Good in the Making [117 Trip Chronicles]

Behind a locked door. 

Piles of scraps. 

Dark. 

Unseen.

Hidden.

Forgotten.

That is what the first Carry 117 team was faced with when they got to the Carry 117 compound in Korah, Ethiopia last year. When asked what was behind the locked door, Henok, the CEO of Carry 117, tried to redirect everyone’s attention. He was hesitant to open the door to the storage room full of scraps, somewhat embarrassed by what the team would see if the door was opened. With a little coaxing, he slowly unlocked the door. What they saw was a massive pile of leather scraps leftover from years of sewing. Too good to throw away, but not good enough for much else. Instead of seeing those scraps as a barrier but rather seeing them as an opportunity, those scraps would become something so much more.

I don’t know about you, but I have spent seasons where I could see nothing but the scraps in my own life.  Believing the lie that the disappointing circumstances I had been dealt were where I belonged. Accepting that I would never measure up to do anything of worth. That I had nothing to give. Feeling alone in my pain. Stifled by fear. Have you ever been there?

Thankfully, a series of things began to chip away at the lies I believed. As the door of my mind slowly opened to let in the light, I realized that I had been thinking wrongly all this time. I had come to believe that this was a stopping place, while in reality, it was just a part of the process that God was taking me through.Instead of being a destination, I have come to the understanding that God wants to walk me through these things. He wants me to come out on the other side: stronger, more compassionate, full of humility, ready to take what I have learned and use it for good. Because he can take those hard things and use them for good.

Not at all thwarted by that heaping pile of scraps, the visiting team got to work sorting, organizing, tossing. And NOW, those very same scraps are giving teenage girls who are aging out a chance for empowerment. They take those once forgotten scraps and transform them into beautiful earrings. It’s hard to dismiss the imagery here. As orphans get close to aging out of orphanage care, they are faced with the challenge of learning life skills and finding employment with fair wages. Not only are they taught a skill and paid fairly at Carry 117, they are treated with dignity and shown loving kindness. Orphans, who society might cast aside, are shown that they have value and worth. Transformation in its deepest sense.

 I was reminded that God sees us much like this when I heard the lyrics of Matthew West’s song “Mended:”

 When you see nothing but damaged goods

I see something good in the making

I’m not finished yet.

 Every pair of Carry 117 earrings is a symbol that according to God we are all something good in the making.

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Interested in purchasing a pair of these earrings to carry the story of these teenage girls and what God is doing at Carry 117? Find out more HERE.

Interested in coming on a Mission Trip with Carry 117? Find out more HERE.

Ann Kumpf