Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The Amazing Story of a Simple Coin Purse


This is a simple, little coin purse, but it has an amazing story.

This coin purse comes from Zambia, it and it was made by women who are employed through Clothed in Hope. When Fair Trade Friday partnered with Clothed in Hope and placed an order for hundreds of coin purses, there was cheering and dancing in Zambia! What we see as simple coin purses were cause for celebration by these women in Zambia. I’ll let someone from Clothed in Hope tell the story:
The women of Clothed in Hope, all vulnerable women who have completed or are currently walking through our skills-training program, are so very grateful for our partnership with Fair Trade Friday/Mercy House. The first time I told them about our big order for coin purses to reach the homes of over 500 women across America, over 60 women cheered, screamed, danced, rejoiced. Because to them it's not just some extra money in their pockets to feed their kids or pay school fees. It's empowerment, it's someone who says "I believe in you. I am with you." It gives the message to these ladies, overlooked and oppressed by society, that they are worthy. That they have something beautiful to offer the world, a skill and a story that can inspire women thousands of miles away. Each product made for Fair Trade Friday boxes, from coin purses to earrings, is a way for women to rejoice in their story of hope and redemption that they've written as a part of our sewing and business training program in Lusaka, Zambia.

I love knowing the story behind my coin purse. It thrills me to know that this coin purse, and the hundreds of others that were ordered for Fair Trade Friday, brought such happiness to the women who made them. Every time I use this item I will remember the joy that it gave to women in Zambia. And every time that I use the coin purse, it will bring me joy too!


Image courtesy of Fair Trade Friday

Meet Maureen, a woman who works through Clothed in Hope. Here is her story:
Maureen, the woman pictured with Regina on her back, is the brains behind much of our jewelry line, specifically a beautiful earring design headed out to women as part of the Earring of the Month Club. Maureen graduated our life-skills training program in September 2014 after completing a 12-month sewing and business curriculum with her daughter Regina on her back. Maureen is showing her children that work is good, and that no obstacle is big enough to keep her from pursuing her dreams for her family.



Change the world. Look good doing it.
Image courtesy of Fair Trade Friday

I was privileged to be a part of the Fair Trade Friday club for a few months this year. I eagerly anticipated the monthly package! I have kept a few items for myself, and a few of the items have been given away as gifts. The rest of the items are sitting in my gift stash for Christmas and birthdays and other such occasions. I like to have at least a few gift items on hand for when a gift need arises. It saves me time and energy and money in the long run. Earlier this year when William needed a teacher gift, I let him look through my Fair Trade Friday stash, and he picked out a fun bracelet for his teacher. Fair Trade Friday is the perfect option for gift shopping when you are chronically ill and homebound! A variety of fun items come straight to your home, and you don't even have to think about shopping.

Each Fair Trade Friday club package contains 3-4 fair trade products. Packages have a retail value of about $50, but only cost $31.99. Because Fair Trade Friday is run by volunteers, the package cost is minimal for you, and all of the proceeds go to the artisans around the world. And it is making a difference in the lives of women and their families around the world! If you missed my post on Monday, you can click here to read more stories of the impact of Mercy House and Fair Trade Friday.

Are you wondering what type of items come each month in the Fair Trade Friday club? Here are pictures of the items from my monthly packages. There are a wide variety of items that come, and many of them are practical too! 


February Box 
Fair Trade Friday t-shirt from Freeset (India)
Handmade soap from The Zambian Soap Company (Zambia)
Lip balm from Zambeezi (Zambia)
Thrive Crochet Bracelet from The Refugee Project (Houston)
Reusable gift bag from Friends of Mercy (Kenya)



March Box
Crochet dishcloth set from The Refugee Project (Houston)
Fabric cuff bracelet from Tukula (Uganda)
Chitenge coin purse from Clothed in Hope (Zambia)
Love Mercy prayer bracelet from Mercy House (Kenya)
Reusable gift bag from Friends of Mercy (Kenya)



