Yall, I can’t believe it’s been 6 months since I got on a plane and traveled half a world away to my beloved Rwanda, on a dream of a trip with Noonday Collection + International Justice Mission. Just this very week last year, I was surprised with the news that I would get to join these incredible women/bloggers/writers/artists on this trip and the thought of that makes me want to start bawling in front of 130 people again. no, not really. I still feel like I haven’t fully processed the hugeness of the #styleforjustice trip. It was huge on so many levels – going back to Rwanda after being there years ago with Jessica as they met their son Jack + being in the room as the dream of this sewing co-op was started. Being back with the two women who fearlessly and courageously spoke their dreams out loud and then got to watch those dreams COME TRUE. [speak your dreams out loud people!]
While in Rwanda, I feel more in love with my Noonday family knowing that these are in fact “my people”. I was empowered by our artisans, encouraged by my fellow ambassadors, and rejuvenated to go home and continue to tell their stories [while styling my friends] and changing the world. I fell in love with my sweet friend Grace all over again, as I heard once again the story of empowerment and courage she is living in Kigali. Taking care of her family, providing for them, and despite all odds living a life of hope!
The thing that maybe surprised me the most, was what I learned about true FREEDOM.
Every morning when we got to the co-op, sweet Mary Sunshine would welcome us with the words “be free”. Every single morning she would say this in her beautiful accent and perfect english. All these months later that phrase has stuck with me, the opportunity and choice we have everyday to chose freedom. The freedom to be me, the freedom to own my gifts and my challenges, freedom to be the mom and wife I was meant to be, freedom to run with my dreams with wild abandon. It’s for freedom that Christ set us free.
The sad truth is, there are millions around the globe who do not have the choice to be free on a daily basis. That’s why the work that IJM does to rescue thousands, protect millions, and prove that justice for the poor is possible is SO IMPORTANT. It’s #humantrafficking awareness month and it’s my hope that we would chose to not look away. Read more about how you can get involved, and become a freedom partner with IJM here. You will fall in love with them and the work they are doing to eradicate the everyday violence that is relentlessly threatening the poor.
I’m so proud of this #styleforjsutice line. I’m so proud to have been part of the creative process, but mostly I’m proud of these women. I’m proud of the opportunity they have through Noonday, I’m proud of the opportunity for freedom, I’m proud of them. Their hands were on every single vibrant tote and fierce clutch that will leave our home office in Austin, Texas and travel across the country to your home. So when you grab that tote on the way out the door to the store, or you pack that clutch up with lipstick for a fun night out – think about these women. Think about the opportunity you have then given THEM through simply adding another beautiful item to your bag collection. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.