Welcome to our blog. A place where we’ll talk about our seamstresses, introduce new products, talk about justice and fair trade, and share some highlights from Africa New Life’s work in Rwanda. Most importantly, we’ll share news of the impact you are making through your support of New Life Threads. We hope you’ll follow us and we welcome back. Together we are sewing hope into the heart of Africa!
Our friend and New Life Threads ambassador Betsie Everritt is working diligently and faithfully in Kigali with the seamstresses at the Umucyo Sewing Co-op. Here’s an update from Betsie about her life as a missionary and co-op director in Rwanda!
As of late…
A while back, I attended a Q&A-type meeting for ”long-termers”, people dedicated to living in the mission field indefinitely, and was given a piece of advice that has stuck with me during my time here:
“Find reasons to celebrate. There are so many things about living here that are difficult, and you’ll be surprised at how often you feel like you just need a “win”. So, even if it’s seemingly insignificant or small, just do it. At every opportunity, rejoice over the “small” things, because they’re not small. They matter, and they’ll get you through the hard things.”
As a naturally pessimistic person, getting into this habit has been hard for me. I tend to sweat the small stuff, not celebrate it. But over the past few weeks, I’ve really started to understand this concept of celebrating. The Lord has graciously given me moment after moment of seeing him at work in the hard things of this life. When I’ve been frustrated at constantly feeling like an outsider, he’s sent a stranger to give me a wave and a smile. When I’ve felt hopeless and stressed, he’s sent encouraging words from my co-worker, Paulin. When I’ve spent the morning crying over not knowing God’s plan, he’s sent his word to reassure me.
While at home in the States, I started a Bible study with some good friends, reading Discerning the Voice of God. I’ve continued reading this book since my return to Rwanda, and it has been one of the most helpful resources I’ve ever used in my walk with Christ. Here’s an excerpt:
“To look toward each day and every moment in it with the knowledge that God had invaded its space and was eager to communicate with me so that I could join Him in His efforts.” -Priscilla Shirer
So, I’ve decided to give ya’ll a list of things that I’d love for you to celebrate with me!
- I got my work VISA! It’s valid for the next 2 years, and it feels like I’ve won a golden ticket.
- Umucyo has a logo and an Instagram account! I’ve actually been able to start my marketing plans for them.
- I’m designing for my own personal line, Betsie Jane! I’m working with one of the seamstresses from last year through New Life Threads to try and see how it goes.
- I’ve been able to get new clients and buyers for Umucyo! We’re starting small, but it’s a step in the right direction.
I can’t thank you enough for your prayers concerning these things and many others. You’ve truly been an integral part of this journey and God’s work in it. THANKS! and praise God for his grace and favor.
- Betsie Everritt
Growing up in a family of seamstresses and tailors, Peter first started sewing at the young age of 5. He learned the basics through the years, and later went on to perfect his skills at tailoring school. Soon after, he began work as a professional tailor, selling clothes, bags, and the like. He came to work for Africa New Life in 2010, and is so grateful to have job security with a contract, insurance, and monthly salary. Because of this job, he’s able to provide for himself and his younger brother. Peter is also able to give a little money to his parents. Peter’s favorite thing about working for New Life Threads is his ability to be creative and making things people like. He loves designing and trying new things and the feeling of accomplishment he gets when his creations turn out well. In his spare time, Peter likes playing soccer and attending Christian concerts.
Betsie Everritt, our first on-the-ground-in-Rwanda-ambassador of New Life Threads, is having fun settling into her new life in Kigali! She moved to Rwanda last month with the intention of staying at least twelve months. While in the country, she’s teaching and helping to organize programs at sewing cooperatives – including the co-op at the Africa New Life Family Center where New Life Threads products are made!
Betsie is currently living with five roommates, a group of girls from the United States. Two are interns for a business consulting firm called Karisimbi Partners, one works for Young Life, and another is running a home for street boys in Kigali called Hope for Life. “I’m so thankful to just sort of fall into a group!” Betsie said of her new roommates. “I’ve spent my weekends and free time doing fun things like playing volleyball and having potluck dinners.”
Working with the New Life Threads seamstresses has been rewarding and occasionally challenging so far – many of them do not speak English and Betsie’s just learning to speak some words in Kinyarwanda. Betsie said she is thankful for Agnes and Peter, two of our favorite tailors in Kigali. “They’re both really talented and smart. I don’t think Agnes can speak English, but somehow, she knows what I need and want. Peter, as ya’ll know, is sharp as a tack, but so mild and sweet.” Betsie also gets to work with our Rwandan friend Gogo, who is not only an amazing translator and dynamic communicator, but a woman with a heart for the Lord.
Betsie said one of the more difficult lessons she is learning is how to be patient when attempting to complete a To Do list in a foreign country. She is now focusing on being reliant on God as he works through her – even when she feels like she didn’t accomplish exactly what she set out to do “on time”. Will you join us in praying for patience and confidence for Betsie as she continues to work with New Life Threads, form closer friendships with her new roommates and the seamstresses, and adjust to life in Rwanda? Thank you, and thanks to Betsie for all her help with New Life Threads!
We are thrilled to announce an answer to our prayers: Betsie Everritt is moving to Rwanda to help work with the New Life Threads team in Kigali! Betsie is a wonderful, vibrant, BOLD young woman from Louisiana who has a strong passion for Africa, women, sewing, and fashion design. We are beyond excited for her to join our team and bring her enthusiasm to the sewing center and to New Life Threads. We know she will do an amazing job sharing her love and skills with the Rwandan seamstresses. Join us in praying for Betsie as she prepares to move from the US to Rwanda!
Meet Betsie! (She’s the one on the right in this photo.) Stay tuned for more on her adventure soon!