April Box
Handwoven and block-printed infinity scarf from Joyn (India)
Makeup bag from Tukula (Uganda)
Crochet flower card from The Refugee Project (Houston)
Organic farm-grown English Breakfast tea from Equal Exchange 



May Box
Reversible tote bag from 3 Cords (Haiti)
Wooden wrap bracelet from Freedom Firm (India)
Crochet jar opener from The Refugee Project (Houston)



June Box
Handmade pottery earrings from Back to Africa
Paper bead bracelet from Embracing Hope (Ethiopia)
Handmade paper journal from Village Artisan (India)
Reusable produce bag from Caring for Korah (Ethiopia)
Handmade Father's Day card from The Refugee Project (Houston)

Each Fair Trade Friday package also contains information about Fair Trade Friday and includes gift tags to use if you want to give a Fair Trade Friday item away.



This necklace, earrings, and gift bag are fair trade items from India that I received in a one-time box from Fair Trade Friday. They are lovely, and I think they will make a great gift for one of you! If you would like to have these, please enter the giveaway using the Rafflecopter form below. The winner will be notified by email on Monday, July 6.





If you want to be a part of Fair Trade Friday, here are some helpful links:


It has been an honor to tell you about Fair Trade Friday this week on my blog. Thank you for coming here to read about Mercy House and their new Fair Trade Friday club. This summer I will be sharing some more about Fair Trade Friday on instagram, twitter, facebook, and pinterest. You are welcome to connect with me in those places and follow along as I share about my life, my faith, and my new favorite club, Fair Trade Friday!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Changing Lives with Fair Trade Friday


For several years now I have been praying for Mercy House, a maternity home in Kenya for pregnant and teenage moms. The girls who are brought to Mercy House have all become pregnant as a result of rape or because of forced prostitution. They come from tragic and heartbreaking situations, but at Mercy House they find hope and support. It has been a joy to watch the countenance of these girls change as they are rescued out of poverty and as they come to know Jesus. What a transformation! Through pictures I have seen the joy that begins to light up their eyes when they live in a safe place and find hope in Christ.

Today I want to tell you the story of Pauline, one of the first residents of Mercy House. I also want to tell you about Fair Trade Friday, a new ministry of Mercy House and a fun way that YOU can help to change lives around the world.



This is Pauline. When she was 15 years old she became pregnant through force. She was desperate and hopeless. Mercy House rescued her, gave her a home, medical care, good nutrition, education, and taught her from the Bible. They showed her the love of Christ, and the Gospel has changed her life. As a result of the work of Mercy House and the grace and mercy of Christ, Pauline and her son, Melvin, are doing well today.

Pauline has now graduated from the Mercy House program and is attending vocational beauty school. Her son is able to attend school as well because of sponsorship. While at Mercy House, Pauline learned how to make many different types of crafts, and she is now passing on that knowledge to moms in the slums. Each week she goes into the slum and teaches these women. The crafts that they make are sold through Fair Trade Friday, and the money these moms make from their crafts is able to pay for food, school fees, and rent. Their needs are being met because Pauline is teaching them useful skills, and Mercy House is selling their crafts.

Only a few years ago Pauline was hopeless, but now she knows Jesus, and she has hope! Her life has been transformed, and now she is reaching out and making a difference in the lives of others. Pauline is a good mom and teacher, and her future is full of potential.



In August of last year, Mercy House launched a new ministry that enables them to help even more women in poverty around the world. This new ministry is called Fair Trade Friday. It is something unique and special and fun that you will want to be part of!

Fair Trade Friday is a membership club that delivers one-of-a-kind fair trade products to your home each month. By joining Fair Trade Friday, you help to provide jobs and dignity for women in poverty. You remind them that they are not forgotten, that their work matters, and that they matter.

Mercy House partners with Christian organizations in procuring fair trade products, so when you support Fair Trade Friday you aren’t just helping to provide a job for those in need, you are partnering with organizations that will share with their workers the love of Jesus. We can empower marginalized women by providing jobs, but only the grace of God can transform lives, and that is why Mercy House works with Christian organizations in their Fair Trade Friday ministry.

