Written from the personal experience of owner & operator of Osana Chips & Catering, Natalia Tone. From hitting rock bottom, to finding faith and hope! This is her story and business journey...
About 3 years ago...
I resigned from my job of almost 20years to run our small bar in town, Tuxx.
Our loans were on mountain peak and the decision to leave my job was merely to focus on the bar to generate better revenue to service our loans.
Three weeks into renovations and trying to do a facelift we were slapped with a fine, encountered issues and then we weren't able to continue operations due to unforeseen circumstances.
We were in trouble.
We were now faced with huge loans and a closed business. My husband Tui and I were now also both unemployed. At this point, we were drowning...financially!
I had to quickly think of ways to get us out and to keep us afloat, however time and favour was not on our side at the time. I started to lock myself away from reality. I was depressed and unstable. I was unhappy, deeply broken and lost in empty thoughts everyday. My marriage was hanging by a thread and my children were confused.
I was a mess.
Then Help came.
This help came in the form of my Father in Law whom helped us financially and took some load off our shoulders with our dire financial situation. It helped buy us some time to come up with something and something very fast.
With this help we also had to face reality of the consequences accompanying the help because relationships were broken.
Our marriage was falling apart. Our Family was broken. It was a mess. Major lifestyle adjustments had to be made.
At his age, it was quite unfair of us to put such burden on him and his hard earned money as well as Tui's siblings.
We were and are still very grateful everyday for my Father in Law's help.
Even though Tui's dad was taking care of our big loan now but we were still in trouble. Being both unemployed, we had no money to survive on a daily basis...we were broke (as a joke - is what they would call it).
My little sister would constantly message me from NZ to get up and just start over but I was into deep with my pity party, hungover in sorrow.
My cousin Kevin, every day was checking on me too, telling me that things will not get better if I keep locking myself in the room.
Tui's sisters would take our daughter Noue for treats all the time and it was such joy because we knew she was well taken care of.
We would literally stretch our budget on cash power, petrol and the kids to be at school. Food was not a priority.
My mom was coming through everyday with food and credit. I recall one time she cried and told me to get up! That I am more than able to overcome anything.
We would pick up food from Tui's mom too. And this lifestyle was our normal for a while. Not having enough was our normal. Two days of not feeling like eating was normal for me.
Then one evening, in my now normal daily routine of getting drunk in self pity, sleeping all day, I heard an inner voice which sounded quite clear to me that said, I love you.
I was now wide awake.
I was like...wait am I hearing things now? Is this normal? Was that a Ghost?
Okay, where am i getting at with this? This Is my story of God's love and goodness. This is where OSANA's story begins.
This same day I got up and I felt like I was ready to take on the world, just like that! I didn't know what I was going to do but i got up. I walked to the fridge, opened it and there was absolutely nothing inside. And instantly I went back to square one of feeling hopeless. I went to my room and instead of going back to sleeping, I cried out to the Lord. I prayed, Lord please take the wheel. I can't do this.
Not long after that, I heard a car outside and I could hear someone calling my name. One of the young lads had come to drop off a pusa moa (box of chicken) from the Faifeau.
Yes, Osana was born! Born out of our kitchen in our humble home with a pusa moa gifted from a Faifeau.
The pusa moa was supposed to be for my mom from a funeral but she wasn't home so they came to drop it off at our house. My mom let us keep it for the kids food.
I then looked at this box of chicken and I got a leading to cook and sell meals, so that's what I did. Once the meals were cooked, I posted it for sale online on social media. No one messaged. Well, no one but my mom and her friends. My first customers...yay! They ordered 3 meals. The money made from these 3 meals we used to buy more ingredients to cook the remainder of the chicken which I cooked the very next day and posted online again. This time we sold 18 meals. We were overjoyed by this and the feeling was short lived, when someone comes over and tells me to sort out our stuff and commented...'You are really going to get nowhere with these 10 tala meals, you need to find a real job'. She wasn't wrong. I started feeling down and was backsliding then I heard that inner voice again, this time it said...keep going!
So the next day we sold almost 20 meals (double yay!). The third day we were selling 40+ meals. Then I received our very first catering order from Rina and Bubba Tuigamala. (I will always remember that order). It wasn't at all perfect from our end but it was a start of something special.
By now I was able to refocus with the right mindset. We made financial decisions that helped us along the way. We put our truck on the market and it didn't sell for a while. It was only when we prayed to God for his help that we got a buyer on the same day.
From here, we were able to renovate our old house and turn it into a kitchen, pay some outstanding bills and buy cooking equipment, ovens etc.
My relationship with God has now grown to a whole different level. During this experience, I came to realise that with everything that happened to me and my family, God never left my side. Through this experience, I tasted and saw the goodness of God. That people will come and go but God will always be with you.
For his word tell us in Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future".
It was then, I also realised money is not the most important thing in life and I had to make some major adjustments.
It wasn't until I cried out that I needed him that I started to see his power manifest through my life (you really need to humble yourself, repent and ask for God's help and he will come through).
So, what exactly am I saying?
I'm saying that all that i have and all that I have become now comes from Christ. Only HE made it happen for me, my marriage and my family.
Why am I sharing this?
I'm sharing my story to inspire and help someone else who is going through a similar situation I've been through.
I truly believe that the things God placed in my path, was for a reason. The olive that is me was meant to be crushed. Crushed to produce oil. For, in order to get out the good oil it first must be crushed.
I have a part to play.
I have to yield to the leading of the holy spirit.
I have to humble myself.
I have to make sacrifices.
I have to Love...like God loves us.
Now in whatever situation you are or may be going through, know that if you've tried left and you've ran right and still nothing...Look Up! The bible says; Look up to the hills. For whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord the maker of Heaven and Earth.
See the good in everything. There is always a good in every bad situation. Seek good and you will find good.
Our Lord, he is bigger than all our problems...
You have financial problems, God is bigger than that.
You got a bad report from the doctor, God is bigger than any sickness.
Your marriage is falling apart, God is bigger than that. And that's his gift to man, so hold on tight to yours.
Two years on...
We have not yet arrived but I can testify that the Goodness of God has come through for us every single time. He will continue to provide for us. He is our source of all good things. We now rely heavily only on him.
A few days ago, we finally moved into our new kitchen. And we managed to save enough for an office.
This is the Goodness of God
Thank you Lord.
Praise you Lord!
I will call out to my soul.
BLESS THE LORD OH MY SOUL AND ALL THAT IS WITHIN ME BLESS HIS HOLY NAME.
Thank you to our parents, family and friends who came through for us, who helped us and provided words of encouragement and support, we are grateful. God Bless you all and keep you.
Please know my story is in no way being put out to condemn, prove or justify our blessings...it is shared to encourage you to have faith and know that God loves you. Through him, everything is possible.
Osana i mealelei mai luga!
Natalia & Family
Osana Chips & Catering
Osana Chips & Catering - OC Catering
T: +685 7141705