More than 18 million Americans make their living from home through direct sales, and many of them are right here in East Texas. Direct selling involves a variety of products such as cookware, makeup, energy or vitamins. While some do it for the flexibility and work-life balance, others have found it has afforded them the opportunity to help others. That has been the case for Sarah and Phil Robbins.
Life today for the Robbins family is much different than it was just seven years ago.
"I was a shy kindergarten teacher living in Michigan, and when the economy took a turn for the worse I was facing the loss of my job, so I had to look for extra income," Sarah Robbins said.
Sarah found herself in direct sales as a consultant for Rodan and Fields, a skin care line in the U.S., Canada and Australia.
"It was really just to support our family, and the rest has just blessed us beyond our wildest dreams," she said.
Within five years, at just 29 years old, she was earning a seven-figure salary. As a result, Phil got out of the construction business and partnered with his wife in Rodan and Fields.
"Sometimes our obedience in a situation can lead to other people's destinies being impacted," Phil Robbins said. "We knew we wanted to change lives, but had no idea to what capacity."
Today, Sarah is in the top 1 percent income bracket of all women in America, and is one of the world's leading network marketing consultants.
"And now we are able to give more in a month than we made in an entire year to kids and projects that we are passionate about," Sarah said, with a warm smile.
One of those projects evolved while the Robbins family was on a visit to India. It turned out to be a life-changing trip for this couple.
"It is an attack on your senses," Sarah Robbins said. "You would never even imagine the sites, the smells and the sounds. It's almost hard to describe seeing children that are not clothed, running around picking up dirty apple cores and just literally eating from the trash."
They were astonished at the numbers - 20 million orphans in India. They consider their business a marketplace ministry and wanted to help.
Their next trip to India would be much different. Through their success with their jobs and relying on their faith, Sarah and Phil opened an orphanage for 100 boys called the Angel House.
"When we opened the doors, the children were screaming and crying and ran to their brand-new bunk beds," Sarah Robbins said. "They had never slept in a bed before, never had sheets or a pillow - things we take for granted."
Sarah and Phil said what they are doing doesn't just change a child's life, it changes an entire community. They also are building water wells, churches and playgrounds. Their next mission is to build schools to give the children an education.
Next month, the Robbins family will open a second orphanage in India for girls.
This giving couple is expecting their first baby in about a month, but after this experience with orphans, they say growing their family will now include adoption.
"We want a full house of laughter and joy and just to be able to raise up a really solid generation of leaders through the resources that we now have," Sarah Robbins said. "And who knows from what country or from where these children will come?"
To hear more about Sarah and Phil Robbins' story, join Gillian Sheridan for her Children are a Gift report, Tuesday night on CBS 19 News at 10, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.