Blue Door Founder
Abby Fegtly: Founder
My name is Abby Fegtly. I am a junior at the University of Arkansas, currently studying business management and minoring in international business. Honestly, I’m a student because I have to be. I didn’t want to go to college, but I realized I can’t tell the kids how important going to school is if I don’t go myself. When really, is just want to be the founder. I never planned to be the founder of a non-profit. I always wanted to be a nurse. But, God’s plans are always our plans, and I’m a true testament to that. Little did I know that being surrounded by hundreds of African children would be where I found my calling. If you would’ve told my thirteen year old self that today I would be sharing my heart in front of business owner’s, I probably would’ve fallen over. I still get nervous every time I speak, but today I am standing in front of you because I just need help. I know that asking for help is the next step God is asking me to trust and take. So that is why this day has been covered in more prayer than you would ever know.
You might see me standing in front of you thinking my story has been all sweet and easy going but that is far from the truth. At a young age my mom always taught me to serve. I remember being 6 going to the nursing homes, coloring with Mrs. Nancy who was 101 as I steadied her hand as we colored a pumpkin with markers secretly being mad she was coloring on my hand more than the sheet. But my mom always tells me my sweet spot was with the homeless downtown. As she was driving and we came to a stop next thing she knows, I have opened the door, hopped out, and run over to a homeless woman sitting on the corner and later brought her to my mom and my toothless self smiling at her and said “mom, meet my friend peaches.” Who was actually a homeless prostitute but my 6 year old self didn’t really know what “I work at night with men” meant to me but I didn’t care. Serving others was not the focus of my middle school years to say the least. I rebelled, was sent to the principal’s office, defiant to the point where I was almost sent off to boarding school because my parents didn’t know what to do with me. I was tearing my family apart and honestly didn’t care. Until when one night I was sitting by my night light when my mom came in and said to me “Abby, Satan is fighting for your life, what are you going to do about it?” I can’t say things changed automatically but like in stories you would read, that’s where my story changed.
Fast forward to when I was 13 years old. I had always had the desire to go to Africa and luckily my parents let me go. So, I boarded a plane to Kenya and it was the start of my journey. I saw things with my eyes that I thought was only in dreams or movies. That left me honestly completely useless but the one thing I remember so clearly from that trip was how a lot of the kids didn’t have pictures of themselves. So as I left Kenya knowing I would return the next summer, I knew I wanted to take a mobile printer to take all the kids pictures and print them out for them.
Goodness, taking all of their pictures took all day. We used a Blue Door as the background and child after child stood proudly and smiled at me. That night, I was alone in the living room and the founder came downstairs. We began talking and I just looked at her and go, “So, what is your biggest need?” I’ve never shied away from questions but usually a heavy weighted question like that isn’t what a 14 year old would ask. She looked back at me and simply said, “Sponsorship!” Soon after I went up to my bed, got under my mosquito net and began looking through all the pictures from that day and the light bulb went off. My heart began to race, my palms began to sweat like when God is trying to tell you something and that’s how Blue Door was born and got its name because I took the kids pictures against a blue door. Not because I came up with the idea but through realizing kids didn’t know what they looked like, to a mobile printer, through a woman looking at me and saying “sponsorship”, to sitting in my bed underneath a mosquito net flipping through pictures. God had already outlined each little step before I even knew it.
Now imagine the conversation when I came back as a 14 year old and told my parents, I needed to start a sponsorship program because God called me to. Once again, they were so accepting and told me to go where God was leading me. Ever since that night underneath my mosquito net God has walked hand and hand with me bringing me the right mentors, sponsors and supporters to make Blue Door what it is today. Blue Door is all about sharing stories. I always tell people that are mission is to share stories of heartache and suffering from voiceless children with sponsors who can give their support to bring life changing hope.
Because as I started to dive deeper I found true suffering. Imagine myself walking into this tiny slum house that I had to hold on to iron sheets steading my step so I wouldn’t slip into raw sewage just trying to get there. My heart moved as this single mother poured out her heart to me, a complete stranger, about how her husband left her and now she had no idea how she was going to put her kids in school. Her tears became more as you could tell how embarrassed she was to tell me she leaves her 5, 3 and 1 year old at home every day to look after themselves just so she can go look for work. One of the babies started crying and I moved from the seat she gave me onto the dirt floor as I picked up the crying baby and just started rocking her. As a 14 year old I shouldn’t have related to this mother but I felt like God gave me His heart for that instance because as that mother looked at me and I saw all of her pain I knew I needed to find sponsors for her children. Now, they have been in our school for the past 6 years. That was when I realized how important sponsorship was.