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Issue 10-7

Urgent Prayer Request

Word has come from Mary Ogalo, the Global Bag Project Kenya Coordinator, that Hannah’s home in Nairobi has been robbed. Mary writes:

We are always praying. This week has been difficult … Hannah's house was raided by some thugs, but we are thankful because God spared them from physical harm. Hannah was slightly injured on the cheek with a blunt object, but we know it could have been worse if the Lord was not with them. In cases like that sometimes thugs rape after stealing. Hannah and the daughters were spared from that. They are quite terrified. I will be meeting her tomorrow.

Hannah is a 37-year-old widow. She is a single mother of six, ranging in age from 21 down to four, including two sets of twins. A hard worker, she rents a two-room home in the Dagoretti Corner of west Nairobi, one of the city’s many low-income neighborhoods. When Carla Boelkens visited her in September 2010, she took great delight in serving tea (Kenyan tea, or “chai,” is equal parts water and milk with sugar).

Prior to learning to sew and joining the GBP sewing group at Africa International University, Hannah sold salt blocks for cows and worked on a farm for less than $2 a day. Carrying the salt was difficult and exhausting, but the farm work supplied food for her six children. Today, Hannah works on two of the sewing machines purchased in Kenya for the sewing group from donations given at GBP home parties and events in 2010. Mary Ogalo reports that Hannah is emerging as a leader in her sewing group while improving her sewing skills.

When I heard that Hannah had suffered loss at the hands of these thieves, I went to sleep with the strong impression that we needed to pray for angelic protection for the vulnerable Global Bag Project women who are struggling to support their families and lift themselves out of poverty.

Will you pray with us? This prayer from Psalm 91:13 is a good prayer guide:

For he will command his angels concerning you
    to guard you in all your ways.
On their hands they will bear you up,
    so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.
You will tread on the lion and the adder,
    the young lion and the serpent you will trample under foot.

I see angels posted at the doors of all the homes of the African women we love and admire. I see their flaming swords warding off the thugs and thieves and robbers who would prey on these vulnerable and unprotected women (and their small children). I see prayers from the shores of North America holding up those who are our sisters across the world.

Mary Ogalo’s vision is to provide work for 1000 women. We are far from that. Will you help? It is in prayer for vulnerable women that God often moves our heart to specific actions.

1.  We need to schedule home parties in the Chicago area (one of the GBP staff will be happy to conduct the party). Contact Carla Boelkens at We can also ship out Parties in a Box; our instructions walk you through the event planning.

2.  Become a Global Bag Project partner by giving $25 a month. You can send a check to Global Bag Project or do a direct electronic fund transfer through PayPal. Carla will help you make fund-transfer arrangements. This partner plan will underwrite the small overhead of our North America office. We want to make sure that all the proceeds from bag sales go back to the bag- makers. Yet we do have expenses. Checks can be mailed to Box 30, Wheaton, IL 60187.

3.  We are designing Unique National Holiday events to sell reusable shopping bags. Did you know that August 3 is National Watermelon Day? (Our Global Bag Project African shopping bags are large enough to hold one.) We are holding a National Watermelon Day Global Bag Party in our office complex. How about a neighborhood charity Watermelon Day party?

4.  The Kenyan women have designed padded, animal-skin cotton fabric laptop totes. Are your kids eco-conscious? Are they really concerned (sometimes more than their parents) about the suffering in the world? Buy a going-back-to-school tote and let your kids organize GBP initiatives.


5.  Bring a friend to our Charity Comedy Café. This hilarious Sunday morning, August 28, of riotous laughter will heal some of your stress. (Sponsored by Jericho Road Church at Lowell School, Wheaton, IL, 10:30 a.m.; brunch to follow.) Doug and Melissa Timberlake will lead us into laughter and a short presentation will introduce our Global Bag Project with reusable shopping bags be available for purchase.

6.  If you are in the western suburbs of Chicago, stop past the Global Bag Project office and choose from the variety of gorgeous kanga-cloth patterns and colors. Stock up for gifts for weddings, graduations, birthdays and hostess gifts. We have small ($25), medium ($30) and large ($35) bags. The GBP team is always in on Tuesdays, but we can make appointments.

7.  Put in special orders. We can put your logo on our bags (or wine bags). We need a PDF file of your logo, half the money up front, and 60 days to sew the bags, then ship them.

8.  Volunteer your business or accounting skills. We are at that point in growing where we need professional abilities beyond our own.

Karen Mains


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Karen Mains

Karen Mains

“When I heard that Hannah had suffered loss at the hands of these thieves, I went to sleep with the strong impression that we needed to pray for angelic protection for the vulnerable Global Bag Project women who are struggling to support their families and lift themselves out of poverty.”



"[Hannah] is a hard worker, and in September 2010, she showed just how dedicated she is when Global Bag Project Kenya Project Coordinator Mary Ogalo and I – along with seamstresses Salome and Sophie, who are in the GBP sewing cooperative with Hannah – visited her.

In hearing Hannah’s story, I discovered she brings great dedication and passion to her work, as do most of the women I’ve met in Kenya."

-- Carla Boelkens,
Director, Global Bag Project

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