Hear Me Roar
February 2023 Issue
Photography by Cassidy Dunn Photography
Hometown: Sucre, Bolivia
Current Home: Bluffton
Career: Pastor of Fe y Gloria Church, Hardeeville, SC; Director of Tulips Thrift
Store and Brillo de Mujer Home (“A Woman’s Inner Light” Long Term Housing
For Domestic Violence)
Do you have a cause that you wake up every day for?
What is it and how did this cause become near and dear to your heart?
I dream of a long-term safe house for Victims of Domestic Violence—Brillo de Mujer Home ( “A Woman ‘s Inner Light”). My goal is to create a home where we can help victims of domestic violence (DV) not only escape from their abuser, but also emerge from the darkness and depression associated with DV. And, to not only learn to love themselves again, but learn to shine. As a survivor of DV myself, I know how it feels when you’re in a hole of desperation and you don’t know where to go for help in that moment. It’s like all the doors are closed. You are not only scared and frightened, but you also feel completely alone. I want to help stop this cycle and show victims that we are not just survivors, we are warriors!
How do you support this cause?
Two years ago, my friend Lorena and I opened Tulips Thrift Store ( a 501(c)3 store) in Sheridan Park in Bluffton. This is our home base and the platform we use to bring awareness to the seriousness of domestic violence, and it is also a way for us to raise money to eventually purchase land and build long-term housing for DV victims.
Thanks to all of our shoppers and donors who have supported us! We continue to grow and evolve. Most recently, we finished a huge renovation that we are so excited for customers to see. We are still pretty grassroots, so we are slowly working on reaching our $1.5 million goal. I know with the help of our community and God we will get there. It all just takes time! I believe in miracles!
What words of wisdom would you give to others going through similar situations?
I would say to not lose hope for one day being happy again. With God’s help all situations have a solution. For the love of yourself and your children you need to escape your aggressor. Don’t hesitate to reach out for help. There are people who care and want to help you. You don’t need to go through this alone.
What is the best, coolest, or most sought-after item
anyone has ever donated to the thrift store?
We had a beautiful French antique, hand-carved breakfront cabinet from the 1800s. It was huge and incredibly ornate. Every inch of it was hand-carved with beautiful designs. People would walk in and their jaws would just drop in shock! We also got this entire sofa sectional and rug set made of leather and cowhide. It was huge and so unique. The sheer size of it took up our entire antique boutique! A gentleman had it custom made for $38,000. His wife didn’t like the way it looked, and so they donated it. When I told people the original cost, they were just floored. We have been very blessed with some incredible donors, patrons, and volunteers. Incredibly blessed!
Tell us what you loved most about growing up in Bolivia?
Bolivia is a very family-oriented culture. I loved spending time with my family and having big family reunions. Plus, the food there is phenomenal.
What is the biggest difference you have experienced in moving to the U.S.?
What do you love most about living in the U.S.?
The U.S. is safer and cleaner. When I first saw the Lowcountry, it stole my heart. It was simply breathtaking. I love all the different people that are here from so many different places. I am incredibly proud to be an American and living here in the Lowcountry!
If you could have three wishes granted, what would they be?
1) To have the land and home for victims of domestic violence.
2) That victims of domestic violence who need help and healing will find it.
3) Be able to see the fruition of my efforts by seeing survivors restored from their pain and seeing them not only succeed, but have their inner light shine.
You are a pastor? Tell us more about that.
When I was 17, I learned about Jesus. From then, I wanted to spread his love and light. I am now the Pastor of Fe y Gloria (Faith and Glory) Church in Hardeeville, SC. We are small but growing. We are more than a church; we are a family. I have a passion to help others heal from their inner struggles and show them the love of God, who can heal all wounds.
Do you have a favorite Bible verse?
What is it and why is it your favorite?
2 Corinthians 5:7 “For we live by faith, not by sight.” Life struggles have taught me to trust God, and it’s proven to me that faith moves God’s hands in your favor. He marvels when his children believe Him.
If you could have a full-time housekeeper, a full-time personal chef, or a full-time chauffeur, which would you choose and why?
A chef so I would eat healthier and on a schedule. I’m so busy right now that sometimes eating healthy or on a scheduled time is not the easiest.
What are your favorite pastimes when you’re not
busy working and ministering to others?
Reading and writing, or spending time with my three beautiful grandkids. They keep me busy and give me a lot of exercise!
You can hear me “roar” about…
God blessing us with the new remodel of the store, the church growing and my new grandbaby, Estela.
How can people help support your vision of
helping survivors of domestic violence?