Our Hearts Changed Forever.....
1st Trip to Kenya
The first trip to Kenya, was on a chiropractic mission trip. My daughter is a chiropractor and I got to go along and love on the people-especially the kids and babies.
It was the first time I had been away from home for so long. I really was afraid I would be home sick. And I was worried about leaving my other kids for so long. And....I am also a 4 star hotel person, or so I thought....
I left Kenya, forever changed. -I know. That's a big statement.
But really... as I was walking through the London Airport waiting on my connecting flight home... all I wanted to do was stand with a microphone and tell the people walking by, shopping at the high end fashion mall in the airport, seemingly without a care in the world.... there are kids in Kenya that need our help. There are men, women, children...full villages that have minimal food, and women have to walk for miles for water, and there definitely isn't any medical care in. And based on that, how in the world can life go on "as normal" for us, when people are starving?
Our comfortable, cozy, food filled lives were overwhelming and I compared everything to Kenya.
My heart, longed to do something.
2nd Trip to Kenya
Completely unexpected, but forever grateful was the chance to go back to Kenya 3 months later. One of our guides (that the group has known a couple of years) was getting married and he invited all of us to his wedding. He even dressed us for the event!
The wedding was just over the Kenyan border in Tanzania. So we visited the schools and villages along the way. Providing chiropractic services and just checking in.
The second trip strengthened the pull on my heart to do more.
Coming home, the same conflict was raging inside of me...wanting to be with my family and wanting to love on the Kenyan people.
I heard God speak to me. Yes, I really did! It was the clearest he has ever spoken to me. And then...he backed it up with a number of "only God could design" signs.
But... what I was hearing was scary. Out of my "normal" box. and I was afraid to tell anyone about it.
A God Designed Message
November 1, 2019
And then the NEXT day, after I heard HIM speak, I received an email.
This email described exactly what I was feeling but was struggling putting into words.
Excerpt/short summary from the email:
It described being broken daily for kids, scooping them up and hugging on them, making them a warm meal, telling them that they are the only them in the world, and they are completely deserving of love. Needing to tell them this daily, and speaking hope into their lives.
All of that, I could feel with my heart, I could envision, pouring into kids, and just loving on them where they are at. And knowing….that my heart to make a difference in their lives, really, they will be the ones impacting mine.
I love these kids. I celebrate and affirm and applaud them. I would take any one of them home in 1.2 seconds if they needed me to. I’m here to make a difference in their lives, but really they are the ones impacting mine.
Sure God, I can love on kids!
November 1, 2019 Continued...
I read that email and I broke down sobbing. THAT was it!
Let me explain.. I had always "thrown" money at things. My answer for donation requests was almost always yes. Yes, yes, yes. Oh, you want me to help and volunteer? Well, let me give you some money for now. I will put it on my calendar and see if I can...but if not, I will help with money.
With 6 kids, a family business, trying to juggle life...and my own issues going on... I didn't like to commit to things. As I didn't want to let people down. So, I offered money.
But this time. This "Kenya thing", was different.
God was saying he didn't want my money. He wanted ME to go and love on these people. That I had met, connected with, prayed over. He wanted ME to wash their feet, pour into them, encourage them, listen to them, hold the babies, talk to the kids, and the moms. (ME?!! Yes, that's what I said.)
Like the excerpt/summary from the email, Just "being" there for those that need me. Speaking hope, warm meals, hugging and loving on people.
Yeah, I can do this. I can love on kids all. day. long!
Wait, what? ME?!! You are serious God, aren't you?
Yes, you probably guessed. HE spoke again. Kids? Nope.
He gave me the image of me and my backpack...and loving on moms, grandmas, women in general. And he said "Trust me, you don't have to know the entire plan. I have you."
But God.... what about my family? How can I afford this? and then... what am I supposed to do once I get there?
And, seriously, this verse popped up on my phone...
Go be great. Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid. Do not be discouraged... for the Lord will be with you... wherever you go.
Covid, Swahili, and Matthew West...
And with Covid, after I gave up questioning the plan, that plan actually became more and more clear. I started taking Swahili lessons ..they are so fun! And.... I discovered that my heart is so much bigger than my pocket book.
See here in the US...we have had food, shelter, some income, etc. In Kenya, they shut down and for a population that works today to eat tomorrow, they were struggling almost instantly. So, yes, we sent money, we kept up with our sponsorships, We ordered food-rice bags, etc to be delivered, we sent supplies that we thought would be helpful, we paid for books for kids to read at home and more supplies that were necessities.
And...we quickly discovered that the need was so much greater than the money in our bank account. All we could do was pray.
And just like that song by Matthew West... Do Something
I felt myself asking God quite loudly "Why don't you do something?" and his response.. "I did, I created you."
And...Earrings and more!
Fast forward and there it was... A plan, right in front of us. You see, I like to wear my stud earrings in my first ear piercings. And my daughter, Caiti, wears all kinds of fun, dangly, adorable earrings. I was complaining to her about how much work it is to take out my stud earrings (they have a screw on back) to put the fun earrings in. And she looked me and said "Mom, put them in your second piercing. They don't have to be in the first one." huh? It was an ah-huh moment. I know it sounds silly. BUT....it worked and I fell in love with long dangly, adorable earrings. And to save money, Caiti said she can make them. And from there.... our earring shop was born! Earrings, bracelets, dream catchers, some home-made, some globally-made.... and the plan?
And the profit, it willl go to support other women, lifting them up, loving on them, and pouring into them.
They need a new pan? Yes, we will get that.
We don’t want to just buy things. We want to POUR into these beautiful souls. We want to wash their feet and tell them that we see them. They are beautiful inside and out. Walking with them as they plant a garden, start a business, open a daycare for their neighbors to bring their kids over.
Creating relationships, loving on people, connecting, being like Jesus. And like the God designed message, just be.
All women are beautiful.
All women are Jaber Souls.
Jaber means beautiful in one of the African Tribal Languages.
Accessorizing women on the outside & using our profits to build up women on the inside.
Offering beautiful accesories, some locally made, some globally, supporting artisans in their dream of creating, and loving on other women with our profits.
And thus, Jaber Soul was born!