Don’t ever put it past God! Tonight I witnessed the unbelievable. He is working on a canvas beyond my wildest imagine. Tonight the Lord paid for a flight. Tonight He provided the way to go raise money for widows and orphans in New York City.
I’m shocked to even say that just two weeks ago at a Chi O Christmas party was where this journey began. My sweet momma was talking with another fellow LRCA mom, Melody Taylor. Melody shared a prayer request with my mom. Go Near Ministry, a non-profit organization she and her husband started to serve widows and orphans, greatest need was for someone to do marketing and Public Relations for them. My mom jumped to tell her I’m studying Public Relations at Baylor and could possibly help.
The next conversation radically impacted the trajectory of my Christmas break and beyond. I felt the presence of Jesus’ excitement as Melody and I collaborated over this opportunity. My heart was captivated as Melody shared the ministry of caring for widows and orphans in Nairobi, Kenya. A tad overwhelmed at first, I left my hands open to see what God had in store.
Filled with unexplainable joy and enthusiasm that could only come from the Lord, I walked away pumped for the next phase. Ooh I got that “eeeek!” feeling in my stomach I was so excited!
It was this beautiful experience I had been begging God for- an answer to prayer. Crying out saying: “Lord please show me how to combine these passions? Show me where you want me to walk!” The idea of using writing, PR, and creativity created a thrilling passion that I’ve never experienced before!
Following Christmas, Melody Taylor and I met at her sweet home as I listened to her describe her beautiful passion for the people of Africa and the compassionate ones involved with Go Near Ministry. She and her husband Lewis established Go Near Ministry as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in 2005 to respond to God’s call to care for widows and orphans in their distress (James 1:27). Their passion led to transporting the family of six across the globe to Niarobi, Kenya to serve in 2007. Even after returning to the states, Melody continues to vibrantly engage people in participating in sharing the Gospel to widows and orphans in Africa. Today the ministry has expanded to a supportive role of raising funds for, and bringing volunteers to help with, the expansion of schools, churches, feeding programs and vocational training programs for men and women in the slums and prisons.
After being educated on the ministry I began rapidly working on a new website to clearly communicate their vision staying up till (mom don’t read this part) 3 a.m. a couple nights in a row to wake up for work at 8 a.m, but I just couldn’t stop. I was hooked- addicted to helping in any way I could.
Allowing my creativity to run wild, I presented the design to Melody and the Go Near Ministries board of directors, who loved it. With their approval, Melody sent me onto my next opportunity to meet with VP of James127 Foundation, Hannah King.
As I walked into the new Starbucks on Chenal Parkway, I met the joyful and passionate Hannah King, who began to explain James127 Foundation to me. James127 Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that brings hope to widows and orphans by providing free sewing and jewelry training to vulnerable women in Kenya. Instantly we were spring boarding ideas off each other-allowing dreams to flourish. Then she offered me the opportunity to be the first-ever James127 Foundation intern!
After hearing about James127 Foundation, I learned more about what Anna Taylor is currently doing. Wow! The Lord has created such a passion and infused Anna Taylor with amazing talents! Anna (Melody Taylor’s daughter) and her siblings left Little Rock Christian Academy when I was in middle school there to serve widows and orphans as a family in Niarobi, Kenya. I remember hearing their story, but did not really know the Taylor family. Wow I was missing out!
Immersed in the African culture, Anna’s heart for the Kenyan people trapped in poverty expanded. Anna returned to Arkansas to attend the University of Arkansas (WPS!.. if you’re from Arkansas you’ll understand) to study apparel design, but on a trip back to Kenya, the Lord presented an idea for Anna to revive a sewing school project that had failed due to lack of market. Anna seized the opportunity to combine her passions for design and empowering the women. With a goal in mind she returned back to Arkansas to finish her degree.
Anna interned under two other African clothing lines before opening her own, Judith & James, a high-end fashion line produced for a sophisticated audience dedicated to alleviating poverty and infusing hope in third world communities.
The name of the company comes from Anna’s first seamstress and graduate of the sewing program, Judith.
“When I met Judith she was dirty and her clothes were torn. She would not lift her eyes off the ground to even look at me,” Taylor said. “She had no hope, no job, no money.”
Now infused with purpose, Judith’s eyes radiate confidence as the new supervisor of the expanding Judith & James team. Seeing the difference employment made in Judith’s life is the pulse behind Anna’s work.
In September 2013, Anna debuted the Judith & James Spring/Summer 2014 Collection in New York Fashion Week at the Helen Mills Event Space and is gearing up for her second appearance in February to showcase her 2014 fall collection.
That’s when Melody Taylor told me I needed to go to NY Fashion Week to promote James127 Foundation. I was floored, excited, but had no idea financially how that would happen. If you’ve read my previous blog posts you know Mary Catherine (my sister) and I are both at Baylor on scholarship and with the assistance of extended family members. Looking at the flight, hotel, etc… it just didn’t seem impossible. And so I began to pray:
“Lord what an opportunity. I just want to serve. I just want to be used to help give these women employment to feed their families.”
Tonight, the Lord paid for my flight.
Tonight, the Lord gave me a free place to stay in New York!
Tonight, the Lord provided the way for me to go!
Shocked, my mom and I both just froze in awe of the grace extended to us by one of Melody’s friends who donated their frequent flier miles and another friend of Melody’s who is allowing me to stay with them at the hotel.
I am speechless!
“LOOK HOW BIG I AM! LOOK AND SEE HOW POWERFUL I AM LB! LOOK AT HOW I AM IN CONTROL AND LOVE YOU!” I hear God shouting!
I am overwhelmed, grateful, thankful, ecstatic, and blown away by the power of the Lord! I’ve watched Him answer prayers like this and then not answer others. But I trust and rest knowing He knows best. He knows and can see the full picture. He has the PERFECT timing, the PERFECT plan, and it’s all for His glory! I believe He cares about those widows and orphans. He cares and wants to see them cared for, empowered, and more than that to know Him as their personal Lord and Savior! Will you please join me in supporting the mission the Lord is carrying out through James127?
To learn more about Judith & James, Anna Taylor, James127 Foundation, and more check out the links below to KATV-7 3 part series on “The Spirit of Arkansas- Africa”