Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Behind the Bag- Billy

Billy Pope: AKA Beelee or BPope: Winker. Foot Model. World-traveling photographer extraordinaire. He goes fishin' evrrrday. 

I met Billy on my first trip to Rwanda. In fact, he and Frank were the first people I met on that trip. We flew in the night before everyone else and got the chance to go to dinner, chat, and get to know each other. Billy and I also had seats next to each other on the very long flight over. (Ahem, Frank was seated elsewhere.) Anyway, for me, it was instant friendship. I admired Billy. (He is going to tell you that I am nuts, but I really just tried to say whatever I could to get him to laugh. He made it so easy.) That admiration has only grown as I have gotten to know Billy and his 3 sweet girls. I am honored to have him telling his Behind the Bag story today.....

Nuts and Fruit

I never dreamed a photo like this would sum up what I consider to be an act of faith only a few have ever had the privilege to witness. Many of you will see this and say “Oh My! They’re nuts!” I see it and say, “Praise the Lord! NOW THAT’S SOME FRUIT!”

On my first trip to Africa, I had the pleasure of meeting and traveling with this redheaded chick that had a great laugh, the biggest bag of trail mix and the oldest iPod ever. Tara Clapper was the first team member I met and from the start I thought she was a nut… in that not so crazy kind of way. I’ve been on mission trips before and met many people from many different walks of life and journeys in their faith. I wasn’t sure how this trip was going to impact me or much less the other nuts I was traveling with. I did know that God had BIG plans. Little did I know that those plans involved Tara Clapper.

While our team traveled from orphanage to orphanage in both Ethiopia and Rwanda, we would come along sights, sounds and smells that would put anyone out of their comfort zone. Then, there was Noel. It was overwhelming to say the least. But in overwhelming moments like these is when God shows up and allows you to see what really breaks His heart. All of us could see clearly what James 1:27 really meant and what it felt like. For Tara, it meant even more and it was obvious by her absence at dinner every evening. The birth of something big was happening right in front of us and it was heart wrenching to watch. We witnessed a transformation that not only impacted one girl from Oklahoma, but also now has impacted us all in some way.

This past November I was able to return to Rwanda with Visiting Orphans and witness the fruit. The fruit of hope, love and impact. After my first trip, Tara and I kept in touch and we talked a couple of times about her plans to return to Rwanda and live at Noel. All I could think was… to do what? How will this make a difference? Does she know what she is doing? Almost two years after my first visit I was able to witness the difference. I found hope in the eyes of the girls from Noel. Hope that only comes from knowing that someone loves them and that they are worth something. I can only imagine what the girls of No.41 felt when they realized the impact the feeding program had on their community this past February. Knowing that all the work they had done was now providing hope and worth to someone else. Isn’t that why we go? Is this why Tara and Alison went? Don’t we want to make an impact on those we go to visit or better yet, go to live with them when we are called? I can answer all of the questions above… YES!

To Tara and Alison:  Thank you for stepping out in faith because it speaks to me personally. Your story is one of courage and willingness to GO in the most uncertain circumstances–one that I am proud to share with my daughters and others. You’ve allowed God to multiply through you.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Behind the Bag- Hannah

Today, we are doing a bit of double duty with our Behind the Bag post. You are going to meet Hannah Jarrett. Hannah's No.41 story is just beginning, as one of our newest No.41 Campus Reps. We haven't really gotten around to talking much about our campus rep program, as it's new and it kinda fell in our laps, but we are so excited about it! Hannah's sister, Julie, was here visiting us recently and brought up the idea, then she so graciously put some ideas on paper about the responsibilities and perks of being a No.41 campus rep, and we just ran with it. We can't wait to see what this turns into!
Meet Hannah!

Let’s just get this out of the way: Blog introductions are awkward. You don’t know me, and we may never meet. But, I’m not what this is about. My name is Hannah Jarrett and I represent No.41, which is something I really care about. So yes, there’s me, but really this is about the people we get to serve in Africa. And that’s why I’m here.

I am in my second semester of sophomore year at the University of Arkansas. I am a Communication Major who’s learning Chinese and I have a deep passion for travel. As simple as it sounds, I love people because I think everyone has a story.

I am thrilled to be working as a campus representative for No.41. It is my desire to be involved with what God is doing over seas and it is clear that He is using No.41. I’m excited to watch as this project is connected to Arkansas.

My friend Madison Haverty and I will be working to spread the word about No.41 in the community of Fayetteville, Arkansas.

We currently have 3 campus reps, Hannah and Madison at the University of Arkansas and Amelia at the University of Southern Mississippi. You will get to know more about the girls, their hearts, and their stories as they share with us a couple times a month. If you are interested (or know anyone who might be) in joining our team, we would love you have you!! 
To catch up on more Behind the Bag stories, click here.

Monday, March 18, 2013

FOR ONE Day and a Giveaway!!

Happy Monday, y'all!!

Because it's Monday, and because our power is still out, and because I love y'all so much.
I have some really exciting things to tell you about!

