This past year has been the most challenging of my life. It wasn’t a bad year, but it was challenging. I had to face many changes: marriage, pregnancy, motherhood, country & culture, and ministry. All of these things are beautiful and perfectly crafted by God but it did take time to see the beauty in each of them. While I feel like I’ve experienced enough this year alone to write a book, I wanted to share one key thing that God has laid upon my heart lately and the some of the doors He has opened.
Throughout the year, I came into contact with many different women. Some educated, some not. Some married, some separated, some in terribly abusive situations. Some with children, some without. Some Christian, some Hindu, some Muslim. But, the group of women that has touched my heart the most are the single mothers barely scrapping by to take care of their kids. The mothers who might have husbands but those husbands just sit around, completely unreliable and expect the wives to fully provide for the family, sometimes abandoning them for months on end. Mothers in completely desperate situations.
A few of these women have come to Noel and I asking for jobs on more than one occasion. My heart breaks a little more each time I have to tell a disappointed mother that I have nothing to offer. So my mind has been racing. My heart has been yearning. I have been praying that something would come to my mind that I could do.
That’s when God led me to 2 Kings 4. This is a story that a lot of us are familiar with. The story of the widow coming to Elisha and pleading him to help her because her husband had died, she had debts to pay, and the debtors were coming to take her sons off as slaves. Elisha didn’t frantically dig through his pockets to give her a free hand out, but he didn’t turn his back on the widow either. Instead, he asked her what she did have. She replied that she only had a little bit of oil. He then instructed her to go, collect as many jars as she could from her neighbors and friends, and then take those jars into her house and begin filling them with oil. So, she did just that. She collected the jars, took them to her home, and filled them with oil. And God multiplied the oil. He took the little oil that she had and gave her a way to multiply what she had to fully fill all the jars. But first, he asked her to have the faith enough to collect the empty jars, believing they would be filled.
In this same way, I want to help these women see the little oil they have in their own lives and give them the opportunity to multiply it.
On my last trip to the States, I brought with me jewelry that my mother-in-law had made with a few mothers in desperate situations. She taught them the skill and then they began to make it. I was shocked to see how well the jewelry sold in the States too. So, it got my mother-in-law and I thinking, what next?
We have decided to start a new ministry called Jars of Faith. Each week, we will invite a group of women in need of jobs to come into our homes. For the first part of the meeting, we will have a short Bible study and prayer time and then the last part, we will teach different handcrafts. Depending on what the individual woman is interested in or has talent, we will teach them and give them the opportunity to make goods. We will then buy each of their completed crafts from them directly so that we can then sell it.
Jars of Faith will allow us to share and form deep relationships with these women, to teach them a skill enabling them to make money for their families, and to provide an income for us to place back into the ministry as a whole. We have decided that all profits from Jars of Faith will be used to purchase clothing for the kids in our rescue homes.
Will you help us be like Elisha and multiply the oil (the talents) these women have to fill the jars they are bringing to provide for their families?