Monday, September 8, 2014

PAM bags

It was 10am and we were ready.  We had an international skype date set up between 3 of us stay-at-home moms, from the cold mountains of Lesotho's capital city to the sunny coast of South Africa.  We smelled a micro enterprise development in the future for one of our friends and you could FEEL the energy and anticipation in my living room.

By 11:30, skype and facetime still weren't working.  Gak, 1st world problems.  We weren't giving up! We felt led to pray and the Lord provided FB chat as our improvised line of communication.

It all goes back a few months when we still lived in Lesotho.  Remember the soccer boys we worked with?  I learned early one of the boy's moms, 'Me Puseletso, had a sewing machine.  I took her a reversible cloth bag and asked if she could imitate the pattern.  She did a fantastic job using Lesotho's seshoeshoe material and even added her own flair.  I showed the bag to my friend, Carolyn, who then put in an order for a different style of bag, also made of seshoeshoe (pronounced "seshwayshway").  It also turned out beautifully!

'Me Puseletso's bags quickly gained popularity with the international community in Lesotho and she began to fill orders and perfect her patterns and quality.  After moving to South Africa and seeing an even larger pool of potential clientele, I began to pray about what God may have in store for 'Me Puseletso and her sewing machine.  You see, 'Me Puseletso fights against all odds in Lesotho.  She's a single mom and is otherwise unemployed but has an impressive hand in her urban garden and in raising her boy.  Her son faithfully attended my after-school French and homework lessons.  I can tell you there is something to this kid.  I believe God has a plan for him.  She is trying to offer him a better future.  One with hope and continuing education.   

As I prayed for her and her son's future, I began to see how God had plans to be HER Jehovah, her Provider.  He made her a brilliant seamstress.  She had the skills, she had the desire, and she had the work ethic.  She just needed the clientele.  So, Puseletso had the skills, Carolyn had the facebook chat to make our communication possible, and I had the international network that wanted her products.  3 stay-at-home moms.  Micro enterprise.  God's provision.

One digital date and much planning later, 'Me Puseletso is now working on her first stock of 20 bags to send me to be distributed here in South Africa.  She's not sure if they are going to sell.  I'm pretty sure she soon won't be able to keep up with the demand :)  She came up with the product name, "P.A.M.'s Bags".  P.A.M. stands for Puseletso Asteria Mathetse...the woman who started a business by sewing a bag.

'Me Puseletso and Carolyn in Lesotho during our FB chat.
Me in South Africa
Bouncing around ideas
A few final products

Beautiful seshoeshoe material from Lesotho
To find out more, visit the PAM Bag facebook page. PAM products will be available by direct order through 'Me Puseletso in Lesotho and select local shops and hotels in the Ramsgate/Margate area in South Africa.  Private message with any questions.  

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Your Mother Tongue from a Foreigner...

10 "There are doubtless many different languages in the world, and none is without meaning, 11 but if I do not know the meaning of the language, I will be a foreigner to the speaker and the speaker a foreigner to me."

19  "Nevertheless, in church I would rather speak five words with my mind in order to instruct others, than ten thousand words in a tongue."  -taken from 1 Corinthians 14

To place Paul's words in their true context, he is writing to the church of Corinth about speaking in tongues.  On a broader level, he is coming straight out of defining LOVE in the previous chapter and moves here to address encouraging the church and revealing God's message to people in words they understand so that the church may be built up, so that instruction can be carried out, and so that unbelievers will fall on their face and worship God.  The point is that God be revealed to mankind in words that have meaning.  In words that convict.  In words that build up.

But God, I'm tired.  And my brain might be full.

I'm losing my French.  I miss Pidgin.  I miss the familiar sounds of Nooni.  I tried my hand at Sesotho last year.  Now I'm learning Afrikaans and Zulu at the same time.  And Lord, some days I just want to go back to a language I already know.  One where I don't feel like I might be stuck in toddlerhood for the rest of my life.  

What's that you say, Lord?  

Love never ends?  


So we never stop trying.  We never stop trying to reach people with the meaning of His love in a language that is richer to their ears than my own, so that possibly, just possibly with 5 words that make sense, a side of God may be revealed in a way that thousands of words of English could never unveil.

And yes.  English is spoken here.  But the words of your mother, your mother tongue, penetrate deeper and richer than the language of a foreigner, even when these words stumble forth from the foreigner's tongue with the awkwardness of a toddler.

Extra Afrikaans lessons with Mevrou DuPloy after school

Faith gave me my first Zulu lesson last week.
Because there are people here who I really, really love.

"And to him was given dominion
    and glory and a kingdom,
that all peoples, nations, and languages
    should serve him;
his dominion is an everlasting dominion,
    which shall not pass away,
and his kingdom one
    that shall not be destroyed."

Daniel 7:14