I am thrilled to announce that – after a 16 year hiatus from overseas travel – I have been selected to go on a 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.)
I recently finished the book Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson, founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, and was particularly stirred by his emphasis on proximity. “Get close to the things that matter. Get close to the places where there is inequality and suffering. Get close to the places where people feel oppressed, burdened, and abused. See what it does to your capacity to make a difference. See what it does to you.”
I am so eager to “get close” to these women and their families, to deepen our dignified business partnership, and to come back home ignited to passionately advocate on their behalf. (FYI, I will be sharing live updates on my community FB page: https://www.facebook.com/onfiretospreadHOPE/)
I would greatly appreciate your individually led prayers as well as for my own requests: that I would listen well, be an encouragement, be observant to how God is moving, and receptive to how He leads.
I’m also collecting donations of materials to take to the communities there, including: educational supplies, Spanish translations of good books/Bibles, vitamins and diapers.
If you would like to support and share the mission of Trades of Hope (empowering women out of poverty), then you can shop our artisans’ beautiful products. Or partner with me to host an online event or in-person gathering to help me earn the cost of the trip.
And if you’d like to contribute financially to help offset the $1800 cost of the trip, your generosity would be much appreciated: https://www.youcaring.com/melanie-sunukjian-570001
Please let me know if you have any questions or words of encouragement about this wonderful opportunity and I look forward to sharing with you all that God does!