessel that he now fills with his Spirit, and she exudes the love of Christ to those whom God places in her path.
What began as a simple babysitting favor for some local teen mothers has now blossomed into a daycare and education center, a community coffee house where police officers are welcomed, and neighbors are encouraged to build positive relationships with local law enforcement, and with each other.
The property also hosts a flourishing children’s garden. It is a place of hope for this Roseland community!
Ms. Pearl is quick to give God the glory for all the transformation that is happening around Roseland! “God is on the move,” she says, “And we just follow Him wherever He leads us. We don’t want to get ahead of Him - we want to follow Christ and stand behind Him.”
She stressed the importance of OBEDIENCE to God and to His Word in the Christian life. Ms. Pearl quoted 1 Samuel 15:22, “To obey is better than sacrifice.” The Bible and prayer are both a vital part of the teaching and training that Ms. Pearl gives to the moms and children in her care. Ms. Pearl holds a weekly Bible study for all of the moms who are under her care. When asked what book or course she uses for her Bible study, Ms. Pearl explained that she utilizes scripture, and she prayerfully teaches what will most personally benefit her families that week. She is carefully in tune with the needs of the women she helps, and she presents to them what God has given to her that week - personalized just for them.
Ms. Pearl has a unique understanding for how to best serve these families, and how to infuse hope into their lives through faith in Jesus Christ. She also helps them with studying and schoolwork, preparation for work, scheduling, budgeting, and household responsibilities. Many of the young mothers and children in her care continue on through college and into the workforce. She encourages them to get an education, to get off welfare, and to build a life on the solid foundation of faith in God.
Sometimes people come to her with big, bold dreams...and Ms. Pearl carefully helps them to unpack those dreams in small, bite-size pieces. She is in no hurry to get them done and on their way. She explained to us the importance of patience -- and taking things one step at a time. She treasures the time that she has with these people, and she values each and every one as a beautiful creation of God.
Ms. Pearl recalled, “There was an overwhelming amount of girls showing up who were trying to go back to school, but they were looking at their babies as a mistake that was keeping them from going to school. And so, it gave me an opportunity to minister at the same time - to help them to understand that their babies were not a mistake - but that Jesus created and made them - that they are fearfully and wonderfully made - and that He makes no mistakes.” The Lord laid it on her heart to start a Bible study with these women, and the daycare became the vehicle that God used to teach these precious women about Him.
Currently, Ms. Pearl’s ministry has helped 68 young mothers graduate from high school, 40 girls have graduated from college, and 30 have graduated from special education programs.
Ms. Pearl is much more than just a babysitter for these families. She has become like a mother or a big sister to them, and she cares and loves them through their difficulties, and into their future. She points them to Jesus all along the way, and she truly believes that this is the purpose for which she was created.
Ms. Pearl’s testimony is incredibly inspiring! It is an amazing thing to observe a life that is surrendered to God and His will. She lives out her faith in a beautiful blend of boldness and love for others. She speaks God’s truth to a community that is starving for hope. Little by little, one by one, hearts are turned to the Lord, as Ms. Pearl obeys God, and follows the path step by step that He lays out in front of her.
Don’t we all encounter people every day who are starving for hope? Jesus brings hope! God IS the answer to broken lives and shattered dreams. Ms. Pearl lives this truth every day. In her own words, she explains, “This isn’t hearsay for me - I’ve learned it - that God is unstoppable. He is able to protect and take care of that which belongs to Him.”
This important work that Ms. Pearl is doing in Roseland is the reason behind our 2021 Frankfort Garden Walk coming up on Saturday, June 26, 2021. The Good News Coffee House is nearing completion, but they need $20,000 to finish the project. Evilena’s customers number approximately 9,000 people. If each one of us were to purchase a ticket to the garden walk, or give just a $10 donation, we could easily help Ms. Pearl finish the coffee house, and still have plenty remaining to put toward the next project that God presents to her ministry. Let’s do this, friends!
It is a wonderful thing when people come together, unified for a purpose that brings glory to God, and helps others. This is an eternal mission - with an opportunity to literally change the course of someone’s life. We get to have a small part in the wonderful work that God is doing in Chicago through the ministry of Ms. Pearl’s Daycare and Coffee House.
We watch the news and see the uncertainty in the world around us, and it can feel discouraging at times. But right here in front of us is a way to help...a way to partner together and lift up the arms of a sister who is doing the work of God. We have been introduced to someone who is actually DOING something about what is going on in our world. Ms. Pearl is not waiting for “someday” to come. She is living this mission NOW, every single day, and God has allowed our paths to cross with her for a divine reason and purpose.
Please join us at the Garden Walk on June 26, 2021. ALL proceeds from this event will be given to Ms. Pearl for the furtherance of the mission in Roseland. Tickets are available for $12 on our website or in the store, and for $15 at the door on the day of the event. We will have maps and coffee and pastries at Evilena’s Red Dresser at 9 am that day. In your map/program, there will also be a fun raffle to enter, and a coupon for 10% off your purchase that day.
If you are unable to attend the Garden Walk, there is a donation button on our website under the “Garden Walk” tab - or you can just click HERE to be taken directly to the donation page. The donations are available online in increments of $10. When checking out, simply choose the “In Store Pickup” option under the shipping options. You will not need to do anything else, and you will not need to pick up anything in the store (although we’re always happy to see you!) but selecting this option at check-out will prevent shipping charges being added to your total. Please email or call the store if you have any questions or need assistance with purchasing tickets or making a donation.
We are so grateful for our loyal customers, and we are excited for this opportunity to help Ms. Pearl’s Good News Daycare, Coffee House, Peace Garden, and all the other AMAZING things going on there!
THANK YOU so much for partnering with us in the 2021 Garden Walk to benefit Ms. Pearl and her mission in Chicago’s Roseland community.