She gathered the girls and brought them to our van. After all 8 young girls and a baby piled in, she also climbed in. Who was she? She was their protection and she goes everywhere with them. She is an armed police officer who is ready to protect them if any of the men from their past come looking for them. I look at their young faces, I am aware that their lives are so different from mine. As I explained who I was and who you guys are at The Marketplace, I see them lean in and begin to really become involved. "What do you mean you have a store on wheels?" She is the Rolling Shack. They begin to smile. I see their eyes begin to follow me around the room. Many of them will never go beyond a 3rd grade education and the thought of a woman running a successful business is not something they can easily understand.
Afterwards Boris the missionary with Dunamis explained to me that me being here designing was important but equally important was that the girls got to see a woman succeed in business. It is not something they get to see. As we were talking in his office, I just lost it. I can say I understand where they are coming from after meeting them but that would not be true. I could never begin to understand how a family member could sell their child or how a trusted person could be so cruel. But what this does is it drives us. I hopped off the red eye flight from Quito Ecuador and began finalizing our design specs. We have told their story nonstop. So what has happened in the past week? We have raised $3,000, sold Dunamis jewelry, and made people aware. Things will never change until we as a group decide that it's not ok. So thanks for partnering with us to make changes in the lives of these young girls in Ecuador. I am excited to see what God is going to do this week!
God has been speaking to my heart about "little is much" lately. Actually, He has been telling me this before I started The Marketplace! "Little is much when I am in it." I truly saw this play out when I was in Ecuador.
When you make a purchase at The Marketplace, you often hear us asking if you "would like to round up to the nearest dollar to make a donation to The Marketplace?" Some of you guys laugh and say, "It's only 4 cents!" Some say, "Just add a couple of dollars to that!" We are appreciative of every penny because it ALL matters. Little is much.
Last week when I walked into the construction of the Zoey House (pictured), Dunamis's Protection House, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that this was a God sized dream and knew The Marketplace needed to be a part of it! Dunamis rescues young girls from trafficking in Quito Ecuador. I have met these girls. The world has used them and beaten them down. The sad part is they begin to believe the lie that they are worthless. But something beautiful happens when they come to Dunamis, they start to believe that life can be different and they experience God's love sometimes for the 1st time. Dunamis is building a protection house on 7 1/2 acres of land on top of a mountain that can house 20 girls. There will be a therapist on site and the girls will truly begin to heal and experience the love of Christ. $35,000 is needed for completion of this building project. The Marketplace is donating $500 to the construction project of the Zoey House based on our "round up to the nearest dollar"! If you purchased from us in the last 6 months and rounded up, you played a part in this donation. Little is much.
The Marketplace so believes in these young ladies that we are committing to donate ALL round ups from July to December 2017 to this building project. I would love to go back one day and see this house completed and watch how young girls lives are being changed. Not only are we donating our round ups, but we also have a donation jar on the counter that we will put towards this project. The Marketplace is a 501(c)(3), a registered nonprofit with the IRS. If you would like to make a donation to the Zoey House Project and receive tax credit, we can make it happen! We are committed to giving you monthly updates and celebrating what we can do together. Little is much.
We will be making an announcement in a couple of weeks that truly exemplifies that little is much when God is in it! So folks "let's round it up" and change some young girls lives in
Quito Ecuador. Here's to power in the little!!
You know what they say about the best laid plans? Well chaos broke out yesterday and our original schedule for Friday got thrown out the window. Trust the process. Serious Lord?!? Serious. Ok, I put my production schedule down. What now Lord?
A theme has emerged during this trip- trust the process. When you don't see a possible solution-trust the process. When you don't know why something is happening- trust the process. When you see such pain and despair, trust the process. As humans, we want to know what is happening and then have a plan in place to fix it. With God, you have to trust the process. I have learned I just need to continue doing what He has called me to do and He will handle the rest. This is no easy task! Stay focused. Stay the course.
Did the day end the way I wanted it to? Of course not! It ended the way God wanted it to. I hopped on a red eye to head back home and was able to carry home a limited amount of the new collection. I tell you I have a new appreciation for the amount of work that goes into a tagua piece before it ever makes it into a product. When I look at a necklace, I think about the young girl who the world has used and discarded and she just wants to take care of herself by earning a respectable living. When I pick up a bracelet, I see a girl who is starting to see herself in a new way; as an overcomer. While you may see a pair of earrings, I see a girl who doesn't have to sell herself to feed herself and her one year old.
You see the process may seem like all you are doing is buying a beautiful piece of jewelry but it is so much more than that. You are part of the process of changing a young girls life. The process? It's a life transformation. Dunamis is a ministry that works with young girls rescued from trafficking in Quito Ecuador and they cannot exist without your help. Whether it be with prayer, funds needed to finish their new house, or purchasing jewelry- we can all be a part of the process of changing a young girl's life.
Pictured with me is Nataly. She graduated from the Dunamis program and is currently one of their artisans. She is holding the short Tagua Triangle Necklace that I carried home with me! Now available online! Cost? $20