Standing on a bridge outside of the military base in Subic Bay Philippines, a 7 year girl begged her mom for change. She saw kids her age in little wooden boats in the brown water below begging for coins. She took the coins her mom gave her and stood on the side of the bridge and tossed them to the kids.
That little girl was me. Little did I know that God was already directing my path. I grew up in an international family; my mom is Thai. I was a Navy brat that lived in Thailand and the Philippines. It wasn’t unusual for me to go into the mountains and see the poor. I saw how they lived in homes on stilts. One good rain during monsoon season and they would have to rebuild their house from scratch. We moved to the states when I was in elementary school. I have so many memories of me spending hours in the library where I would read countless books. To me, a story has the ability capture emotions in a special way. Maybe this is where I learned how to be a storyteller?
I went to the University of Florida and majored in Finance. I had 2 kids and eventually became the Director of Finance at a large church. One evening Lou, my husband and I turned on 60 Minutes. I hadn’t watched that show in years. It came on at the beginning of a story. It was about children dying of starvation in Africa. I was intrigued. At the end of the segment I heard so clearly, “Marisa, I don’t want your money. I want you.” I looked at Lou and asked him what he just said. “I didn’t say anything.” I used to love my job but now felt there was something missing.
My name is Marisa Sellman and I am the Director/Founder of The Marketplace (TMP). Many people have asked me how I started TMP and the why behind it. So I am going to tell the story in a weekly series entitled #tmpHIStory. I am pictured with my family in 1975 in Bangkok, the same year I threw coins in the river. The next picture was taken 39 years later at the same place. This time it was taken while I was on a TMP trip. I had no idea these 2 pictures existed until I went looking for a pic to highlight this post. God is in the details. Stay tuned...