Yesterday was a day that will be forever etched in my mind. We had a tea with the SutiSana ladies. They asked me to share and God had laid Exodus 31 on my heart. We are a team, The Marketplace and SutiSana and we need each other. We have the designs, they have the skills, and together we work to make God's designs come to life. They then opened the floor to the ladies and they started asking questions about The Marketplace, our customers, and how we sold their products. Then they started sharing their heart. They thanked me for coming back and how much it has meant to them and how they have changed. One said, "Your designs hurt my head at first and then I worked on it and I could do it!I am so proud of myself!" "There has been such a change in the workshop and the administration since your first visit. There is so much joy in the workshop." "Thank you for challenging us. It is good for us to continue to grow." I kept it together until Sylvia got me. She said, "Thank you for all of your design ideas and for caring. It means so much to me that you keep helping us. I love you." At this point, I am losing it. I open my mouth and I can't speak because I am crying. I looked at Sylvia and said, "I will never forget what you said to me when I left last time. 'If you will bring your design ideas, I will always give you my hands." She then nodded and put her hands out. I grabbed my phone and said, "This is one of my favorite pictures." I flipped my phone around and it was a picture of me and Sylvia with the Funky Road Trip last year. She looked at it and asked if I could send it to her. Absolutely! I loved when they shared what their favorite new designs were. "The Hepburn Dress." "The Hepburn Purse." I told them since they loved me challenging them so much, I would come up with harder designs near time! "NOOOOO!"
We had a beautiful time of sharing. God showed me the endless hours we spent preparing designs and working out patterns had really affected these ladies. But in the process it truly has changed me. I wish I could take each of you with me to Bolivia to meet the ladies. You would forever be changed. Know that when you buy a product by SutiSana you are truly investing in the lives of these ladies. I am here to tell you they appreciate each one of you! Together we are empowering these ladies and changing their lives!
Mi Teleferico is a sky cable that connects La Paz to El Alto and is about 6.2 miles long. When you are in the gondola dangling above the landscape, you feel isolated and peaceful. I captured this picture one morning on our way to the workshop.
Yesterday I was looking through my pictures and stopped on this one. I am gonna be real. I had a bad day. I was sick and exhausted and had to drive about 3 hours from the lake back to La Paz from a photoshoot. These are not our normal roads. They were rutted and mostly unpaved. They had a huge rain and the roads were flooded and many were washed out. As I sat in my dry car, I saw people scurrying to cross these dangerous roads I saw a mom grab her son's wrist and look at the road trying to find safe passage. I could see fear in her eyes. I saw children in worn out dirty clothes standing by the road in the cold rain. I saw a woman running between cars trying to sell bread to earn a living and I prayed she didn't get hit. It crushed my heart. I looked at the picture of the sky cable and I dubbed it "Living Above the Fray". Life is beautiful there because let's be honest it's quite detached. When you are in the streets you are looking at poverty face to face, it hurts to see people live like this. I went back to my hotel and I lost it. God, what I do is so little. Does it even matter? "Bing." I got a message from my son. "How are you doing mom?" I thought of that mom with her son trying to cross the road and I wept. Not good Nick. I told him what I saw and wondered if I am even making an impact. "Mom you love what you do, you love to help the poor." Does it really matter what I do, there are so many. "If you change one person, that's better than changing none." He's right. I can't change the world but I certainly can change one. I can also tell their story and have others join in the fight. It's easy to live the life of the sky cable where you are insulated and protected. It's quite another to walk the streets and see it first hand. Because you become connected. Once you become connected you have to change. Today we will be in the markets buying leather and hardware and designing the Fall Collection. We are walking in the fray not to design a bag but to change lives. For us the more bags we sell, the more women are rescued from trafficking. Sometimes getting in the fray is essential for the world to change, even when it hurts.
Starfish Designs goes into the bars in Chiang Mai Thailand and buys a girl for the evening. How much does she cost? $20 for 3 hours. They start talking to her about how she doesn't have to sell herself and that she has value. They share Jesus. With Jesus, He heals your pain and creates in you a new creation. As they are talking to her, they give her a pattern and fabric to cut. At the end of the evening Starfish Designs takes the cut fabric with them to the safe house where one of the ladies who was rescued from trafficking there sews it into doll. We would like you to meet the Transformation Doll. This doll is very special. She has 2 sides. First she is dressed in traditional Hill Tribe clothing. This tribe is an extremely poor people group. You flip her skirt and she becomes a princess, the daughter of the one true King, Jesus. She has no face because trafficking as no face and has no voice. When you purchase this Topsy Turvy Doll, you are purchasing a woman for the evening who gets an opportunity to hear that she has value and many times she is hearing the name Jesus for the 1st time. She also learns that there is a safe house nearby that she can go to if she leaves this lifestyle behind. We would ask when you take your doll home that you would commit to praying for the woman who is still in trafficking (woman who cuts the fabric) and the one who is no longer trafficked (woman who sews the doll). Since they started making this doll, 5 women have left prostitution. The Transformation Doll is now available at the Oak Street and online.