Jeff: You and your husband are involved with New Reality International. Tell me about this nonprofit.
Laila: We founded New Reality International back in 2007. Before that time I was deciding what I wanted to do with my life and I was really focused on being what the world would call “successful.” I was living in Southern California and I wanted to be an entertainment contract lawyer in Hollywood, make a lot of money and live in Malibu. I had a powerful encounter with Jesus at that time, during my college years, and became a new person. God really started leading me in a completely different direction, and as I sought Him and really began to devour His word in scripture everything changed. I started to read the words He spoke and to take them literally. I felt like He was speaking powerfully to me that He wasn’t saying these things for people to contemplate as some abstract spiritual principles but He actually meant what He said when He told us to care for the homeless, the poor, to give water to the thirsty, to fight for the oppressed and to release the captives.
He wasn’t just saying that for people to have a nice spiritual idea to ponder, but he really actually meant it. So I took that and asked God, “What do you want me to do?” He led me to found New Reality International. We began doing medical and dental outreach, because as most Adventist young people do, I had a lot of friends in the healthcare professions. We gathered a group of friends with the same heart, and we started going out and doing outreach projects around the world to the poorest of the poor, looking for the most vulnerable, those suffering from extreme poverty without any help.