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A Thankful Table

Over the next few weeks, Bought Beautifully will be partnering with different people on various platforms (Facebook, InstaGram, Blogs) for a “Thankful Table” series. Our hope for this series is to share ideas and inspiration to encourage thankfulness this holiday season.  We are thrilled to have you follow along!

Today, we have the privilege of hearing from Theresa Miller.

Living Out of the Box Around a Thankful Table

One neatly wrapped box awaited to be opened, to be seen, to be marveled at what could not fit in that box.

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Six young, anxious sleeply-eyed girls scurried to the tree one Christmas morning on Goodrich Street. There were wrapped presents scattered under the stubby asymmetrical tree, but tearing through those presents wouldn’t be the memory imprinted for years to come. It would be that one small, neatly wrapped box with the slit cut through the top that would imprint its mark into one child’s mind.

The family surrounded that box, child anxious on her knees, as they enthusiastically removed the top, like a jack in the box, labeled, “My Gift to Jesus.” They each received and read their own slip of paper and remembered their gift to Jesus written the previous year and witnessed in their hearts how God had responded out-of-the-box in the messiness of real life. They then closed the box and parents and children wrote down a new offering–something from their heart in response to what God had given–and folded that offering three or four times before slipping it through the slit again.

There was just something special about recording what was significant to a particular time and capturing it for a lifetime. There was something about witnessing what was good and promising in the midst of life unraveling; God’s faithfulness through it.

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Those little girls wouldn’t sit around that gift-box in front of their family tree in the years to come. Instead they would witness life’s heartaches and brokenness in their young lives. They would feel a family divided and a new land open wide across their own. But they would continue to offer their gifts outside of that box and would continue to see God.

They would see restoration, redemption and hope.

Across the sea, in Haiti, a man or woman crafts a journal. They don’t have the luxuries that we know here in America. Children will carry water and walk a long road to school only because of a chance they’ve been given, not simply “a given.”

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They work ferociously with their hands and feel abundance in their hearts.

The hands that made this journal have also known heartache and brokenness. The hands that made this journal have been rescued from poverty and dependency and are now able to provide for their family with dignity.

Haitian Journal

The journal tells a powerful story of restoration and hope.

Those six girls hovering around that gift box in front of a tree on Goodrich Street grew up and expanded their family to over forty members when they gather for a holiday, including parents, husbands and children.

That family is mine.

The child anxious on her knees, me. I’m still that child on her knees, anxious to see how God is working through stories unfolding.

Across the sea, men and women are giving their children hope for their future. They call themselves 2nd Story Goods because a new story is beginning to emerge in each of their lives.

This Thanksgiving all forty something members of my family–five sisters, husbands, twenty plus children and grandparents will all pile in and gather around my family’s home where we will continue to offer our gifts, this time around a thankful table, writing (and drawing for the littlest ones) in one of those beautifully handcrafted journals from Haiti that tells its own story.

Thankful journal

A story of restoration, redemption and hope.

As I’ve grown, I’ve come to see how all our stories are connected. We are all born into hope, come to know brokenness and are restored back to hope through a Savior who pursues us, rescues us and makes all things new. The hands and feet of Jesus may look a little different in each of our lives, and I wonder if we always recognize them, yet it is the key to a beautiful story unfolding.

Now we have a way to connect to a story of restoration across the globe, to also be the hands and feet of Jesus, and build hope for their future.

So let’s reach around the globe this year and join hearts and hands around a thankful table of believers, as we share our stories and offerings of thanksgiving.

And then witness how God works outside of that neatly wrapped box.

* * *

Theresa is a wife and homeschooling mama of four children.  She is passionate about family, writing, and ministry that encourages women in this generation. Theresa has been published in MOPS International, MOMSnext e-zine and other on-line publications. Theresa authors Heavenly Glimpses blog, where she captures the heart of Christ through glimpses into the life of her children, marriage, and a writer unfolding.