First, FOR ONE Day. On April 1st (4-1). Get it? :)

On 4-1 Day, we would love for you to join us for a day of fasting, if you can, praying, if you do, and we are asking you to donate the cost of ONE meal, if you would. Our feeding program provides lunch for one child for just 25 cents a day! How much do you spend on lunch?

$1 feed 4 children for one day,
$5 feeds 20 children, and
$10 feeds 40 children!

AND it gets better!
I know what you are thinking, Holy cow, Tara, we are already changing the world, what could be better than that?! I know, I know.
We are doing a giveaway!! Of some of our very favorite handmade-in-Rwanda things!!

Your lovely little prize pack includes: A No.41 apron, a hand woven basket from a local women's co-op, a ceramic mug from a local men's co-op, Pfunda tea from the plantation across the street from our house, Kivu Bourbon coffee from Lake Kivu region in Gisenyi, 3 bracelets, and a paper bead necklace.

So, here's what you need to do to enter: Click here and 'like' No.41 on Facebook. Once you have done that, make sure you share 4-1 Day with your friends, here. Finally, donate the cost of your lunch on April 1st, here. And you're done! Make sure you leave a comment below for each of your entries. 

And for you overachievers, for additional entries: follow @no41 on instagram. Follow No.41 on twitter here. Follow my blog on bloglovin' here. Follow Alison's blog on bloglovin' here. Again, comment below for each of your entries.

**drawing will be held on April 2nd, and your prize will ship back to the States at the end of April.

We are so, so excited and we hope that you are, too!! We think this could be huge for these kids!

Have a great week!!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Behind the Bag- What's in a Name

Oh, hey! In honor of 4/1 Day coming up (and our ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY yesterday), I thought I would share with y'all a little story of how No.41 got it's name.

Back when I was still living in the orphanage and praying over this burden I felt for the girls and for our community, I felt like God gave me a glimpse of all this could be. It was big, and I immediately backed down.  He followed up that glimpse with, For one, Tara. Do it for one.  One was something I could get my mind around and No.41 was born.  For one child. For one meal. For one year.

One has taken on a much greater meaning these days.

One became 32 beautiful girls.

One is 870 meals everyday. For 870 students.
One is our Xavera and her sweet family.

One is sweet Louisa

One is Valentine realizing a talent she never knew she had.

 Lucky, XO, and Maureen are the ones.

 One is Vestine in university.

 One is Fanny providing for her little one.

I guess God knew what he was doing. I suppose He always does. We are changing the world for one.
All of them.

**all photos by the ever talented alisonholcomb
For more Behind the Bag stories, click here.
To tell your Behind the Bag story, email

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Behind the Bag- Kassie

Well, y'all just settle in, because today your are hearing from Kassie Miller, a sweet and sassy country music singer from Nashville, TN. (I hope y'all read that, and the rest of this post, with a very thick country accent. Because that's exactly how Miss Kassie speaks.) We love Kassie (and Ben) as much as Kassie loves ketchup. That's alot. Enjoy, darlin'!

My name is Kassie and I had always dreamed of going to Africa . My dream came true last May, and I will be on my third trip back this coming May. You can kinda say I like it. I fell in love with Rwanda and my heart now belongs to a little girl named Kevine, who we now sponsor and pray that one day she will be with us forever. She is what keeps me coming back every chance I get. After my first trip, I really felt like it wasn’t long enough. So, the second time I went (this past November), my husband, Ben, and I decided to stay an extra week. That way we could spend more one-on-one time with Kevine. We were able to stay with Tara and Alison at their home for our extra week (we were also the visitors who got evacuated with Tara due to the Congo war!). That extra week made the trip complete.

We really got to know Tara and Alison and spend quality time with Ange and Fanny (Girls that work at No.41 but also live with Tara and Alison). We spent our days at Noel with Kevine and the kids. By the time we’d get home we were so exhausted from playing with the kids all day at Noel that we would turn in early. We would wake bright and early in the morning, shower, and then head to the kitchen for some breakfast. Everyday there would already be some of the No.41 girls working away (this is at 7:00 in the morning). I’d go in to say good morning and the girls would be smiling, sewing and listening to music (Justin Beiber a lot of times). They were always so happy and eager to work. I felt like we were behind the scene of a movie because we got to see with our own eyes how this company operates on a daily basis.

The girls have such an amazing work ethic, sadly unlike most Americans; they would come to work early and stay late. They worked as long as possible because they knew the more bags they made the more they’d have a chance to sell. I love how this business is a full circle partnership…the girls make the bags…which in turn makes them money, and gives them skills for success and confidence…profit from the bags provide lunch for public school children who can’t afford to bring it or can not walk home to eat (because it is too far of a walk)…the bags make American women happy because we love to shop and it’s a GREAT cause.

I love this. Everyone benefits from this. I also love that Tara has some of her girls train and learn to be in “management”. So if for some reason Tara and Alison were go back to America the business can carry on. That’s what’s up. I love carrying my bags and sharing the story behind it. You should get one too!

If you're cool, like Kassie, and would like to purchase a bag, click here.
For more Behind the Bag stories, click here.
OR, if you have a No.41 story you'd like to share, send it to