We’ve walked on the streets of paradise and of poverty in our privileged shoes. Recognizing we’re beyond blessed, we’ve relished in the gifts of clean water, fresh air, and grass for our little one to play in these past few weeks. As we go back to the streets where our neighbors share an unclean public pool for washing and where children have few safe places to play, we remember to thank God. For His presence that abounds no matter where we are. We pray for the strength to return. To lay ourselves, our wants and earthly desires down so that we may serve Him well. We pray that we may have eyes to see paradise wherever we are. That we may count poverty of earthly comforts as blessings that draw us near our source, our love, Jesus Christ. We pray that we would somehow become nothing so that God can make something out of us (Martin Luther.) May Christ’s courage abound and His generous refreshment of our souls carry on as we return. Leaving tomorrow morning for Nepal. Not feeling ready. But pressing into Christ for what we don’t know that we need. Pressing on. Because this is the only life we have to glorify Him. And we want to glorify Him. Leaving this paradise to re-discover the next. By His grace…
Phil journeyed to a remote area of Nepal this week called Jumla which is situated deep in the Himalayan mountains. Above is a photo journal of his experience. A few notes from his trip included the fact that the homes weren’t heated despite the fact that temperatures drop well below freezing inside. He stressed again that Nepalis are the hardest workers he’s ever seen, carrying hundred pound loads on their backs as they scale cliffs with tattered shoes, daily. He just finished an incredible meal meant to last one hour go beyond four hours. It was multiple courses and he didn’t know when it was going to end, so he just kept on eating. He’s going to bed bundled in all his clothes and a very full stomach tonight. Praying that he’ll catch his flight out tomorrow as the next flight doesn’t leave until Saturday. Grateful that he was able to be an encouragement to his team. Anxious to have him home.
Why is it that she thrives and grows stronger with each day that her hands weave and sew and create?
Could her provision have been a gift only, that required no work or toil?
What is it that comes to life in us when we work, when we are empowered by what we can achieve, instead of receiving and then the giver walks away?
These jobs that bring women from darkness mean opportunities to reclaim value and worth that had once been stolen. And these jobs mean that each day they join in fellowship with others who know their stories so well, and together they heal and love and gain.
Would this come to be if money had just been given?
These women come to know themselves and the beauty that they can create with their own hands because they have been gifted empowerment. They’re being gifted the opportunity to re-learn the trades that will keep them from the darkness, trades that mean future and hope.
The work brings the freedom.
Guest Author: Larissa Murphy
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
You can’t tell by her hands.
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.
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.
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.
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.
To gift freedom, purchase a jewelry subscription handcrafted by the Beauty for Ashes Nepal family from Trade for Freedom.
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.
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.