Ready or not, here we come! With less than 24 hours until our plane departs for Islamabad, our visa laden passports have finally arrived. It's tempting to say "just in the nick of time" but honestly, we weren't too worried. We've known in our guts for weeks that this trip is meant to happen - this just justifies the packed suitcases and 'out of office' responders. So here we stand, leaving for Pakistan bright and early.
If I'm being honest here, I have to admit that I am more excited about this opportunity than any in years. It feels kind of wrong to say that, because I LOVE all of the travel, people groups, and interactions that are a part of this crazy thing called Yobel.
I keep trying to understand what it is about this trip that has me on the edge of my seat.
Maybe it's who we are getting to go with - Shining Light International (more on them later). Maybe it's that we feel so well-cared for by our hosts. Possibly it's the opportunity to travel to a part of the world that most aren't willing to go to. It could be that we are getting to intersect with an Islamic nation for the first time. Maybe it's all the props (aka official training materials) we are stuffing into our suitcases to compliment our business training...
I think what we are MOST hopeful about, if I could name a singular thing, would be WHAT we are going to get to do and with WHOM. Mike and Robin Gordon have lived in Pakistan for over 9 years collectively, along with several members of their family. Over that time, they have built an amazing partnership with a pastor and his wife overseeing a local church in Gilgit (Northern Pak) who now work with local staff to oversee Shining Light's educational, training, and development programs. They direct a high quality pre-6th grade school providing education to hundreds of area students, many of whom are from minority groups and impoverished households.
Their development projects address the desperate educational and economic needs of the region’s most remote, vulnerable and marginalized communities in the foothills of the Himalayas.
And most pertinent to us, they have trained over 27o women over the past 7 years in vocational skills including Urdu literacy, business-ethics, tailoring, weaving, embroidery and more, helping these ladies improve their social status and generate income that will feed their families.
In short - these guys are about amazing things and our hearts beat with theirs to see women empowered in this part of the world. So for the next couple of weeks, Julia and I will make our way to the Middle East (leaving the amazing Kylie to manage all things Stateside) to work alongside Shining Light to teach 30 Christian & Muslim women about entrepreneurial business skills, ethics, quality control, etc.
We believe that the October training is critical for launching Life Stitch Manufacturing Program so that more women are empowered to make a difference in their families & in their communities through consistent earning opportunities.
Additionally, if Yobel is lucky, these ladies will be producing a collection of dresses for our upcoming Fair Trade Apparel Line!
Yobel staff and collaborators have spent the past 4 weeks creating a tailor-made Business Training Curriculum, Quality & Design Course, and Ethical Leadership Training that is contextualized for the populations we specifically work with (in this instance, women coming from an Islamic worldview having a lower literacy rate and hunger to learn).
We can't wait to pilot our new course and see what God does! We are very grateful to the Shining Light crew for allowing us this opportunity to grow and develop in ways which will allow us to better serve people around the globe with a culturally specific entrepreneurial skills training.
You can see why we are SO excited! If all goes well, we hope to pilot portions of this program in parts of India, Burma, Costa Rica, and Mexico.
We will need people like YOU to come with us as facilitators!
In the meantime, please follow us on Facebook and Instagram for trip updates and look for our Pakistan Trip Report end of October. Prayers appreciated...
Interested in coming with us next time? Contact our lovely trip coordinator, Irene Jaw by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Our next potential trip is to India in January. We look forward to having you join us.