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Taking Some Time Off….

Hey crew,

things are crazy busy with the cafe starting soon, so we’re taking some time off of Love God Love Neighbor. We’ll see you back here after hopefully a month or so.

Cheers!

Protected: My Pint-Size Hero: by, Christianne Walsh

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The Healing Power of Creative Expression: by, Sarah Pouliot

Our Bakers

I believe in the power of creative expression.

This is something I have always believed, almost without conscious effort.

Since before I can remember, I have always poured myself into my projects or my baking or long ago (or maybe not so long…) in my princess coloring pages. Always striving for some higher expression as if, by icing the cake a certain way or finding the perfect colors, I could somehow share a piece of myself – an unspoken, inarticulate piece – with the world.

If you don’t share my plight, you may find this to be entirely too full of ‘mumbo-jumbo’, as my father would say… But I do ask you to bear with me, as this provides the basis for WHY I do what I do.

I am the Director of Baking with a Café that is hiring women out of prostitution and inviting them into freedom. Who knew God would someday take my love of all things butter and sugar and bind it with my passion for restoration!

I find myself halfway around the world, out of my element in language and culture and just about everything else, six weeks into training with eight beautiful women, desperately trying to figure out how we are going to make this work… together. Despite my deep, soul-conviction in the power of creativity, I often doubt our ability to overcome.

How can one embarrassingly lacking, amateur cook, and eight, unskilled, overlooked and broken women possibly make this work?

And even if we somehow figure it out, can it mean something? Something more than coffee and cinnamon rolls… Something transcendent.

Those days when I am swimming in recipes and menu strategies, cost analyses and sourcing leads, I sometimes question the value of it all. It feels like busy work and, lets just be honest, I don’t really do busy work.

But then I walk into the kitchen… I breathe deep the warm, scented air and scan the shining stainless-steel countertops.

The opportunities here are endless.

I hear the women laughing. I see the eager looks on their faces… Some are nervous, some confident, all of them determined. But when I look into their eyes, I see something else too….

Together, elbow-deep in flour, we work and re-work the dough, and maybe it’s just a mass of random ingredients, but maybe it’s something more. In that moment of creation, maybe these women, discarded and abused, told by the world that they are nothing, made to believe that they are nothing, come back to life.

Maybe they feel the same, inexplicable desire as I to share their beauty with the world…

To create.

We are, after all, formed in the likeness of our Great Craftsman.

And perhaps He placed this signature on our hearts.

Perhaps there is nothing to figure out… nothing to make work. Just something to unlock, and keep unlocking until all the unspoken and inarticulate truths have been shared.

Cinnamon rolls and restoration…It makes perfect sense to me!

A Christmas Reflection: by, Joe Pouliot

Christmas 2014

Christmas time is always a time for reflection. A time to remember what we are thankful for. One year is ending, and another is beginning. We look back on a year filled with highs and lows, victories and defeats, great joy and great sadness. Many of us have lost loved ones, gained new loved ones, and some wished to be closer with the love ones they have. And time continues to pass….

It has been a beautiful first year on the field. In many ways it has been the hardest and most challenging thing I’ve ever done in my life, especially because it’s not just me on the journey, but my wife and kids as well. On the other hand, I have never felt so alive, so raw. It hasn’t all been “pretty” by any means, but I’ve never felt so much that I was right where I was supposed to be, doing what I was supposed to do. This whole process has stretched me. I’ve had to think about things I’ve never thought about. Things that don’t always have an easy or a “right” answer. And I see my children struggling wrestling with these questions as well…

As this year comes to a close, and I watch my kids open their Christmas gifts, my heart swells, and I am very thankful to God for them. They didn’t choose this path. But I’m thankful that I’ve seen them grow in so many ways this past year. They’ve seen extreme poverty and extreme wealth, many times within the same day. I’ve seen them go from a time when they didn’t really like playing with kids who didn’t speak English, to roaming the maze of one-room houses playing hide-and-go seek and drinking cha with the local kids. I’ve watched them get pizza ripped out of their hands on the street by some kids and, in tears, swear they would never give anything to “those” kids again. But now they do. We wrestled through it together and I’ve seen compassion and understanding grow in their little hearts. Now they challenge Sarah and I every chance they get!

I can’t imagine how they even process it, since I struggle to process it myself most days. All I can do is pray for them and be there for them. This year may have not have always been “pretty,” but I am thankful this Christmas season. I am thankful for Hope, and knowing that through the birth of a Child, God is at work all around us, and 2,000 years later, still at work in us…

“Lord, your coming is still miraculous. Your joining the family of the poor and displaced still baffles and convicts us. Keep us by your manger until we learn the way of love. Amen.

 Excerpt From: Shane Claiborne, Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove & Enuma Okoro. “Common Prayer.”

From our family and our team to you, may you have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!