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.
We seriously love our young customers. Rachel (pictured on the left) 1st discovered The Marketplace and then she introduced us to her mom, sister, dad, aunt, and her little cousin (pictured on the right). Her older sister is our newest weekly volunteer at the store! She has even written the sweetest letters of encouragement that hang behind our front counter. Folks- she is only 8!! God has spoken to my heart about the young very early on in the life of The Marketplace. Our generation will pave the way, but I believe the younger generation will continue to push for change where there will be greater equality and for the whole world to know who Jesus is! Rachel, thank you- and you rock!!