Thursday, October 27, 2011

your purchases matter

First of all, thank you all so much for my birthday messages! You guys are the best! I love my husband dearly and thank God daily for the 3 boys I have in my life. Other than posting on my blog, Jake gave me another gift yesterday. He watched the boys all afternoon which freed me up to go visit friends. Friends I have never met before, yet find myself more and more connected to. Let me introduce you...

This is my friend Jalia.

Jalia and her husband Daniel are over African Style, our Ugandan Artisans for Noonday Collection. They are a precious couple who love God and love people. They have a passion to care for the widow and the oppressed by teaching them a skill that can provide a sustainable income and discipling them in God's Word.

I drove about an hour to meet with Jalia. She and her husband are house sitting for a consulate at a university here in Uganda. That is where they are living, that is where they do ministry and that is where they make jewelry for Noonday Collection.

When I got there I was greeted by their core team of workers. They had just finished their latest Noonday order and so the rest of the artisans were at home... waiting for our next order to provide work and an income.

I was overwhelmed with the welcome I received. They immediately ushered me in and showed me around. They sat with me and showed me sample products they had created. They taught me how to make paper beads and thanked me over and over again for helping them sell their products in the U.S. It felt as if we were old friends.

Bukenya and his wife Coral had their first born baby girl just a few days ago and asked if I would come to their house and see the baby. Before I knew it, 6 of us were crammed into a car and driving to their house. We drove 5 miles on hilly and bumpy dirt roads all while they shared how they walk from their house to work every day...walk...including Coral...even while she was 9 months pregnant.

On the drive Jalia told me story after story of people she sees sleeping on the streets "literally...sleeping on the streets...they sleep there because they have no place else to go" she said. Her heart breaks for them and desires to teach them a trade so they can provide for themselves, and share the love of God so they can know Him.

When we drove up to the house they were so excited to show it to me. Bukenya told me that they use to live in the slums, but now could afford to rent this house in a better place because Noonday pays them three times what they would normally make in Uganda.

The curtain you see to the right is the front door of their house. There are two other houses to the left of them where another family and their landlord live. Bukenya's brother Caleb (who also works for African Style) lives with them as well.

After seeing two separate photos of them placed together in a frame. I asked if they had any pictures as a family. They said no. So, this is their first family photo.

This is Coral. She is the one who makes our Kampala with Love necklace. You can read her story here. She loves God and is so thankful for her husband and new baby Shalom.

This is the inside of their house. This room is about 7 ft long and 5 ft wide. Behind that curtain is a room the size of a closet that they sleep in.

Bukenya told me that when Daniel first came to see him to talk about working for African Style he only had a bucket to offer him to sit on. He talked about how proud he was to now have a chair in his house for guests. He attributed this as well to how well he is payed for the work he does.

As I visited with these brothers and sisters in Christ I listened as they shared their dreams of caring for the poor and the oppressed in their community...dreams of having an orphanage to care for the fatherless, dreams of providing jobs for widows in their community, dreams of bringing the gospel to them, and teaching them God's Word. I reflected on the many things that I take for granted in my life back home. I was overwhelmed with the desire to do more to provide work for these people. I want to be the hands and feet of Christ. I want to be the voice for those who do not have one. I want to be an ambassador for these believers in Uganda and all over the world who are oppressed, who have godly dreams and families and ambitions.

What inspired me the most was their faith and how it translates to a love for people. Specifically what challenged me was hearing them talk about what they are doing and what they dream of doing to serve the poor and the oppressed in their community. To me, they are the poor and the oppressed. Although they would agree, they still have a heart to care for those who have even less. I left there thinking how I want the love of Christ to transform me in such a way that I spend a lot less time thinking about what I don't have and a lot more time thinking about how I can serve those who have less than me.

I am so thankful for the opportunity to be a Noonday Collection Ambassador. I am so blessed to be able to use my purchasing power and help others use theirs to make a difference in lives like these.

If you have ever made a purchase through Noonday Collection before, these are the lives you are changing. They say thank you and they send their love.

"...when you satisfy the needs of the oppressed, your light will become like the noonday." Isaiah 58:10

{If you want to be a voice for these faces you see, host a trunk show! Or, consider becoming an ambassador. It is the opportunity to style your friends while changing the world.}

Jalia shared with me that they are needing to find a new place for their artisans to work. The university has asked them to leave by November 1st. Please pray for them as they look for a place close enough for their artisans to walk and big enough to work and do ministry.


D Rust said...

Krista - thanks so much for sharing this amazing story (this was such a reality check to me during a crazy work day)! I am so glad you had the opportunity to meet with these people.
Happy belated birthday also!

Love and hugs from TX,

Tara said...

i have the Kampala with Love necklace on TODAY. seeing her sweet face just puts a whole new perspective on what it means to purchase and wear a piece of Noonday ... it's to be a part of something bigger! thanks for sharing this! &hearts

Janell said...

Wow. What an awesome opportunity for you to be able to see all of this first hand!! So exciting! Thank you so much for sharing all of this with us. It helps me to see Noonday on a such a more personal level. Love it.

Beth said...

This is such a beautiful story - thank you for sharing all of this! I love what Noonday is doing and I love that you are an ambassador for them!

Wynne Elder said...

krista! thanks for posting this, I was so glad to see bukenya & coral's baby as she was major preggo when I was there and I was dying to see if it was going to be a boy or girl! thank you for sharing your heart! isn't what we do amazing?!