It’s pretty wild how a single decision can drastically change the course of your life. For me, that decision was to watch a documentary called Born Into Brothels. I knew that my heart was forever marked by the children of Kolkata, India. I spent months trying to find a way to help or an organization that worked in India, and finally found out about Youth With A Mission, also known as YWAM. Low and behold, there was a base in my town whose vision was to see the 10/40 window—an area of the world spanning from northern Africa to Southeast Asia—reached with the love of Jesus. So I pushed through my fears and decided to go on an adventure with the Lord in hopes that I would be able to travel to these nations, to love on broken and hurting children, and to see their lives transformed by the power of Jesus.
And so, I went with a group of YWAM students headed off to work with some incredible people, loving on them and helping them out in any way they needed. Manila, Philippines was where we started our journey and spent our days hanging out with children who lived in the city's garbage dump. We were able to feed, love on and pray for the children and their families. Our second month overseas was mostly spent in Surabaya, Indonesia living in a children’s home. While there, we got to sit and talk, play games with, and laugh hysterically with some really amazing kids and staff. Instead of seeing a place full of brokenness and heartache because it was a home full of kids with heartbreaking stories, I witnessed wholeness and joy in these kids. God’s love is restorative, and He can take broken and messy people and bring them into the fullness of his love, grace and mercy. I am forever grateful that I was able to spend time and be a part of the lives of the kids at this children's home.
Bali, Indonesia was another place where we were lucky enough to spend a couple days. Even trying to describe how incredibly beautiful Bali was will not do it justice. It was honestly the most awe-worthy place I’ve ever seen. Another noteworthy fact about Bali that we learned is that you are way closer to the equator and in turn closer to the sun. None of us brought sunscreen, so we all ended up getting the worst sunburns of our lives. Worth it.
While we were in Bali, we had the opportunity to drive around and pray for women working as prostitutes. It was heartbreaking knowing that these women had no other choice, no opportunities but to be doing this. Giving women real opportunities to make income and empowering them and their communities with ethical working conditions can change lives. When you purchase one of these trays, you are literally changing the lives of women in Bali. This is something I want to be a part of and constantly be mindful of when I purchase items. Who am I supporting? How can I help change people's lives? When I was looking for items to have in our marketplace, I came across these trays and was blown away by their beauty. I started looking into the brand and discovered that they worked with artisans in Bali. I leaped at the opportunity to buy from them and support women from a country that is so near to my heart.
I still am waiting for the day when I can spend time in India where God put missions on my heart. Until then, my heart’s desire is first to pray that the Lord brings others to share hope and love with these communities and second to be able to support them by selling beautifully made products on our marketplace. By selling these products, we not only provide income for persons in need, but we also provide ways out of brothels and other terrible living conditions. In turn, we empower women to see their value, worth and dignity.
We hope you see the beauty in these trays, from the rattan used and ata leaves and by the powerful women making them. We couldn’t accomplish this partnership with these women without you all. Thank you!