Beauty for Ashes Nepal family

Gifting FREEDOM

You can’t tell by her hands.
BFAN_jewelry 2
As you see her hands working the beads onto the thread, you can’t see the darkness her hands have had to live through. You can’t see that these beads have set her free, because the beads mean income and the beads mean Christian discipleship.

The beads mean her life is set free.

BFAN_jewelry 4

Beauty for Ashes Nepal is working every day to set these hands and several other sets of hands free from sex trafficking and to provide safety to those who are at-risk for becoming a statistic. When you live in a country that ranks fifth in the world for the population entrapped in sex trafficking per capita, someone needs to provide hope.

BFAN Family_2014

This Christmas, Trade for Freedom is partnering with Beauty for Ashes Nepal to help be that hope. These beautiful hands are crafting an exclusive jewelry line and working themselves into a future that has light and life.

Will you join with us?

Will you join with us to gift freedom?

One hundred jewelry subscriptions sold means 5 new women will be employed and become discipled next year.

jewelrypromo11

And the beautiful hope that they weave into each design will be delivered to your home, or the home of someone you love, each month, reminding you that we can change the world and that we can be part of the hope.

We must be that hope. Because each year more than 10,000 women and girls are trafficked from Nepal into the international sex trade, to be prostituted in brothels, in India and increasingly around the world.

This Christmas, join us in gifting freedom.

BFAN family fun_2014

The Beauty for Ashes Nepal family

To gift freedom, purchase a jewelry subscription handcrafted by the Beauty for Ashes Nepal family from Trade for Freedom. 

www.tradeforfreedom.com

Gratitude tiptoeing

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Everyday my parents were here, I was excited, happy, and so thankful!  We had an amazing time exploring Nepal together and being a family.  The pictures tell our story.  Such fun!  They left on friday, and since my heart has been heavy.

I care about my family.  I love them dearly.   I miss them.  We live, serve, work half a world away, so I yearn for more of their presence in our lives.  When we are together.  We have fun.  We laugh and tell stories and eat.  We eat a lot, as my belt is telling me.  I watch my Mom and Dad run after Abyala, all giggles and smiles.  I catch myself wishing we could do this every weekend.  Doubts about living in Nepal creep in, but God kindly pushes them away.  I’m reminded of the way He spoke to us just a few weeks ago (see previous blog post.)  In boldness.  Showing He cares.  Gratitude tiptoes into my heart, ever so softly.  I almost don’t want to feel it, but in grace, it pursues.  Christ pursues. Thank you Lord, for the time with my parents.  Thank you for the gift of their visit and their love.  Thank you that we can experience the intensity of love that grows with each mile between us.  An intensity that makes it so hard to say goodbye, but so sweet to reunite. Thank you that we don’t take each other for granted.  That you have blessed us with the sweetness of family.  We are a unique family that doesn’t live down the street from one another.  Yet a beautiful family that is tightly bound together by Christ’s love in each other’s absence. We depend on you to bring us together and to keep our relationship healthy while apart.  Thank you that we can depend on you.  That you are abounding in love and faithfulness.

This gratitude, tiptoeing softly into my heart this morning, allows me “to fully live – to live full of grace and joy and all this beauty eternal.”  It is from Christ alone.  As He breathes his spirit into me, I can exhale eucharisteo.  Even with a heavy heart.  He enables me to be thankful.

Directing us in the way we should go

IMG_5259

 

The adventure of a lifetime.  Riding in an SUV through the mountains of Nepal, looking ahead, seeing this rocky river rushing towards us in all its terrifying beauty. I didn’t know which way we were supposed go.  Fortunately, I wasn’t in the driver’s seat.  We made it to the other side, after our driver moved some big obstacles out of our way and carefully put the right rocks under our tires for traction.  He was calm and cool as the vehicle slipped and slided.   As we laughed and shouted.  Until finally, we all exhaled in relief and jubilation.  What a story we’ll have to tell!  But chances are, our words won’t do it justice.  Nevertheless, we tell the story because it is amazing!

Recently, like many of you, Phil and I encountered a crossroads.  There was a choice.  A beautiful opportunity in front of us, to go to a new place where we could serve the Lord.  A more comfortable place.  A bigger job.  And somewhere we have always dreamed of exploring.