New Life Threads helped to support a women’s conference in Kigali, Rwanda, this summer. Read this beautiful story written by Africa New Life’s Executive Director Alan Hotchkiss!
We are thrilled to report that the women’s conference you helped to fund recently was a remarkable success!
Over 2000 women attended the conference which took place over three days at Kigali Dream Center, home of Africa New Life Ministries in Rwanda. For many of these women attending this conference opened the door for them to visit the capital city of Kigali for the first time in their lives. Through your support, Africa New Life was able to provide transportation for them to travel from remote villages where several live in homes with dirt floors and no electricity.
Beaming as they entered the sanctuary, woman after woman raised their hands high to heaven, celebrating the goodness of God.
The conference, featuring powerful worship and speakers from Rwanda and England, focused on helping women overcome their fear through gaining a better understanding of who they are in Jesus Christ and how they can access his power through prayer.
In the days following the conference, Agnes, a mother of three from the rural community of Bugesera, began to think differently about how to deal with her struggles. Upon returning to her home, she realized that her supply of food was almost completely depleted. With no job prospects and three hungry mouths to feed, she remembered what she heard at the conference, laid down on her dirt floor and cried out to God for several hours. She had never prayed that way before, and God heard her desperation. The next day, a group of missionaries from Africa New Life, not knowing her situation, stopped by her house with an entire month of food supplies. Agnes’ situation and her prayer life have been transformed as a result of this conference, which happened in part because of your purchase. Thank You!
We are excited to see the launch of a great new website and encourage you to check it out – the Story Company at www.storycompany.com. This group of big dreamers share our vision of empowering women (and men) around the world through the sale of their handiwork. The Story Company creates a market for handmade goods made by indigenous, local and micro-merchants from many developing countries.
You visit the Story Company website and buy some high quality, handmade, unique fashion pieces (we hear jewelry, shirts, and bags are on the way) and in doing so, you’re helping to change the story of someone who was trapped in poverty. This buy-to-give model that New Life Threads is also built under encourages entrepreneurship and builds global markets for artisans in impoverished areas.
And the BEST part: the Story Co. is planning to feature an exclusive New Life Threads bag! We have not yet shared the secret of what this bag will look like, but we’ll tell you this: it’s beautiful, functional, and we’re pretty sure you’ll want one.
So check out our new partner the Story Company as they release products on their new site, and get excited for the release of the new Story Company exclusive bag from New Life Threads!
This week, the New Life Threads team is excited to make a new donation to Africa New Life Ministries! New Life Threads donates 100% of our profits back to support the seamstresses who make our products in Rwanda, as well as other women and families in their communities.
In this case, we are able to give a check for $2,100 to the Africa New Life Portland office to contribute to the costs of putting on the Annual Women’s Conference for New Life Church in Kigali, Rwanda. This conference is for women of the church and as well as non-believers the community. The theme of the conference this year is “Breaking Through Barriers”.
We are so excited to be able to help support this event! Please join us in praying for the leadership of this conference and for the women who will attend.
The money for this donation comes from the New Life Threads sales at Grace Chapel and the Selah Conference at George Fox University. If you bought a new bag or tablecloth at one of these events, THANK YOU so much for being a part of the upcoming women’s conference in Rwanda!
We’ll continue to let you know which projects will be supported by New Life Threads – tell your friends they can join our efforts and support the women in Rwanda by purchasing beautiful products at www.newlifethreads.org.
Besides supporting jobs and the New Life Family Center programs, New Life Threads likes to support special projects. Africa New Life suggested we give a portion of sales to child-led homes and last Easter we were able to bless six families thanks to your support. We were recently able to secure some photos and a report from Rwanda. Since you helped, please take a moment to hear their stories…
Namahoro Vestine is in grade six at Kigali infants’ primary school. She is a total orphan who has lost both of her parents. She stays with her two elder sisters who never had a chance to go to school at all. “Thank you for the food, she says. “May God bless you all.”
Mutesi Peace and Kemirembe Alice live by themselves as their mother died and the father has abandoned the family. They say, “Thank you so much for thinking about us and sending a gift to us. We are happy for the food.”
Ruth is a young girl who is HIV positive. She is an orphan who has lost both parents. She was abused sexually after the death of her parents. She stays with her one brother. “Ruth appreciates a lot for the Easter gift you sent to her.”
Ndayisaba Fred lost both his parents when he was still young. He stays with a friend. “Fred is thankful for the gift money you sent to him. He enjoyed his Easter.”
Celestin, Danny and Dickson are three boys who live together and are total orphans.
They are not brothers, but they came from different places and formed one family.
Isindiyitesi Sharon is the oldest in her family. She lost her father but the mother is living with HIV and is “ever sick due to medicine she takes every day and no food to eat because they live in a refugee camp of Kigali.”
Your support of New Life Threads made this impact possible. Africa New Life says “First and foremost, thank you so much for the gift you sent to these poor children. They were all very happy to receive the support and their Easter was really great.” Thank you!
“There are times in life when we feel stuck physically, emotionally, spiritually, professionally … even relationally.” Those words come from the introduction to The Selah conference to be held at George Fox University. This weekend hundreds will join Speaker Elisa Morgan as they discuss “the traps that paralyze us” and “the spiritual renewal and freedom that is waiting for us on the other side of “stuck!’”
Thousands of women in Rwanda also find themselves stuck. As survivors of the 1994 genocide, many found themselves without parents, without education, and without hope. How do you move forward from that? New Life Threads is proud to partner with Africa New Life as they bring job training, counseling, life skills and other support to help these women get unstuck. The success stories are inspiring. This Saturday, March 17, we’ll be at the Selah Conference selling some of the products made by graduates of this amazing ministry. If you’re going to the conference, we hope you’ll stop by.