Thursday, March 23, 2006

that freedom story

Just got this news from Kristin about our friend MITU--really this is a miracle!!

Alrighty folks...have i got a story for you!!!! i think this is the most amazing sofar. please read.Mitutu hadn't been coming to work. for about a week. some people said she wassick, but most didn't know where she was. so today we went looking for her becauseshe didn't come to work again.kiron, beth and i found her working the line. She was sitting on a stool lookingmiserable!! she didn't even smile this time when she saw us. well, we found outthat she hasn't been able to pay rent for about 18 days and owed about 1440ruppess...that is a lot here (abut $30 dollars). so she quit training withouttelling anyone and started to work the line again full time.We gave her some encourgaing words and told her that our problems are her problemsand that freedom is still possible. I don't know if she believed us yet but wecalled freeset and told her that we had found mitu. they told us to bring herthere. so five minutes later we took her back to freeset. kerry, pria and the four of ussat down and told her the solutions....and its amazing. we pay off her rent. shecomes to freeset and actually lives with pria until the room in the DOWNSTAIRS offreeset is done. after a month of living there they will work with her to findhousing........and from this day onward she will leave the trade forever.she agreed. so kiron and beth took the money and went to meet with the landord whowas not happy at all hearing about mitu leaving. It is the bengali new year so forone month they don't get new tenants or let tenant go. She insisted that mitu paidthe rest of the month....but mitu and kiron held strong. even after a lot ofshouting. so we packed up her stuff from her room hired a taxi and dropped her off atfreeset!!! i dont think i realized what had happened until i was sitting and eating dinner andi almost wanted to get up and dance. never, ever again will mitu have to work theline again. never, ever again will she have to lift up her skirt for a $1.00!!! I remember that verse...."God set the lonely into families". i saw it come true today.and on the selfish side. i feel like to today was such a gift to me. i have beenin a funk and Jesus just ripped my face off and reminded me about his character andhe does hear our prayers.keep it real folks. wish i could share every detail but just know that this ishuge!!!!! huge!!!!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

still easy

not sure why or how by my travels all the way to sri lanka were easy...i arrived and was the first in line for immigration and within 2 minutes of arriving at the baggage claim we had our bags. SERIOUSLY, THIS NEVER HAPPENS! NEVER EVER!

just feeling super thankful for this and for the next two days of doing nothing on the beach!

Monday, March 20, 2006

traveling the easy way..

i never travel the easy way...if there is something that is gonna go wrong it always seems to happen when i travel in asia...that is why today has been so amazing!

We had to get up at 230am to catch our flight but it was worth the clear and almost beautiful open roads of calcutta. it was worth being first in line at SpiceJet. never ever in my whole time in india have i been first in line for anything! our flight to chennai was amazing and easy and we just walked a little way over to the international terminal--no worries--no trouble. We get bumped to the front of the line in the bag security area and then again to the front of the line for check in on our columbo flight. I am feeling loved today because of these is weird but i kind of feel taken care of... in a way that i really needed to be taken care of after some insanely busy weeks in Kolkata. I am heading to sri lanka for the WMF Field forum which will be amazing. Keep us in your prayers as the international leadership (from usa, peru, bolivia, romania, sierra leone and nepal) of the community comes together. Seems almost prophetic to see the coming together of many tribes and tongues for the growth of the kingdom! keep us in your prayers.

hoping that the rest of my travels are as amazing as they first hours have been...

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

living with some bad bad bugs

This week i have been tormented by two seperate yet equally disgusting little baddies...i spent most of last week battle a little stomach parasite....which has now finally been defeatly. Win one for Sarah!! And today i finally did the lice treatment that has been calling my name for the last 6 weeks...i found 7 or 8 biguns and 15 or more of their little kids...they also have been defeated at least for today!! We will see how they are in 10 days when i treat my head again.

