Friday, November 7, 2014

Fair Trade Friday

So, if you've been reading my blog you already know that I love Mercy House Kenya! Did you know that there is a new ministry of Mercy House Kenya? It's called Fair Trade Friday!

Why does Fair Trade Friday exist? "Fair Trade Friday exists as an avenue for women to empower women.  We are tackling poverty through job opportunity and empowerment rather than enablement. 100% of the proceeds support the artisans, more than 300 women and their children from all over the world."

So, what's Fair Trade Friday? "FTF is a monthly membership club that delivers a box of 3-4 high quality items to your door by the first Friday of the month. The items in the box are fairly traded and provide employment to women all over the world. 100% of the proceeds from each box goes to the empowerment of impoverished women. Plus, they are really cute!"

Why does fair trade matter? "It ensures club products were made by artisans in fair working conditions who were being paid a fair wage. Basically, no child gave up his education, home and family to labor in a sweat shop so that your calves can be toasty in a pair of trendy boot cuffs. You can give gifts of handcrafted jewelry and unique home decor with a clear conscience. People say it’s the thought behind the gift that counts most. In this case, we’ve done some of that thinking for you."

I've been to other countries where women are a step above the livestock. I have a passion to see women know their worth and value in Christ. Fair Trade Friday helps women around the world work and earn an income to care for their families. This way they get to keep their dignity.
I love that FTF exists for women to empower other women around the world. 

So I ordered a box and then tried to wait- patiently. 

And then this happened. 

In every box there are 3-4 unique fair trade items, a one-of-a-kind handmade bag, and product cards with information about each of the fair trade items and the artisans who made them. 

This bag was the first item in my box. It is handmade in Costa Rica by Mercy CoversMercy Covers is an outreach of the St. Bryce Missions that provides skills training, personal finance management, education, discipleship, and meaningful work for women in rural Costa Rica.

Next was a fabric keychain that was made in Rajpur, India by JOYN. At the heart of JOYN lies a desire to see lives changed. To see those crippled by poverty and hardship dance for joy. To do this, JOYN has partnered with a nonprofit called JoyCorps to provide employees with not only steady jobs and a good work environment, but a daily meal plan, education for their children, English and vocational training, and medical care. Lives are changing as a result. JOYN continues to sell beautiful products handmade by artisans who do 100 percent of the work, from weaving to block printing to stitching. This brings JOY to those who make the products, and JOY to those who buy them.

Then, kid's boot cuffs made by the Refugee Project in Houston, Texas. The United Nations has relocated more than 50,000 refugees to Houston, Texas, due to religious and ethnic persecution. The Refugee Project exists to empower refugee women by teaching them skills and product creation.

My favorite item are these earrings made in Nairobi, Kenya by the Jacaranda WorkshopThe Jacaranda Workshop was started in 1982 to provide training and employment to mentally handicapped adults graduating from the Jacaranda Special School. To date, the workshop has successfully managed to train and employ over 60 ex-jacaranda school graduates and assisted them to improve their self-esteem. The workshop seeks to provide employment to those who may find it difficult to find employment elsewhere.

Last, but not least was this burlap bag by Mission Ethiopia. I love that this bag is lined with black satin. Korah, the city garbage dump just outside Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, is home to more than 120,000 people living in poverty, many with HIV/AIDS, leprosy, TB and other diseases. Mission Ethiopia, Embracing Hope for Ethiopia, and Carry 117 are a few of the many outreach efforts that were established to empower residents of this community, freeing them from a life of begging and scavenging the trash for items to sell.

I loved all the items in my box! I especially loved that the items represented women on three different continents! One box held items from Costa Rica, India, refugees from Burma, Bhutan, Nepal, and Thailand in Texas, Kenya, and Ethiopia! 

Each item reminds me to pray for the artist who created it! Would you pray with me?

Visit the Fair Trade Friday website above for more information on getting your own FTF box! Can't wait to see what you get! Another reason to love Friday! Thanks for loving mercy with me!

In His Love, 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Luke 10:8

In our family we've always made it a rule that when we're in other people's homes or in other countries that we follow the Luke 10:8 rule. 

"Whenever you enter a town and they receive you, eat what is set before you." Luke 10:8

Since we often get asked what the weirdest thing we've eaten is I'll share some with you! I can honestly tell you that sometimes it feels more like we're on an episode of fear factor. That's simply because I'm not an overly adventurous eater. Eating different foods is way out of my comfort zone. But ya know, when in Rome... If you have a weak stomach you can go ahead and stop scrolling down now. You may have enjoyed a nice meal- you don't want to ruin that. 

So in Africa there were some fine delicacies. I'll show you a few of them. Again, perhaps not for the faint of stomach. 

This is crocodile bites. They were one of our favorites! We grew up in Florida so we've eaten gator before. Crocodile tastes like gator.  Imagine that! 

