Women & Work
Work Done Well: Katrina Huguley
Life Beads Sales Manager
Katrina grew up in Demopolis, Alabama. She graduated with honors from Demopolis High School and then attended the University of West Alabama where she earned a Bachelors of Science degree in Business Administration. Katrina worked as a licensed real estate agent and Broker’s assistant until she married her husband Brad in 2007 and moved to his hometown of West Point, GA. Katrina and Brad now have three children, Frank, Kate, and Hannah.
Katrina is a member of Valley Baptist Church in Valley, AL where she serves in the youth and children’s program. She also serves on the board of the Christian Service Center and several committees at Springwood School, both in Lanett, AL.
In 2019, Brad and Katrina took their first international mission trip to Gulu, Uganda with Four Corners Ministries and returned again in 2020 and 2022. They fell in love with the Acholi people and the work that God was accomplishing in the area. God specifically grew a passion in Katrina’s heart for the Life Beads ladies’ ministry. After many months of volunteering with the ministry, Katrina accepted the position of Life Beads Sales Manager for the ministry.
Katrina, it is a delight to have you featured on our Work Done Well Blog. Please share with us a little bit about yourself and the ministry Life Beads that you work for.
Hello! Thank you so much for having me! It is an honor.
I have been married to my incredible husband, Brad, for 15 years. We have three kids: 2 biological (Frank, 12 and Kate, 10) and 1 adopted from China (Hannah, 7). I was born and raised in Demopolis, AL. After getting married, Brad and I moved to his hometown of West Point, GA which basically sits on the AL/GA line. We are members of Valley Baptist Church in Valley, AL where my husband also serves as a lay pastor.
Back in 2018, a friend of ours attended a Four Corners Ministries banquet. He immediately reported back to us that he was going to Africa on a mission trip, and we were going to join him! Little did I know, that would be the beginning to a life changing chapter of our lives. We joined that mission trip to Uganda a few months later in January 2019, then again in January 2020. Brad was able to preach alongside some godly men in gospel clarity conferences within the South Sudanese refugee camps near the South Sudan/Ugandan border. Brad and I both were so moved by Four Corners and the work they’re accomplishing for the glory of God in northern Uganda, that we were willing to help any way possible.
Four Corners Ministries is based out of Opelika, AL. It is a Biblically-focused, Christ-centered, gospel-driven, mission organization. They send long-term missionaries and short-term teams to Uganda and South Sudan. Four Corners Ministries exists to communicate and demonstrate the gospel to hard-to-reach people groups. Their ministry includes an extensive pastor training program, women’s refuge center, Living Stones Christian School, and the Life Beads Program.
Life Beads was established in 2012 to empower women and improve their lives and community. Through the creation of jewelry, these women are given the opportunity for sustainable living to provide for their families while being biblically discipled by one of their missionaries, Mallory Corbin. Each piece of jewelry is unique and handmade by Ugandan artists. Every woman who crafts Life Beads earns a consistent monthly income, enabling them to send their children to school, provide food and a home for their families, and pay for healthcare when necessary.
Mallory is uniquely talented in designing jewelry and training these ladies to make each piece. She lives alongside these ladies on Four Corners’ property in Gulu called Abaana’s Hope. Each piece of jewelry is handcrafted out of paper beads. The paper is cut into very precise strips, rolled around a bicycle spoke, strung, dipped in a protective glue, and hung to dry. Each bead is then carefully assembled into these beautiful jewelry designs. Once the jewelry is made, it is packaged, and shipped to sell here in the United States.
How did you come to recognize the gifts that God has given you and learn to leverage those gifts for the kingdom of God and for his glory? How do you seek to represent Christ and image him?
After our 2020 trip, I began volunteering to help sell Life Beads from time to time and began to recognize the accumulating inventory stateside. I knew it was vitally important for this jewelry to continue to be produced in Uganda since that was when the ladies had the opportunity to be exposed to the gospel of Jesus Christ. God simultaneously allowed me to recognize my developing enjoyment for the business side of the ministry. Friends were affirming gifts they saw in me and how those gifts could be used to help the Life Beads ministry. With a Business Administration degree from the University of West Alabama, I finally saw an opportunity to combine my education and ministry efforts for the Lord!
For years, I felt useless in the Kingdom of God at times because I didn’t have the gifts of teaching that I witnessed in so many others. Friends would consistently remind me of the body of Christ and how we all are given different talents that work together for the glory of God. I eventually began to see how God could use the things that I enjoyed doing in business to help this ministry sell more jewelry which in turn would lead to more discipleship of more women in northern Uganda. God is so gracious to me to allow me to serve Him in this way.
We developed a program called Life Beads Partners that allowed Christian women all over the country to sell this jewelry to their markets. These Partners would represent Christ to their surrounding markets while selling Life Beads and increasing recognition of the Four Corners ministry as a whole!