I had the best time last night with Upendra, Rada (his wife) and their daughter Megha. they wanted to have me over for tea and ended up making me stay for dinner...seriouly people here are sooooooo hospitable!! We had great converstation about their life and family and the many issues that they have faced in recent years as upendra has stuggled to find a job...they are new believers and it was so refreshing to hear their heart and so amazing that God answered all of prayers in providing for Upendra to work for Sari Bari...he is truly amazing. It was really not know what elso to say except that it is the kind of moment i live for here...those sweet moments of real connection and understanding.

more on life in Kolkata as it happens....

Thursday, March 02, 2006

All things made new

The new life of three women has begun with the advent of Sari Bari. Three women now have freedom to begin a new life that was never before possible. Now it is more than possible…it is a reality. We celebrated the beginning of the new lives of these three women with birthday cake on Saturday. This is something that started with celebrating the life of one girl in Sonagacchi who left the trade and now will become the beautifully regular celebration of every new women employed by Sari Bari.
It was exciting and beautiful to be with them as we sang happy birthday for them and with them as they celebrated not only their own freedom but the start of freedom of the other 2 women working alongside them. It was a sweet celebration of new life on the floor of what is now Sari Bari in Kalighat.
These first two weeks have been full of new and good experiences. The ladies are amazing and they are working so hard…it was hard to get them to stop for the informal education we hope to have built into all our training sessions. We want to make sure that they have basic literary, nutrition education, budgeting and team building games to round out their training but they just want to keep working on their blankets. Most of the time it just feels normal and maybe like I might be in a little over my head but so good.
I also started learning how to make a Sari Blanket and if you know me at all you will know I wanted my Sari Blanket, even though it is my first one, to be perfect and beautiful. I thought I had picked beautiful and fun sari’s to make the perfect blanket. But as my work progressed I realized that my Sari had all these holes and that I would need to patch them. Hey no problem, the patches add to the coolness I thought, but then there was not left over fabric to match my sari so I had to patch with another color that did not quite match…I was tempted to think that now my Sari blanket was ruined. And then I started to think about it…this sari blanket that I was working on is very much like me and in fact very much like all the ladies I am working alongside. It has the appearance of something good and the potential for great beauty but there are holes and the holes while they make it imperfect they do not make it any less beautiful. The holes which require patching, even patching with a color that does not quite match, make the Sari Blanket even more unique and beautiful. I just realized that I want my life to be perfect but it is not…I imagine the ladies we work with feel the same way…they want beauty and wholeness for themselves and their families but this has not been something available or even attainable. But the fact of the matter is just because there are holes, brokenness and imperfection in our lives does not mean that these things can not be patched, healed and redeemed to make something even more beautiful. That is the kind God we serve, one who patches our holes and calls us beautiful…a God who will heal my brokenness and the brokenness of these ladies and make something new.
This is our vision for Sari Bari that God would take the lives of these women just as they take these old thrown away Sari’s and make something new. We started making Sari Blankets in a business that we call Sari Bari but this week God started making things new in the lives of three women. He started the redemption process and I believe we can trust the end result will be beautiful.
I was able to pay them yesterday for the first two weeks of training and it was so beautiful to see their faces and see their responses as it was again affirmed for them that a new life is started and that there really will be freedom for them. They had their first budgeting class yesterday taught by Kiran and it was a really rough go…it is really the first time that they have been asked to intentionally figure out their money and consider how they can pay their debts and even save some money. It was not easy for them to consider how they could actually make something like a budget work but I believe and hope that they can be successful at managing their money and living on the money they make without taking additional loans. They do not yet know that we will be paying off their loans (they can pay us back at no interest—some of them are paying the equivalent of 120 percent a year) and I am so looking forward to the day when I can tell them their debt will be paid and they will be free from it’s burden in the not too far off future.
Please keep these women in your prayers. They have a long, hard and most certainly amazing road ahead them. Freedom will require a fight that they will not have to fight alone but still it will not be easy. They need you to fight on their behalf in prayer.
So thanks for praying for us and for them. We feel it and we most certainly need it.

Break the Traffic

The National Christian Alliance on Prostitution has just launed a newwebsite ( It was created as a way ofraising the profile of modern day slavery & human trafficking and toencourage people to step forward and engage (even if in a small way atfirst) with the issue.