Thursday, October 9, 2014

How it all Began

As a senior in college (go Mountaineers!) working two jobs, doing more photography on the side than ever before for various magazines, and trying to graduate with honors, my desire to return to the country that had captured my heart two years before was dampened only by one question: how in the world am I going to get there?

The country of Haiti had been tugging at my heartstrings for years before I finally took the plunge in 2012, scared to death but so excited. When I went on that first trip, I had no idea that the people would steal my heart and bless me far more than I could ever bless them.

My junior and senior years of college were spent daydreaming about their smiles, the warm air on my skin, and the forever impressed image of hands raised high in pure surrender and worship of our King, Jesus Christ. It's unlike anything else.

My good friend, Lee, who is a wonderful, Godly wife and mother to two sweet boys, gave me a gift. That's how this whole little business of mine got started. She gave me two bracelets, and I loved them, wore them all the time, but never thought a thing about them as far as making them myself goes.

I worked at a daycare in college where I was surrounded by the most amazing women... each of them was like a mother away from home to me in their own unique and loving way. One chilly day, in February 2014, my boss, Mrs. Peggy, came in to our classroom wearing a beautiful, hand-knitted scarf. I said, "Mrs. Peggy! I love your scarf!" and she proceeded to tell me that she'd bought it from another student who was raising money for a mission trip. My eyes must have become the size of golf balls because I had never thought of selling anything to raise money at school to raise money to go back to Haiti. My church in Charlotte, N.C. has a pine needle fundraiser every year and other than that and the mission letters I sent out, I  didn't have any other way to raise the money for the trip I so desperately wanted to go on. I said, "My church is selling pine needles for our mission trip to Haiti... want to buy some of those?" to which she laughed and replied, "Girlfriend! I can't wear pine needles!"

I laughed, but the more I kept looking down at my wrist, the more I realized I had an opportunity in front of me the that entire time! The bracelets! I am so crafty, always making something (a trait I am proud to say I got honest from my Momma), so why did it never occur to me that I was surrounded by people who would love them just as much as I loved the ones Lee gave me?

As soon as I left work that day, I was on a mission. I headed straight to Michaels craft store, with maybe $50 in my poor, little pitiful college student bank account. I bought $47 worth of beads, wire, and tools.

I had literally no idea what I was doing and although I'm glad I didn't take pictures of the first bracelets I made (they were seriously so ugly), I wish someone knew how far they have come. Wow.

I stayed up all night long, teaching myself how to make these bracelets. I made about 40, took them to work the next day and sold every single one, and with the help and encouragement of the wonderful ladies there, had orders for over 100 more. Everyone wanted one for their sister, their mother, their Bible Study group, their sorority, their friend... WOW.

That's Jesus.

Doesn't He work in the most mysterious ways? He's so good, so faithful.

Since then, I raised enough money to return to Jacmel, Haiti in August 2014 with my fiancé, who is now just as in love with the Haitian people as I am. What a gift.

Where will the Lord take us? What will He do with this little business? I really don't know. But I do know that every time I look down at my wrist, I'm reminded of one thing: God doesn't care if you're able, He just cares if you're willing to make yourself available. Are you?

Let love abound.
Renmen Abonde

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