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The seed for the idea to begin Sharla Jewelry was planted, in my heart, while standing in the yard of a rural home in Swaziland, Africa. Our small group stood with a young mother, offering her a garbage bag full of clothes and listening for a moment, to the story of her life. I’ll never forget her words as she finished talking to us. She looked around our small group and said, “I have hope because you came today.”

On the 3 trips to Swaziland that followed, it was something I heard again and again from people living in conditions that most of us can never imagine, like cardboard houses on a garbage dump. It was astounding to me, people found hope because strangers, with really not much to offer, stepped into their lives and for a moment became a part of their story.

Maybe sometimes what is needed to survive the most difficult situations is simply to move from one moment of hope to the next. Maybe, for each of us, what there is to do in life is watch for those moments, those opportunities, to step into another person’s story, and to be that breath of hope for them, to show them that they really do matter, that they're not alone on this journey called life. After my 4th trip, I knew one thing for sure, I had to find a way to keep going to Africa. Sharla Jewelry was started so our family and I could go.

I’ve been 9 times now, but as my business grows, my dream grows too. 10% of profits go to Heart For Africa, part of it helps support a beautiful little girl that Scott and I were blessed to be there when she was picked up from the hospital, almost a year old, but weighing only 10 pounds. And, we go… to Swaziland and to Honduras… because for a moment, on a garbage dump, at a broken down home, in a children’s home, we get the immeasurable privilege of stepping into someone's story and reminding them that they matter, that their story matters.