Theresa Miller

 

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Live Out Love

Buy Beautifully | Live Out Love

We are regularly asked a similar set of questions about Bought Beautifully – what we do, why we do it, and how our faith/Christianity plays a role in it?

Over the last year, as we answered these questions, we discovered one simple line that helped us explain what we do and why:

#liveoutlove

Bought Beautifully exists to provide an alternative shopping experience, one that better aligns with our faith and allows us to use the financial blessings that God had given us for His glory and for the good of those He loves.

We are about more than just “fair trade” or “ethical” practices.

Our “niche” or calling is to partner with  people/entities who are living out Christ’s call to love through their work.

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Discovering amazing people and organizations, and the unique ways that God has called them to love and serve a hurting world is the best part of our job!

Our partners are not necessarily evangelical or international or all focused on development type issues, but they are all living out God’s call to love through their work, which results in some pretty amazing and diverse IMPACTS:

 pathways out of poverty.

fighting human trafficking.

spiritual encouragement.

caring for widows and orphans.

health and educational.

sustainable development.

and more.

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We are reminded daily of the honor it is to partner with such incredible vendors, and the opportunity we have to further their efforts and join them as they #liveoutlove.

Every product we sell, and every purchase made is part of a global love story.

When you shop Bought Beautifully, you are part of the movement to #liveoutlove.

Shop here!

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How to: Ethical Easter

How to: Ethical Easter Gifts

On the hunt for ethical Easter gifts to fill your baskets?

Keep scrolling to check out a few of our spring favorites

from Bought Beautifully!

Ethical Easter

Badala baskets

Tired of the typical Easter basket? These adorable, handmade baskets make for the perfect, stylish alternative! Stuff them full of our favorite goodies, and you’ll have an ethical Easter from start to finish!

Ethical Easter

Equal Exchange Coffee

This year, instead of going for the M&M’s, opt for fair trade coffee and chocolate from Equal Exchange. This Proud Mama blend is beautifully packaged and has an even more beautiful impact! One more reason to snag this Easter gift? It’s on sale!

 

Flora Journals Flora Stationary 2016-03-07 at 4.43.35 PM

Giving a journal this Easter? Give one that gives back! Each Flora journal supports college scholarships for young women in Kosovo.  The sale of 25 journals, supports a young woman for an entire year of college.

 

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Rooted Beauty Essentials: Lip Butter & Facial Wipes

We LOVE these natural and ethical beauty products. The best part? Each product gives back to a specific woman working her way out of poverty. Give the gift of a mini facial with this empowering Rooted Beauty duo!

Ethical Easter

We think Easter is the perfect occasion to think outside the basket (hehehe)!  While it would be easy to fill your Easter baskets with the traditional Easter gifts, wouldn’t it align better with the meaning and spirit of Easter to fill your basket with gifts that tell the story of God’s sacrificial love and redemption?

Live out love this Easter with ethical gifts from Bought Beautifully.

Shop these products and many others NOW.

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Valentine’s Day is near, fair trade chocolate is here

Valentine’s Day is near, and fair trade chocolate is here!

Give true love to your valentine this year with

chocolate that is making world-wide impacts.

Fair trade chocolate

While we love to enjoy delicious chocolate, it’s important

to know who’s producing it.

In recent years, the widespread use of child labor, and in some cases slavery in the chocolate industry has been exposed.  We shared about some of the issues here and here, and you can find even more up to date information at: Food is Power.org

fair trade chocolate

Fortunately, we don’t have to dwell on the problems of the chocolate industry when so many great ethical options exist.

Here are our top chocolate picks for this valentines day:

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1.) We think Barefoot and Chocolate sounds heavenly.  They use fair trade chocolate and DO NOT use any GMO’s, artificial ingredients, hydrogenated and solvent extracted oils in their chocolate sauce. Our V-day pick: Dark Chocolate Almond

2.) We love that Equal Exchange works hard to ensure a fair trade production model that benefits each of their employees while also creating tasty chocolate!  Our V-day pick = Organic Dark Chocolate with Raspberries

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3.) Riot Bars are fair trade and organic, making it a delicious option when you’re looking to make a difference this Valentine’s day. Our favorite? Dark chocolate with a bit of Kickin’ Coconut.

