Her name is Estrella. It means star in Spanish. She is the 14 year old with a 1 year old son whose father is her son's father. Her time is drawing to a close at the 90 day house that the government supports. She will be heading home soon and that thought not only sickens me, it crushes me. She will be taken back to a place where the trafficking began. Why? The Zoey House will not be done in time.
It reminds me of a story. A man was looking around the world at the extreme poverty and the injustices and asked God, "Why do You allow this to happen?" God looked at him and asked, "Why do YOU allow this to happen?" I will never understand why horrible things happen to innocent people, especially children. But one thing I know is that I won't give up trying to help. I may not be able to help Estrella, but I may be able to help the next Estrella. The enemy would like for us to feel defeated and quit, that would actually be easy to do. Forget Estrella and her son, seriously what can one person do in the US to help them? I am not going to do that. Looking into her eyes, I won't forget her. No matter how painful the memory, it is what is going to drive me to tell her story, talk about Dunamis Foundation's Zoey House, and highlight their latest Geometrix Collection.
Many years ago I sat across the table from a woman from Ghana. She listened to story after story about The Marketplace and she said, "Do you know who you are? You storm the gates of hell and you snatch a woman from Satan's grip and he doesn't like it." Yes I do. No wait... yes WE do! What I love about our Marketplace community is that we won't sit back and do nothing. Once we know what is happening, we link arms and we go after her. Whether it is through prayer, donations, telling your friends, or sales, we all can do our part to help the Estrella's of the world. While many may look at this Tagua Disc Necklace and see a beautiful piece, I look at it and know the hands who made it; a young girl who has been trafficked and is looking for a way out, a way to support herself. We all can be a part of re-writing her story. You see I am not going to quit on her. Are you with me?
The People of the Forest live among wild elephants in South Asia. They gather honey on the high cliffs using ropes made out of vines. Many have tried to earn a living finding and selling spices such as pepper, cloves, cardamon and cinnamon but the middle men often cheat them. Most are illiterate and often fall prey to deceptive business deals. The sad reality is that many of the Forest People work as day laborers at tea and coffee plantations making less than the nationals. A missionary couple came to their village and started building relationships. That how is happens with our groups; relationships always come first. They wanted to empower them to take care of their families and FernKraft was born! What I love about their mission is this, not only are the Forest People getting paid but all the profits go in to creating Christian literature. We have access to so much information, we own many Bibles in multiple translations and many have Bible apps- that's not the case in many countries in the world. People are still be ostracized and persecuted for accepting Jesus. For this reason I cannot tell you where they are in Asia to protect their identity and the identity of the missionaries. So what do they make?
They forage the forest in search of flowers and ferns when it is not the rainy season (6 months of the year of rain) and press them in crude wooden presses. They dye the border of the handmade paper piece in tea and natural plant dye. What you get is a beautiful botanical card! It is seriously a work of art. While they make a beautiful card, they have trouble marketing them. Internet is spotty and with the time difference, marketing to stores is almost impossible. This is where I knew that The Marketplace could help! We LOVE cards!! You will often hear me say if you wanna change someone's day, send them a card. It makes me so happy when I go to the mailbox and instead of a bill, it's a card! Someone took time out of their busy day to let me know they were thinking of me!!!
So please welcome FernKraft to The Marketplace family!!
The Marketplace hit a milestone this past Saturday- ONE MILLION DOLLARS IN SALES!! Never in a million years did I ever think we would hit this milestone so soon! Has it been easy? Heck, NO!!
Do you know what the hardest part was? It was never the amount of work. The hardest part was listening to the chatter that was all around me. "You are going to fail." "This dream is too big." "No one has done this before, why do you think you can do it?" What did I do with all this chatter? I just smiled at it and went about doing my Father's business. You see, God gave me a dream. He didn't give it to them. They didn't need to understand it, I needed to. Honestly, at times even I didn't fully understand it but I kept moving forward. For me, it was simple. I would rather be obedient to what God was asking of me and fail versus being disobedient and playing it safe. I had to trust in the One who gave me the dream to give me my marching orders rather than the opinion of the world. You see some of your biggest naysayers are people who are pretty close to you. That hurts. But don't let them project their fear on you! Those closest to me hear me say this all the time in a crisis moment, "I need to know one thing, did you hear from the Lord?" Yes. "That's it. There is no debate. Stay the course."
This has been an incredible journey. I have met amazing people! While it's been hard, I wouldn't change a thing. If God has given you a dream that is HUGE, it's because He believes you can handle it. Block the chatter and start moving towards it.
As our special THANK YOU for making this happen, for totally believing in The Marketplace, and for getting behind us, we want to do something special for you. We are offering 20% off of EVERYTHING from today to through Saturday the 15th. If you are shopping online, use the coupon code ONEMILLION. If you are shopping in the store, when you go to check out tell us, "I helped you reach One Million!" We will take 20% off of your ENTIRE purchase!!! Hear me guys, I can't change the world but I know this, WE can change the world. We so appreciate all your love and support. So, let's now chase after the next million and our goal is 2 years!! We got this!