Friday, May 23, 2014

Tabby's

In India, many women are stuck in a cycle of poverty, corruption, and lack of education.
Often, financial gain is offered only through questionable or illegal avenues which result in personal ruin and the collapse of community.
Traditional skills and crafts are typically neglected, and often lost, because they are not viable enough to provide adequate income and long term sustainability.

At Mavuno Market, we seek out artisans and artisan groups that are seeking to train women in a viable trade that provides an adequate income.  As much as is possible, we also seek out groups where spiritual discipleship is also a piece of the vision.

Tabby's is a small center that aligns with our vision.
12 women.
All widowed HIV victims.
They have found community as they come regularly to receive medical treatment.

Due to social stigmas and misunderstanding of how HIV is transmitted, people in India with HIV are often rejected by their families and communities.  Because of their condition, they have no hope of finding work that will provide enough money for their family.

A missionary family, Tim and Kari Hewett, along with their 4 kids, had a vision to give these women a solution to their plight.
In March 2013, Tabby's was established.

The name Tabby comes from the story in Acts 9, which tells the story of Tabitha, a woman who was full of "good works and acts of charity", became ill and died.  Through prayer, Peter brought her back to life.

Tabby's is not only an HIV treatment center, but is also an artisan training center.
Discipleship is a large piece of the vision.  
A daily Bible study challenges these women in their faith.





Ruby, who once worked at Lydia, and was trained by Melanie, left to become a trainer at Tabby's.
She has a gift and is a remarkable seamstress.
Now, she has 11 ladies with whom she is working.
In addition to receiving more pay and finding more rewarding work,
Ruby has also found a fellowship of sisters.

Ruby is in the back
Solomon finds used silk saris from which they make
infinity scarves
elephant patchwork silk zip bags
elephants
and ornamental elephants




It was a joy to finally meet Ruby, of whom I'd heard much about.
I was thrilled to find a new program from which to buy quality products.

I love that at Tabby's, these widowed ladies are receiving medical treatment, spiritual discipleship, and training in a trade which gives them an opportunity to care for their children.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Hopelessness


I was only 17 when we took a family vacation to Europe.
Six countries in three weeks.
God used that trip to put a burning passion in my heart for missions and the world.

I went on my first missions trip to Mexico when I was 18.
We mixed concrete and helped build a church.

At only 20, I lived in Israel for 5 months.
My 20s would find me serving with Youth With a Mission.
In 6 years of ministry with YWAM, I would travel to 10 countries.

Then, during our time with Campus Crusade, in my late 20s, Steve and I would travel to Romania and Italy.

For 9 years, God was growing our family.  I was pregnant, nursing babies, changing diapers and adjusting to my new life as a mom.

As my kids have gotten older, I have been able to do some traveling again.  In the last 2 years, I have been to Rwanda, Tanzania, Haiti, and India.

In all my years of missions work and traveling to 22 countries on 4 continents,
I have never seen hopelessness quite like I witnessed in India.

Reincarnation is the basic belief of Hinduism.
The worship of 330 million deities makes life pretty rough when one knows that they are expected to keep the deities happy!
And the deities need to be happy IF one wants their next life to be a better one.



Hopelessness stems from the Hindu faith system, which keeps the entire nation of India under intense oppression.  How does this faith system oppress?

Last year, in Classical Conversations Cycle 1, we learned a history sentence that goes like this, "Hinduism.  Founded around 1500 BC, teaches Brahmin is the one great spirit, and that people are divided into castes."

3,500 years ago, the caste system was established.  94% of all Hindu people live in India.  That makes India, and it's Hindu people, extremely established in their faith system.


There are four primary castes: Brahmin, the priests; Kshatriya, warriors and nobility; Vaisya, farmers, traders and artisans; and Shudra, tenant farmers and servants.  Then there are people were born outside of (and below) the caste system. They are called "untouchables" or Dalit.  
Untouchables are considered so impure that any contact with them by an upper caste member would contaminate that person.  The upper caste person would have to bathe and wash his or her clothing immediately.  Untouchables could not even eat in the same room as caste members.  They are expected to do work that no one else will do, like cleaning up human feces, scavenging animal carcasses, leather-work, or killing rats and other pests. 
When the British Raj began to take power in India in 1757, they exploited the caste system as a means of social control.  This is still seen today.  The government still oppresses the lower caste.  Yes, there are "laws" in place that forbid such control, but naturally, these laws are not enforced.


The caste system makes it so that the Dalits cannot worship at their own temple, because they are untouchable.  Because Dalits are uneducated, they cannot find good paying jobs, if they are able to find a job at all.  When faced with hardship, they find themselves in need of money, going into debt to someone of a higher caste.  When this debt cannot be repaid, they are forced to work in construction, receiving very little pay, which keeps them in debt.  This debt will be passed on to their children and their children.




