When my husband, Mark, and I traveled to South Africa in October of 2006 we hired two new ladies to work for Beaded Hope. Nelly and Betty came to visit us on one of our first days in South Africa to present their work and see if we would be interested in hiring them. We reviewed their work (it was beautiful) and placed an order with them. At the end of the week they came back and presented their completed order.
As we always do, we paid Nelly and Betty on the spot for their work. But then, much to our surprise, they both jumped out of their seats, shouted, danced and sang. Words fail me every time I try to describe this scene; the best I can do is to say that they were nothing short of ecstatic.
When they settled down enough to speak (in English) they turned to us and said, “Now we will have bread on our table.”
Mark and I were stunned at their response to simply having bread on their table but also thrilled that we could help them.
Later that evening, we shared this experience with a native South African who asked “You know what that means, don’t you?”
Yeah, bread on the table, that’s a good thing, right?
“No,” he said. “It means that they will invite their family and their friends and they will ALL have bread on their table tonight.”
You see, when South Africans have been blessed, they naturally share that blessing with others. The Beaded Hope artists naturally share their success with those around them.
Today, when people ask me how many people Beaded Hope affects, it’s hard to give a number.
The easy answer; we employ four dedicated artists and sub-contract out special orders to around six more artists.
But this answer is inadequate. For each day’s worth of food that we provide, through employment, there are many family members, friends, orphans, shut-ins, who also get to share their bread.
What I once thought was a very linear relationship,
is actually exponentially more impactful than I can measure.