By Lizzie The last 2 weeks have been spent in airports, lively villages, and humble homes, and on airplanes, buses, matatus, and malaria pills.
As I boarded my 757 from Orlando to Atlanta (my first of 7 flights throughout the next 2 weeks) I thought, “Here we go. This is where it all starts. I hope I didn't forget anything.” I knew that this trip was undoubtedly the next step in launching Market Colors. You can only do so much stateside and there comes a point when it’s time to roll up your sleeves, toss on your Toms, and shake hands with the people you're working to support.
After 27 hours, I landed in Kenya just as the sun was coming up. I was greeted by my hosts for the week, The Matlack Family. They are from my church in Orlando, Summit, and have been living in Kenya for 8 months as missionaries with Missionary Ventures.
We hit the ground running. Throughout my next 11 days in Kenya and then in Malawi, I met with 9 Christian organizations. Each of these organizations has a group of men, women, or children that they are teaching how to make products. I sat in homes of widows with HIV. Heard stories of redemption from Ugandan refugees. Dined with the poorest, yet most welcoming people in the slums of Nairobi. Each step of the way, I heard that familiar, still and small voice saying, “This is why Market Colors exists. They are who you will impact.”
It’s impossible to measure success on a visionary trip like this. One main goal of the trip was to create relationships with groups making products and implement personalized plans and timelines to begin receiving their products. This happened with 8 out of the 9 groups I met with. That is more than I ever even imagined. While walking through Kibera, one of the largest slums in Africa, I was reminded that there literally is no market for a lot of these groups. Regardless of how amazing their products are, locals cannot afford to purchase them and that’s where it stops. Market Colors is committed to giving Christian groups throughout Africa a market to sell their products. We will achieve this through promoting their products with a centralized web-store.
So what’s next? Products. We're ready to make an impact today. We’re working to get the ball rolling as soon as physically possible. We should have products for sale by the spring. Your purchases can be transforming lives by this spring. That is extremely exciting and a testament to the big God we serve.
Your prayers have been priceless and your encouragement strengthening. I can’t thank you enough.
When flight #7 was over and I was back in the sweet land of Starbucks and convenience stores, I had a renewed sense of urgency and holy discontent. I also found myself with clear next steps. My trip was incredibly successful.
View pictures from the first Market Colors trip here