Letter from Crystal

Gaining gratitude from perspective

Recently I heard someone say, “You gain gratitude from perspective” this led me down a rabbit trail of thoughts. You see, when I was ten years old I acted like a spoiled and entitled child. I complained about many things and particularly the fact that I didn't have my own room. I had a classic middle-child dilemma, nothing was fair and the world was against me. Then, one night as I laid in bed, I thought deeply about how selfish I was and how children all over the world did not have the things I had. I had an abundance of stuff, a safe room, an education, and plenty to eat; while, people all over the world had nothing, no food, no education, and no opportunities. Right there in my twin metal bed with mermaid sheets and my little sister sleeping right next to me, I felt my heart break. In my sorrow something rose up within me. I felt so deeply for the hurting in this world. In that moment I realized just how selfish and ungrateful I was. God had given me perspective.

That perspective opened my eyes and allowed me to see all the things I had taken for granted. I developed a sincere gratitude in my heart. And that gratitude grew and eventually led me to my purpose. It led me to care for the hurting, to stand in the gap for the marginalized and exploited of society, to make a difference in the lives of others, and to move forward with courage and kindness for those who need it most.

This year I founded an organization called All of Us Matter. It is the first step on a journey to see those who suffer from the atrocity of human trafficking set free. Our organization raises awareness on this issue right at the place where we have life’s most important conversations, our kitchen tables. Starting this organization made me realize what is possible with good friends, a little creativity, and some really big dreams.

We are just getting started and to say it is a growing experience is an understatement. Every bit of it has grown my character, faith, and friendships more than I could have ever anticipated. It has stretched me, and pulled me, and sometimes left me wanting to give up. But along the way I realized that the cause is bigger than me, and much, much, bigger than any obstacle that stands in our way. I realized that I no matter how difficult, no matter how hard, I would keep moving forward, I would never give up. Moving forward means there is hope for the hopeless. Not that I have to push the organization forward, but that the cause so big that it pulls the organization forward. I will be faithful with this ministry that God placed on my heart.

All of Us Matter started with art. We believed that by placing inspirational art on coffee and tea cups we could reach people, and we could reach them in their homes, at open tables. The table is the very place where we all talk about life. What better place to bring the issue of human trafficking? The reason we use beautiful art to tell this story is because we are a Christian organization and our guiding scripture is:

“...bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair” - Isaiah 61:3 NIV

This scripture reminds us that God can restore what was lost and make all things new. We want people to leave these conversations with a sense of what human trafficking is, who is affected by it, and feel empowered that they can do something about it.

My heart for All of Us Matter is that in these safe places, we flourish. Let us be faithful in the small. Let us have conversations about what is important. Let us be intentional with our words and our actions. Coffee and tea are international symbols of hospitality, friendship and comfort for people all over the world. Let us use this renown gesture of good will to help us think and speak about what matters in the lives of others. Let us do our part.

My hope is that you would invite All of Us Matter into your home and use our cups to help start a movement. Each cup celebrates art and beauty from cultures across the world, while also carrying a message of hope. All of Us Matter does not make any money off the cups we sell because we are a social business. That means we donate all the profits directly to the cause. My hope is that one day we work ourselves out of a job. That there will be no more slaves to set free in our world. That we can stand on a mountain and cry human trafficking is no more. But until then, we need your help. My prayer is that you will join us in our vision to set people free. People are not a commodity to be bought and sold; they are precious, created in the image of God, and fearfully and wonderfully made. Let us set them free.

Crystal, Founder and Visionary at All of Us Matter


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Crystal Russell