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It all started while on a walk last summer.

I was thinking/praying through some issue that felt large and looming at the time and had an overwhelming sense that I just needed to get outside of myself. That maybe if my eyes could see my issue through a different lens, it wouldn’t feel quite so large and looming anymore.

What happened next was pretty amazing.

I emailed my friend Paige (whom I look up to like crazy) and shared some of my rambling thoughts.  She was sweet and wise and helped me process things and then suggested I talk to Jessica, the founder of Noonday – a company I adore and support and have even done a little designing for.  So next I emailed Jessica and – what do you know – she and her husband were just dreaming about taking a group to Africa. I didn’t even wait for details – I didn’t even care when it was or what it cost or what we’d be doing – I just said yes. I’m in.

One year later … with a crazy amount of joy – like the kind that makes me cry just thinking about it – I can finally announce that I’ll be joining the most amazing group of women on a trip to Rwanda this summer.


It’s seriously a dream come true to be traveling to Africa. To see and experience and engage with people who live in circumstances very different than mine and who have so much to teach me about faith and gratitude and forgiveness and grace.  I know from the start that this trip will change my life. That’s what makes me cry when I think about it. I want so much to be changed. To be better, more grateful, forgiving and graceful. To have eyes bigger than my often-petty issues, a heart open to hurts beyond my own and a life that makes a difference.

And so I’m going to Rwanda with Noonday and International Justice Mission and these fabulous ladies on a trip that is all about getting outside of ourselves. We’re calling it our #StyleForJustice Story Team Trip.

when we use our purchasing power for good and pursue the cause of justice, hope for the poor is possible – See more at: http://www.noondaycollection.com/styleforjustice#sthash.VwZrZ1pd.dpuf
when we use our purchasing power for good and pursue the cause of justice, hope for the poor is possible – See more at: http://www.noondaycollection.com/styleforjustice#sthash.VwZrZ1pd.dpuf


You know what’s fun?! We’ve saved a spot for one more.

#StyleForJustice from Noonday Collection

If your heart is beating faster, or you have tears running down your cheeks after watching the video knowing that YOU need to be on this trip, you are invited to share your why for a chance to come with us to Rwanda!. Details are on the Noonday website where you can enter, learn more and vote.


This opportunity excites me to no end. I am honored to be spending a portion of my summer in Africa and grateful that I get to share it with you.

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I’ll have much more to write about as our trip approaches and then, of course, while we are there. Happy to have you along for the journey!

28 thoughts on “RWANDA!!!”

  1. It is Gary Haugen’s story about his first trip to Rwanda and subsequent starting of IJM that was my first in-depth contact with human trafficking. To be going to the country that started him on such a journey…gives me goose bumps (in a good way). I can’t even begin to imagine what God has for you there and if thought God was telling me to enter & go, I’d be right there with you (because…if God wanted me there, I’d be chosen, right? :) ). The dark that is human trafficking is amazing in its darkness but what always amazes me more is God’s light shining right on it, right through it…and breaking it down. I pray for that end in my lifetime!! I’m looking forward to reading all about this trip. Godspeed!!!!

  2. SO EXCITING! Love love love that you’re doing this, and after reading Rhinestone Jesus I about jumped out of my seat to apply to join! I hope you all have an amazing time and I can’t wait to hear how God uses this experience to change you and everyone reading along.

  3. Well! What an amazing experience! It’s very inspiring to hear you talk about getting outside of yourself and so I have too! I have entered! Never done anything like this before – but hey – gotta dream big right??

  4. I am a bit confused as to why this is being called a “mission trip” on every blog I’ve seen this trip featured today. This is a marketing trip for NoonDay, is it not? I’m assuming you won’t be passing out Bibles, leading worship services, etc. which to me all signal a “mission trip”. From what little information I can find about what will actually be DONE on this trip and what was done in Guatemala on the previous NoonDay Ambassadors trip, is you will meet people who make the products that NoonDay (a Multi-Level Marketing company) sells at a very large mark up (making an Ambassador 20% of each sale); you will go shopping; you will eat out; you will hangout with some pretty well known bloggers.

    While I disagree with poverty tourism, and unfortunately this trip really is leaning towards that for me, I do acknowledge that infusing a country with tourist money is beneficial to the people there. Can we not just say that? Can you explain what about this is a mission trip?

    1. And I guess now I’m even more confused– all the blogs I read this morning specifically used the term “mission trip.” And looking back this evening there is no mention of this. Though, the people I know vying for a spot on the trip are still calling it a mission trip.

    2. Nope. Not a mission trip in the traditional sense of the word, but definitely a powerful and purposeful trip nonetheless. It truly is a story telling trip where we’ll see firsthand stories of survival and forgiveness, places that still need work and ways organizations like Noonday and IJM are helping empower women and men in Rwanda. Our purpose is to use our platforms and voice to share these stories, put faces to social issues and work together to find tangible ways to help. Hope this answers your questions. I’m proud of what we’ll be doing and hope it will change not only my life and perspective, but those who get to follow along via social media.

