We have officially wrapped up our Fall and Christmas season–it was a great one! We wanted to say thanks for your support and that we look forward to seeing you next year! For this season, we want to leave you with these thoughts: Excerpt from Ann Voskamp’s book, “The Greatest Gift”: “Mordecai–he was in sackcloth outside the palace gate. He sent word to his niece, chosen queen to the king, to never forget the plight of those collected on the other side of the gate: ‘Don’t think for a moment that because you’re in the palace you will escape when all other Jews are killed. If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance and relief for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die.’ It comes like a whisper from those outside the gate: You’ve got to use the life you’ve been given to give others life. You’ve got gifts that weren’t given to line your life with; they were given to be a lifeline to others–or you lose your life. It comes like an echo from God: if your gifts don’t give relief, you don’t get real life. What does… Read More »
India 2016–Part 3 of 3 Her jaw is set as she looks out across the field onto the small village in the rural region of Murshidibad in eastern India. “M” is a small woman, no more than 5 feet tall with her dark hair pulled up into a tight bun and her petite frame wrapped in a golden sari. But her strength of character, her unwavering vision are towering. “There was a family in this village,” M says, “very poor, very hungry. With small children. But now they are gone. The villagers say they went to the big city. We are almost certain they were trafficked-they had no money for food let alone a train ticket. But we cannot know where they are now. This is why were are here.” As her words pour out, M’s eyes bore into all of the Westerners who surround her. She is unflinching. “Freeset needs to create 10,000 jobs in Murshidabad and then 10,000 jobs in Nepal and Bangladesh. We need to sell more so that more women can have freedom.” M is a woman of vision. 17 years after being rescued from a life of prostitution in Kolkata, she now works tirelessly to… Read More »
India-Part 2 of 3 Eight flights of stairs took us to the top of our building. Walled. Private. Above the crowds, seeing the city from a broader perspective. On the streets, necessity required us to stay focused. Watch our every step to avoid garage, potholes, dogs, people, feces. Be on guard against the unfamiliar,the crowds, the harried traffic, the leering eyes. But up here there was space and freedom to lean against the cement wall and leisurely just look. From one viewpoint we watched the countless vehicles; taxis, trucks, mopeds, buses, bicycles ,tuk-Tuks. Watched as the many vied for the few lanes, crowding, swerving, weaving in and out. Rarely colliding and Always, Always honking. Raising our eyes from the streets, the horizon was filled with buildings. As far as the eyes could see, tall dilapidated buildings crowded together. Holding each other up, as if one fell, the whole city would come crumbling down. And then there was the other view. The view we always came back to. The view we could see only from this top floor. The view of the pink and yellow buildings that were part of the District. The Red Light District where thousands of women lived… Read More »
India–Part 1 of 3 From hearing of crushing family betrayal to the family of God restoring, seeing the devastation wreaked by freedom stealers and the healing of freedom fighters, from being a witness to trust shattered to the promise of hope renewed; much of our experience in India was filled with contrasts. By far, our favorite contrast was seeing that which was broken and cast away, recreated into something beautiful. This beautiful picture was symbolic of the women, as they work to restore and rebuild their lives. Join us as we share with you our experience in India.
We have prayed for almost 2 years for the Lord to open another trip to visit some of our partners. We prayed over China, thinking that was it. On the very day that we spent time in prayer, the three of us together, the Lord very firmly closed it with our contact letting us know it was not the right time. We prayed over Jordan and then the bombings started. We knew we were to go—but where was the Lord leading? In January, the door opened to go to India. The timing was short for preparation; but we already know the Lord is at work. Join us in prayer as we leave on March 11, 2016 to meet two of our partner groups in Kolkata. We will be posting updates and pictures on facebook as we travel.
I had the opportunity to participate in a favorite activity this weekend–camping. I love being surrounded by nature, cooking over a fire and getting “away from it all.” Throughout the weekend, I couldn’t help but compare the daily lives of women around the world with what was my time of recreation. Here are a few of my observations from the weekend: Firewood was easy to find. If it wasn’t–I could go buy it. If I failed in my fire-starting techniques, I had a gas stove to rely on. No worries there. I had a ready water supply. I never once thought about the amount I was using, where I would get more or how far I would have to walk to get it. I wasn’t even really concerned about the quality of the water–it was good, filtered water. If I was really concerned, I could go buy it bottled from that handy convenience store on the corner. The mosquitoes plagued me–but I never once thought about malaria, yellow fever or other diseases. I just sprayed on more natural, deet-free repellent. Did I mention that store in case I ran out of said repellent? I had a feast for food. I… Read More »
We are grateful to each and every one of you who have helped to make this possible! Thanks for your continued support and care for those who are in such desperate places!
Ever wonder how some of our scarves are made?? These pictures are from an impoverished village in Northeast Thailand. The sale of these scarves enable women to stay within her village while providing for the basic needs of her family. We were thrilled to see the process of how they are crafted and wanted to share it with you! If you are interested in purchasing one of these scarves, please contact us at: [email protected] Pretty amazing, don’t you think?
There has been a lot of counting at Mercy Market recently. We’re in the midst of year-end inventory and every single item, large or small, gets accounted for. While always a joy to work with Mercy Market, sheer volume of product can cause blurred vision and numbers distorting into unfamiliar shapes. Counting has been on my mind in another area. Our partner organization, Remember Nhu, said in a recent email, “There are 27 million people enslaved today with 80% of them being women and children. 1.2 million children are sold every year—that’s one every 20 seconds.” That’s 3 children per minute, 180 per hour, 4,320 per day. These numbers truly make my head swim and heart ache. One thought in the midst of these wrenching numbers that keeps me grounded is that God sees. He sees and knows and never once loses track. He knows the number of hairs on their head, He keeps their tears in a bottle and has them engraved on the palm of His hand. He cares. And we are His hands and feet to fight for comfort, relief and hope in a world that is hurting. Will you join us in an effort come alongside… Read More »
I didn’t intend to…. When I set up a table at that one craft fair in October, 2008, I didn’t intend that to be the first of over two hundred similar events. When I ordered potholders from Laos and doilies from Kosovo, I didn’t intend to purchase thousands of other products during the next five years. When I put that first $349.00 in the bank, I didn’t intend to keep making deposits, that would total over $50,000.00. When I asked God what He wanted me to do about the poor and needy, I didn’t intend to start a small business. I didn’t intend to turn a guest room into a stockroom, volunteer countless hours, learn about loss and profit, year- end inventories and the complexities of international business. I didn’t intend to form a team, create a logo, develop guiding principles, establish an online presence. I didn’t intend to partner with 27 organizations in 14 countries and travel halfway around the world to meet some of them. I only intended to do one thing. 5 years ago I asked God the question: What do you want me to do about Your concern for the poor and needy? And the only… Read More »