WHY You Bought What You Bought—Customer Feature: J.D. Elgin

Jesus’ Economy connects you to developing world artisans. It’s also our goal to connect you to one another. We’re building a community of people passionate about creating jobs and churches through beautiful products. As such, we’re now featuring our customer’s stories alongside artisan stories, right here on our blog.
Today I have the honor of sharing the story of J.D. Elgin’s connection to Jesus’ Economy. J.D. is Pastor of Student Ministries at Waushara Community Church in Central Wisconsin, where he lives with his wife, Krista, and son, Jeriah. At one time, he was also a carpenter—so he knows what handcrafted means.
JE: Tell us about your connection to Jesus’ Economy
J.D.: My connection to Jesus' Economy is, first, very personal. My wife and I have considered John and Kalene Barry dear friends for some time and we are excited to see their shared vision for this ministry unfold. …
J.E. Why did you make a purchase from Jesus’ Economy online?
J.D.: The unique fair trade products at Jesus’ Economy represent the personal passions of hard working folks around the world. These folks are not mega-anything, and there's no ambition to increase buying power or squash the next biggest competitor; only, hard-working people expressing their skills and passions for a trade. When I shop with Jesus’ Economy, I am sending our hard-earned money to support someone's personal business—I like that. 
In addition, the vision of Jesus’ Economy is holistic—that's important to me. I want to help the developing world, but I'm concerned that we meet people’s physical and spiritual needs without neglecting one for the other. Jesus’ Economy is helping train workers for a trade and build a solid, local fellowship of Christ followers.
J.E.: Is there a particular artisan or story that especially resonated with you?
J.D.: When I was shopping for my wife's birthday, I noticed the handiwork of Mr. Samuel from Haiti. I appreciated his story of how he is working with several apprentices to develop their skills in the trade.
J.E.: What did you end up buying and what do you think of it?
J.D.: I purchased the Hand-Woven, Sweet Grass Casserole Basket from Haiti along with the matching placemats. I was expecting to receive a good and attractive product, but I kind of expected to be a bit underwhelmed by the basics of the basket and mats: materials, durability, etc. At the very least, I expected to find a loose strand of grass that might eventually unravel. When I received the box at the front door, I could hardly believe the weight of it. The basket and placemats are very sturdy. I was impressed by the superior quality of craftsmanship and the top grade materials used. We were so impressed with the set that we decided against placing them on the table for daily use and have reserved them for occasional usage. Our daily placemats are now a set from a home store that was more expensive and is less impressive.
Maybe your story should be told next! We would love to hear from you. Contact us with your story here.

John Barry
John Barry


CEO, President, and Founder of Jesus' Economy. John is the author/coauthor of 12 books and General Editor of Faithlife Study Bible and Lexham Bible Dictionary.