Four days ago, I received the following email from my photography website’s contact form:
Hi..you said on your website page you are always up for an adventure so don’t be afraid to ask. Soo…Wanna go to Africa and capture the life of the women? Bet you weren’t expecting that.😛 my name is Jennifer [last named omitted] and I live in Bullard. I have a ministry there and will be returning this summer. I have been praying for someone to come along and capture video and photos of the women and their daily life. I came across your site and the word “generation” leaped off the page at me. Never hurts to ask, right? 😉
Wow. I was stunned. I responded quickly asking for more info about their ministry, and then looked her up on Facebook to see what I could find out about their ministry online. I saw we had a mutual friend, my Sseko Sister in Tyler, Monique. That made sense! Monique must have given her my name. So I quickly messaged her and asked…but no, she hadn’t! However, Jennifer is planning on joining us next weekend in Dallas for our Sseko Sister Texas weekend (I just made that title up =D) to see if their ministry can partner with Sseko in Uganda.
Sure enough, Jennifer tells me they are specifically planning on going to Uganda. She had no idea I was with Sseko, but our workshop in Kampala is one of the places in the 7-10 day trip where we will hopefully be visiting.
I am just floored y’all! And I would love to share a long back story to show you just how awesome God is in this.
When I was 12 years old, I became a Christian. My plan was to become a teacher and do mission work overseas. God had a different plan. During college, I met my future husband. I end up transferring universities to attend JBU. They happened to have a Children and Family Ministry degree, which we didn’t have at DBU and it was just an hour away from Crockett and his family. That summer, I was already committed to go on a mission trip to Macau, China. This experience was unforgettable, and I still felt a strong tug to see the world, experience different cultures, and share the gospel with people far away. But God was also calling me to my future husband. I knew this was the man I was supposed to marry, so I still decided to transfer.
I became extremely passionate about family ministry while there and could see myself becoming a children’s minster, writer, or going into the field of social work or counseling. We got married the semester before I graduate. My jobs after college are not what I had dreamed of, but God was planting seeds along the way. I apply for ministry positions, but nothing turns up. I decide to be a nanny for a bit after we move to Louisville for my husband to get his master’s (this had always been our plan). I also begin the application process to get a master’s in counseling, when surprise! I’m pregnant! So that gets put on hold. I fall in love with our baby and with mothering. We want another! So we get pregnant with number 2 when number 1 is 9 months old. The family I have nannied for the past two years is moving, we’re having another baby, so I decide to begin staying at home full-time while Crockett transitions from part-time work + full-time school to full-time work, part-time school. Perfect opportunity to develop my photography hobby and turn it into a business! So in 2012, Kara Delaine Photography is born, a path I never planned to take. We decide to try for a third baby and have our 2nd boy in April 2015.
Last year, we moved to Tyler, TX. Crockett graduated with his master’s in 2014, and we still had not been able to find a pastoral position for him after countless applications and rejections. We missed family and felt we were needed. Twelve hours of driving was just too far! So we moved, hoping Crockett would be a good fit for a church here that fit us well. But he wasn’t what they were wanting. Thankfully, his company decided to keep him on, but we still had holes in our budget. He applied for many jobs, but nothing came. My photography was not bringing in any business, though I had a steady flow of clients in Louisville. We had money saved, so we were fine, but definitely had fear for the future. At the same time, my joint pain continued to worsen. We weren’t sure how bad it was going to get or if I would ever have relief. During this time, a family member needed weekly care for their one year old. It ended up being the perfect amount we needed to meet our budget! Whew. But that was just basic needs, not new clothes or shoes the kids would eventually need or surprise vehicle/house issues…so I began thinking about other avenues I could pursue if photography never took off here.
I looked at becoming a proofreader. I looked at direct sales companies. I had a dream way back in my heart to become a children’s book author, specifically wanting to write books for little ones about God’s character. So I did that and sent it off to a publishing company I love, with a little hope something could happen (it didn’t, and I have yet to decide on another publishing company to send it to, so that is currently on hold).
Then I met my friend Monique, who was also new to Tyler. I heard her talk a little about Sseko. I was intrigued, and when she invited me to learn more about their company and products, I came. My heart was captured from that moment on. This was so much bigger than earning a little extra income for our family. This was a company that was making a real difference in the lives of so many women in Uganda. This was a company devoted to changing the world. And of course, I loved the products! So went through the application process and became a Fellow!
It’s been difficult for me so far. I felt like once someone hears our story and sees the impact Sseko is having + plus how gorgeous these handcrafted products are, they would want to share the story and be a part. But not so much. I’ve had extremely supportive family, and if it wasn’t for their support, I may have given up those first 3 months! They invested money they didn’t really have because they believe in these women and what Sseko is doing.
We also have an incredibly encouraging team that challenges us to persevere and dream big. It was just a couple days after I made my goals for the year that I received this email from Jennifer.
Do you see how all of my passions and the path God chose to pave for me has resulted in something better than I could have imagined? And perhaps this is just the beginning, and there are even bigger things in store.
I could write fundraising letters. I could start a Go Fund Me. But I honestly do not want to that. I want people to know who Sseko is, what they are about, and the impact they are making. I want to earn the money for the trip through my businesses.
So…..If you want to support me in this trip, read the Sseko story! Read about our women! Discover the intricate beauty of our products. Get excited that one young woman cared so much about the women Uganda that she did something about it and created something truly extraordinary. Ask me what a Trunk Show is and how you can not only help me go to Africa, but help a young woman named Judy get a bonus scholarship to ensure she is well on her way to a successful college career.
I have about $3000 to raise for the trip this summer (exact amount TBD) + the cost of immunizations and the amount we will need to meet our budget each month (did I mention the little boy I’ve been caring for is moving to Florida in a couple of weeks??!). But I believe God orchestrated this. I believe He will provide, and I feel it is essential for me to continue to work and earn and save.
My goal is to sale $3500 of Sseko in the month February, March, April, and May, which would allow me to earn the commission I need to cover this trip and our budget. Can you help me reach this goal by hosting a trunk show? By sharing our story? And if you at all interested in becoming a Fellow yourself, let me know! That actually adds a bonus to my monthly commission, which would help me reach my goal even faster! We are kicking off a brand-new season next week with gorgeous new (limited quantity) products, so there are many reasons to host a show in February!
If you live in the area, you can also book a photo session with me. As long as our budget is met, the rest will go into savings for the trip! I pray it will be a busy four months. I pray you all share so much that I have multiple trunk shows a week! I pray that I can trust fully in God’s ability to do things I can barely dream of.
Can you believe I could meet these women?!