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Purses that change lives

Missions is tough. Often it requires living in proximity to people who are so poor, their desperation drives them to steal. The consequence: our missionaries have their stuff stolen all the time.   For example, Julie Anderson, an AIM missionary to Swaziland, was out shopping yesterday and…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes
Missions is tough. Often it requires living in proximity to people who are so poor, their desperation drives them to steal. The consequence: our missionaries have their stuff stolen all the time.
 
For example, Julie Anderson, an AIM missionary to Swaziland, was out shopping yesterday and when she returned, her car (containing a brand new laptop) was gone. She doesn’t live on much, so this was a devastating loss.
 
It leaves you asking, “Where’s the hope?” How do you reach people whose need gnaws at them constantly? It’s not enough to give them the good news, they need “a cup of cold water” – a tangible demonstration of love. One of our strategies to combat poverty in Swaziland was started by Julie herself.  We help Swazi women become entrepreneurs by helping them sew and sell their own purses.
 
Some 80 or 90 women have learned how to make purses. We then have visiting Americans cart the purses back to the U.S. for sale.
 
When a purse is sold, the money is transferred back to Swaziland and to the woman who made it. What happens then is usually under the radar, but Julie just posted this blog to give us an example.
 
*             *              *             *              
“A while ago my friend Nomsa told me I needed to come to visit her
home so she could show me what she has done with money she’s earned
through Timbali Crafts. Nomsa is a precious woman, who works hard,
never complains and has a beautiful smile. Yesterday afternoon Ellie
and I, and a few other friends, were able to visit the home of Nomsa
and her family.
 
Nomsa
and her husband, their 6 children, 3 other children they care for, and
her husband’s mother all live on the same homestead.

Nomsa’s house is
small, only one room made from stick and mud, with a very leaky roof
that was threatening to cave in during heavy rains. There were several
other similar stick and mud homes/rooms shared by the family members
and also a concrete block home (one room) for the grandmother. What
Nomsa was so excited to show us was the nearly finished concrete block
house/room that they have been able to build using money she had earned
through the purses she sews. We captured some great pictures during our
visit, but I wish you all could have seen Nomsa in person yesterday-she
was BEAMING with the excitement of visitors to her home and showing off
what the Lord has provided.

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
It was such a good time of rejoicing with my friend. There was one
less chicken running around their yard yesterday afternoon, as Nomsa
had also prepared a meal for us! At one point during our visit I walked
around to the other side of the house to see what Ellie was up to and
found her with all the other children sitting in a circle on a grass
mat. The children had been playing cards and were trying to include
Ellie. Just as I came around the corner I saw one of the girls help
Ellie adjust her hand of cards and then say, with her british/swazi
accent, “Now shut up, and play the game.” It was hilarious. Ellie had a
blast playing with all the kids.”

Comments (3)

  • I’m so happy for Nomsa and her family. This was a great story. Well done, Nomsa, and well done, Julie!

  • Oh no!!!! Isn’t this the car that she just got repaired after being in the shop forever?!?

    Sigh….

    Praying for her but so glad to hear the encouraging word, too. The gals around here are LOVING their new Timbali purses. 🙂

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.



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