4.) We are swooning over Divine Chocolate‘s worker owned philosophy that gives workers  a share in the profits, a say in the company, and a voice in the global marketplace. Our V-day pick, a classic: The Belgian Chocolate collection.

P.S. We also love their 3 minute guide to Mindfulness and the Art of eating chocolate

This Valentine’s day, purchase ethically made treats, and give love to more than just your sweetheart.

Want more fair trade love? Try this sweet treat from our friends at Equal Exchange!

Spiced Chocolate Oat Cookies

fair trade chocolate recipe

Ingredients 

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup Equal Exchange Organic Spicy Hot Cocoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/4 cup turbinado or demerarra sugar (regular white will do in a pinch)
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 8 oz bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups oats

Directions 

In a medium bowl, mix flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and ginger.

In the bowl of a double boiler, melt butter and water together. When butter has mostly melted, add sugar, brown sugar, molasses and chopped chocolate. Stir just until everything is melted you don’t want the butter to separate or the chocolate to get chunky, so remove the bowl from the heat when everything has melted, even if the sugar granules haven’t fully dissolved.

Off the heat, whisk in the eggs one at a time, whisking each time to incorporate. The mixture will start to look shiny. Add the dry ingredients, stirring just until they disappear. Add oats and mix just to incorporate. Scoop your cookies (by the tablespoon) onto parchment- or silicone-lined baking sheets, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour, up to several days. Bake at 350 degrees for 11-13 minutes until just done (they’ll still look quite soft when you pull them out). Use a wide spatula to transfer cookies onto a rack, and cool to room temperature.

 

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Everyday Ethics

Everyday Ethics: The January Collection

Living consciously is an everyday commitment.  The BB team has been striving to live out everyday ethics for quite some time now.  This journey is becoming easier and more exciting as the demand for ethical products increases.  We want to bring you all on our journey and share the items we love, use and are dreaming about every month.

We’re bidding January farewell with our favorite ethical finds!

 

Rebekah’s Picks:

Parker Clay leather tote

This bag is handmade in Ethiopia, transforming communities with social and economic empowerment.

I had been dreaming about this bag for a while when it appeared under the Christmas tree this year. Everyone needs an everyday leather tote, and this is one of my favorites.

Everyday ethical tote

The tassel

Our tassel necklace is handmade by artisans who are receiving dignified work and education in Costa Rica and Rwanda.

This necklace is my go-to accessory. It pairs well with both black and brown, while also adding a pop of color to any outfit.

Everyday ethical accessories

Fair Trade Footwear: Fortress of Inca

Footwear and accessories ethically produced in Peru.

I love the unique detail in Fortress of Inca’s booties. This pair is definitely on my wishlist.

 

Everyday ethical footwear

Hanna’s Picks:

Sasa Designs by the Deaf Wraps

Handmade bracelets by deaf artisans in Kenya

These bracelets have quickly become a favorite BB item for everyday wear, special occasions, and gifts.

everyday ethical jewelry

Everlane Tee’s

Ethically produced apparel from Peru

Your must-have striped shirt just got better with Everlane’s ethical production model.

Everyday ethical clothing

Jacob’s Hat

Accessories from Jacob’s Scarves support education for children around the world.

With its style and grace, this plum colored hat has stolen Hanna’s heart.

Everyday ethics accessories

Emily’s Picks:

FashionAble  Ring Bar

Customizable rings from Fashionable invest in women around the world.

I’m drooling over the customizable ring bar from Fashionable. So many rings, so little time.

Everyday Ethical Accessories

Etiko Shoes

Fairtrade footwear, YES please!

I finally found a pair of casual fair trade sneakers! I am dreaming about chasing my kids around this summer in these adorable tennies.

