IMG_2743To provide for them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.     ~ Isaiah 61:3

What does hope look like? I think I can begin to tell you because I saw it all over Nepal. 

Does it surprise you to hear me say that? It’s true that I saw a lot of things that broke my heart. More than anything, I saw a country that desperately needs Jesus.  Nevertheless, I saw hope …

…in the faces of children in the Tiny Hands’ children’s homes.

…in the face of a beautiful young woman who was intercepted at the Nepal/India border by Tiny Hands staff as she was in the process of being trafficked into the sex industry.

…in those who are committed to supporting the work of Tiny Hands International.

I also saw hope in the faces of 9 women who work at Beauty for Ashes.

[Tweet “Hope in Nepal looks like the faces of 9 women who work at Beauty for Ashes. @tinyhandsintl”]

 

IMG_2764The director, Glenda Helzer, gave Kadi and me a tour of the spectacular home that houses Beauty for Ashes.  Many organizations recognize the need for emotional, spiritual and physical healing for women who have experienced sexual exploitation and have established recovery homes; however, very few have been able to address the practical and vocational needs after her emotional recovery.  Beauty for Ashes International, Inc. was formed in Nepal to provide viable employment for these women, so they are able to support themselves and their families while being discipled in Christ.  

 

   

 

IMG_2821While Glenda animatedly guided us around the spectacular property, we could hear women visiting and laughing in the adjacent room. We paused in the doorway and watched as a handful of women worked at their sewing machines on new products that would be sold (not for profit) in the United States and through Tiny Hands’ online store, and for profit in Nepal. They also make our one girl prayer initiative bracelets that I’ve talked so much about!

As I made my way around the room, greeting the women and admiring their handiwork, the chatter faded and they were shy about their work. Each woman would politely acknowledge my compliments with a little head bobble (a darling back and forth wobble of the head that signifies “yes,” “okay,” or acknowledgement) and a small smile. 

Right now Beauty for Ashes is only working with women coming out of sex trafficking or at high risk for being trafficked. Glenda shared, however, that Beauty for Ashes wants to be the “bookends” in this huge social justice area … on the front end providing training and jobs, and on the back end giving jobs to women coming out of these situations. 

I was so impressed to hear how the women come 5 days a week. They get lunch every day, share in devotions, receive medical reimbursement for themselves and their family (a certain allotment each year). They also have something akin to a 401K in which Beauty for Ashes puts in an additional 10% of the woman’s income and the women put in 10% to encourage them to save. 

Friends, we may be tempted to shrug our shoulders and blow this off with a side-ways, “well what’s the big deal about that?” Allow me to remind you … THIS IS NEPAL!  These things don’t happen in Nepal.

What these women are experiencing is a fair income for their labor and a plan for their future.

IMG_2790It’s beauty instead of ashes.

It’s hope.

Will you jump over and make a purchase on the Tiny Hands’ store to support the women at Beauty for Ashes and check out the Beauty for Ashes website? WordPress is having an attitude this morning, so I can’t add links, but I’m going to post the information here for you to cut and paste into your browser. I’ll get this corrected as soon as I am able.

 

http://www.beautyforashesintl.com/wordpress/

http://www.tinyhandsinternational.org/get-involved/product-parties

http://www.tinyhandsinternational.org/one-girl