Bringing Kenya Hope {Traveling Abroad}

July 25, 2013

“My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” Colossians 2:2-3

There is nothing like the sound of African women working together, the stories they tell and the laughter they share. I treasure the glimpse into their worlds I get as I sit and listen and share life with them.

The roads around the church are dirt and red, and we are surrounded by tea fields. They’ve come, bringing beadwork and bags and crocheted items. We’ve come bringing the only thing we really have: hope.

This dream of working with them began as a seed years ago, a desire to “help women.” It collided with a love for Kenya and a desire to share Christ with the people here.

So, we worked. We researched. We prayed. And, God led us here, working with Kenyan friends I’ve known for many years. As I prayed about which women to work with, my friends had already begun doing the work. God is so good that way…offering answers even before I figure out the right questions to ask.

thegirlsThese past two weeks, I’ve traveled around Kenya, visiting with women artisans and Bible study leaders. They come from different walks of life: young and old, married and single, mothers and grandmothers. They seek opportunities to expand their markets and also their ministries. And we are trying to help.

In 2011, my family and I founded Merchant Ship Ministries, a 501c3 nonprofit organization with the goal of empowering and equipping women to provide for themselves and their families, improving the quality of their lives through life and job skills training, economic development and spiritual well-being.

The name of our organization was inspired by the woman in Proverbs 31, who “is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar.”

tigonigroupWe are working with Kenyan-led groups of women to train and improve women’s skills, collaborate on product development and market the women’s products on a wider scale. Each group meets together to work on craft skills and participate in Bible study. Most desire to learn new skills so they can then train other women. As our project grows, our goal is to continue seeing women help more women.

How can you help?

dorcascreations_dorcasPray for us. We are constantly seeking the direction God gives for this project. We are seeking his wisdom in how to proceed. Pray that the women will be encouraged in Christ and that many will come to know him.

Support Merchant Ship Ministries by purchasing products handcrafted by women in Kenya. You can shop online at http://merchantshipministries.org or look for us at craft fairs and churches this fall.

I’d love the opportunity to share with your church or organization about our ministry. Email Charlie@mississippimom.com if you are interested.

 

charliewhiteCharlie White blogs about faith and family at MississippiMom.com, a site devoted to encouraging moms everywhere.  Mother of four and a freelance writer and designer, she writes about the ins and outs of life as a mom in the Magnolia State.

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