Inspire 2017

This “word girl” is having a hard time putting into words the incredibly inspiring time I had at the Trades of Hope retreat last weekend. But you knew I would push through 😉 so here are ten brief “word highlights,” because it is truly my heart for as many people as possible to learn about and partner with us in our effective mission and unique world-changing mojo. 😉 Let me know which one resonates with you:
14269402_10154049064693198_961792299_nEMPOWER – In 2016, we grew to empower 13,340 artisans in 17 countries (including the US) around the world! The ripple effect of sustainable business is impacting 42,884 people(!) in their communities – and counting…
13260278_10153782834283198_4132937527117257725_nEDUCATION – We have founded 3 different schools and donated complete salaries to 2 teachers at the Good News School in India in honor of the 2016 Top Seller and Top Leader. They will also be teaching mothers how to read and write so they can move out of the slums!
AMPLIFY – “Our artisans are not voice-less, they just need a microphone. As Compassionate Entrepreneurs, we are their amplifiers.” – Shelby Black-Couch, Director Compassionate Entrepreneur
HONOR – “When we honor the maker of what we purchase, we honor our own Maker.” Chandler Busby, U of Texas Fashion Design graduate and founder of Haiti Design Co-op.
img_5303-2PERSISTENCE – “There is a Creole saying – ‘Little by little, the bird builds its nest.’ Trades of Hope has made a lot changes in my life. I have graduated from sewing school, learning English, how to manage money and customer service. And now I have a Visa! I am so proud to see you wearing our products and coming to visit our shop in Haiti.” – Fabi-Billie, Artisan, Boutique Manager and Head of Packaging
INSPIRATION – “Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.” (Picasso) I am incredibly inspired and working very hard to give opportunity and expand the marketplace for women around the world. I would be honored and thrilled for you to partner with me in 2017.
JOIN our soul-feeding, like-hearted sisterhood to have an exponential impact that will allow us to take on more artisans and advocate for new countries (like our new group in Pakistan!!!). Becoming a Compassionate Entrepreneur has been one of the BEST decisions I’ve ever made and it is not only blessing families around the world, but providing a meaningful and flexible way for me to contribute to my family’s well-being. Our artisans feel pride and dignity to have business partners in the US. Win-win!
HOST online or in-person gatherings to share our effective mission with your circles of influence and have a specific, global impact on families with dreams that are not that much different than yours. This year, in addition to the already generous hostess rewards, every $1000+ party (totally do-able) earns a back pack for a child in India!
SHOP our “products with soul” (30 gorgeous new pieces just introduced!) to make a direct 
 img_5318connection with the artisan who is quickly becoming the hero of her own story. In the next 3 months, I will be pursuing specific sales goals, so I can earn humanitarian rewards like 12 chicks for a village in Africa, a month of food for a young orphan in Haiti, a water wheel for a woman in India, a bike to get a Cambodian girl to school safely, and a year of school tuition for a girl in Haiti. I would be humbled and grateful to partner with you to make these goals a reality!
14469464_10209507799066277_4024565690452838593_nHOPE! – Be encouraged that whenever a tragedy occurs in the world, there are over 4,000 (and counting) regular but passionate women like me injecting hope, compassion, beauty and dignity back into the world every day through Trades of Hope. Come do it with us!
Thanks so much for your interest. If your heart is stirred, please share, shout out below or private message me about how you would like to change the world – together!

Brokenness & Beauty in Costa Rica


The beautiful view of Alajuelita marred by iron bars and barbed wire.

It is difficult to put into words the experience you have when God drops you into another country and starts showing off.  But those who know me well, know that this “word girl” will certainly give it her best shot – and attempt to do so with brevity.   #lordhavemercy


Our logo painted on the wall of the ministry house we stayed in by talented artist, CE and my new friend, Erica!

I just returned from a week long Trades of Hope Vision Trip with 9 other Compassionate Entrepreneurs from around the country (and 2 staffers – love you, Julie and Mary Ann!) to the beautiful nation of Costa Rica.  We partner worldwide with underprivileged artisans (and related ministries) by selling their beautiful handmade accessories and decor here in the states to empower them out of poverty.

It is specifically called a Vision Trip, because we are going to SEE with our own eyes: the need, the people, and the redemption.  And as I met our artisans, toured the ministry sites, soaked in the beauty, and even connected with my fellow sisters, I began to observe a weaving theme of CONTRAST.  It’s true everywhere, but I had the privilege of getting close to the brokenness and beauty of Costa Rica.   Continue reading

A Vision Trip to COSTA RICA!

