Kate Motaung grew up on the shores of Lake Michigan before spending ten years in Cape Town, South Africa. She is married to a South African and together they have three children. Kate is the author of the e-book, Letters to Grief, hosts the Five Minute Friday blog link-up, and has contributed to several other online publications. She blogs at Heading Home and can be found on Twitter @k8motaung.
The Five Minute Friday Retreat is just over a week away!
Today, it’s my pleasure to welcome Amy Breitmann, Vice President of Marketing for our retreat sponsor, Vi Bella Jewelry!
Amy recently traveled to Haiti with Vi Bella, and has some moving words and pictures to share with us from her experience — AND she’s offering the Vi Bella Reagan necklace to one giveaway winner!
I have always been a storyteller.
At ten years old, I coerced my brothers and cousins to dress in costumes, and I directed mini plays with this small cast of characters. About that same time, I began scribbling thoughts and poems in my diary.
My mother gave me an appreciation for the history of our family recipes that have been passed down for generations. I loved to lean close and hear the story of how my grandmother made dinner at noon for the farmhands.
Antiques and vintage linens were always present in my home and I saw their weathered parts as pieces of a beautiful tapestry.
Even scratches, scars, rips and tears told a story worth pondering. They whispered bits of history.
In eyes of those I meet, in the intricate patterns of the summer leaves, in the hands of women that I work alongside.
I returned from my first trip to Haiti more than a month ago.
My main role was as a storyteller, traveling as the VP of Marketing for Vi Bella Jewelry.
We visited Vi Bella’s two centers located there, taking supplies and training our artisans on some new skills for jewelry pieces that will launch this fall.
We also celebrated with the artisans and their families that employment has been consistent for them for four years. Their children have been fed and their living conditions have vastly improved.
All because of employment making jewelry.
All because someone believed in their story.
I still haven’t processed all the stories. There are so very many.
Some stories will live forever in my heart, pressing quietly against my longing for a comfortable life.
Some stories have fueled me with an even greater passion for my part in moving Vi Bella Jewelry forward to employ more artisans in Haiti, Mexico, and right here in the United States.
The trip to Haiti confirmed in me why I was called to be part of this ministry.
Why God wove my life in such a way that I would meet Julie Hulstein, Vi Bella’s Founder.
If you are not familiar with Vi Bella Jewelry, this company exists to employ artisans who live in extreme poverty.
The business began after Julie Hulstein was part of a mission trip to Haiti after the devastating earthquake of 2010. When her story intersected with those in this poverty-stricken country, her life was forever changed. As was theirs.
Vi Bella means “beautiful life” and that’s just what Julie and the entire staff at Vi Bella has set out to do: create beautiful lives and communities by providing jobs and education. We now employ 33 artisans in four Vi Bella-owned centers.
I’ve come to understand something as a storyteller:
Their story becomes part of your life’s tapestry, and your reaction to their story becomes part of your legacy.
I want to be a voice of hope and healing in the stories of brokenness.
I’d love for you to join us in telling beautiful stories.
I’m certain that once you meet the beautiful artisans and see their creations, you will be changed and inspired.
You will be part of their story of redemption.
P.S. For those of you that will be attending the first FMF Retreat in Nashville ~ I will see you soon and can’t wait to share more stories with you!
Amy is a writer, dreamer, and visionary. She is the Vice President of Marketing for Vi Bella Jewelry, telling stories of hope and redemption through this jobs creation ministry.
Her name means “Beloved” and she’s on a quest to believe it. Her boots carry Midwest soil, but now she kicks it up in the south where she weaves marriage, ministry and motherhood together. As a cancer survivor, she was the Co-Founder of The Lydia Project, an international ministry for women facing cancer. She also is a lost-sock finder, a keeper of secrets for the best cheesecake recipe, and gets grace in the ordinary. The words that tumble out on her blog Beloved in Blue Jeans are balm that the Spirit speaks to quiet her soul.
Want to be part of the Vi Bella story? One way you can get involved is by hosting a gathering in your home, church, or workplace. Click the image below for more information!
Another way to support this work is by shopping Vi Bella!
Check out their gorgeous range of jewelry by clicking the graphic below:
Plus! Click here for a chance to win this beautiful Reagan necklace:
Giveaway ends at midnight on Sunday, August 2nd. Only available for entrants residing in the U.S.