June 23, 2011
HELLO my name is…Ashley Close
Ashley Close (left)
I am not going to lie, when Brittany first told me about her idea of the Red Thread Movement, I didn’t have much faith in its success. I of little faith could not foresee what God could do with just a simple idea and three passionate and willing young girls. In the same way Jesus fed the five thousand with just a loaf of bread and two fish God has been able to make this Movement bigger than we could have ever imagined. That’s what I love about this Movement. It is so much bigger than Brittany, Sam and Rachel. It is so much bigger than ACU. And it is so much bigger than just a simple red bracelet.
I have been so blessed to be a part of this Movement. I consider myself a messenger. I want to do whatever I can to spread the Movement farther. One way I was able to do this was when I studied abroad in Oxford, England, last spring semester. Sam gave me some bracelets to take over so the Movement could move across the pond. At first I was slightly unsure of where I would end up selling the bracelets. After visiting St. Aldates Anglican Church with a professor, the campus minister invited me to attend a girl’s tea where I could sell the bracelets. I was a little nervous since I didn’t know anyone at the tea, and I was not sure how girls from a culture different from my own would react to the bracelets. However, I was overwhelmed with joy as the girls were so excited about the Movement and more than willing to buy bracelets. The tea was somewhat of a trial run, so from that encouraging response I hoped to sell even more in Oxford. I found a Fair Trade shop in town that was willing to sell the bracelets, but we ran into a rather large obstacle with customs fees so it ended up not working out. This was big disappointment. I guess every Movement comes with its set backs. However I was blessed when Dani, a girl I went to high school with, saw pictures I had posted on Facebook of selling the bracelets at the tea and messaged me to tell me that her and her friends at Florida State University fell in love with the Movement and were all buying bracelets. It still amazes me that such a small thing like Facebook could spread the Movement all the way to Florida. So although I was not able to sell as many bracelets as I would have liked, some good things were still able to happen.
Last week my sister and I took the Movement up to my childhood church camp, Palmetto Bible Camp, in upstate South Carolina. I was shocked upon arrival to find that so many kids were already wearing the bracelets. One lady from Paducah, Kentucky, was actually selling the bracelets, which ended up being really good since my sister and I only had 30 bracelets left. Another kid told me a girl was selling them at his high school in Memphis. Other kids had purchased the bracelets at the Winterfest youth conference in Gatlinburg in February. I couldn’t believe how big the Movement had become in just a year. That night I spoke to all the campers about the message of the Red Thread Movement. I was not quite sure what to say, but I really feel like God gave me the words. I could not have received a better response. Immediately after my talk the kids swarmed the table with their money ready to buy a bracelet. Our 30 bracelets were quickly gone so I was so happy that God had provided us with more bracelets. My heart swelled as I watched the campers excitement about being a part of this noble cause. There truly is nothing more fulfilling than working with God in spreading freedom.