Imagine sacrificing the comforts of the Western way of life, your home country, family and jobs as a doctor and a teacher to live and serve the Lord in Thailand... and not just anywhere in Thailand, but in one of the slums of Bangkok - Khlong Toey. That's exactly what Jon and Elise Fletcher with their sons, Elliot and Samuel, did 3.5 years ago. They are amazing examples of being the salt of the earth and light of the world (Matthew 5:13-16), and our women's Bible study had the privilege of their company yesterday morning, where they shared how the Lord is working through them to show His love to the "unlovable" and downcast.
Jon and Elise work with a Christian Missionary Order called UNOH (Urban Neighbours of Hope) serving those around them in the slum. Elise spends much of her time helping to manage the UNOH-supported fair trade jewelry project called RoyRak, which means "bead love". The Khlong Toey women and one man team create BEAUTIFUL jewelry that is sold world wide, which in turn, provides an income twice that of the minimum wage for Thailand, paid holiday, a comfortable work space and the flexibility to work around childcare.
You know I strive to save and to spend money wisely and this is definitely a time when I feel that "my" (it's God's, actually) money is going beyond just purchasing something to wear; the thought that by purchasing some of the bright, colourful, handmade jewelry, I am indirectly helping to support the lives of real people, showing them love and support from afar, delights my heart to no end! I have purchased a few necklaces for a few friends both here in Shropshire and in Ohio who would appreciate this jewelry and perhaps even spread the word of RoyRak when they wear it proudly.
Brenna modelling her new necklace
Oh, and by the way, each piece of jewelry is named after people who live in Khlong Toey - how neat is that?!
I sure hope you'll click on this link to the RoyRak website to check out the products yourself. Not that I want you to wait to support this amazing cause, but if you wish to make a purchase - perhaps for Christmas presents - in September or October, you can receive 20% off your order by entering "ONLINE20" in the discount box.