In October, I was invited to conferences and churches across the US. Now, I’m on a road trip across the country, aiming to establish new contacts and showcase ZOE HOOP’s jewelry collections.
The flight went smoothly, but upon landing in Dallas, I discovered that my luggage hadn’t arrived. Then, customs seized my carry-on, which had my jewelry. Apparently, regulations had changed since my February visit to Phoenix during the Super Bowl. I only had my business cards, a few boxes of earrings, and some brochures. As I waited in customs, I prayed for guidance and thought of the Swedish American Chamber of Commerce (SACC), which, luckily, had an office in Dallas.
To my surprise, the car rental gave me an upgraded vehicle because they felt sorry for my situation. Grateful but overwhelmed, I headed to a mall to buy clothes, feeling a bit disoriented due to the jet lag and the scorching heat of 37°C (98.6°F).
After shopping, I drove to my Airbnb address but couldn't find the right apartment. After wandering around for about an hour, with a few locals trying to help, a kind individual eventually led me to the right place. Google Maps had misled me, but thankfully, it wasn't a scam. Just the week before, my first Dallas accommodation was canceled, likely due to a fraudulent listing. Thankfully, Airbnb intervened and refunded my money.
On Sunday morning, I was starving. Not having eaten since my flight, I headed to Target for some food and water. A verse from Philippians 2:13 came to mind, which was shared with me by Sophie Johansson in Tulsa before I left: "Rejoice in times of trouble". Challenges can lead to testimonies. I reached out to the SACC and received prompt responses, even on a Sunday. The Honorary Consul in Dallas even contacted me, providing advice on where I could find a broker to help release my jewelry.
As for my missing suitcase, I found out it still hadn't arrived by Sunday. This meant I had to buy something to wear for the Gateway conference starting that evening. I reached out to my family and some friends, asking them to pray for the timely arrival of my bags. It wasn’t until Thursday that I was able to collect my luggage from the airport.
The conference began with a worship service on Sunday evening. It was truly uplifting to sing praises alongside others. Everyone from Gateway Worship was exceptionally skilled, and there was a palpable sense of love and unity in the air. Do check out their latest music on Spotify; my favorite track is “Who Else”.
That Sunday-to-Monday night was tough. Between jet lag and the overwhelming series of events – no jewelry, no clothes, no essentials – I felt isolated in the US. I had to prepare documents for the broker to retrieve my jewelry, but formulating them in English felt daunting. I called home, praying with my husband, and tears flowed. Sleep eluded me. At dawn, I visited Walmart to buy a compatible charger for my laptop – my adapters were in my missing suitcase.
Arriving at Gateway Church, the act of worship and listening to the wonderful Joyce Meyer revived my spirits. Despite the internal chaos, I felt God’s love and knew I was supported by prayers. I’m so grateful for all the encouraging messages I received.
During lunch, I sat in the lobby working on customs documents while munching on a banana. By the afternoon, things began to un lock. I visited the prayer tent on the church premises and prayed with a lovely woman named Carol. As I was leaving, I was handed an envelope containing a prophetic message – it was spot on.
The evening session started with worship led by Martin Smith. We danced and listened to a sermon by Craig Groeschel. On my drive back, blaring worship songs kept me focused and awake, countering the fatigue.
On Tuesday, I had the chance to reconnect with Joakim and Maria Lundkvist, who now reside in the US but whom I'd known in Sweden during my teen years. They invited me to join them in the greenroom after Tony Evans' sermon. There, I had wonderful conversations with various pastors. Below is a picture of me with Elaine Fischer, a pastor at Gateway Church Houston, wearing the "Kingdom" necklace which she's had since last summer.
I also had the privilege of speaking with Priscilla Shirer. She approached me and asked who I was, giving me the opportunity to share my testimony with her. She was moved and asked if she could pray for me. So, we prayed together, and among other things, she prayed for anointing over the jewelry, that it would touch those who wore them. I had an extra pair of 'Fear Not Hoops' in my bag and asked if she would like them? She loved them.
Later that day, she even showcased the earrings on her Instagram story, praising their design. This led to a Dallas local named Cindi discovering the ZOE HOOP website and placing an order for The Blessing earrings.
On Saturday, I had the opportunity to meetAngela Allen, with whom I collaborated to create the 'Eternity’s Shore' necklace. It was a heartfelt reunion. She invited me to her church, Believers International Ministries, the following day.
It was wonderful to attend the service together. I had previously met the pastor at the Super Bowl in Phoenix earlier this year, and he gave me the opportunity to share my testimony. The service was very open and familial, with no set liturgy or sermon. Instead, the pastor prayed for various needs and delivered prophetic messages to us. The congregation responded loudly and joyfully. I had the privilege of praying with a young woman for salvation based on Romans 10:9-10. What a glorious moment. What joy! I gave her the silver Great Plan bangle I was wearing as a reminder that her future is bright. We concluded the 4.5-hour-long service by partaking in communion, collecting offerings, and welcoming new members into the congregation.
Once I finally retrieved my hand luggage containing the jewelry from customs a week later, I visited Cindi Weber's home to personally deliver 'The Blessing' earrings to her. It turned out she intended to gift them to her daughter as a graduation present. I was present when she handed the jewelry to her daughter, sharing that she had been praying The Blessing and playing the song over her daughter for the past year. It was a profoundly touching moment for both her daughter and me. We had the opportunity to pray together. I briefly introduced myself and explained how I came to work with jewelry.
Cindi had many ideas about people she wanted me to meet. The very next evening, we accompanied her friend Annabell Hoffman to a party in downtown Dallas. We had a delightful evening getting to know each other, which we concluded with dinner at a Mexican restaurant in the same neighborhood. I'm excited to see what opportunities might arise from their kindness.
Feel free to follow our journey on our social media platforms, where I post updates from the trip.
ZOE HOOP on Facebook: facebook.com/zoehoopjewelry
ZOE HOOP on Instagram: instagram.com/zoehoopjewelry
Meet the artist whose life story, filled with hope and a fight for equal rights, illustrates that ZOE HOOP's jewelry does more than just complement a style, it carries greater messages.
The second part of my road trip in the USA during the fall of 2023. Read about all the big and small experiences during the journey.