Selling Life Beads at a local event this weekend made me fall in love with the incredible heart and purpose behind the jewelry all over again. I was reminded of the sweetness of relationships developed among the artists this summer and the hours every day I got to observe the women creating beaded jewelry.
I know there are many who have just begun partnering with me in this journey, so let me give you a little peek into this aspect of the ministry you are supporting…
Life Beads employs 42 women from the community of Kinene, a village in Northern Uganda, devastated by the cruelties of war and Joseph Kony’s army only a few years ago. The program gives these ladies the opportunity to fight the cycle of poverty and restore their community by earning a sustainable income through jewelry production. The ministry also has a vision to equip these women with life and business skills that will eventually take them beyond the ministry, to their villages and further.
Check out the lovely jewelry handmade by these women! They spend hours rolling strips of paper and stringing them into unique beaded accessories.
But Life Beads does more than just develop a tangible product to sell. It’s also connects the workers at a deeper level and establishes community among families who may not have known their neighbors beforehand. As I shared this summer, it was a testimony of God’s faithfulness to see these ladies stretched out on the floor rolling beads while swapping news, singing, sharing stories and giggling…oh! the laughter is so priceless!
Nothing will ever be able to erase the nightmares of war and unspeakable pain the Acholi people have endured in their lifetime. However, while the events of the past are a very real part of all of these families’ stories, it’s not the end. I have personally witnessed how God can make beauty from ashes. I see a people emerging from the flames stronger and braver than ever before.
Through the Life Beads program the Word of Christ is being proclaimed and is transforming hearts. And through the creation of jewelry, God is bringing hope and stability to previously struggling households. When I look into those bright eyes I know the stories hidden behind the smile, but I also see the healing love of Christ that renews lives with abundant joy.
What an honor to photograph and work alongside these incredible women this summer! They are more than just jewelry makers to me…they are now dear friends. I can’t wait to see them again!
If you have any interest in purchasing jewelry over the next few months, let me know! I have the amazing privilege of selling Life Beads to help fund my return to Uganda in 2016! We’d love to share this beautiful symbol of hope with you!