Today’s contributor is someone I number among my met-her-on-the-internet-and-she-showed-up-at-my-front-door-and-now-I-really-love-her friends. She’s in good company.
Krysten and I share a passion for loving the poor (particularly in Asia–she recently took an amazing trip to India) and for fighting human trafficking both overseas and right here in our own city. She’s fun, funny, and has a huge, huge heart. She and her husband, Todd, have been a GIGANTIC blessing to our family this year, and we’ll never be able to thank them enough.
Let’s meet her and find out what goodies she has for us!
Me: Tell me a little bit about yourself–who you are, what you do, what you’re passionate about.
Krysten: I’m a regular gal. Born and raised in Columbus. During the day I am an elementary school teacher. All the rest of the time I’m the wife of an awesome husband, mom to a nearly-grown son, a lover of books and words and making stuff. I’ve also been getting my world turned upside down by Jesus for about 10 years now. A lot of things can catch my attention, but the thing I’m most passionate about is freedom in every form: freedom from shame, insecurity, debt, and the hold that our stuff sometimes has on us. That word—freedom—seems to be connected to every ministry I am a part of. That’s probably why, over the past year or so, I’ve become a budding abolitionist.
It all started when I saw a movie with a complex network of sex trafficking at the center of its plot. I was so disturbed by this, wondering if it could really happen, that I couldn’t even sleep after the movie. I stayed up searching online to see what I could find out about human trafficking. I learned that those networks of people really do exist, scheming and plotting very detailed ways to target, coerce, and enslave men, women and children into situations where they become property. It made me sick to my stomach like nothing else ever had.
Not long afterwards, an organization called doma International offered a “Human Trafficking 101” presentation at my church. I learned so much more about how this was a real problem that existed not just in the movies, but in my own backyard. My eyes were now open to all this stuff and part of me just wanted to close them. I didn’t know why this was becoming so important to me, but I knew that somehow, I was supposed to keep my eyes wide open and join this fight. I knew God was placing me in a spot to become a small part of his solution for this.
Me: LOVE. And now a little about your jewelry (what/how/why?).
Krysten: Several months later, a friend was putting together an awareness event for the Gallery Hop in downtown Columbus, and she was looking for local creative-types who might be willing to sell handmade items and donate the proceeds to local anti-trafficking organizations. Jewelry-making has always been a hobby of mine, so I prayed that if I was supposed to somehow use that simple hobby to fight this evil, God would give me a clear vision of exactly what I should make for the event. A few days later, I was literally shampooing my hair and got a very clear picture in my head. An industrial-flair line of jewelry that would represent trafficking survivors: A little rough and beat-up, but lovely nonetheless. I got to work, hand-stamping the word FREE into each piece, and called the line of jewelry FancyFREE.
Me: Tell us about the ministry you support through your handiwork.
Krysten: I donate proceeds from the sale of my FancyFREE line of jewelry to the same nonprofit organization that first educated me about human trafficking, doma International. They are based here in Columbus and their mission is to restore survivors of sex trafficking and support vulnerable women and children around the world. There are truly several great organizations right here in Columbus that are doing wonderful things to fight trafficking. But what impressed me specifically about doma was their commitment to go through the entire restoration journey alongside these women, from beginning to end. They don’t just go get ladies off the street. They provide resources for them to rebuild a foundation and become the women they were made to be.
Me: (I heart the folks at doma.) What do you love most about what you do?
Krysten: When I first started all this, I had the thought for a moment that it would just be easier to forget making jewelry to raise money, and just write a check myself to donate some. But what I realized is that one piece of jewelry reaches much further than just creating a donation. Every time someone wears it, someone else can see it. It is unique enough to spark a conversation, and then there’s one more person who is aware of the problem. And who knows…that could be one more abolitionist that joins the fight. That’s what I love…knowing that something so small could reach so far. (Making unique stuff with my own hands is also pretty cool.)
Me: What words of inspiration do you have for someone who wants to make a difference in the world from right where she’s at?
Krysten: Just start where you are with what you have. Big changes never start with massive undertakings. They start with one person with a burning heart, doing whatever little thing they can to fight an injustice. Ask God how he’d like to use you to do his stuff. He’s already given each one of us gifts and talents specifically for doing the work he made us to do, the key is tapping into those things and actually doing something.
Me: Holy cow, girl. You’ve almost inspired me to go make some jewelry!! (just kidding, but wow)
Today’s give-away is one of Krysten’s one-of-a-kind FancyFREE pieces (your choice of earrings, bracelet, or necklace). Your choices: Necklace #1, Necklace #2, Necklace #3, Necklace #4, Earrings #5, Bracelet #6, Earrings #7. (The 6 that don’t get won will be available for purchase later this week. $15 for the necklaces, $10 for earrings/bracelet.)
*And sweet friends, a note on the Rafflecopter. You have to actually go DO what it says (tweet, share on Facebook, leave a comment, whatever) and then come back and claim your points. Clicking the points doesn’t mean you did the task. That’s cheating–I know, I know, you didn’t mean to, but a lot of you cheated yesterday. I still love you.
p.s. Yesterday’s Noonday Collection give-away will stay open one more day.