Maheu is a popular traditional drink made from maize meal that is fermented. Once fermented it has distinct sour flavor. Our friends made maheu fresh for us that day. It tastes like sweetened corn milk with chunks. So you had to drink and chew it. 

Friends, this is hippo. Yes. We ate hippo. Actually, it was the filet of the hippo. It tasted a lot like beef only chewier. It's not pictured but we also ate impala. Good stuff. 

This is dried fish. Normally, when you find them at the market they are covered in flies. You bring them home and put them in water to "revive" them and cook.

Rocks. Think of them like an African vitamin. 

Guess what? Yup, they taste like dirt. 

Dried mopane worms.

Cooking mopane worms. Enough said.

 Friends, meet kapenta. It's an African sardine. Pretty much all you need to know.

There was only one "different" delicacy in Ecuador. You're more likely to find them in a pet store in North America. Can you guess? 

Did you guess guinea pig?

You were correct!

They asked me to help roast them. Remember that whole "when in Rome thing"? Yeah that.

Roast guinea pig.

Tastes a lot like a mix of chicken and fish. One guinea pig is a week worth of wages. 

Obviously, we've eaten some different foods. In other countries and cultures you can offend easily by not eating their food. Even if it isn't your intention. When we go on a trip the goal is always to share the Gospel. To do this we use words and actions. Nothing is more important than that. Eating their food is an easy way to love them even if you don't enjoy it. 

Is there anything you wouldn't do for the Gospel?

In His Love, 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Pumpkin Patchin'

Last week we made our annual visits to the pumpkin patches. Kendall loves picking out and playing with all the pumpkins!

Daddy and Kendall picked a pumpkin to carve.

The only difference this year is that Daddy got to be home to actually carve it. This is new for us! Daddy works really hard to provide for our family! In the past he worked 3 jobs and went to school. While we were in Africa God told Joe he needed to be home more and now he is! We are loving have him home more! Especially in times like these! 

Here's what they came up with! Kendall of course loves it! She can't wait every night to light it! 

Hope your fall is going well! 

Happy Fall y'all!

The Hennis Family

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Shelf Check: Let's All Be Brave: Living Life with Everything You Have by Annie Downs

Book Description: Annie Downs admits she's not exactly the bravest girl in the world. She still cries sometimes when she leaves her parents' home in Georgia, she's never jumped out of a plane, and she only rides roller coasters to impress boys. But Annie knows that courage resides inside each and every one of us, and she's on a mission to triumph over her own fears while encouraging readers to do the same.
As a single young woman, writer, speaker, and popular blogger, Annie shares this journey toward bravery with honesty and humor. Using wonderful stories from her own life, contemporary real-life examples, and fascinating historical and biblical references, Annie encourages readers to grab hold of the brave life that they desperately desire.
Let's All Be Brave is more than just a book, it's a battle cry. In it, Annie challenges us to live boldly, calls us to step into those places that require courage, and gives us the help to take the next step forward-even when it's scary. This non-fiction, essay-driven book opens the door to many different views of courage-nudging, encouraging, and inspiring readers to be brave whenever given the chance.

Book Review: I knew I was going to love this book when on the first page Annie makes these statements, "Some people live for an adrenaline rush. I live for a sugar rush. " That's what I'm talking about! In her book, Annie encourages Christians to be brave in their walk with God. While being brave in your life other people can be brave in their lives. Don't do someone else's brave thing do the brave thing that God is calling you to do. Do the thing that God's calling you to that makes your stomach drop, and that your scared to tell your family and friends about. 

I loved reading this book. Annie writes like she talks and it makes you feel like you're having a coffee date rather than reading her book. After doing the bravest thing I thought I had ever done (move to Africa with my family for three months), her book encouraged me to continue doing brave things. I loved that she used biblical stories of bravery to reinforce her points. I also love that she writes with wit. 

I recommend this book to anyone who feels like they're not brave. Or to someone who feels like they are- you'll be encouraged to continue. It was a fun, encouraging, and easy read!

*BookLook Bloggers provided me with a complimentary copy of this book.The opinions are my own.*

Saturday, October 25, 2014


So now that we've been home for a week. We want to share some pictures of Ecuador with you. The pictures won't do the people or the place true justice. Ecuador is beautiful and the people we met matched that beauty inside and out. 

Beautiful right? We know that we're not supposed to be full time on the field until Joe's done with school. The call to go never leaves us though. So until then, we say yes whenever He tells us to. There's other places that God has whispered on our hearts to go to. For now, it's Ecuador. In 2015, our family will be going to Ecuador TWICE! We are so excited for what God will do while we're there again!

Will you pray for us? Pray for the people we'll meet and pour into, that their hearts are open to what we share with them, and that most of all they see Jesus! Pray for us that our focus is on Jesus and we rely on the Holy Spirit. Thanks for joining us in our next adventure with God!

