Embracing Change and Carrying Love Across Oceans

Twelve years ago, my husband and I made a life-altering decision that set us on a path of unforeseen challenges and incredible transformation. We sold everything we owned, packing our lives into two suitcases and two backpacks, and said our tearful goodbyes at the airport. It was a leap into the unknown, driven by a deep desire for justice, opportunity, love, and change. The fear and sadness of leaving everything familiar were matched only by the hope and anticipation of what could become.

Moving to India was not just a change of scenery; it was a new world. Learning a new language, adapting to a different culture, and navigating the arduous journey of starting a business amidst miles of paperwork and countless obstacles tested our resolve. But it was in these moments of struggle that Ziyada was born—a beacon of dignity, empowerment, and beauty created alongside a group of 15 incredible women who became not just employees but family. And later, we’d grow to a team of 24. 

Empowerment, Grace, and the Gift of Community

Ziyada has been more than a business; it has been a home. A place where grace, forgiveness, hope, and change flourish. Together, we built something extraordinary. This place, these people, have marked me indelibly, teaching me the true meaning of faith, empowerment, trust, and letting go. Becoming a mother here, my children surrounded by a host of loving aunties, has been a blessing beyond words. We’ve prayed together for our families, celebrated marriages, held each other through loss, and fought for one another in hospitals and government offices. The connections we share with one another, often forged in fire, are solid and pure. We started as strangers, but have become each other’s.

Facing a New Horizon

After a significant discernment process, Dustin, my husband, has embraced a new role in the U.S. that aligns seamlessly with our life’s mission: to empower and uplift people. The new role feels like a natural evolution of the journey we’ve committed to — one centered on equipping and elevating others. And so, a new chapter begins.

We landed in the U.S. just over a week ago and hit the ground running — finding a new home, battling jet lag, and acclimatizing to life here. Our final months in India were a whirlwind of activity, filled with training our dedicated staff to take over our roles, heartfelt farewells to dear friends, and finalizing our move. Every moment has been bittersweet, mingled with hope for what lies ahead, sadness for the goodbyes, and deep gratitude for the transformation we’ve been privileged to witness.

Looking Back & Moving Forward

Reflecting on our arrival in India almost 12 years ago, I’m struck by how our initial excitement has blossomed into a profound love for the country and its people. We dreamed of creating a social enterprise that would be a catalyst for social, economic, and spiritual transformation — a place where hope thrives, dreams flourish, and entire generations are uplifted. Today, that dream has not only taken root but is flourishing under the leadership of Navjyot and Manju, who continue to nurture our team with a blend of excellence and heartfelt integrity. The Ziyada community’s embrace of the mission, taking ownership with such proficiency, fills us with awe and reassurance that leaving, while difficult, is the right step forward.

Now, from the U.S., I have the privilege of continuing to guide our team remotely, focusing on design and marketing to further our impact. The big dream now is to expand on what we started in India, creating more opportunities for people to escape poverty, realize their dreams, and walk in hope. Change is both exhilarating and daunting — it’s disorienting and humbling, yet filled with joy (and a hint of fear!). Watching capable hands take the wheel back home, we’re reassured yet can’t quite escape the grief of not being together.

Gratitude in the Goodbyes

To the community that has become my family, to the artisans who have shared their lives and dreams with me, I say: this is not goodbye. It’s a new chapter in our shared story, one that we will continue to write together, despite the miles that may lie between us. As my mother always says, “Together or apart, you are always in my heart.”

As we navigate this transition, we’re clinging to the paradox of this season: immense gratitude for all that God has done, tinged with sadness as we leave behind people and a life we’ve loved. We are immensely thankful for each of you who have walked this path with us. Your support has been our strength, and because of you, the Ziyada story is one of flourishing lives and fulfilled dreams.

Thank you for being a part of this journey. Here’s to new beginnings and the enduring spirit of hope! We can’t wait to see how we continue to grow together! 

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3 thoughts on “Embracing Change and Carrying Love Across Oceans


    So beautifully expressed. May God bless you and your family in this new pathway that He has chosen for you.

  2. Emily Harris says:

    Tears in my eyes as I read. Saying goodbye is so hard. And starting new things too. I know massive growth is ahead and this is setting the stage but wow, I can feel it from here. Thank you to your whole team.

  3. Pam Steel says:

    What an incredible journey that continues! I’m so proud to know and support you all. I’m praying the transition for all of you is fruitful and filled with peace and purpose.

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