As I mentioned in my last post, I began voraciously reading every book about Trafficking I could get my hands on. Bethany Wentz wrote one of these such books. “One Dress. One Year. For Freedom.” This high-school student made a black dress, wore it every single day for a year, blogged her “outfit of the day” and shared sobering statistics via that blog, and raised awareness of the epidemic. All the while, she collected donations.
In her book, she mentioned meeting Bob Goff. Internationally recognized as a “Chief Balloon Inflator” through his organization “Restore International.” In his “fundraising” efforts for children in Uganda, he’s a lawyer. That offices out of Tom Sawyer island. For real. I can’t make this stuff up. Check him out by googling “Love Does. Bob Goff.”
His name sounded familiar, and it was only several chapters later I realized that he was instrumental in giving Brandon Heath his start in music. Natalie Grant also maintained very strong connections with Bob.
I finished Bethany’s book one week before my first MomCon experience. A three day “Mama Retreat” conference sponsored by Mothers of Preschoolers. MOPS for short. It was a good 9 months before that I said yes to going, and started fundraising. Even one week out, I hadn’t a clue who was going to be Worship leaders. Speakers. Vendors. Etc. NO CLUE.
The second night, you’ll never guess who the Keynote speaker was: yup! Bob (and his wife, Sweet Maria) Goff. I worked my way to the back of the room at the end of their talk, and literally RACED up the stairs to the Meet and Greet. The line was already quite long, and I found my place. A few minutes later, I felt a tapping on my shoulder. I turned around, and a sweet woman said “I noticed you don’t have a book for Bob to sign. That’s the book buying line over there. I can save your place!”
Swept up with her sweet offer, I told her that my purse was forgotten at the hotel. I didn’t have time to go get it. She nodded, sympathetically, and stepping back in line. Several minutes later, she tapped me again. I turned around to her outstretched hand with a $10 bill. “I think you’re really supposed to have a book. Go get it. On me!” I hugged her so enthusiastically, and shouted “LOVE DOES!” Getting her information, I about fell over, laughing. She just *happens* to live in the same city as my baby sister’s fiance. Promised to call her the next day and return the money.
As I made my way to meet the Goff’s, my toes were never on the ground past that point. I eagerly hugged them both so incredibly excited. As I remember, this is what I breathlessly shared: “My name is Alicia! I make necklaces! Made to eradicate Human Trafficking! I live here in KC! Can I call you and pick your brain???”
They answered with a resounding “YES!”
The next day, I decided to come to the MOPS Marketplace before I would call my new friend and return her money. I hadn’t made my way up the escalator, and I found her. Standing directly in line with me. 5 people out of 3,000 who just *happened* to be right where I needed them to be so we could connect.
Days later, as the conference concluded and we got back to “normal” life, I prepared to reach out to Bob Goff. My heart beat out of my chest the day I decided on calling him. Waited until 2 pm, noon his time, and plopped into the prayer chair. Before my head could talk me out of it, my heart directed my fingers to dial Bob’s number. My heart was beating out of my chest, then plummeted as the voicemail picked up. “Hi! This is Bob. I can’t get to the phone. Why don’t you email me?” and he left his email address.
Although I was initially disappointed, I quickly realized this was better. In an email, I could share the photos of the necklaces and share my greater vision for the project. Imagine my SHOCK when he replied later that same night! And encouraged me to call later that week.
We’ve had several conversations since then. Each time he’s eager to share information and encouragement. Each time, ending the conversation with “Just let me know how I can help!”
The necklaces have now grown to include shirts, and there’s talk of a few more products to come. Every single product blesses local organizations. We are establishing a FB page, soon to also include Instagram and a website. We’re spreading our wings and letting God take the lead!