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Rooted Beauty Moisturizer

Empowering women to escape extreme poverty and trafficking through natural skincare

Winter moisturizing is a must in my book. I can’t say enough about Rooted Beauty’s organic line of beauty products. This moisturizer is lightweight, non-greasy, and the perfect way to keep my skin hydrated.

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What Ethical Products are you loving?

Let us know in the comment section.

We love finding new brands to support!

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Holiday Pop-Up Shops

‘Tis the season to shop BEAUTIFULLY!

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Bought Beautifully products are here for the holidays, and we’re coming to YOU!

Invite a friend, and join us for our holiday pop-up markets!

Denton, TX

November 6th – 8th | First United Methodist Church

Dallas, TX

November 12th |Park City Baptist Holiday Dinner

Sheridan, WY

November 21st | 10 am – 3 pm | Shall We Dance Ballroom

Boise, ID

December 5th | 10 am – 2 pm | District Coffee House

Prescott, AZ

December 12th | 2 pm – 6 pm | 5ive A Vintage Market

 

Can’t join us for one of these pop-ups?

Shop online now!

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Fashion with Impact – Fashion Week

Happy fashion week!

It’s our turn to share our ethical style with you!

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WE ♥ PRODUCTS WITH PURPOSE

These Bought Beautifully products each make a unique impact on the person who made it.

Keep scrolling to see our friend Emma showcasing some of our favorite BB products!

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Omiyo

The Isabella necklace from Omiyo is ethically made in Uganda. Not only does it provide a week of school for a child, but it also provides work for the woman who made it.

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Sasa Designs by the Deaf

Emma’s Merina Earrings and beaded wrap bracelets are handmade by Sasa Designs by the Deaf. The focus at Sasa Designs is helping the Deaf use their hands to speak louder than they ever have before. Each piece they create allows them to share their story, and in turn, change lives. Deaf women have faced a lifetime of discrimination, being told from a young age that they are “worthless”. As fully employed women, they learn their true value.

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 Want to see more fashion with impact?

Follow the loop to see the next post from

Style Wise tomorrow morning!

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UPwords – Encouragement on the Go!

Happy Monday!

The start of a new week means a new vendor intro!

Meet UPwords – your go-to cards for encouragement on the go!

upwords 1

1.) Tell us about the history of your organization? 

The idea for UPwords was sparked 20 years ago when a friend was facing a life crisis and I wanted to encourage him. What started out as little sticky notes on his kitchen cabinet led to the distribution of hundreds of mini cards. It all grew from there!

God has provided places to go and people to be with – gifts of transportation, places to stay and one-on-one experiences with others have been just some of the surprises He has given to me.  Oh, and He was also faithful to provide the funding to start the ecommerce portion of the business last year!

My Mom says it this way, “I don’t have the need for a plane ticket.  I have a need for a big freezer for food.” What she meant is that God gives us what we need to carry out His call.  She needed a freezer to help feed the hungry and God provided. God provided me the necessities to make UPwords a reality to others.  Over and over, I have experienced how He provides what we need as we are on the road of obedience!

2.) What are some of the trials and triumphs you have faced in bringing your organization to where it is today?

Trials never feel good, but I will admit that through them, my vision for UPwords continues to be clarified and solidified.

I hope I’m not being too candid, but here goes. In my 1st year of getting my business off the ground, I was scammed by my web designer & product designer.  To add to that disappointment, I lost quite a bit of money by participating in a trade show that was hugely misrepresented.

BUT God promises that in all things we are more than conquerors through Him. My dependency on the Lord grew, and many opportunities with others were birthed during this difficult time. I now get to work with a fabulous web designer (Cathy) & graphics designer (Josh).  They have been amazing cheerleaders for UPwords.

3.) How have you seen God provide/move/blow your mind?

Nearly every day God blows my mind as I see how He will so simply touch the life of just one person if I make myself available.

