There are times when blogging just isn’t at the top of my to-do list, you know? Times when kids are vomiting, fevers are spiking and everybody (including me!) is crying. That’s where we’ve been a lot lately, but that’s not the biggest reason for this past month’s sporadic posting. Nope…daily visits to the children’s clinic delay my posts, not derail them.
But, doing the stuff of dreams? Well, that sends blogging to the bottom of the list, I’m afraid. And, that’s exactly what I’ve been doing. I’ve hinted before, but I’ve never shared here on MississippiMom what has been in my heart and mind for quite some time now. But, today, I’ll tell you.
(I have to take a deep breath first…It’s hard to share your heart sometimes.)
If you’ve EVER read my blog, you probably know I love Africa. Kenya especially. You might have heard me mention it a time or two.
What you might not know is that just like I want to see Mississippi moms encouraged and strengthened, I have a passion for women in Africa to know and follow Christ and to help them provide for themselves and their families.
The African women I know (and the millions I don’t) are so creative. They are such hard workers. They are full of ingenuity and determination. Often, what they lack is opportunity.
So, Merchant Ship Ministries was born 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 idea was to take a small group of women lead them in Bible study and teach them skills that could be marketed both in Kenya and abroad. Simple enough. And, others have done it. But there’s more.
The groups will focus on women helping women, utilizing local volunteers to mentor and disciple the women. We’ll do this by partnering with local churches. We’ll also enlist volunteers from here in the States to do skills training during workshops throughout the year.
Though initial funding is required to begin the groups, we will be working toward having a sustainable skills program in which sales of the items made by the women fund the initiative. Our goal for the women is independence and sustainability.
So, with all of this floating around in my head since I went to Kenya in 2011, we’ve been working to see Merchant Ship Ministries become a 501 c 3 non profit organization and to determine craft ideas that might work with Kenyan materials but have wide appeal in U.S. markets.
We began planning a trip to Kenya to begin the groups, leaving the timing to the Lord and expecting him to lead us. As usual, His ways are not mine…the groups have already begun! A dear friend of mine has already begun four groups, and Bible study and skills training are already under way!
Y’all, I’ve been overwhelmed in recent weeks by how God has orchestrated every bit of this. Almost every day, I receive a new email that shows me his plans for this thing…and it’s bigger than I ever imagined.
So, I ask you to please pray for me and for my friend Irene. And, pray for the women and their families. Pray for funding to begin the initial skills training. Pray for the plans for our July trip to Kenya.
Perhaps consider how God would use you in this ministry. Could you give to help these women learn skills that will help them provide for their families? Do you have a skill you could teach one day? Pray about it!
If you feel led to give (even the smallest gifts have great impact!), visit MerchantShipMinistries.org to make a tax-deductible donation. You can also shop in the online store…all proceeds will help fund the sustainable skills projects! (And, there is some beautiful jewelry you can buy!)
To be honest, I’m so afraid of this post, of “putting it out there.” I’m afraid of failure, of your knowing I failed. But, yesterday, I read a quote by Jon Acuff that put it in perspective for me. He wrote, “Fear only bothers you when you do things that matter.” I don’t know why God would choose to let me do anything that matters, from parenting my four small children to ministering to his precious people. But I am more afraid of not doing something he has called me to do than I am of failure. The God I serve is faithful, and He will do it. (1 Thessalonians 5:24)
I thank you in advance for your prayers and for your support…