there is a very necessary part two to the cards.
and it’s these guys right here:
here’s the story:
i was plodding around donald miller’s blog one day back in october, and found this older post written about his then-roommate justin.
not to kill the chronology of the story, but i ended up talking with justin and it turns out he had been to south africa a few years ago, got back, knew he wanted to do something more, borrowed a book from the library about how to start a non-profit and…you guessed it, he started a non-profit.
ridiculous. people actually do this.
it’s called These Numbers Have Faces and, in the briefest explanation, they developed this model for sponsoring youth in south africa to go to university that involves community service, mentoring and financial accountability, in turn creating strong leaders for the future of africa.
so donald miller plugs it on his blog, i click on the TNHF link, browse it and sign up to help sponsor one of their students. this isn’t really an interesting story, yet.
a day later, i get an e-mail that starts,
“This is Justin, I’m the director of TNHF. Thank you so much for signing up…”
and puts me in touch with the student i’m helping sponsor, xolani gixela.
fast-forward two weeks to me sitting around, thinking in my living room.
i always knew that if i started a card line that i wanted to give back in some way, a 10%-of-the-proceeds-goes-to-this effort. some way to be something small, yet pool into something greater.
i could only think of one organization. yup, these numbers have faces.
so knowing full well that justin, without seeing my cards or my photography or my writing or my anything, could say, “uh, nah.” i e-mailed him anyways, explaining my proposition and what i had in my mind if they would want to be involved in my little idea.
i pressed send with a muttered, “here goes nothin’…”
and expected to wait a week or two with who knows what answer.
i get an e-mail the next hour,
“I’d love to talk to you on the phone if you have a moment. Thanks so much for wanting to do this. We are really excited…”
i was STOKED.
i remember walking to work a couple hours after that. it was drizzling and pretty miserable, but i was quite taken, emitting moonbeams or something.
you can start this little, little thing and if you just give it all you have, it can become something bigger. something so much bigger than what you thought. i remember talking to God about how excited i was, and just feeling His presence so strongly, like i was walking in the outlines of His footprints.
the next morning, i rang justin. we got on straight away and talked about aid and south africa and his time there and my time there and TNHF and all sorts of things. we talked about the cards for a bit, (10% of the sale of dani press cards will go to something rad), and they’ll feature dani press on their site and do a bit of advertising for me. so here i am, already on cloud nine.
then talk turned to south africa and the fact that i’m a writer and photographer…and justin pitches out this idea,
“what would you think about writing for these numbers have faces during the world cup in south africa?”
i think my heart stopped.
stopped mid-beat. and shut down. “it’s over guys. we’ve just died. everybody go home.”
my heart flipped back a page to the dialogue written the night before while walking to work. i had been telling God that He could have dani press and that i would just follow His shadow, wherever it went. but that it was His.
and then, back to being on the phone, here is the director of a non-profit offering me the very thing i’ve dreamt of doing for years.
ever since i took my first journalism class.
ever since south africa won the bid to host the world cup.
ever since anybody ever asked me “what is your dream job?” and i answered,
“to write in some capacity during the world cup in south africa.”
i couldn’t believe it.
we talked a bunch more about what that would entail, what kind of assignments, who i could get connected with, what type of stuff i’d be writing, etc..etc…
i hung up the phone and before i had even breathed in, my fingers were dialing for my mom. before she could even breath in, she had heard the whole story spewed out in one long run-on sentence. she shared in my joy, as only she could, and after that i hung up and cried.
ha. i did.
i just straight up had nothing else to do but put my head in my hands and let this tiny river of tears come and play on my hands,
to become the evidence of my gratefulness.
i truly believe that God blesses you with things to be good at. gives you passions, gives you gifts, gives you things that just come out of you. and He gives them to you so that you will use them for His glory.
He gave me a couple things that i love, that i dearly love to do. but i have never been sure how that would fit into life, how i could do it or what it would be good for.
but with that conversation He walked through this giant iron door, held it open with His arm, and as all the light pooled in, He looked over at me with softness in His features and asked me to follow Him.
“get your pencil, grab my hand…”
and that’s part two.
it all started with paper.