Here is a glimpse of just a few of the artisans at work around the world as they make products for Fair Trade Friday:



Women in the Middle East making jewelry



An Ethiopian woman creating beautiful products



An Ethiopian woman making paper beads



 Women in Zambia sewing bags



A woman in Ethiopia spins thread from sheep's wool.



Another woman uses the thread to weave fabric.



The fabric is then made into little bags.



Kristen Welch, founder of Mercy House, tells about buying bracelets from an artisan in Kenya:
Probably one of the most profound moments for me was in a mud home in Kenya talking with a woman we were buying paper bead bracelets from for a Fair Trade Friday box. She grabbed my hands and squeezed them tight. She looked me straight in the eyes and said, "Tell the women in America that we need them to keep buying what we make. Tell them it is feeding my son and two daughters. Tell them not to forget us." I will spend the rest of my life reminding these marginalized women they are not forgotten.



The work of Fair Trade Friday is important. It isn't simply providing a food and money for those in need. It is providing meaningful work and restoring dignity. It is providing an avenue through which the Gospel can be introduced to those who might otherwise never hear it.

Do you want to be a part of Fair Trade Friday? It isn't just important; it is fun too! You receive unique fair trade products once a month, and 100% of the proceeds go to the artisans around the world. There are two monthly subscription options. 

One is the Earring of the Month club. This is a subscription membership that costs $11.99 per month, and you get a new pair of earrings each month! Each package comes with a small fair trade gift bag for you to use if you choose to give the earrings away as a gift.

The other option is the original Fair Trade Friday box. It comes with 3-4 high quality fair trade items for $31.99 a month. I have received a few of these packages, and they are amazing! I love reading about the different products, seeing where they were made, and praying for the women who made them. There is currently a waiting list for the monthly Fair Trade Friday box. If you want to join this Fair Trade Friday club, please sign up to be on the waiting list! Having spots filled on the waiting list helps Fair Trade Friday to plan ahead for orders with their artisan groups. When they are able to add more club members, you will receive an email letting you know that you can sign up and officially join the club!

If you want to try out Fair Trade Friday, but don't want to commit to a monthly subscription, you can try a Fair Trade Friday One-Time Trial Box.

If you are interested in buying specific fair trade items, you can check out the Mercy House Shop here for beautiful and unique products!



Please come back here on Wednesday because there is more that I want to share about Fair Trade Friday! I want to tell you about a special coin purse and the story behind it. I will also be showing you pictures of the items I have received through Fair Trade Friday this year so that you can get an idea of what comes in the packages each month. And! There may be a giveaway. :) So come back on Wednesday for more Fair Trade Friday fun!

Images are courtesy of Mercy House and Fair Trade Friday.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Awana

Our family enjoyed another year of Awana at our church. I was not able to attend at all this year, but I was able to help William and Adelaide with their verses at home each week. What a privilege to help them memorize God's Word!

We were gone on The Great Adventure during the Awana parent's night and awards program, so William and Adelaide received their awards after we returned home.



Adelaide finished her second Cubbies book this year. It is hard to believe that my youngest is already finished with Cubbies! She will be in Sparks next year, and she is so excited about that!

William completed his first Truth & Training book. He enjoyed Awana, but chose not to participate in pictures for my blog this time. :) My little boy is growing up!



Adelaide, however, is all about the pictures. She chose this pose for me.

I am so thankful for William and Adelaide. It is an honor and a privilege to be their mom and to love them and teach them about Jesus. I like programs like Awana that assist me in teaching my children.

Does your church have an Awana program? What is your favorite thing about Awana?

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The Year of Adventure


My family is calling 2015 “The Year of Adventure.” We have known for a while that big changes were coming this year. We didn’t (and still don’t!) know what the near future holds for our family, but whatever comes, we are determined to enjoy the adventure!

