Hey Rebekah! Can you tell us about Praising Hands, Traveling Shoes (PHTS) and the journey so far?
I started PHTS as a way to blog about my travels and encourage others in their walk with God. What started as a small blog turned into multiple writers and contributors, and lead to where we are now, an organization with a focus of giving back for Christ while praising, traveling, and dreaming. Although we started as a tiny blog, we have redirected our organization to one that sells handmade jewelry and (will soon offer) other items that help fight the injustice of sex trafficking around the world.
What is the story behind the name? We love it!
Praising Hands, Traveling Shoes was birthed out of my greatest desires. If you ask anyone, they will tell you that my two favorite things are praising Jesus through relationships and service, and traveling the world to make his name known. I knew that I wanted to constantly live life with hands raised to my Savior and traveling shoes that spread the gospel and sought out adventure and abundant life. With that, the name was born.
Fighting sex trafficking is core to your ‘Priceless Collection‘. Where did your passion for this stem from and how did the idea for the collection come about?
As crazy as it sounds, never once in my life did I ever dream of doing something along these lines. One day, I was praying and had a burden in my heart for victims of sex trafficking. I then began to see how I might get involved with such a ministry, and the next day fumbled upon a box of foreign coins that I’d collected while traveling. Immediately, an idea popped into my mind: “women and children are bought with mere coins every night + sold into the sex trade. I want you to turn these coins in necklaces and use them to set them free.” It was completely out of nowhere, but I just knew that it was the answer to my prayer. Within a few weeks, I bought a drill press and many tools, made my first necklace, and wore that necklace every day for months.
In May 2015, The Priceless Collection was launched and ever since, it has been growing, and women and children pulled out of the sex trade are benefiting from people’s purchases. Every single necklace that is sold benefits our partner in South East Asia, Freedom 418, an organization that focuses on restoring women and children pulled out of the sex trade with Christ-centered curriculum, career training, interim work, outreach, and awareness.
What’s a gem of wisdom you’ve discovered along the way?
Comparison is the thief of joy. It is so easy as a small business and ministry to focus on what everyone else is doing and mold my organization to look and feel a certain way. Although I do look to others for inspiration, guidance, and encouragement, The Priceless Collection and, ultimately Praising Hands, Traveling Shoes, is its own entity that cannot be fit into another mold or be manipulated to look a particular way. God has given me this dream, this organization, and this ministry. I must simply look to Him alone to grow it as he sees fit, to run it as he sees fit, and to watch it blossom when he sees fit. I have learned that as I work hard and look to Him, He will make it exactly what he wants it to be – unique and priceless, in his perfect way.
When you’re not working hard or dreaming large, how do you refresh yourself?
Working full time, running and growing a business, focusing on my marriage, and serving at my church keep me on a tight schedule (that I wouldn’t change for the world), so staying refreshed is key. Mentally, I enjoy a nice hot bubble bath at least twice a week with some soothing music. Spiritually, staying in the word and prayer always allows me to stay close to the father, which is exactly where I need to be for utmost refreshment. Physically, I do CrossFit at least three a week to keep my body healthy and fit. It helps me blow off whatever happened in the day, workout with friends, and gives me a challenge that my competitive side really longs for.
What are your hopes for PHTS?
I have many goals for PHTS! Some short term goals include releasing our bracelet and apparel lines, where some long term goals include running the business full time, writing a book on being priceless in the eyes of Christ, and speaking about sex trafficking and worth to women around the nation.
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