In His Love, 
The Hennis Family

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Shelf Check: Every Bitter Thing is Sweet by Sara Hagerty

Book Description: In the age of fingertip access to answers and a limitless supply of ambitions, where do we find the God who was birthed in dirt and straw? Sara Hagerty found him when life stopped working for her. She found him when she was a young adult mired in spiritual busyness and when she was a new bride with doubts about whether her fledgling marriage would survive. She found him alone in the night as she cradled her longing for babies who did not come. She found him as she kissed the faces of children on another continent who had lived years without a mommy’s touch.
In Every Bitter Thing Is Sweet, Hagerty masterfully draws from the narrative of her life to craft a mosaic of a God who leans into broken stories. Here readers see a God who is present in every changing circumstance. Most significantly, they see a God who is present in every unchanging circumstance as well.
Whatever lost expectations readers are facing—in family, career, singleness, or marriage—Every Bitter Thing Is Sweetwill bring them closer to a God who longs for them to know him more. What does it look like to know God’s nearness when life breaks? What does it mean to receive his life when earthly life remains barren? How can God turn the bitterness of unmet desire into new flavors of joy?
With exquisite storytelling and reflection, Hagerty brings readers back to hope, back to healing, back to a place that God is holding for them alone—a place where the unseen is more real than what the eye can perceive. A place where every bitter thing is sweet.
Book Review: Every Bitter Thing is Sweet by Sara Hagerty is a beautiful story of one couples journey in marriage, infertility, adoption, but mostly with God. Sara expounds on Proverb 27:7 and how that lived out in her own life. The first few chapters of the book were hard for me to get into. It felt to me a little choppy and at times hard to follow. I loved the subsequent chapters though! Reading Sara's story was also hard for me where our stories aligned in marriage, infertility, and our relationship with God. One of my favorite parts of this book were the correlating verses at the end of every chapter! I loved seeing how God worked in her adoptions and the relationships with her children. You could almost feel how they were all knit together. Sara's book asks you to take a deeper look into the hurts in your life and your relationship with God. In every situation we have the opportunity to be ruled by our circumstances or to adore our Creator. This book inspired me to continue to delve into what it means to adore God in every aspect of my life- no matter what. 

I would recommend this book to others. If it seems hard to get into at first- keep going it gets better!

BookLook Bloggers provided me with a complimentary copy of this book.The opinions are my own.*

Saturday, October 18, 2014

a walk in the clouds

Last week, we spent our days in Ecuador serving the Quichua people. Like most trips I wasn't sure what to expect. The men would be split into two groups; the pastors would be teaching the Quichua pastors and the rest of the men would do construction work. The women would try as best we could to minister to the Quichua women.

As long as Reaching & Teaching has been in Ecaudor there really hasn't been much opportunity to minister to the women. They've been really closed off. Thankfully, we watched God do something totally different this week. 

Our first day of ministry we did whatever we could to help. The ladies and I all had a decent knowledge of Spanish, but the Quichua women knew very little Spanish. Spanish was also their second language. They speak Quichua or as they refer to themselves, indigenous. We did whatever we could to help them through small increments of Spanish and a series of gestures. 

Everyday we helped the women make breakfast, lunch, and dinner. By the time breakfast was served, eaten, we ate, and cleaned up it was time to make lunch. By the time lunch was served, eaten, we ate, and it was cleaned up it was time to make dinner. By the time we made dinner, it was served, we ate, and we cleaned up it was time to leave. Everyday we worked side by side with these women. We peeled potatoes with knives, hand shucked corn piece by piece, cut up chickens and beef, chopped vegetables, peeled garlic, and washed dishes to name some. I also got to go up the mountain and help pick garlic and move around livestock. They even let us make lunch one day, which thankfully was edible.

Normally, you don't see Quichua women smile. We were able to see them smile many times throughout the week. We played catch with two of the women, Claudina and Maria, one day. We had them laughing so hard they were doubled over giggling uncontrollably. We were working with them enough to notice some needs like having a table they could sit at in the kitchen. Or that they needed their food storage cabinet raised up so it was their height and not on the floor. They grinned from ear to ear with each of them. It was something small, but it was for them. 

Each day we got to see them open up more and more. They shared their stories about their lives with us. Sometimes they just shared about their children like how many they had, their names, and ages. Other times it was real stuff like medical issues they faced, fears for their children, parents dying young, and more. One of them even asked if one of the ladies on our team had Jesus in her heart. By the end of the week they had stopped calling us gringas and started calling us hermanas or sisters. 

It was a week of really hard work out of our comfort zone, but we gained the friendship of these beautiful women. We spent a week with them walking in the clouds, literally.

Would you pray with me for them? There is a women's conference at the end of November for the Quichua women. Pray that the women would come and pray for the women that will be pouring into them! Thank you in advance!

In His Love,