The feeling of hopelessness abounds in India.  There are indeed sparks of hope.  
It is most certainly a nation that needs to be bathed in our prayers.
The gospel truth and the knowledge that every person is created in the image of God, and in need of the redeeming grace and forgiveness of Jesus Christ is the only thing that can bring about true hope!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Can you swing me?


When I was in India, Steve sent emails with direct quotes from the kids.
Here's what Liberty said ...
Liberty - i miss you i love you.. i.... can you swing me when you get home.  i want you to play candy land with me when I'm done.  and thats all. 

Can you swing me?
She asks me this question nearly every day.

Pushing her on the swing forces me to slow down and enjoy the moment.
It forces me to enjoy having little ones at home.
Little ones who cannot yet swing themselves but still need me.

It's so easy to get caught up with the busyness of life.
School takes so much time and energy, taking me away from simple things like pushing Liberty.
Mavuno Market is all consuming.

So, it's good for me to stop.
To just stand for a moment and push my little ones.




Saturday, May 17, 2014

Going Nowhere Fast

Today, I am grieving.
I should be rejoicing, but discouragement has set in.

We just finished our Mavuno Market board meeting.
I love the people who have rallied themselves around us.

Michell Lemke, a long lost YWAM friend, who I reconnected with in Colorado.
She is a gem.  She jumped on our board eagerly.
She has helped with events, the retreat, baking, and serving.
She drives to my house every quarter for our meetings.
She's never late and she's never missed a meeting.
She gives her opinion and encouragement.
She is a gift.

Kneil and Jodi Novak, friends from our Campus Crusade days.
They also moved away from Colorado in 2006, and came back in 2011.
They are dear friends.
Jodi has battled cancer, and won!  They now have 2 beautiful girls!
Jodi just did a fundraiser with us, to help our vision, and raise funds for Duke, where she continues to receive treatment, and where they fight against cancer!
I'm thankful to have them in our lives, if even for only a short time.

Then, there's my precious family.
My dad, the lawyer.
My mom, the accountant.
My sister, the encouraging servant.
I am so thankful we moved back to Colorado.
Having their support and help has been critical.

And of course, there's me and Steve.
Mavuno Market was the original vision of Steve's.
But it has been built on my back.
I pour my life and soul in to this organization.
I am convinced it's a gift from God and a vision that is worthy of my sacrifice.

I know that comparing myself or MM to another person or organization may not be good.
But I also know that I can learn from others who have gone before me.
There's a certain organization that I follow.
Their vision and their work is different than ours.
But I know I can learn much from them.

At our board meeting, we discussed our fall fundraiser.
Last year, we had 70 people attend, but only raised $3,000.
This organization just had their fundraiser with 350 attendees and raised $80,000.
They are only 5 years old, yet every year, they lead 8 trips to Ethiopia, with 240 people.
I am amazed by what they do.  I'm inspired.

It is directed by a wife and mom.
Her husband works full time.
She takes multiple trips to Ethiopia, leading teams.
He often goes with her, but certainly not always.

I am grieving today because I have no idea how to grow MM.
I don't even know where to begin.
Back in our Campus Crusade days, Steve was the fundraiser /salesman.
With the start of this organization, I hoped that he would charge ahead with fundraising.
But he has next to no interest in doing so.
He's full of all kinds of business ideas, but none that are for the growth of MM.

I can't do this alone!
I am not receiving a salary.
I don't have any money to hire someone else to work for me.
I don't know where to go from here.
How do I change the fact that we are going nowhere fast?

Friday, May 16, 2014

Awana

Bitter sweet.
The end of another year.
Awana awards night.
This is the only year that we will have all 4 kids in a different level.

Liberty is in Cubbies.
Sawyer is in Sparks.
Landon is in T&T.
Shiloh is in Challenge.

They all did exceptionally well.
Sawyer finished his book and extra cards a month before the end of the year.
Both Shiloh and Landon finished their entire book, including silver and gold.

More than I celebrate the end of another great year, I celebrate all the scripture they have memorized.  I hope and pray that all that they have put in their minds will take root in their hearts.  I pray that it will transform who they are and how they behave.  I pray that the love of Jesus will ruin them.  I want to see their faith lead them into places that only God can receive the glory.





Thursday, May 15, 2014

My Choices


Visiting My Choices was a highlight from our trip.
We took a short bus ride down the hill to the workshop.
It is right in the middle of a historical site, the Golkonda Fort, which was built in 1671.