  5. I could not be more thrilled for you, Emily! Out of anything I’ve done, global outreach has been some of the most rewarding, incredible experiences in my life! There is no way to come back the same. You will be stretched and challenged and changed forever. I long and pray for my next trip to come quickly. :)

    I’ll be praying for your preparation – the mental, physical and spiritual.

  6. So excited for you. It’s a dream of mine to go to Africa so I can only imagine how excited you are! It’s so amazing for you and I can’t wait to hear about your trip!

  7. 2 weeks ago today, I returned from my 2nd trip to Rwanda. It is a BEAUTIFUL country indeed! Beautiful people with a beautiful but difficult history. I appeal to you to go as a learner. God is healing the people and the land in a way that the world should not overlook. I LOVE Rwanda. I look forward to hearing how you fall in love with Rwanda as well.
    Praying for your opportunity to learn and grow.

  8. Adrienne in Atlanta


    This will undoubtedly change you, your mind, your life, and your perspective. While I have not been myself, I actively monitor the news around the world because I strive to not live in a bubble. I listen to radio accounts daily of war, poverty, politics, economics, etc., and the humanity (and inhumanity) surrounding those things. I am grateful every day that I am not in the position where I could be a Nigerian teenager kidnapped while my government essentially looks the other way, or a child living in West Virginia afflicted with Mountain Dew mouth (yes, a real condition). I do have to take breaks from the barrage of news a couple times a year, but I would urge you to look beyond news reports from the main networks, who rarely tell the whole, gritty story and the butterfly effect that story has. I personally am an NPR devotee, but there are also news organizations with websites you can peruse without the sensationalism and opinions instead of fact. Many have their preconceived notions about NPR’s politics, but their business model can’t be denied (they are not beholden to anyone but their listeners and get no funding from advertisers), and when it comes to news, no organization has more integrity. I am so grateful for their reporting.

    When I started listening to this in depth reporting, it changed me, my life, and how I view my world. I may find myself annoyed with something in life, and then realize quickly what a 1st world problem it is. I could have been born in Rwanda and been witness to the genocide that took place there, or Syria where children have been tortured and murdered in the streets as little as a few months ago, or Liberia in West Africa, where if you are assaulted, you have to pay for transportation for the police to come investigate a crime that may never be resolved, leaving the criminals with all the power. 40% of the people in Liberia are currently experiencing PTSD symptoms due to the civil war that lasted for an unbelievable 14 years. It’s hard to imagine the unspeakable brutality that is reported to have taken place there.

    I realize this isn’t along the same lines as the comments before mine, but I felt compelled to write. In a past life, I felt that feeling you have described, of wanting to dig deeper and experience more and help more and understand the grace in my own life. I am grateful for my life right now in this moment, and I am passionate about it when someone expresses a desire to “get out of their own head”. It can be done. And you can preserve that perspective upon your return with the simple act of not allowing the bubble to take over. Traveling far and often, via plane or via education, helps immensely.

    I hope you have a safe and life changing experience.

    With all the important, heavy, and sometimes frightening world events happening, your blog is one I look to for thoughtfulness, beauty, inspiration for my home, and introspection in progress. Keep up the good work.

  9. Emily, you will be changed! Africa kind of “gets in your blood” and makes you see things so differently. I went on a women’s ministry trip to South Africa two summers ago. This summer I am going on another trip to Uganda. Be prepared – you will process a lot of emotions and thoughts while you are there. You will be so blessed.

  10. Emily — I’m writing my entry right now. It did make me teary eyed, it did make my heart jump. I’ve been waiting for the right mission trip to be put on my heart. What an incredible blessing this would be! I met Jennie Allen last month at our Women’s Ministry event and followed her around all weekend long like a puppy! I can’t imagine being surrounded by SO MANY AMAZING WOMEN! Both of the Jen’s and ALSO my favorite Graphic Designer?!

  11. Have you read Kisses From Katie about Katie Davis and her work in Uganda with Amazima- so inspiring!! Blessings in all the details of your trip- looking forward to hearing about it.

  12. So happy for you, our family of nine is also traveling to Rwanda this summer in August. We’re going with a group from Saddleback Leather through a ministry called Africa New Life Ministries. My friend at Love41 sells one of a kind products and all proceeds go to the Rwandan women. We’re very excited to see what the Lord has in store for us.

  13. Emily, it’s so neat to be able to see how God has been working in your heart these past few years. Thanks for sharing your journey with us, your readers. It’s exciting to watch you growing in your faith.

  14. This is a very nice project and I’m happy for you! Bravo, a great initiative. This summer, I hope to go to London family with my husband and my children in England … This is another project that is important to me, a way to experience another culture and country. But nothing to do with Africa, where I never went … Good week!

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