Thursday, December 5, 2013

If you want to shop for Christmas, alleviate poverty, and stop human trafficking

At this year’s Catalyst Conference, I came across the Worldcrafts exhibit and was immediately drawn in. According to their brochure, Worldcrafts operates under Fair Trade Federation standards and seeks to help women and men around the world to “earn a living with dignity and escape the grip of poverty.” Their parent organization, WMU, is engaged in the fight to stop human trafficking. Their mission statement declares they want to “involve Christians in understanding and becoming radically involved in the mission of God.”

Without realizing it, I’d already made a purchase from them some time ago. On a mountain retreat, I came across some of their fair trade products in a gift shop, and purchased a lizard made in Kenya from strips of soda cans for my wildlife biologist to-be son as well as jewelry for my daughter made in a far-flung place.

I also made a few purchases at Catalyst and received their Christmas catalog a few weeks ago.

As I thumbed through the pages, I took a tour of how people around the world see the Nativity, for among the offerings in the catalog are handcrafted sets made in places like China, Bangladesh, and Kenya. I thought of the beloved Alfred Burt carol, “Some Children See Him.”

The stories of Worldcrafts artisans stir my heart. At 80 years of age, a basket maker in Kenya accepted Christ for the first time. In Yunnan China, women who work all day in the fields only make $36 a year. Through Worldcrafts, they’re able to use their embroidery skills to make $12 a month.

Worldcrafts is not paying me anything to write this, but if you’re looking for unique gifts, the purchase of which will make a real difference in someone’s life, please check them out.

Cause no matter what color Jesus seems to you, helping families feed their children, or saving a young girl from human trafficking is what true religion is all about.

“Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God the Father, is this: Reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight, and guard against corruption from the godless world” (The Message James1:27)

You may watch a short overview of the Worldcrafts mission here.

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