Every African Bag Has A Story:

Both Sides of the Sea

Mary Ogalo with Global bag Project Seamstresses.

Mary O, our Kenya Project Coordinator, has introduced the Medical Ambassador International’s Women's Cycle of Life in the sewing room. This is a series of highly–participatory lessons that are learner–centered and deal with the physical, spiritual, and psychological aspects of a woman’s development. Mary writes:

"I began the women cycle of life training yesterday with 13 women who meet at the sewing room. I did not know which topic to begin with but something nudged me to start with a lesson on forgiveness. We discussed what forgiveness is and some of the things women do when they are upset and unforgiving."

One of the women said, ‘We sometimes get harsh with the children.

Another added, ‘I refuse to talk to anyone.

One of our seamstresses added, ‘I get rude to anyone who talks with me.

"We discussed bigger consequences of unforgiveness and repeated a memory verse from Luke 23:34 in Kiswahili: ‘Baba, wasamehe kwa sababu hawajui wanalolitenda. One of the more literate ladies in the group volunteered to copy out the memory verse on the black–board to remain as a constant reminder of Christ's example of forgiveness.

"After the meeting one woman approached me and said, ‘Mary, I do not know why you choose to talk about forgiveness, but I think God was speaking to me because I left home so angry with my husband and I had planned to punish him this evening. I was planning not to cook for him but now I am thinking differently … I forgive him, I will cook!’"

Ever have any of these feelings yourself? We may be seas apart but we are not so different in our very human responses; we all need Christ’s teachings to make our hearts whole. Mary will be doing 45 minutes of Women’s Cycle of Life lessons every Wednesday. We can’t wait to hear more stories.

Need Some Bridesmaid Gifts?

Hannah T. with her bridesmaids bringing handmade handbags from Global Bag Project

Hannah T. put this photo on her Facebook page. She was in Nairobi when Karen Mains and Carla Boelkens visited in April. Hannah was a month away from her wedding date while working on some projects for staff at African International University. We were with her in the sewing room when she chose her gift bags. This was so much fun, and we thought Global Bag Project bags for bridal party gifts was a terrific, eco–conscious, globally–aware idea!

Last year, Ashley B. gave Global Bag Project bags as gifts to her bridal party as well. Here’s what she says,

"We loved the bags and they are often used. This is such a wonderful project. My bridesmaids were so happy to know that their gifts were not only awesome, useful bags, but that they were partnering with the women of Kenya with them. Continue the great work!

July Salary Shortage

Mary , our dedicated Global Bag Project Kenya Project Coordinator. She guides our women in creating fabulous Handmade Handbags.

We have been able to pay Mary, our Global Bag Project Kenya Project Coordinator, her salary for June, but we still need some donations to cover her salary for July.

Carla Boelkens, Director of the Global Bag Project, shared this need with Sue who intercedes for our ministry; and Sue promptly sent a check for $50. For any of you who can contribute to our summer emergency salary fund, as a heartfelt thank–you, we will gladly send you Karen's beautiful book The Fragile Curtain, the winner of the National Christopher Award for any gift of $50 or more. Dale Hanson Bourke reviewed the book and writes, "Fragile Curtain is the most beautifully written book—Christian or secular—that I’ve read in years. It is full of wisdom and emotion and touched me so deeply it changed my life. This book is a classic, a book to be read and reread and given to friends."

Checks can be made out to Global Bag Project, noted: Mary’s Salary, and mailed to Global Bag Project, Box 30, Wheaton, IL 60187.

Prayer Concerns

Voluntourism Trip to Kenya in 2012

Your visit to Kenya will be a life-changing experience as you interface with this incredible country, its delightful animals and geography, and its most hospitable people. Never leave the same again!

Your visit to Kenya will be a life–changing experience as you interface with this incredible country, its delightful animals and geography, and its most hospitable people. Never leave the same again!

We are going back to Africa September 30 – October 7, 2012 and taking a voluntourism group with us. If you are interested, contact Carla Boelkens, the U.S. GBP Director. We will send you all the details.

Here are a few of the things we expect to do:

The cost of the trip will be $3,500 for the land fee, not including air flight (a group of us will travel from Chicago together but we have discovered that others have mileage points, want to stop in London, or vacation on the way back in Italy so experience has taught us not to try to arrange this). This fee includes land costs—housing, most meals, in-country travel, flights to Massa Mara, safari as well as a stipend to spend capitalizing new bag products, shopping for fabrics for the sewing room, building an emergency fund for our African colleagues, purchasing sewing machines, or buying decorating items and bedding for the Kijiji Guest House guest rooms. You will be receipted for this stipend as a donation.

Contact Karen Mains. Our Mainstay Ministries office phone is 630–293–4500. If I am not in, leave a message and I will return your call.

Party In A Box

Host a Party in a Box with Africa Handmade Handbags and feed the children of Africa.

You don’t have to be in the Chicago area to give your friends and family the opportunity to make a difference in the life of a woman affected by disease and poverty in Kenya. We’ll provide all that you need to host a Global Bag Project Handmade Handbags Party or to add a mission or humanitarian aspect to your event.

Or we can do special–order gift bags or wine bags with your corporate logo. We will work with you on design and implementation. Consider this great opportunity now, remembering that we need several months lead time to joyfully complete your project. Email Carla to get your order or schedule your party today!