Debbie Hert entered Orange Mound, galvanized our mission, and won the fragile hearts of our women of Orange Mound 6 years ago.
She is a tea expert and had managed My Cup of Tea for the brilliant Mary Beth Bryce who founded the company for profit. When we purchased MCOT and redefined it as a non-profit and a mission, we were in “deep tea weeds” not knowing producers, blenders, or flavors. Debbie, a quintessential servant manager, trained us on the basics, and kept the company afloat as we employed women of Orange Mound to build our company’s brand and outreach.
The mission of MCOT is to embrace, serve, and dream with Orange Mound women and then befriend and speed them on their way to discovering their purpose as mothers, grandmothers, neighbors, entrepreneurs, and employees. Faith in Christ is the foundational precept. Landing Debbie as the manager-in-chief was a gift of God for us because her love for the Lord is her way of life and witness. She glorifies Him by loving us and guiding us as He guides her.
The majority of our employees don’t have a church home, so we have our version of church daily. Debbie can preach. Recently, she shared a visual of inspiration from our garden in the backyard. Sunflowers were in a variety of postures. Several were faced Heavenward, and others were bowed toward the ground. Debbie drew the illustration as a mandate for us to look up at the Father for our dose of hope and joy and assurance, and then explained the flowers that were facing the ground were heavily pollinated and were praying. The prayers of the righteous avail much. The seeds of our prayers would bear fruit in time. Debbie then took us out to see the garden that had given her the visual and spirit-filled illustration.
Our times are so very heavy. There is a pall over our city, our country and our world. Most of our ladies are unaware of the deep needs beyond our zip code, as personal tragedy is a way of life in Orange Mound. As I have stated before, all deal with poverty, gun violence, public school disfunction, and co-morbidity issues. Fires in the West, Afghanistan’s tragedies, and hospital staffing alarms are not top-of-mind. Debbie alerts us to ensure we participate in the battles of others around us through prayer. Most of our ladies have deepened their faith in Christ and grown in love for the Bible. Some are holding a Bible with assurance on how to navigate the promises of God for the first time. She has a mature command of the Scriptures and a ready answer of a verse for the moment.
Debbie also plans our production pace, selects new teas, cultivates new resources, and designs our retail spaces. Debbie answers the phone with a lilt in her voice, assures the customer of the quality of our product, and our ability to deliver on time. She plans the day for us all with our capacity and our potential in mind. As we are as much ministry as we are a business, we often have enormous gaps in our workforce and regrouping the day’s production rate is imperative. If we lack hands, Debbie steps up in the production to fill in. She never eats or sleeps as far as I can see.
All of the ladies call her Momma D. For many, she is who they have missed in an ideal mother who nurtures and encourages her daughters. She epitomizes the virtuous woman of Proverbs 31 - “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” (v. 29)