We started seeking the Lord and wondering, does He really care which way we go?  Both places are good — stay in Nepal and serve the Lord here or go to this new place, to serve the Lord there.  Couldn’t God simply bless either choice.  So we asked God to show us His way, if there was a particular direction and one morning he gave us this scripture:

“I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.”  Isaiah 48:17

It was clear, God wanted to ‘direct us in the way we should go’ … but which way was it?  We talked for hours.  Circled around countless scenarios.  Really used our brains.  Until they hurt and we were exhausted.  And another scripture came:

“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”  Mark 11:24

We prayed for guidance.  Direction.  Faith to believe.  Phil fasted.  And I prayed in communion with a friend.  Then, it happened.  God got our attention.  A massive Trade for Freedom order came through that blew our minds away.  And accompanying it, came a message from a stranger saying:

“I know it is hard and you may want to leave, but hold fast.  The reward is great.”

You may want to leave, but hold fast.  Don’t leave yet.  Stay.  As we read the message, we laughed.  We knew it was from the Lord.  God spoke to us through a complete stranger, directing us in the way we should go.

So, we’re on this terrifyingly beautiful journey.  We’re not in the driver’s seat.  God is directing us.  He’s making the way.  We’re just holding tight, along for the ride.  Enjoying what we can, when we can.  And trying to tell the story.  Trying to give God all the glory!  He is amazing.

MODERN SLAVERY: Nepal 5th in the world

Where does Nepal rank in terms of modern slavery?  It ranks 5th according to the Walk Free Foundation.  Trade for Freedom works directly to change this…giving Freedom, Dignity, and Hope for tomorrow.

 

Modern Slavery is Defined as: 

WHAT IS MODERN SLAVERY?

Modern slavery takes many forms, and is known by many names: slavery, forced labour or human trafficking.

- ‘Slavery’ refers to the condition of treating another person as if they were property – something to be bought, sold, traded or even destroyed.

- ‘Forced labour’ is a related but not identical concept, referring to work taken without consent, by threats or coercion.

- ‘Human trafficking’ is another related concept, referring to the process through which people are brought, through deception, threats or coercion, into slavery, forced labour or other forms of severe exploitation.

Whatever term is used, the significant characteristic of all forms of modern slavery is that it involves one person depriving another people of their freedom: their freedom to leave one job for another, their freedom to leave one workplace for another, their freedom to control their own body.

Reach (5 min friday)

IMG_1671

We reach towards the goal for which God has called us.  We put our hands out and strive forwards, and God leads us. Praying that we wouldn’t go anywhere other than where He desires.  Trusting Him each step of the way.  Grateful for the opportunity to go beyond that which is comfortable for us, reaching for that which is glorifying to Him.

I watched my daughter reach for her sippy cup that was on the dining room table this morning.  On tippy toes, she grunted.  She couldn’t quite reach it without my help, so I came over and gave it to her, happy to help.  Somehow enjoying the fact that she needs me for the little things.

I feel like God wants us to reach for those things that we can’t achieve on our own, so that He can come alongside us and help us.  So that He can joyfully give us things.  Enjoying the fact that we need Him.

Trade for Freedom is a reach for us.  On tippy toes, we reach and stretch and are very aware that we can’t achieve anything meaningful on our own.  We are very aware that we need and want God in this venture.  We want it to be His.  Surrendering it to Him everyday.

A successful day’s work

IMG_0033

 

I (Mel) accepted a short term position with World Vision, working together with Phil’s team to improve the lives of children in Nepal.  Yesterday, I had a meeting with community members to talk about some of the ways they have collaborated with government to make positive changes for children such as improved educational opportunities and functional health clinics.

After the meeting, Phil asked me how it went, and frankly it was a total bomb.  Not because there aren’t great things happening for children in their community, but because I wasn’t able to communicate with my translator very effectively.  Dang — I should have practiced more with him.  I should have had him translate the facilitation guide in advance and explain it to me in his own words.  We should have done this and that … the list goes on.   I was disappointed.  And I told Phil all about it.

Then an hour later, I remembered that I got to share my testimony with a seeking colleague on the taxi ride home.  How could I have forgotten something so important?  I was so focused on the unsuccessful meeting, that I allowed it to over shadow that amazing opportunity!  It was the first time I have shared my full testimony to an unbeliever in Nepal.  And God was there.  Planting a seed in my friend’s heart.  Expressing His great love for her.  And I had the beautiful privilege of being his vessel.  Why wasn’t that the first thing I shared with Phil?

Today, I’m thankful for God giving me that amazing opportunity.  And I’m praying that praises to God would always be on the tip of my tongue.  And for a heart that remembers that a successful day’s work in the kingdom of God is about being faithful to my Lord — sharing his love in word and deed, where, when, and however I can.