I am thrilled to announce that – after a 16 year hiatus from overseas travel – I have been selected to go on Trades of Hope vision trip! I will be traveling with 10 other Compassionate Entrepreneurs from around the country between June 23rd and 29th to visit our artisan group in COSTA RICA!
Despite being a wonderful travel destination, many of the Costa Rican families that we partner with have been rescued and redeemed from the growing sex-tourism industry.  (We will also be meeting with the ministries that we support through our Gifts of Hope program – Seeds of Hope for at-risk girls, the sustainable gardens of Vida Raiz, and some of the local churches.)

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Trades of Hope Retreat 2016


In March of 2015, I learned through a dear friend about a missional business called Trades of Hope.  It was started in 2010 by 2 mother/daughter pairs from Florida to empower women out of poverty and sex trafficking through a sustainable business model.  A sister-army of Compassionate Entrepreneurs (best job title ever?) market and sell the beautiful handiwork (jewelry, scarves, bags, decor, gifts, etc.) of women from 16 countries around the world including the US.


I researched the organization in March, hosted my first party in April, signed up to be a Compassionate Entrepreneur at the beginning of May, and have been on fire ever since!  Well at the end of January, I had the pleasure of flying to Daytona Beach, Florida to attend the annual retreat with 300+ other Compassionate Entrepreneurs.  I learned, I cried, I laughed, I danced, I listened and I met new sisters from all over the country. Continue reading

Save your Cereal boxes this Summer!

Happy Summer!  (I’m doing a summer cereal box drive locally, but there are directions at the end for how to do this wherever you are!)

I am collecting big cereal boxes (12 inches or taller) for artisans in Haiti who use them to make paper beads for their beautiful necklaces, bracelets and earrings.  They are in constant need of cereal boxes and go through them about as fast as they come in!

Trades of Hope works with women at The ApParent Project in Port Au Prince, Haiti – an “un-orphanage” that is helping with the Haitian orphan crisis by providing sustainable business to parents who would otherwise give up their children to orphanages because they were unable to feed and care for them.
So please save all your THIN (they have to roll them into beads), BIG (12 inches or taller) and colorful cereal boxes in an appropriate sized box, flatten them out and cut off top and bottom flaps, and drop them off to me on the Eastside on August 20th.  (Contact me mid-August for my address.)
Consider donating a few dollars toward shipping to Rays of Hope International, a sea container ministry in Michigan that takes care of all the customs and documentation needed to ship to Haiti.
If you don’t live here locally but would like to do this with a group and just ship them out sooner yourself, follow these detailed instructions:
Otherwise, let me know if you plan to do this and/or if you have any questions.  
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And check out the beautiful handiwork that our Haitian artisans are creating!
Thank you for saving what would normally be discarded to transform it (and the lives of our artisans) into something beautiful!
With Compassion and Hope,
Melanie Sunukjian
Compassionate Entrepreneur
Trades of Hope

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The Evolution of God’s Presence


I have had the amazing privilege of being part of the lecturing team for our local women’s Bible study.  It has been one of the best spiritual communities that I have ever participated in.  And I must say that teaching adds a whole new dimension to the growth process.  You’ve got to take a good look inside before you challenge other people to do so!

Here is the final teaching on our incredible study of Exodus.  Be blessed!  (I have the audio recording, but don’t know how to link a .m4a file to this blog…Any help?)

The Evolution of God’s Presence

My daughter and I are Sound of Music fans and you may remember one of the big dilemmas in that movie was, “How do you solve a problem like Maria?”  Well, this week, my big dilemma has been, “How do you sum up a Bible study on Exodus?!”  SO MUCH HAS HAPPENED!  From “Let my people go!” to “Show me your glory!”, it’s been quite a wild ride.  So let’s start by taking a few moments to Explore Exodus again…

A baby in a basket, fostered in Pharoah’s family, matures only to murder a man, and runs to a remote region.

The shy shepherd beholds a burning bush, then this hesitant head of the Hebrews engages Egypt’s evil chief. Continue reading

Care Street Bags


Care Street Bags

My 10 year old daughter did one of her weekly presentations for our Classical Conversations homeschool co-op on helping the homeless by creating care packages to keep in your car to hand out to people on the street who are in need.  That was a long sentence.  As care packages for people who are currently living on the street, we came up with the name “Care Street Bags.”   Continue reading