I’m delighted to have Amy Breitmann share how God led Julie Hulstein to start Vi Bella Jewelry.
This month, we give thanks and look around for blessings. We tell stories. We gather around and remember what family really means. And we prepare for Christmas, the day that everything started fresh and new when hope was born into the world.
I am honored to work for Vi Bella jewelry and to partner with Dolly for a fun giveaway in celebration of her book release. I’m also so humbled to glance around this community with gratefulness. I am also blessed to know Dolly and to breathe in the gentle grace of her words, an invitation to rest. An invitation to notice the needs of my soul, the rhythm of the seasons, the whisper from the Holy Spirit speaking, if only we pause to listen close.
She invited me into this space to share a bit of the story behind Vi Bella Jewelry.
We are a job-creation ministry creating beautiful jewelry with even more beautiful stories behind each piece. This ministry began because one woman listened to a conviction in her heart.
Today Vi Bella empowers more than 30 artisans. They are able to feed their families, have safe shelter, experience pride, community, and give back in their own villages. It’s inspiring and I’m humbled to be part of it.
It’s important to know that our Founder Julie Hulstein’s journey to begin Vi Bella did not start on the shores of Haiti or in the villages in Mexico where we now serve.
Her journey began in her prayer chair, with closer conversations with God.
The journey began by creating pause and time to listen to the still small stirrings in her heart as she studied scripture in the early mornings after her retirement as a band teacher.
In the early days of her retirement, she stayed still. She prayed. She asked that her eyes be opened to those around her, to the people and causes in her circle in her small town in Northeast Iowa.
She had no idea that these conversations with God and the quiet listening would spur her to begin carrying out small acts of kindness brought on by the nudging of the Holy Spirit. That year she took flowers to someone that God placed on her heart. She delivered cookies and showed up when a friend needed her.
She practiced obedience.
And so when Julie did feel called to go on a mission trip to Haiti, she was familiar with God’s voice and she went. She went despite the fact that she had not really wanted to do so. She went out of obedience and a deep knowing that she was called to go.
Haiti changed her life. Haiti is where she met Sencia, a young woman in a tent who believed she was too far gone for the forgiveness and grace of God. Sencia became like a daughter to Julie, even calling her “Mama Julie”. (Photo of when Julie and Sencia first met.)
She met her in a church that Sunday in Haiti, and it was then that Julie knew she was being called to be part of her life and part of the solution to the lack of jobs and hope that ran rampant in Haiti.
Julie and Sencia today.
The Vi Bella staff still prays every day. We pray for our artisans, customers, ambassadors, and partners, and each other every morning at 9 a.m.
We believe that every person who has been brought into the path of Vi Bella is chosen, gifted, beautiful, and part of the purposes God has for this company.
Vi Bella is on the front lines, fighting poverty every day.
We believe in reaching out to hold hands because we are all in this together. And together we can make the world a better place.
We all have choices when we shop for holiday gifts. We’d love for you to consider shopping our newly launched Holiday Gift Guide.
When you choose Vi Bella, your purchases create sustainable employment for a mother who no longer looks at an orphanage as the only hope for raising her daughter. It reclaims the landscape through our recycled materials. And your purchase makes your life, and theirs more beautiful.
Thank you, Julie, Amy, and Vi Bella Jewelry for following God’s lead through prayer then action. You inspire.
Vi Bella Jewelry began because Julie prayed; likewise, prayer birthed my book so her story resonated with me.
P.S. Tomorrow is the last day to participate in the Vi Bella giveaway of the stunning Kingsley necklace (which can also be worn as a bracelet) and Judeline earrings (see below).
In another post, I will share how prayer led me to donate book royalties to International Justice Mission.
What adventures has God led you to after you’ve prayed? It can begin with helping a neighbor like Julie did.