After being asked to leave OM, Melanie was ready to leave India.
She was exhausted and discouraged.
But God told her to stay and in her staying He would bring her healing.
In her obedience, God has brought blessing.
He is using her life to leave behind a legacy in India.




After a time, she met Elca Grobler, the founder of My Choices.
In 2011, Elca and her husband, with 3 young children, moved to India from Australia.
Elca spent over a year meeting with Indian women, asking them about their needs.

After discovering that most struggle with domestic abuse, she set out to help women live a life free from abuse.  She established PeaceMakers as a way to train women to counsel and reconcile families suffering from domestic violence.  PeaceMakers assist women to access their rights and protections under the Domestic Violence Act.

They also work in partnership with an organization called Breakthrough and their commercials "Ring the Bell" which show all over the country in Hindi.  At the end of the commercial, My Choices has their contact info, hoping that women will reach out and ask for help.  You can watch a 1 minute commercial here.


In addition to the healing and reconciliation they strive to bring to families through their counseling program, they also offer women hope through job creation.
That's where Melanie comes in.
She is the head of product design and development.
Her vision is to see women build self-sustaining businesses using local skills and materials.
She has already trained 18 Muslim women at the center.
They hope to add to this number as their scarves gain popularity in the global marketplace.

Solomon helps significantly by finding places to buy used silk saris at a low price.
Then, the saris are torn into long strips that are then hand crocheted in to beautiful scarves.
Melanie has a keen eye and helps the ladies with color coordination.
In a place like India, teaching women to put colors together that Westerners like is a bigger challenge than one might imagine!

Used silk Saris

Hand crochet


Finished scarves
Shawnie and I spent a morning helping tear saris.
It's far more difficult than I expected.
The strips have to be measured, then torn just right so as not to fray.



God brought them a huge buyer.  
A church in Michigan ordered 5,000 scarves for a conference in the fall!
The ladies are working frantically to complete the order.
I'm looking forward to having some scarves available through Mavuno Market this fall.

I was so impressed with My Choices and the work Melanie is doing there ...
we want to do what we can to help these ladies as they combat domestic violence.
My Choices is a remarkable organization, one of which we are proud to partner.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Mom's Night Out

2 years & 9 months.
And we are still living in the same place!



Despite all our moving around, we made many good friends along the way.
Bozeman, Montana.
Kalispell, Montana.
Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Seattle, Washington.

But after 2 years of being here, I had very few friends.
We found a church and settled in.
Although we knew lots of people, we had few friends.

But the last 9 months, we've turned a corner.
While I was in India, our friends from church rallied around us.
Three ladies, whom I would call good friends, watched my kids.

And our CC community is awesome!
It's our 3rd community since moving here.
The first year, there were 38 families, making it almost impossible to feel connected.
The second year, there were only 10, but we just didn't really connect.
This year, with only 10 families, we moms have become good friends.
I LOVE, LOVE the moms in our CC community!

Last night was our mom's night out.
We went to the movies to see Mom's Night Out.
Then we went to Chili's.
7 of the 10 of us were there.
We had such a beautiful time of fellowship.

I am so very, very thankful to have these ladies in my life!
I am thrilled we can do life together.
AND - my kids have made good friends with their kids.

So, I will sit.  And enjoy this time of sweet friendship.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Snow

I can't remember snow ever falling on Mother's Day!
May 11th.  That's extremely late for Colorado.
I was in India for Easter, and never got photos of the kids in their outfits.
So, we took some in the snow!


Then, today, I awoke to this!



By the time it was finished, we had 8 inches of snow!!
It may have just been the biggest snowfall of the year!

The kids enjoyed it ... for awhile anyhow.


Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mother's Day

This is my 11th year celebrating Mother's Day.
{Ok, so I thought it was my 10th - but after I started counting, it's 11}
{Writing a blog post about my 11th year isn't quite as special as 10, but I'll go with it.}

My life is truly blessed.
A husband who loves me deeply.
And four little bundles of joy have made my life rich!

I love being a mom.
It is one of the greatest gifts God has given me.
I am so thankful He softened my heart to want to be a mom!
I can hardly believe there was ever a day I didn't want to be one.
God of Wonders!
God of Grace!
He always know exactly what we need.
And I am thankful He works with my stubbornness.

So, on this snowy Mother's Day in Castle Rock, Colorado ....
I want to take a walk down memory lane.


2004
Colorado

2005
Colorado
2005
Colorado
2006
Colorado
2006
Colorado
2007
Montana
2008
Albuquerque
2009
Montana
2010
Washington
2011
Washington
2012
Colorado
2013
Colorado
2014
SNOWY Colorado