One evening, my friend and I were checking out at the register of Publix.  My friend made a ‘fan’ of the UPwords cards in her hand (about 6 different cards).  She said to the cashier, ‘Pick one. They are different cards of encouragement.’  Angela, the cashier, pulled out the ‘STRENGTH’ card and began to read the scripture on the inside of the card.  I will admit, I was not ready for the response – she began to cry and tell us that we did not know how much she needed this.  There was a line of people behind us, but it was like time stood still because Angela mattered! :)

People’s desire for connection, real connection, is so tangible.  The most common phrase I hear from others is, “This is just what I needed!”

UPwords 2

4.) We can’t wait to see what the future holds for you. What are some of your hopes and goals for 2015?

It has been a blast introducing our innovative mini cards to the public, but looking ahead, we have a few more standard greeting card lines, and unique gift ideas in the works!

Many folks have the mindset that greeting cards need to be sent through the mail.  In 1994, we were introduced to another type of greeting card, the e-card.  And today?  I’m excited to present to you a face-to-face experience through giving mini encouragement cards.  You might say UPwords is returning to the grassroots of communication.  :)

My hope is that God would give me the nations for my inheritance. I pray that His word would go throughout all the earth.

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We are excited about God’s ability to use a card of encouragement to impact the world, and the opportunity we have to participate!

Shop UPwords now on Bought Beautifully!

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Fall Style Guide – Ethical Essentials

Fall Style Guide

Looking for ethical essentials?

Follow this week’s style guide to compare your favorite brand name pieces with BB products that are actively making an impact around the world!

 

BB AnthropologieAnthropologie $108

BB Kaia BB Kaia necklace $24. Shop here.

Buy your fall statement necklace beautifully, and give back to artisans in Costa Rica.

BB UO Urban Outfitters $18

BB DruzyBB Druzy earrings $18. Shop here.

Add some sparkle to your wardrobe with earrings that support education and vocational training for women in Africa.

 BB NordstromNordstrom $100

BB TuliBB crescent necklace $20. Shop here.

This pop of color makes a lasting impact in Uganda.

Screen Shot 2015-08-11 at 1.27.08 PMNordstrom $48

Tiger eye Tassel necklaceBB Tiger Eye Tassel Necklace $31. Shop here.

Trendy tassels are a must have this fall. Buy yours beautifully, and create sustainable income for a family in New Delhi.

 

Use your purchases to empower others this season!

Shop on Bought Beautifully now.

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Omiyo Jewelry – Giving Hope to Gulu

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1.) Tell us about the history of your organization?

In 2011, a young Ugandan man who had started an organization to support his rural community, was in the computer center in Gulu town, learning to use computers, and hoping to find a way to get a website for his organization. He saw a young man s teaching computers in the center, and felt God telling him to ask that young man for help. That young man was my son Joey, who was doing a college internship at the computer center. They became friends, and Joey made a website for the organization.

A few months later, after Joey returned home, he got an email from his Ugandan friend saying that he wanted to start an income-generating project for women in his community who were learning to make paper beads. He asked if Joey knew anyone who could help him market the beads. At that time, I was manager of a fair trade store, so Joey contacted me, and I agreed to help.

I became very involved with the bead group and the rest of the organization, and visit them yearly. Early on, I realized that while the bead business would help some of the more capable women of the community, there were many other families of orphaned children, headed by old grandmothers trying to earn school fees. Since I belong to a very generous church I suggested we start a sponsorship program for these families in tandem with the bead business. This grew very quickly; we currently have 67 children in the program, which has outgrown our small church.

Sponsorship fees of $20 a month pay for a basic education in rural schools for the children. But we wanted to actually improve the children’s education, and get them into better schools (it’s typical for rural schools to have 100 children in a class, and for teachers to miss weeks at a time, with no substitute).

Initially we called the business Jewels for Schools, and pledged to use as much of the sales to provide the children a better education at Bethel Christian School, which costs quite a bit more than rural schools.  We re-branded this year as Omiyo, which means “Give” in Luo, the tribal language of our Ugandan artisans. Jewels for Schools is now a program of Omiyo.

