Tuesday, July 30, 2013


Many years ago, in college, I took a series of courses about Africa. They began as courses that fulfilled several requirements and therefore allowed me to keep my schedule open. They grew into me confessing to my professor that I would never make an A in his class, but I needed his lectures so please don't kick me out. My eyes were opened to a history so deep and tragic and beautiful and amazing and awful and complex and real that I could not look away. I began to develop a desire to go. When a relationship began to crumble and a roommate had a crazy connection to the missionaries that visited my church when I was younger, I made a plan. Isn't life like that? We get desires, pure heart desires, but then we forget we live HIS plan and not ours. I devised a plan where after graduation I would go visit my roommate's aunt who was serving as an English teacher in Tanzania. I signed up for an extra Africa class and planned on getting my professors input in my preparations as he often lives in Tanzania himself. I would then come home and fund raise and officially join a ministry as a missionary on my own. Good plan, right? It was all great and on track until a series of choices led me to wake up one day in August of my Senior year of college pregnant and with no plan of my own. I thought losing Africa was God being just. I thought it was him disciplining me. I moved on, became a Mama, was rescued by my husband and you can read the rest on this blog if you don't get carpal tunnel from clicking "Previous" many hundreds of times. The truth is, God is just. He IS  justice. Losing Africa was not a punishment but part of his amazing wonderful glorious plan for me. Ten years later and he has revealed an amazing opportunity. One I simply could not pass up.

I have become an Ambassador for The Noonday Collection. Through this incredible organization I get to partner directly with artisans all over the world. Ethiopia, Rwanda, Uganda. This heart of Africa I get to now pour my heart into. These people with a history so big: I get to learn their individual life  stories, and wear their story. Noonday works with artisans and co-ops and organizations that bring the beautiful out of the ashes and turn broken lives into productive artist lives. The men and women who make the jewelry and shoes and accessories I am privileged  to wear have hope where there was once despair. One of my favorite artisan groups is called The Beza Entoto Outreach. There, a group of HIV positive artisans in Ethiopia make amazing jewelry out of beads that have been created out of artillery shells and weapons that farmers find in their fields. I am blown away every time I wear my Bethe Rope necklace. It is such a beautiful reminder to me. God took my plans, and my mess, and reformed it into the amazing life I now lead. This jewelry, reformed from objects of war and hatred and evil are reformed into beauty. These artisans are reclaimed through their work. New creatures with hope and joy and beauty.

I am honored, and terrified. But God writes my plan now. I can not wait to see where this goes.  Will you take a moment and come on over to my website? Browse around and consider how you might partner with me to bring these stories to life in our communities. 

1 comment:

  1. Love that God granted you this new opportunity Em! What a great way to outpour your love for Africa :) - Brie