I was a full-time mom raising our newborn daughter Abyala in Kathmandu, while my husband was working for World Vision. I loved being home with Abyala. However, I quickly learned I was not a great stay-at-home mom. I was a better on-the-go mom. So off we went. To prayer meetings, play groups, bible studies, and anywhere we were invited, frankly. At prayer group, we would pray for the end of human trafficking in Nepal. We heard heart-wrenching stories of violence and exploitation, combined with joy-filled testimonies of rescue and healing. These stories and celebrations would echo through my mind each week, and I would ask myself “how can I do more?” I yearned to be a more intimate part of it all. For a long time, God simply wanted me to be faithful in prayer.
Then one day, I heard that a social business employing women who are survivors of exploitation needed some help. The business’ name is Beauty for Ashes Nepal. I volunteered, but quickly realized I didn’t have much to give with a baby in my arms. So I counted beads. For days and weeks, I counted and prayed and simply spent time with the Beauty for Ashes family. I fell in love with this family. With their jubilant greetings for Abyala. With their boisterous laughter as they teased. With their miraculous stories shared over lunch about how God had given a mute woman speech the day before. I laughed with them and cried with them, but still wondered, “am I really having an impact?”
God answered me with this scripture.
“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.” Isaiah 61:1-3
It was clear, I was to be at Beauty for Ashes Nepal, regardless of how much impact I felt I was having.
Months later, my husband and I were in a café dreaming about a business of our own. Trade for Freedom was born that day. Stay tuned for Part 2…