JackyGrace, Susan, Brenda, Milly

2.) What are some of the trials and triumphs you have faced in bringing your organization to where it is today?

Not living in Uganda is hard as I don’t have much control over product development and shipping is expensive.   I often get a whole shipment of styles that I know I can’t sell, it’s very difficult! The women I work with are extremely poor subsistence farmers, and there is no way for them to know what is in style in the US. The last time I went, I took a lot of samples for them to follow, but it’s hard for them to understand that I want things exactly like this. No substituting green sparkly beads for brass beads, for example. To be fair, it’s hard for a group in the small northern town of Gulu to get supplies. Most bead groups have moved to the capital for that reason, because shipping is easier from the capital, and because it’s easier to just fly to Kampala, and not have to take the grueling eight-hour bus ride to Gulu. But I am committed to working with women and children in Gulu.

The main reason Omiyo exists is not for me to have a booming business, but to help create jobs in this area where unemployment is about 70%. So despite the hardships, I will continue to work in Gulu and the rural communities that surround it.

Also, in 2014 temptation became too much for my Ugandan partner, and he misused donated funds we had been collecting for a school project.  In addition, his wife was the head of the group, and she had quit working with any of the other women, in order to get all the income for herself and her mother.  I had to quit working with both of them.

I was discouraged and thought of giving up the bead business. But there was no way I could abandon the 67 sponsored children. It was a hard year, trying to replace all my former systems with new ones, while struggling with feelings of discouragement. I also have struggled with how to relate to my former partners. They were like family to me, and it is hard to see them and their child suffering with no employment again, as well as rejection from their community, who are angry with them for messing up a good arrangement that really benefited the community. During my last visit, we had a reconciliation mediated by a local pastor, as well as a meeting with some local leaders to work out practical details and let the community know that I have forgiven them.

Bethel Gulu group shot

3.) How have you seen God provide?

God provided me with my Ugandan son, Derrick. He just turned up at my daughter’s wedding two years ago, because he happened to be visiting my son Joey. I asked him to come and live with us, and he has become part of our family. He’s been helpful in so many ways, but especially when things fell apart with my former leadership in Uganda. Derrick is a people person, and had just the right people in his Ugandan circles to provide help in all the ways I needed it: one was able to do a bit of detective work for me on the progress of the school project, another was able to check on some shady money transfer issues through her job. His friends Paul and Diana, both accountants, now pay school fees for me, and his aunt Jacky is now my head bead lady. Through his cousin Kennedy I’m able to communicate with the bead group. Without Derrick, I would not have been able to continue my work. God put him in our lives at just the right time.

Milly and brenda

4.) As an organization what excited about right now?

I am excited by the new artisans I’ve met and started working with this year: Jacky and the other members of RwotOmiyo, who meet together for prayer and mutual support as well as working on beads in Gulu, Uganda. Azucena, who makes earrings of wire and stone from her tiny shop in a mountain town in Nicaragua, and is so excited to help kids in her community go to school. Aracely and Carolina are two Nicaraguan women who collect pine needles and create amazing jewelry like you’ve never seen before.

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Rwot Omiyo group 4x9

5.) We can’t wait to see what the future holds for you. What are some of your hopes and goals for 2015? The next three years?

I want to expand my markets, to provide more income for these women. I’d like to get products into more stores, as I find that handmade products do best when people can see and touch them, and the nature of paper beads is that each one is unique, so it’s difficult to sell from a picture. I’d also like to find a gift shop or shops in an area with a lot of pines, where I can market the pine needle jewelry. Maybe this year or next, I’d like to try a trade show. And I’d like to spend more time in Uganda.

We are so amazed by the work the Lord has done through Omiyo – even in the midst of such turbulent times – and are blessed to be able to play a small role in such an awesome ministry.

You can play a role too! Support Omiyo by shopping here.

 

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