We are excited to welcome Angie with Angela Lally Photography to the blog today. We are asking her a few questions about her recent trip to Rwanda to photograph for our ministry! Welcome, Angie!
Hello! My name is Angela and I am a photographer from Austin, Texas. I spend most of my time photographing weddings and taking portraits, but I have always had a heart for storytelling through photography and helping share what God is doing around the world to advocate for and support the vulnerable. I heard about the opportunity to visit Rwanda and photograph for Handspun Hope in the middle of December 2019. Two weeks later I hopped on a plane to Africa! It was a whirlwind of a trip, but such an honor to hear these stories, experience Rwandan culture and help advocate for these women. I am excited to share a little bit of my experience with you all today!
Q. What is the one thing you love about the work Handspun Hope is doing in Rwanda?
A. My favorite thing about getting to experience firsthand some of the work being done by Handspun Hope is how this is about SO much more than “just a job” for women who need it. Because of fair wage and ethical employment through Handspun Hope, women have regained confidence and self-worth, experienced healing through relationships with each other and access to the counseling center, hear the truth of the Word and the hope we have in Jesus Christ proclaimed over them, are able to provide for themselves and their families, and so much more. These jobs just don’t equal money, they are lifesaving and life giving, not just to the women, but to their families as well!
Q. Now that you’ve been to Rwanda and seen the work that Handspun Hope is doing, what would you say to someone considering becoming a Handspun Hope sponsor?
A. If you can, even if it means things are tighter in other areas of your budget, DO IT! A recurring $150 monthly donation to sponsor a woman is a small sacrifice for most of us here in America in comparison to the life-changing impact it has in Rwanda. If you can’t manage a $150 / month donation, see if some of your friends or family members will partner with you to make up the difference!
In reality, for most of us, it means giving up some of our luxuries…getting coffees, eating out, buying clothes for the season’s newest trends, and entertainment… but in Rwanda it equates to an entire month's salary, healthcare for an entire family and a significant portion of school fees for children. Women also have disposable income which is invested back into their communities to support other businesses and people in their villages. As believers, we are called to care for the widows and the orphans. The gift of a job for one vulnerable woman in Rwanda directly impacts so many other people! The discomfort that can come from stretching our budgets and of giving of our financial resources is nothing in comparison to the hardships of being a jobless widow in Rwanda. I hope you can read the honesty of this answer not as a “guilt trip”, but as an opportunity and invitation to participate in a life changing cause by simply giving out of the abundance that God has given you!
Q. What is one thing you love about Rwandan culture?
A. I loved all the dancing! It was so fun to experience how carefree and joyful everyone is when the music and dancing starts and the community and unity that comes with it!
Q. How has learning about the genocide impacted your perspective moving forward?
A. It really impacted me to see a glimpse into the strength of these women who have overcome so much hardship, hurt, loss, grief and trauma, while also seeing the dramatic positive and healing impact access to jobs and resources provided by Handspun Hope can have.
The hardest part of my trip was hearing women share and recount the stories of the trauma they endured during the genocide. These women are fighting to overcome the effects the genocide had on their past and to make better lives for themselves and their families, and it was such an incredible thing to witness! I was also able to see so clearly example after example of God’s protection, care, and healing. While healing will never be complete in this lifetime, we can hope together in the promises that one day God will restore fully and bring justice to all things.
Q. How do you keep the feeling of connection when the ministry is so far away?
A. It’s all too easy to get home from trips and experiences like these and feel like “it was all a dream” because it is so drastically different from our everyday lives, and truly felt like a whole other world to me. But I think it is SO important to remember these people, their stories, and the ways that God showed me more of Himself during my time in Rwanda and even since being home. For me, sharing about my time in Rwanda and the stories I heard with close friends and family helped solidify my experience and also gave me opportunities to share how they can have a part in supporting the ministry either through sponsorships, donations, or purchases from the online store. I also stay connected by printing images from my trip and keeping them in places I come across in my home so I can remember the names and faces of the women in Rwanda and continue to pray for them.
Q. How can others support this ministry?
A. The most impactful way to do this is through monetary donations by either sponsoring a widow or making donations online. When giving a donation, it makes the biggest impact if you designate that the ministry has the freedom to use your donation where it has the greatest need. Another way to support is by purchasing from the online store for yourself and for gifts for family and friends. And last but not least, personally sharing the mission and work of Handspun Hope with family, friends and those in your network and community and inviting them to join you in supporting the work being done in Rwanda!