How many of us say, “I want to answer God’s call and do His work, but I never hear Him?” If you are one of these people, please come along on this journey with Jennifer Davis and learn how she heard God’s voice and followed Him.
Jennifer is like many of the wonderful women living in Cincinnati. She is a hardworking wife and mother, a former corporate project manager, and presently a jewelry designer. Before this part of her busy life began, Jennifer heard God’s voice in a whisper asking her to go to Africa. Trying to heed this message, she began a personal fund saving for an African trip with no apparent reason why. Although nothing happened for a very long time, the yearning to go to Africa never left her.
Fifteen years later, while attending her church in Cincinnati, Jennifer saw a request in their newsletter asking for volunteers to go to Mamelodi, South Africa. This was a community with over 30% of their population suffering from HIV/AIDS. Jennifer’s church had developed a partnership with a local church in Mamelodi, and was sponsoring a mission trip to help this village in whatever way possible.
Jennifer again heard God calling her to Africa and this time it had a purpose, so she immediately signed up. In July 2005, Jennifer accompanied the church’s volunteer team to South Africa. When she arrived in Mamelodi, she felt an incredible bond with the women who had been impacted not only by HIV and AIDS, but also from hunger and poverty.
When Jennifer saw the intricate artisan beaded jewelry and ornaments made by the local women, she realized they were true artists. These women had been passing down this age-old beadworking tradition from one generation to the next.
It was then that Jennifer was graced with a God “ah ha” moment. She realized that her own jewelry design business could provide her the means to help these African women in a very significant way. Upon returning home, Jennifer wasted no time. She crystallized the vision and formed the non-profit organization now known as Beaded Hope.
After much growth, Beaded Hope now hires the women in South Africa to create beadwork that is marketed for them in the United States. This process has not only created a new sales channel, it has also been used as a forum to teach these women how to run their own business. Through Beaded Hope, basic business skills such as: being on time, delivering what was promised, paying attention to details, the importance of quality control, and so much more has been accomplished.
Beaded Hope’s goal from the onset was to teach the women business skills so they could use them in their own start-up business and then model these skills for others in their community. Beaded Hope never believed it was their job to change the people, circumstances or community of South Africa, but rather to provide the tools and empower the women so that they could become the leaders. They have begun to be the change-makers in their own neighborhoods.
In addition, Beaded Hope has provided the African women the supplies needed to make their unique and beautiful jewelry and artworks. Their finished products are then sent to Beaded Hope and sold worldwide. The craftsmanship of these products is outstanding, and the sale of their artwork is feeding and educating many families in South Africa.
Check out their website www.beadedhope.org and the video of an interview with Jennifer to learn more. If you would like to help, Jennifer and her son are going to visit Mamelodi in April. They would appreciate any contribution you would like to make to Beaded Hope for this effort.
As this article began, “Is God speaking to you?” The answer is yes. God is inviting each of us to listen for His call. The key is we must be silent to hear God’s voice, and then be open to His direction and timing. As Jennifer did not know for 15 years what God was asking of her, she remained patient and steadfast. Now Jennifer is helping to change the world, one bead at a time!