One of my favorite people in this world is my friend, Carissa. She is probably the most joyful and exuberant person I know..always leaving some of her joy wherever she goes. I met her through one of my best friends, last year and was quickly drawn to her not only because we quickly became friends, but we also share the same passion: missions. But what’s cool is that Carissa combined her love for missions with another of her passions, hula hooping and started a not-for-profit organization last year called Hoola for Happiness. Carissa calls herself the first “hula hooping missionary” because she takes hoops overseas on missions trips and uses them as a way to meet people and share the Gospel. In the last two years, Hoola for Happiness has taken hoops to over ten countries and multiple cities around the US.
Right now, Carissa is in Haiti working with a few different ministries, putting on hooping performances, playing with kids and sharing the Gospel. Every where she goes, she leaves a hula hoop behind with the local people she has met or with an organization. This trip in Haiti is extra special because it’s the first trip she’s been able to share the new hand-made Gospel “wordless” hoops. Each hoop was handmade with different colors, symbolizing the Gospel story which can be shared with children and adults around the world.Part of this trip also involves exploring the possibility of moving production of the hoops down to Haiti, to provide jobs and training. In missions, it’s important to be leaving people with the help they need, alongside giving them the fruit of life.
Last year, I took hoops to Cambodia and Liberia, representing Hoola for Happiness. It was so exciting to see the reaction on the kids’ and adults’ faces as they came face to face with a hoop for the first time. There was so much joy and laughter as they each tried out the hoop, not realizing how difficult it can be at first. Most of the kids in Liberia picked it up right away, probably due to the fact that they are great dancers! I love being able to work alongside Carissa and seeing her heart and passion for this organization continue to develop. She has a heart not only for the world, but mobilizing those here locally to make an impact in their communities and beyond.
Check out this video below to see some of the adventures Hoola for Happiness has taken around the world this past summer: