Segue o Seco is a cooperative of artisans in northeastern Brazil. Their handmade and fairly traded products are intentionally sustainable and created with materials and processes that have minimal environmental impact. The fabrics in their products are made with ecologically harvested Buriti palm fiber, which is hand-dyed with natural dyes before it is woven or crocheted.

Fair Trade Artisans Create Eco-Friendly Products

The Segue o Seco artisans work with Dsenyo, a Jesus’ Economy partner. Dsenyo is an organization loyal to the cause of alleviating the suffering of the impoverished. They do this by teaching local artisans self-sustainable trades so they can better their economic situations and provide for their families. Dsenyo is also dedicated to using local and environmentally friendly materials that can be artfully repurposed and recycled for continuous use.

Dsenyo works alongside artisans to improve living situations for impoverished people, promote a holistic economy, respect cultural traditions, and build global relationships. Together, Jesus' Economy and Dsenyo are empowering female artisans from countries throughout Africa and Latin America.

Shopping fair trade uplifts people and the world we live in. Join us in transforming lives through fair trade.

 

Shop Segue o Seco Fair Trade Products

 

Rahul continues to reach out to more and more villages, extending the gospel to more than 4,500 people despite the obstacles the monsoon season brings to him, his ministry, and the area villages.

Patience Through Difficult Seasons

Rahul has brought peace and healing to people in 16 villages, 11 of them are new villages where he started his ministry in 2016. In these villages, he has brought 20 new people to Jesus and 20 have been baptized. 

From late May to September, Rahul struggles to maintain attendance in church services due to the rainy season. They currently don’t have a church building to meet in, so every Sunday Rahul gathers with villagers under a tree. When monsoon season hits, they can’t meet and he struggles to bring people together to worship. When the rainy season is over, because of how many services are missed, he has to visit people repeatedly until he has convinced them to come back to the Sunday service under the tree. The lack of a building combined with monsoon season has proven very difficult for Rahul and other believers. But he has pressed forward, making an impact wherever he goes.

Perseverance Brings Hope

In many of the villages Rahul ministers in, severe flooding is a huge issue during monsoon season. The floods destroy their crops, huts, and roads every year.

Despite travel difficulties, for the last two years, Rahul has been diligently working in these villages and leading prayer meetings. After he started ministering, the villagers noticed a change in their community. The river stopped overflowing and flooding the villages, crops are able to survive and flourish, and roads have been rebuilt. With these changes that make all of life smoother, many more villagers are willing to talk with Rahul and listen to what he is sharing about the gospel making his reach broader than ever.

Support Rahul's ministry to an impoverished and unreached villages by donating to his fund. 


Sponsor Rahul's Ministry

 

I know sacrifice. I sold my house and nearly everything I own to follow God’s call on my life. I saw that it wasn’t enough to simply spread a message; I had to live it.

Through pain and trial, Jesus taught me how to follow him—and continues to do so.

But the world doesn’t work like an iPhone; it’s not instantly gratifying. Rather than receiving the instant gratification of people joining our movement, I saw many people distance themselves. My choices either made them uncomfortable, or in giving up my former job—which gave me influence and the ability to make the publishing dreams of others come true—I no longer had something they desired.

This situation revealed to me a larger issue about our culture—apathy.

Our generation likes the idea of alleviating poverty far more than the actual act of alleviating poverty. We’re comfortable liking and sharing posts on Facebook, but ask us to take real action and little to nothing will happen. Likewise, we like to talk about the need to bring the gospel to the unreached far more than we are willing to do the work. 

It’s inconvenient to make sacrifices. It’s far from being instantly gratifying. It’s an act of faith.

What Following Jesus Really Means

We need a solution to the apathy of our generation. We need to teach people what following Jesus really means—and demonstrate it by example. Writing to his young apprentice Timothy, Paul puts it this way:

“The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion, desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions” (1 Timothy 1:5–7 ESV).

In America, we have a more educated generation than ever before. But from where I’m sitting, it doesn’t seem that we’re teaching people to lead by example. At the college and university level, we are really good at teaching people to think critically and to critique. But it’s easy to critique; it’s hard to create. There is a time and place for critique—for discussion of the law, using Paul’s analogy. But we need to be better at teaching people to take action, getting them to do the work.

You could sit all day and nitpick about a model for alleviating poverty or how we should (and should not) be doing missions—and these are important discussions. But meanwhile, there are people out there dying, physically and spiritually. The world isn’t changed by mere theory; it’s changed by theory in action.

In our top universities, we have Christians pursuing noble training and occupations—lawyers, doctors, executives, scholars, and teachers. While these indeed are noble and important pursuits, many will quickly lose sight of the real purpose of life as a Christian. Consumerism will consume them. They will be wrapped into businesses and striving after promotions; they will become consumed with possessions and money, if they haven’t already.

We have Christians learning to be teachers of the law—with knowledge of the core ideas of the Bible taught by campus ministries and churches. But most people are living without true understanding. This understanding can only be gained through self-sacrifice. It can only be gained through doing what Jesus has called us to do—to give of ourselves for the impoverished, marginalized, and outsider; and dedicate our lives to bringing the freedom of the gospel to those who have not heard it.

How We Can Reverse the Apathy Trend

It’s going to be difficult to reverse the trend of the Facebook generation of Christians—who seem interested in alleviating poverty and spreading the gospel, but are largely apathetic. Here are a few ideas.

We can start by exposing people to the truth of what’s going on around the world—that there are plenty of resources to go around but that we’re not getting those resources to the impoverished. We can then show people how God can use their skills to not just fiscally assist in these areas but to also transform lives, with their own two hands.

Jesus’ Economy, for example, has an entirely remote all-volunteer team. We have volunteers around the nation who are part of our staff—they are plugging directly into the work of alleviating poverty from right behind their computer. They are working on partnerships, content, and technology projects. They are putting their hard skills to work helping alleviate poverty and spread the gospel.

We can also expose people to the fact that there are over 3,000 people groups without missionaries. It’s estimated that 99.7% of the church’s resources—its missional activities and financial support—are dedicated to areas where the church is already present. Only 0.3% of resources are dedicated to where the church is not present. Let that number sink in.

To deal with this, we need to be thinking about how we can work together to pool our resources—to empower the work of the global church.

I’ve been to one of these places, in Bihar, India. In Bihar, there are over 101 Million people who have never heard the name of Jesus. There is a completely unreached people group. 

In Bihar, I met a man who had lived his entire life as a gang leader. An indigenous church planter had a chance encounter with him and shared about the freedom and love of Jesus. The man was intrigued because his life felt so dark and empty—and local religion couldn’t offer any hope for what he was feeling and experiencing. Before long, he decided to believe in Jesus and it changed his entire life. He went out into a field and buried his gun and knife. He then dedicated his life to co-laboring for Jesus—working manual labor and spreading the word about Jesus whenever possible. This reminds me of Isaiah 2:4:

“God shall judge between the nations, and shall decide disputes for many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore” (ESV).

This is the power and liberty of the gospel that is going forth around the world—but this effort needs more advocacy and funding.

In Bihar, Jesus’ Economy has four indigenous church planters reaching those who have never heard Jesus’ name before. Simple decisions by normal people funded this effort. Online people started birthday campaigns to raise support for church planters, and dedicated events to the cause of church planting. In these simple, yet innovative actions, they have moved past apathy and into action. These ideas are about embodying the values of the Bible, while embracing technology. People are overcoming apathy for the sake of the poor and unreached. 

And this is just the start of the potential of what could be happening in our world. Imagine what could occur if we embodied Paul’s teachings to Timothy. Near the end of 1 Timothy, Paul says:

“Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. … Devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching. Do not neglect the gift you have .... Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress. Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers” (1 Timothy 4:11–16 ESV).

Paul instructs Timothy to continue to embrace his gifts. He tells him to devote himself to the work of the gospel and to do so with self-discipline. Paul calls Timothy to bring the saving work of Jesus to others, despite all obstacles. And Paul can say these words because he has led by example.

Moving Past Apathy Will be a Christian Movement

But the type of change I’m envisioning is almost like a reformation. It means a complete shift of Christian culture in the U.S. It will be a long-long race. And we—each of us who have heard this message—have to run it first. We have to lead by example.

Reflecting back upon his many efforts to spread the gospel and alleviate poverty, an older Paul says to Timothy: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:6 NIV).

Paul is not just stating the reality of his life; he is calling Timothy to run the same race. He has shown Timothy in word and deed how to run the race; stated that he has done so; and is now asking Timothy to do the same.

We should never ask someone to do something, or to live a message, that we are not at least trying to live ourselves. And ideally, we should already be living it ourselves. We need to say, “I’ll go first.” And then invite people to run alongside with us. 

This is part of why I have made the moves I have in my own life—to show that it is possible to be a missionary while having a full-time job. And then to further show, with the recent moves in my life, that it is possible to self-finance the work God has called you to. And furthermore, that it is possible to follow God’s call—no matter how difficult it may be. It just takes the right partnerships and sacrifice.

The book of James talks at length about how faith without works is dead. We cannot simply critique and talk—because that’s not faith. Christianity is not about mere intellectual ascent; it’s about action. Faith without works is dead.

We need faith that is put directly into action. We need faith that is about doing the difficult. We need faith that is inspiring.

 

Get more free articles like this one, our daily devotional, and updates: Subscribe now. This long-form article is part of our weekly series, “Living for Jesus.”

The Mwayiwathu HIV Support Group, based in Malawi, is comprised of 15 members, primarily women, who have been affected by AIDS—either personally or within their family. More than one third of the women are widows who have lost their husbands to the virus.

Widowhood, in Malawi, often leaves women economically disempowered and socially excluded. Mwayiwathu creates opportunities for change. The women who work with this cooperative use their wages to send their kids to school, pay for transportation to receive their medications from the hospital, make home improvements, and invest in side-business ventures.

Fair Trade Products Empower Hurting People

The Mwayiwathu group works with Dsenyo, a Jesus’ Economy partner. Dsenyo is an organization committed to alleviating the suffering of the impoverished by helping local artisans learn self-sustainable trades. They use local and environmentally friendly materials that can be repurposed and recycled.

Dsenyo works alongside artisans to improve living situations for impoverished people, promote a holistic economy, respect cultural traditions, and build global relationships. Together, Jesus' Economy and Dsenyo are empowering female artisans from Africa and Latin America.

Shop Mwayiwathu Fair Trade Products

Little Friends Plush Animal Toys from Malawi: Bunny

Little Friends Plush Animal Toys: Leopard

Engage your baby’s senses with these colorful, soft jersey knit plush animals. 

Little Friends Security Blanket from Malawi: Monkey

These cute security blankets are washer and dryer friendly, for when they are loved just a bit too much. These handmade security blankets provide better futures for women in the Mwayiwathu HIV Support Group. 

Shopping fair trade can lead to hope and healing and provision for a better future. Join us in transforming lives through fair trade.

 

Shop Mwayiwathu Fair Trade Products

 

Chrismene and her husband have two bustling boys whom they would love to give a quality education. However, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, good schooling costs money. Having lost their home in the 2010 earthquake, they didn’t have the money for their sons’ education. That’s when Chrismene got the idea to start selling jewelry. Through her partnership with an American missionary couple residing in Haiti, Chrismene came on our radar. She constructs beautiful earrings and bracelets from recycled paper and locally-sourced beads, rolling her own beads by hand.

The 2010 earthquake in Haiti destroyed many homes and killed upwards of 100,000 people. After the earthquake, almost half of Haiti was unemployed. Haiti’s job market is so unstable that Chrismene’s husband recently lost his job. Thus Chrismene still needs economic assistance to pay for the education of her sons.

Purchasing Chrismene’s jewelry from Jesus’ Economy affirms her work, empowers her, helps her family financially, and contributes towards Haiti’s economy. We can be a part of empowering others from behind a computer, on the other side of the world. You get something beautiful while doing something beautiful for another person. For Chrismene, this process has resulted in a new home. In 2016, a team from the U.S. went down to Haiti to help build Chrismene’s home. Now, with your help, she looks forward to building the education of her sons.

Shop Chrismene's Products

 

Just outside Nairobi, Chamtich Kenya is creating jobs for those rising out of extreme poverty situations. This is done through leather and cattle related work. 

Alvin Sang, who leads Chamtich Kenya, is involved in many efforts to help his local people, including working against forced marriage and female genital mutilation. Alvin empowers women through creating sustainable jobs via international and local partnerships. 

Chamtich Kenya and Jesus' Economy Collaborate to Offer Fair Trade Products

Thus Chamtich products are representative of many artisans and entrepreneurs who make various items such as housewares, jewelry, and clothing. Jesus' Economy partners with Chamtich Kenya to further their vision through the purchase of Maasai beaded sandals. More than 20 men and women work to produce these sandals. 

Alvin initiates each project. The materials are then procured by young men in need of work. Other men and women then do the leather working and stitching. Finally, the sandals are handed off to a group of women to handcraft the beadwork on each pair. This results in each and every part of these sandals being handmade.

You can find these sandals for sale at the Fair Trade Shop on Jesus' Economy.

Featured Fair Trade Products by Chamtich Kenya

Spring is finally upon us and for most women that means freeing the feet and busting out the sandals. Why not start this spring season with a brand new pair of sandals that not only look gorgeous and feel comfortable but are a conversation piece about fair trade and empowering women? Chamtich Kenya creates these stunning, genuine leather sandals in two colors and two different bead styles. 

Maasai Black Leather Sandals

Maasai Brown Leather Sandals 

Whether you live where it's warm, or are looking for a gorgeous pair of sandals for your next trip, you will be thrilled to wear these. And when you're asked about them, you will have a great story to tell about how you helped those overcoming poverty through your purchase. 

See more about how Chamtich Kenya creates these sandals in the JesusEconomy.org Fair Trade Shop. 

Shopping fair trade can empower artisans like Alvin to continue to help lift the men and women he works with out of extreme poverty. Join us in helping to alleviate poverty by shopping fair trade. 

Every narrative, every act, is a call and response related to faith. Faith in—or for some, faith in nothing at all—is a thread that weaves throughout our lives. Jesus of Nazareth recognized this and questioned the religious status quo; he confronted people who used religion for power and gain.

Jesus was a rabbi whose followers believed he was God incarnate and who sacrificed their own lives to represent his teachings—they refused to back down from his message of love and the claim that Jesus was resurrected from the dead. This is how incredible Jesus was—that he prompted a movement of people dedicated to living sacrificially for the sake of others. In their minds, love had come down as Jesus and changed everything about their lives. They believed that Jesus’ resurrection had given them freedom to live in full relationship with God and to spread his message of love and peace over the sword and hate.

Jesus articulated the incredible power of love. He spoke of how religion can and should be used for bringing love and peace to our world (Matthew 5:9; 22:37–40; compare Matthew 26:52). Because God is love, as Jesus' follower John put it (1 John 4:8).

Religion, though, tends to distort the eternal message of love for power and individual gain. Religion has been wrongly used to justify the Crusades, slavery, segregation, and acts of terror.

Each of us needs to represent, in our actions, a better solution. We need to express our belief in self-sacrificial love.

Jesus is an example of someone who faced oppressive religion and said, “You've heard this ‘hate your enemy’ and ‘get an eye for an eye’ ... but I tell you this: Love your neighbor, including your enemy” (see Matthew 5:38–48).

We can summarize much of Jesus’ message as: Be generous to those who persecute you, condemn you, stand against you. Live sacrificially, for the betterment of the impoverished, marginalized, outsider.

Jesus called the rich, the powerful, and each and every person, to account (see Matthew 5–7; 23). He says to live self-sacrificially for the marginalized and to practice a faith rooted in serving others. Jesus even claims that this type of love is how he will recognize his true followers (see Matthew 25:31–46). Something to ponder there—sacrificial love is how Jesus recognizes those who know him.

In one of Jesus’ last messages to his disciples before his crucifixion, he focuses on serving others. With his carpenter’s hands, he washes the dirty feet of his disciples (see John 13:1–17). This is a living testimony of sacrificial love. He shows them what true love means.

Just prior to his arrest, Jesus says, “love one another just as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this: that he lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:12–13 LEB adapted).

These teachings are, in large part, what led to Jesus being crucified. He called those in power to change their ways and they killed him for it. Jesus died for this love and for the full weight of every wrongdoing we commit against our brothers and sisters.

Later, the book of James will summarize this message of love as: “Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of God is this: to look after orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained by the world” (James 1:27 LEB adapted).

Let us live as people who don't give into the pressure of our world to place ourselves before others—let's not let that nonsense stain our vibrant colors of love. Let's place the refugee, outsider, impoverished, imprisoned, and voiceless before ourselves. Let’s answer the call of love in word and deed (compare the book of James). This should be the narrative of religion woven through our lives, through our existence.

Jesus’ economy is based on self-sacrifice. And his currency is love. This is true religion.

 

Get more free articles like this one, our daily devotional, and updates: Subscribe now. This long-form article is part of our weekly series, “Living for Jesus.”

Beautiful fabrics create beautiful clothes, but they can also support impoverished people through fair trade. In Malawi, Africa, the Vipambi Women’s group works with stunning textiles to tailor everyday products that meet everyday needs. The artisans learn skills in sewing and business so they can be prepared to provide for their families using their tailoring trade.

The fair trade goods offered by the Vipambi Women’s group are practical as well as vibrant and engaging. My favorite item from the collection is the wrap skirt, which is versatile and easy to wear. It fits many sizes and can be worn a variety of ways to create more casual or more formal ensembles.

Featured Vipambi Fair Trade Products

Wrap Skirts From Malawi: Red Fan

 

This versatile, wrap skirt can be worn low on the hips or high on the waist; its long belt tie makes that possible. The skirt line is about at the knee or a little higher, depending on how it is worn and your height. This means that the skirt fits nicely with a variety of shoe, sandal, or boot choices.

Clutch Purses From Zambia: The Envelope Clutch in Goldenrod

Store everything important in these cute envelope-style clutch purses. They are perfect for keys, receipts, and anything else you want to put inside! With a zip closure and magnetic snap, everything is sure to stay put.

Shopping fair trade can transform and empower artisans like those working with Vipambi. Join us in transforming lives through fair trade


Shop Vipambi Fair Trade Products

 

When we approach 1 Thessalonians 4:13–5:11, the passage often used to justify the "rapture" view, we do so based on our cultural context. In doing so, are we missing the point of the passage entirely? In this sermon, I address this very important question. I delivered this sermon at The Table, a missional church plant in Bellingham, Washington.

Subscribe to our free sermon audio via the Jesus' Economy Podcast on iTunes or SoundCloud.

Beautiful fabrics create beautiful clothes, but they can also support impoverished people through fair trade. In Malawi, Africa, the Vipambi Women’s group works with vibrant fabrics to create practical goods such as infant clothing and toys, aprons, and fashionable bags.

The sewing cooperative trains Malawian women in both sewing and business skills, equipping them with skills to build successful businesses in order to better provide for their families and their future. Many of the women trained through Vipambi have been able to use their income to send their children to Dowa College in Malawi, a teacher-training college.

Empowering the Impoverished Through Sustainable Trade

The Vipambi Women’s group works with Dsenyo, a Jesus’ Economy partner. Dsenyo is an organization committed to alleviating the suffering of the impoverished by helping local artisans learn self-sustainable trades. They use local and environmentally friendly materials that can be repurposed and recycled. 

Dsenyo works alongside artisans to improve living situations for impoverished people, promote a holistic economy, respect cultural traditions, and build global relationships. Together, Jesus' Economy and Dsenyo are empowering female artisans from Africa and Latin America. 

Shopping fair trade can transform and empower artisans like those working with Vipambi. Join us in transforming lives through fair trade

Shop Vipambi Fair Trade Products

 

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