You may remember that when we moved to Minnesota three years ago, it was for a temporary pastoral position at a church here. Originally Will was going to work at the church for two years. His position was extended for one extra year, and now after three years, Will’s job at the church has officially ended. For the past two years we have been seeking the Lord’s will regarding a new place of ministry. We have not yet found a new ministry position, so for now we will be staying right where we are. Will is currently working at an attorney’s office until the Lord opens the door for ministry. (Side note: if you happen to know of a church or other ministry that might be a good fit for our family, feel free to let us know!)



Earlier this spring we took a trip to Arizona while prayerfully considering a particular ministry opportunity there. The Lord has since closed the door for ministry in Arizona, but we are thankful for the time we had to travel as a family and see some of the work the Lord is doing there.

We called our road trip to Arizona and back “The Great Adventure.” We drove 3,721 miles through 10 states in 25 days, and we listened to 62 episodes of Adventures in Odyssey! We had a very fun time and saw some beautiful sites along the way. It isn’t a trip we would have attempted were it not for the need to find new employment and a new place of ministry. It was travel that was necessary, so we found a way to make it work, but at times I did wonder if I was a crazy person for attempting a cross country trip while meeting the medical definition of "homebound!"

You might be wondering how I was able to go on such a trip given my state of health. Later on this summer I will share about how we made it work, and I'll give some tips on travelling when chronically ill. Meanwhile, here are a few of my favorite pictures from our trip. 



William and Adelaide at Garden of the Gods



While in Colorado Springs we stopped by Focus on the Family. When I was growing up, my family took a tour of Focus on the Family. That was 22 years ago, and at that time they were building Whit's End. Ever since then I have been wanting to go back and see Whit's End. This year my childhood dream became a reality!



I had a Wodfamchocsod at Whit's End! This was super exciting for a child of the 80s who grew up listening to Adventures in Odyssey.



We drove through the mountains of Colorado. It was beautiful!



The Lundy family in 4 different states! William is in Arizona, Adelaide is in New Mexico, Will is in Utah, and I am in Colorado. The monument platform says, "Four states here meet in freedom under God."



This is the first viewpoint we stopped at when visiting the Grand Canyon, and there wasn't a guardrail or a wall. There was just a sloping gravel hill to the edge of the cliff. Rolling up to the edge of the canyon in a wheelchair was quite scary! I stayed several feet away from the edge, and I was relieved to find that there were walls and guardrails at later viewpoints.



The Grand Canyon was my favorite place on our trip. It is spectacular.



Sunset at the Grand Canyon



Will took the children to see Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument while I spent the day resting. 



The Painted Desert in the Petrified Forest National Park

2015 has been filled with adventure for our family, and we aren't even halfway through the year yet! We look forward to the adventures that still lie ahead. We don't know what the future holds, but we know Who holds the future, and in that we find great comfort. 

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Grace Leads

I was delighted when Stacey Patrick sent me a review copy of her first book, Grace Leads. I have been doing this study for the past 5 weeks during my morning devotion time, and it was just what I needed on many of my tired and brain fogged days.

Grace Leads is a unique devotional study. Stacey wrote a devotional series on her blog about grace and has now turned that series into a book, which is available in paperback or a kindle edition. This book can be read as a daily devotion, or you can take your time with each day’s devotion by looking up verses, answering questions, and journaling. There is plenty of space in the paperback edition for those who like to write in their Bible study books.

Stacey Patrick has a chronic illness, understands the unique needs that those of us with illness have, and has written a study that suits us well. The font is large enough to read on the days when you might be struggling with fatigue and vision problems. Each week’s section contains 5 days of study. If you are too ill to study one day, then you can easily catch up over the weekend. The devotion book is simple enough to read on the hard days, but filled with enough questions to keep you busy on the days when you are able to spend more time in study.

If you wish to explore the topic of God’s grace, Grace Leads will be a good book addition for your study time. If you don’t know much about grace, this book will help you to understand better the amazing grace of God that He offers to you. If you have already spent time studying grace, then this book will be a beautiful reminder of His grace and an encouragement to continue to rest in His grace.

You can find a sampler of Grace Leads here. Grace Leads is available on Amazon and on Etsy.
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