Monthly Archives: November 2014

Gift with Purpose: Amazima


Coming home from Nicaragua to walk into the Christmas shopping season has been…a bit jarring. Since my involvement with Compassion, my perspective on need versus want has been changing anyway, so this Christmas, I’m pretty focused on 1) being thrifty and 2) finding gifts that are more than just stuff.

Enter some of my favorite places to shop, which I’m going to share with you. These places support ministry, support offering Hope and Truth. I’ll share a shop or two a week between now and Christmas.

Read to the end for promos!

First up, Amazima.


(all photos from Amazima’s website!)

Amazima began when God called Katie Davis, American teenager, to move to and teach in Uganda. She eventually began an Educational Sponsorship Outreach when she noticed the children unable to afford basic education. Her story is amazing, so check out the rest here, or look into her book, Kisses from Katie, but let’s talk about the jewelry!

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Screen Shot 2014-11-21 at 8.13.47 AM Screen Shot 2014-11-21 at 8.12.57 AMThe necklaces in Amazima’s store are handmade paper beads, created by women in Masese, Uganda. They are beautiful, and the quality is spot on. I own the red, LOVE, necklace, and the grey, GRACE, necklace. I have been so impressed with their quality, and they’re so versatile! I wear them dressed up, with t-shirt and jeans. I’ve also given them as gifts, and they come in a sweet burlap bag with a card about Amazima’s ministry for easy gift-giving.

I love their commitment to their customer, posted on their website:

“Our commitment to you:

  • When you buy from Amazima, you help employ Ugandan woman, feed hungry children, and receive a beautiful piece of jewelry to show your solidarity with Uganda wherever you go. 
  • Each piece of jewelry is made by a hard-working woman in Amazima’s vocational program.  We know these women and their stories, and we love them deeply.
  • The women in our vocational program are paid a fair wage and given financial training by Amazima’s social workers.
  • All pieces are handcrafted from start to finish.  Watch this video to see how the magazine bead jewelry is made.
  • All proceeds from Amazima’s jewelry sales are applied toward the feeding of 1,200 children Monday through Friday in the slum community of Masese. The women in Amazima’s vocational program are proud that their dedication and work ethic helps feed hungry children in their neighborhood.
  • All women in Amazima’s jewelry vocational program receive spiritual discipleship. Katie personally meets with the women each week for a time of prayer and a Bible study.
  • Please remember that these pieces are handcrafted and may vary from the photographs on this website. We accept exchanges and returns from any customer who is not fully satisfied.”

Sign up for Amazima’s emails to receive promotional offers–they’re offering “Cyber Monday” deals each Monday in November. I got GRACE for 45% off, and it shipped in three days!

This Christmas, I challenge you to think about where your money is going and how you can bless more than the gift receiver, you can bless the gift creator! Your gift can give more.

xo, Breanne

Do you have a favorite shop that supports “giving more”? Please share!


Notes from Nica: Play Needs No Translation


Confessions of a kid at heart: bubbles might be the best toy ever invented anywhere in the world. They were a hit everywhere we went in Nicaragua, and I have to admit that I love them too. There’s something magical about their iridescence, their delicate nature, and the way they float just out of reach. IMG_6294Nicaragua accounts are coming to you in snapshots. Snippets of stories and lessons periodically as I continue processing my way through pages and pages of my journal and the four thousand pictures I have from my team. (And on that note, photo cred to my teammates for many of these pictures. We had some awesome photographers traveling together). First up: the kids. IMG_4067Be still my heart. These kids.


IMG_5827As I prepped for the trip, I was most excited about the kids, and most worried about the language barrier. In college, I was required to take two years of a foreign language. I’m not kidding when I say that nothing made me consider switching majors more than those four semesters of Spanish classes. But I persevered with the help of some patient tutors, then I swore off Spanish forever. (Don’t ever tell God you’re never doing/thinking about something again.) When I signed up for the Nicaragua trip, the application asked what foreign languages I knew, and I wrote down “none.” Two years of Spanish five years before left me with very little to go on. So I downloaded a language app and toyed with Spanish in the weeks preceding my trip, but I still knew I’d be relying upon translators for any real conversation. I prayed that, in an unfamiliar setting, God would show me how to love beyond words. He showed up. It turns out, play needs no translation, and play I can do. IMG_6267IMG_6269 I could have spent all day sitting on that tile floor with Carolina at the orphanage. I didn’t have to know Spanish to take the crayon offered me and lean in close to color with her. I didn’t have to know Spanish to hug her a little tighter when she wrapped her arms around me and pressed her cheek into my neck, her head on my shoulder. DSC_1123 2 DSC_0163 When a little girl wraps her arms around my waist for an entire day, I didn’t have to speak Spanish to hug her, smile at her, swing her around in circles, and give her rides on my back. IMG_0560_2Love and play need no translation. But knowing that burbujas means “bubbles” helped. Knowing arriba and abajo were up and down, and knowing my Spanish colors helped when we played with the parachute. Knowing a few animal names helped when we colored. And knowing family words let me know that these two beautiful girls are hermanas, sisters. IMG_0441My first Sunday back home, I taught the story of David and Goliath to my kindergarten/first grade class at church. We talked about how David knew how to use the sling because he’d taken care of his family’s sheep and used the sling to protect the flock. We discussed how taking care of the sheep was probably a chore that David wasn’t always excited about, but God used that experience in his life for something greater. Then I stopped, struck by my Spanish class experience, how God opened my mind and allowed me to recall words I’d long forgotten to communicate with the people of Nicaragua. I wasn’t fluent, by any terms, but He used me anyway. All the frustration of those classes were worth it if my effort to speak Spanish to someone on that trip told them I loved them and communicated the love of Jesus to them, too. The other thing that needs no translation? Silly faces.

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xo, Breanne

ps: I’d love if you left a comment with a time that God used a difficult experience in your life later. And/or what’s your “child at heart” confession? pps: There aren’t any Nicaraguan kids on the Compassion site right now (and I think that’s God protecting me from myself), but man! this trip made me miss my sponsor kids, made me want to be hugging and playing with them. If you are interested in child sponsorship, check out Compassion’s page or email me at!