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Higher Ground

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They seek to create new beginnings and bring complete restoration.  So they share God’s love with the disadvantaged in Kathmandu.  Higher Ground is a broad reaching ministry that provides counseling to survivors of trauma, a safe home for those rescued from violence, scholarships to children in need, and skills training to those seeking decent work to provide for their families.

One of the skills they focus upon is handmade jewelry and accessories.  So I was anxious to see their products and hear more of their story! I visited Higher Ground last week.  When I arrived, they were singing and clapping, eyes closed with peaceful smiles. Oh my heart!  They warmed my soul.  I was instantly reminded of the privilege it was to be in Nepal ‘for a time such as this’.  A devotion followed and then group prayer – Nepali style.  Meaning we all prayed aloud, in unity, at the same time.  Different words, different languages.  A chaotic, melodious thanksgiving to God.  An adoring plea for more of His presence in our lives.  That is the way my relationship with Higher Ground began.  *Insert goosebumps on my arms here!*

Needless to say, Trade for Freedom is beginning to partner with them.  They are a perfect fit.  They are striving to bring freedom, dignity, and hope into as many lives as they can touch.  We want to help them so we’re beginning to sell their products.  Profits will fund the counseling services, children’s scholarships, safe home, and other beautiful initiatives run by Higher Ground.

Our first Higher Ground product launched on Sunday!  This stunning Himalayan wrap bracelet.

If you want to be part of what Higher Ground is doing, purchasing their products is a fabulous way to start.  Create new beginnings and help bring restoration into someone’s life with us today!

Also, if you’re the 500th person to like our Facebook page, you can get one for FREE!

Like us by clicking here:  www.facebook.com/trade4freedom

Beauty for Ashes Nepal family

Gifting FREEDOM

You can’t tell by her hands.
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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

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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)

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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.