When you decided to start working for Life Beads, you left a job of 13 years, as well as the benefits that came with that work. Since then, how have you seen God be faithful in your life and the work that he’s called you to?
This is the hardest part of working for a ministry, talking about the compensation aspect. I had been working in the same job for 13 years doing some accounting work from home for a local sewing machine company. I primarily worked to provide a health insurance option for my family, and I was convinced that was God’s calling for my career. My husband is a realtor, independently employed, therefore without company insurance benefits.
Taking this new position within a ministry would leave us somewhat vulnerable in finding affordable insurance due to preexisting conditions. I have BRCA1+ which greatly increases my risk of breast and ovarian cancer. Within the last 15 years, I have had a prophylactic double mastectomy, reconstruction, and a prophylactic hysterectomy. My adopted daughter, Hannah, was born in China with congenital heart disease. She had 2 open heart surgeries before the age of 4. We are an insurance nightmare, truly. But, God! He provided a way for us to get insurance that covers all our needs, and He has provided means to cover that expense, every single month!
What are some of the joys and challenges you have experienced working for Life Beads and how have you seen God at work around you despite them?
The main challenge has been learning to adjust our family logistics to a mom that now works sometimes 40 hours a week versus previously working a fraction of that time! Some things have had to be sacrificed in this transition, but my husband and 3 kids have been so supportive. They understand that this is ministry and ministry often requires sacrifice. From everyone. So, laundry may not be done. I may not be able to volunteer for, or even attend, all the school functions like before. Dinner may not be homemade, let alone always healthy. Admittedly, there are days when I wonder if I’m making them sacrifice too much. But usually that’s when God in His grace and mercy, allows me to hear a story of one of my kids sharing about Mommy’s job at school. Being able to hear the way they describe my job to others when I’m not around is sometimes comical, but mostly reassuring to hear that they “get it”. They understand that this life is so much more than the perfect “American dream” that we grow up imagining is the picture of success. No, life is messy, busy, and a whirlwind. We only get one shot on this earth, and we want to pour ourselves out as an offering to the Lord. We are here to glorify Him and Him alone. We are here to make disciples, and right now, this is one of the ways He’s using me to do that: selling jewelry so that disciples can be made in Gulu, Uganda. That is worth the hot mess of a life I feel like we live in 90% of the time!
Through taking this job, God has allowed me to develop friendships with our Stateside LifeBeads Director, Dana Bowden (Waco, TX) who runs our website and all the behind-the-scenes POS work and Mallory Corbin, who I mentioned before, our Ugandan LifeBeads Director. The 3 of us have worked together on a daily basis for over a year and they’ve become great friends of mine!
Over the last year, God has allowed us to witness the growth of the Life Beads Ministry. We started the program at the end of 2019 with only 5 Life Bead Partners and now we currently have 25 Partners. These Partners have done such an incredible job in helping us move this jewelry that we’ve now had to increase production and hire 6 more Life Bead ladies in Abaana’s Hope. Seeing the fruit of the hard labor, all from the hands of the Lord, is so encouraging!
As a mom, a wife, and a sales manager how do you create a healthy work life balance for yourself and your family?
We have had to make some adjustments as time has gone on and the scope of my job has changed from what we initially envisioned. I started working outside the home at the Four Corners offices/Life Beads storefront, but quickly realized that was not what was best for our family. On a daily basis, I was getting to work at 8:30am and returning home at 6:00pm or after. Without routine childcare, my husband and I were having to juggle work schedules, kids’ activities, kids’ homework, dinner, household duties, church responsibilities, etc. We wouldn’t have made it without the help of his parents! Truly! Finally, we admitted something had to be adjusted. So, we converted my upstairs laundry room to a small office and I brought all the extra Life Beads inventory home with me! I now manage Life Beads Partners and my responsibilities from home where I can still pick them up from school, call out spelling words, break up arguments, start dinner, all while stepping over piles and piles of beads! Since I moved my office home last April, things have been much more manageable. I even get the kids to join in helping me pack Partner jewelry shipments, stamp bags, organize jewelry, etc!
I know adjustments like this aren’t always possible for working mamas outside the home. I am very thankful and recognize the ability to make that adjustment was a blessing from the Lord. I don’t know how so many women juggle a 40+ hour work week outside the home, plus their family responsibilities! You go, mamas!
Lastly, how can we follow the good work that Life Beads and Four Corners is doing and purchase some of the beautiful jewelry you all are showcasing?
You can visit us online at www.lifebeadsjewelry.com, follow us on Facebook and/or Instagram, contact a Life Beads Partner, shop our storefront in downtown Opelika, AL, shop our booth in Maker and Merchant in the Auburn, AL mall and/or Lagrange, GA mall. You can learn about Four Corners Ministries as a whole online at www.fourcorners.org.
Work Done Well: Joanna Dennstaedt Joanna Dennstaedt Executive Director of Radiant Hope Connect with Joanna Dennstaedt Instagram Facebook Link Joanna is the founder and Executive