I’m so excited to have our first guest blog post! And one by someone I SO admire!
We’ve been following each other’s accounts on instagram for a while, have participated in the same Boerne Handmade Market, even tried to pull off a Small Business Saturday event together. But this is the first time we’ve really worked closely. When I made the call for models, Sarah gladly volunteered. She chose to model one of our laundry detergents. And she let me in on her idea for her clothes and posing. Who knew she’d have her very own “Laundry Slayer” t-shirt design?! So, we worked through a photo shoot…. and I invited her to pour her heart out about her passion and her business. Sit back and see the incredible impact she’s having on our world…
“I read a blog that changed my life.
I know that sounds dramatic, but it’s true.
I didn’t know that over 1 billion people around the world do not have the Bible in their heart language.
I didn’t know that so many people without the Bible live in oral cultures.
I didn’t know that women in these cultures are often especially mistreated.
When I read Ann Voskamp’s blog post about The Esther Initiative, my eyes were opened to the urgent need for God’s word in the lives of so many women around the world. One group of women was especially desperate for this hope. These ladies from South Asia traveled far and gave up much to learn how to share scripture in their heart languages. These “Esther ladies” went from being broken and outcast to having the confidence to share hope with large groups in their communities.
Bible translation has been going on for a long time, but Seed Company was trying something different: an oral Bible story-telling project totally focused on women.
I was fascinated.
As I read through the struggles so many of these storytellers faced, God began to remind me of all the times that His word gave me comfort, hope, and peace.
You see, I went through an especially dark time when I had to cling to the promises I knew were true because I couldn’t even feel any hope on my own. My infant son was very sick, and my body rebelled against me with a vicious autoimmune disorder. I spent weeks in bed in severe pain. I was so sick that I couldn’t even read, so a friend suggested that I use the YouVersion app and listen to the Bible. I did, and God did not disappoint me. He met me right there in my mess, and He brought me out of my despair.
After reading Ann’s blog post, that scene from my past was vividly clear in my mind. I could not imagine how I would have survived without having access to God’s word in the language that speaks to my heart.
I thought, If they don’t have God’s word in their heart language, how will they know that He is the God of all hope? How will they know that He is the God who sees them? How will they know that He is close to the brokenhearted?
These ladies in South Asia were suffering, abused, and neglected – and I knew that I wanted to help them have the hope, comfort, and peace that God’s word provided me in my dark times.
I wasn’t sure how I was going to help though. I mean, I was “just a mom.” Well, God took care of that. He gently nudged me to fulfill my dream of selling encouraging t-shirts. You see, I had created a superhero to help me tackle my laundry: the Laundry Slayer. Washing clothes is my least favorite chore, and while I am very thankful to have restored health, I struggled with the day-to-day realities of caring for my family. I wanted to encourage other ladies who might also struggle with laundry or other unseen service. That’s why the theme verse for Heart Work Tees is Colossians 3:23 – “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as if working for the Lord, not for human masters.”
God made all the pieces of launching a new business fall into place, and I knew that I wanted to donate all of the profits to these incredible ladies in South Asia.
In the two years since I learned about this oral Bible storytelling project known as The Esther Cluster, I have had the privilege of sitting down with one of the project’s founders. She shared hours of stories about whole communities being transformed through these once-broken, now confident storytellers.
I remember one story of a woman who was learning to share the story of Hannah. This storyteller had undergone many struggles and was unable to have children. She was heartbroken. After learning this story, she told the workshop leader that she was going to pray in faith for a baby. Guess what? She became pregnant and was overjoyed that God answered her prayers! She was sad because she had to take a break from the training program due to her miraculous pregnancy, but I don’t doubt that she went back to her community and shared God’s goodness with all who would listen.
These ladies are having an incredible impact on their country, and I am both humbled and honored to have had a small part in this ministry.
In fact, The Esther Cluster was so successful that Seed Company replicated it in Ethiopia with another group of mistreated, outcast ladies. Now these ladies are outrageously expanding the ministry, training hundreds of storytellers and sharing God’s word with thousands. What started as a translation project has turned into an evangelism and discipleship program – all because God’s word suddenly comes alive when it is in a language that speaks to the heart.
It is my privilege to partner with these ladies in SouthAsia and Ethiopia. Heart Work Tees has raised over $7,000 toward supporting women Bible translators, which is incredible to me. We can be a part of what God is doing around the world. Every single person who bought a t-shirt has played a part in this amazing ministry, and I can’t wait to see how God will use Heart Work Tees in the future.”
GUEST POST BY SARAH KEELING (A ladypreneur who lives on a ranch with her husband and six year old son near Boerne. Active in their local church and community. Total supporters of other small businesses. Proud to be using super soft blend shirts from Next Level Brand, a company with extra WRAP certifications, ensuring fair treatment of workers)
PHOTOS COURTESY OF HEARTWORK TEES AND SEED COMPANY
And one courtesy of me 😉 —————————->