Friday, December 17, 2010

Hands for Hope

Here's one of things that has been keeping me busy. A few months ago I went to a Sara Groves concert. She is a huge advocate for women and the concert was a benefit to raise money to help stop sex trafficking. A local non-profit called 1040 connections made a presentation to help raise awareness and funds to help these girls being trafficked from Nepal into India. They are doing an amazingly powerful work to rescue these women and girls from the the bondage of life as a sex slave. We all know it happens. No one wants to think about it. But seeing their faces and hearing their stories was heart-breaking to say the least. Since seeing the presentation I was incredibly compelled and could not just shake off the stories of these women. What does Christ want of us in the midst of such suffering? I came home that night blessed but also deeply sorrowed.This burden compounded after reading the book Half the Sky. Again, the book told of horrific things that these precious girls are suffering. I shared this experience with the women's group I've met with for the last several years and one thing led to another. We've talked before about how difficult it can be at our stage of life, having little ones to find the freedom and time to be involved heavily in ministry. We started thinking about something more we could do than just pray.
The people at 1040 set up stop points along the border with the support of local law enforcement. Then they separate the women from the men in the car, they compare their stories and offer the women a way out if they want it. The women who would have been trafficked are taken to rescue homes and taught various trades such as tailoring to prepare them to have sustainable income; something that simple, saving hundreds of lives.
So what could we do? God turned our hearts collectively toward this effort and we decided to pool our gifts and work with 10/40 to be Christ to these women in whatever way we could. I happened to be in a group with some really creative and talented women. We sewed, knitted, and made whatever we knew how, to donate the earnings to help these women, thus our name Hands for Hope. Two weekends ago we set up at a local 24-hour holiday festival. We had original print cards, handmade books, beautiful soaps, headbands, doll quilts, baby slings, aprons as well as jewelery and art from other local artists who donated. After a day spent in a cold off-and-on drizzle, I was thrilled with how much was earned and how interested people were in our cause. Even something this small God can use for his purposes just like he used the widow's mite. It bonded us together, all of us thankful to be able to use our hands to help these sisters across the globe.

We still have quite a bit left and I'm hoping to find more places to sell and set up some type of online shop. Some of what we have left are ring slings like the one pictured below in a linen color. They are suitable for infants through toddlers.

We also have cards, handmade journals, and the last one of these adorable pixie baby hats in a soft pink 0-6 months. Below is my little gnome modeling hers last year.

We also have framed photos and these knit headbands.
I'll keep you posted about online purchasing, but if you see something you like, just message me. Fair trade gifts make Christmas shopping so much easier. I love to give gifts but I also like to know where my money is going. For the last few years I've been a part of Mocha Club and they launched a new initiative called fashionABLE selling these beautiful scarves, directly benefiting exploited women in Africa who made them. Here is another great idea that a few on my gift list will be receiving this year. Thanks, Christine.
Take a few minutes to see more of what they're doing.