Wednesday, November 13, 2013

little branches + africa.


hey y'all. 

happy hump day. 

{every time i hear someone say "hump" day i think of this commercial. i die laughing every. dang. time. do you? whoot, whoot!!!!}

i have wanted to share this story for a while

like a few months, a while. 

but it's never come out easy. 
i get choked up. i can't get the words out. i can't adequately describe the awe that i am still in of what the Lord did in me & through me. 

and, most of all, i don't want it to be about me.

i am just a person. little branches is just a business. 
as i surrendered myself to Him and His will, He took me to places beyond my wildest dreams. 
i am {or at least i strive to be} simply a girl after His heart. 

and His heart is after others.

isn't that beautiful? 
His heart is after others. after your heart. after mine. after the orphans. and the widows. and the imprisoned. 
no matter how ugly or dirty or seemingly messed up we are... He pursues us. and wants us. longs for us.

and that is a beautiful thing.

but i digress....

when the Lord put little branches on my heart a little over a year ago {although it had been in my heart for a long time before that...} my desire was to use what He blessed me with to bless others.

you can read more about starting my business here. and you can read about africa here.

He blessed me with this business. and led me to go to africa with the fruits of my labor. something beyond anything i could have ever dreamed i would do {or want to do for that matter} a little over a year ago. 

and today i want to share with you why i believe that the Lord sent me to africa. 

i shared with you a little bit about how blessed we were to meet these churches in their villages. in remote parts of uganda. the first village we travelled to, bethlehem, was beautiful. the people were full of joy beyond anything i had ever seen. we left feeling full & with many lessons in our hearts that we are still struggling to reconcile with life in america. 

but the second day. 
the second day & the second village felt very different.

we discovered on the way there that this village was desolate. that cannibals surrounded the village at night. & if you walk outside of the village at night time.... it's obviously very dangerous.  

there were hardly any men that we saw. {the one above was very kind to us, btw. he's not what i describe below. just fyi.}
not because they're at work. 
but because they're estranged. 
the men, generally, in these villages get these women pregnant & then leave. they don't have jobs. they don't attend church. they don't provide. 

our definition of deadbeat. 
to a T.

they don't have any electricity. which means no refrigeration for food. they have one water well and they have their cows & chickens & pigs in a sty, basically, and they're tied to a tree with 'leashes'. even the baby chickens.

and the women. the mothers. 

they are desperate. 

my sweet mentor lisa is an annoited speaker and we had planned a women's conference at each of our locations around her speaking. she speaks on how we are all beautiful in God's eyes. we are children of the King. we are royalty. she gave each of the women little pocket mirrors. and every. single. time. it gave me goosebumps watching these women see themselves - many for the first time. tears. laughter. big smiles. it was truly a gift from the Lord.

i had planned on working at the "VBS" part of the 'conference' and telling the story of Joseph. that was my 'assignment.' i wasn't even going to be a part of the "women's" side of it. my heart is with these precious children. or so i thought.

but the night before we travelled to nambarizzi, the pastor asked Lisa to speak on business. something that she was not, at the time, comfortable speaking on. 

she looked at me. and my dear friend katie - who used to have an online clothing shop - and basically said, "it's your turn."


i'm not made for speaking. certainly not made for speaking to women. through a translator. 

"Lord, certainly You're not serious."

but i felt something well up inside of me.

that He had given me a story to tell. and He brought me all the way across the world to tell the story of how i started my business.

let me tell you that i couldn't have imagined this up in my wildest dreams. i thought i was going over there to fall in love with the orphans... which, i mean, how could you not do that?

but He had other plans. He still has other plans. He won't be done with me until i meet Him face to face. and these women have not left my heart. these women have not left my heart and i know there's a bigger purpose to that.

i heard from Pastor George yesterday and he said that he had been in Nambarizzi twice last week and they were working hard to work together and produce hand made items to sell. he said they are still very encouraged through the words God spoke through me. 


God used a little handmade business to travel to africa to encourage these women. 


what a big God. using me. just where i am and just who i am. flawed and everything.  striving for Him. and He took me further that i could have taken myself.

and that's my challenge to you. 

what is He asking you to do? it might be small... or i guess i should say that YOU might think it's small. 

but it might be big. 

like, it might be huge. 

you just don't know. 

and huge in HIS eyes might not be huge in the world's eyes. 

and i'm learning that is perfectly alright.


pray about it today. ask Him. i promise you that if you'll listen He will tell you.

He promises that. 

and - if you are praying - would you mind praying for these women in Nambarizzi? 
that they would continue to be of encouragement to one another. and the big prayer is how we are going to get their product out of their village to a marketplace somewhere to sell. it's so remote that they would have to pay for someone to take them somewhere miles and miles and miles away to sell. that, of course, takes a LOT of their profitability away. we're praying for Him to make a way. i have faith that He will - but they could use all the prayers we can pray for them, amen?

i hope this story blesses you and encourages you today. to be all you and all His. 

He has a plan for you. a very special one. unique just to you and your gifts and your talents. 

and it's beautiful. and i can't wait to see it. 

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