Tag Archives: fundraising

Dressember: how can a dress a day end modern day slavery

My mom has been a dressmaker for over 30 years. As a girl, I remember watching her design the clothes, make the pattern, cut the fabric and sew the dresses. Sometimes I helped her sewing the hem with  my stubby little fingers and a needle. I grew up with mom’s handmade clothes. In those days, though, I would rather wear leggings and t-shirts from the Body Glove brand than putting on some neat little skirts that my mom lovingly made for me.

Yes, love. For mom, making dress has always been about love. The love for creativity, for the career and for the people. She lavished her love on me and my sisters by making matching dresses for us to wear.

Sadly, there are many girls who are stripped of this love and care they deserve. There are those who are sold into sex business because their parents are poor; those who are constantly molested and violated by their very own relatives; and those who are physically abused day-in and day-out within their own homes.

This is why I joined the Dressember Foundation this year. I was introduced to this organization through a friend, who posted her pictures wearing different dresses for the whole month of December last year. Seeing her in those dresses somehow triggered my childhood memory, of my mom’s dresses. So I made a quick comment in one of her posts that I would like to join.

And here I am.

To be honest, I am scared of fundraising because I hate asking people for money. Yet a wise friend said to me, “Do not assume what other people think. You have to put it out there, because otherwise you may be robbing someone of their giving” (paraphrased). So this post is to inform you about what I do; and hopefully it will help you make a decision whether or not you want to join in this cause.

The core of Dressember is to advocate for the dignity of women all over the world. Its mission is to “oppose the worldwide trafficking and exploitation of women”. It has aligned itself with the work of International Justice Mission and A21. The money raised has gone to support the work that these guys do to put the end to the modern day slavery. You can read about them more here.

My part in this is to wear dresses everyday for the whole month. It is challenging because sometimes I would rather just wear tank tops and shorts in this heat. But I am now committed.

My goal is to raise $300 by the end of December. If you would like to join in with me and consider giving, visit my page here. Click on “Donate” tab and follow the prompts. You can choose how much you want to give by clicking on the amount the site provides, or type in your own amount you are willing to donate. Remember, there is no such thing as too little when it comes to supporting good work.

The other way to get involved is to pray. There are still many girls and boys trapped in brothels, mines, orphanages or even their own homes. They need help. Pray for them to be rescued. Pray for the workers’s boldness and protection. Pray for healing. Pray for justice. Pray for grace and hope to shine lights into those dark corners of the world.

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This is one of the five dresses that mom made for me. I have had it for over five years now. This dress went with me to Chiang-Mai, New Zealand and now Australia. 

P.S. I will be posting my picture on Instagram and Facebook at least twice a week until the end of this month. Feel free to comment or shoot me a message if you have any questions.

 


New Zealand Update: Preparation and Progress

So I am going to New Zealand. But what I have seen in commercials or movies – about how easy and convenient it is to make a trip abroad, has definitely failed in comparison to my reality. While I was in downtown Bangkok today to run one of the visa errands, I longingly gazed at a billboard in a mall, showing a caucasian woman enjoying her time in Thailand just like “a local”, with a tinge of envy. Travel agencies and financial institutions make us feel like everything is possible and we can go anywhere in the world we want. But when reality comes crashing in – with the to-minute preparation, tall piles of documents, snail-pace progresses and the snarling threat of embassy workers, one has to brace herself with grace, dignity and strength; and holds on to the confidence she has in the Lord’s plan despite everything that screams against her hope.

Since my last post, there have been many things going on. I recently came back from visiting Burma, the country that has been on my heart for the past couple of years. Now that I am back, the most important thing to do is to apply for the student visa – the most daunting task I ever have to take on. Every time.

Before I can hand in the pile of application form and other documents, there are so many details involved that I will not bore you with. But to help you be better informed, I need to submit my visa application by the first week of January the latest so that I will be able to board a plane at the end of January. Such a crunching time!

Currently, I am working on to get a police clearance and health check-up, which will take about 2-3 weeks to get done. I am also gathering money – both from my work and from my sponsors, so that I will be able to show the embassy that I will have enough money to survive for two years. The requirement is that I have 15,000 NZD in my bank account, which I have only 1/4 of what’s demanded.

In spite of everything, I want to praise God for:

1. The official acceptance into the school! I am now an official student of the South Pacific Bible College in Tauranga, New Zealand. My degree is the diploma of advanced biblical studies.

2. The discount of tuition fee from 7,200 NZD to 2,400 NZD! Because of the discount, I am now able to pay the tuition fee in full for both years!

3. The monthly living cost about 1,000 NZD, which I now have supporters committed to sponsor for the rest of my time there!

Because of these blessings, I am now down to the airfare and the traveling insurance, which are as followed:

– Plane ticket from Bangkok to New Zealand             1,000 USD per trip

– Traveling insurance                                                                756 USD for two years

I am so excited! God is so good, and always surprises me with wonderful news each day! With that said, here is my prayer points.

Please pray for:

1. The amount of support money that will come in time and be able to cover all necessary expenses. Right now, I have to raise more for the airfare (one trip) and the traveling insurance, which is approximately 2,000 USD in total.

2. Applying for the visa – I am planning to go to the embassy right after New Year in January. Please pray for God’s favor upon me as I compile all the papers and go into the interview with the officials. Pray for the speed of processes too. Usually, the work of bureaucratic offices take 2-3 weeks. My time frame is quite rushed. So pray for peace, calmness, wisdom and discernment as I tackle each task with grace and strength.

3. Booking and paying for the plane tickets – as of now, the agency informed me that the seats are all full from mid to the end of January. School will start in February 3. So I need to be there by January 30 at the latest, if not before.

4. My health – After I got back from Burma, I am down with a slight cold, mostly cough, congestion and running nose. I need to get a medical check-up on December 24. So please pray that God would bring healing and there’ll be no problem with the check-up.

5. My spiritual health – Pray for open heart and mind to the Lord’s working in this period. There are certain issues I need to work though, mostly with fear. Pray that this period would be a fruitful time I can spend with God and rest in Him.

If you wish to pray for me, to hear from me or to bless me financially, please let me know by leaving your comments here or send me your email. My email address is mink.mijji@gmail.com

Thank you for reading! I know it is long. I am working on writing with more preciseness and trying not to elaborate too much. 😉


The Journey Into God’s Purpose

I have been in Chiangmai for a little over five years already. I still remember the edgy nervousness and anticipating excitement I had when I rode the bus up to this mountain town, nine hours away from my Bangkok home. Since God brought me up here, He has blessed me with wonderful friends, adventures and new-found love for children and marginalized people – those whom God has called to shame the strong and the wise. I have learned how to live in need and in abundance and to depend on God’s grace each day. Through each circumstance, God has been molding me more and more into His likeness and gradually revealed His heart’s desire for my life.

Now is time for the new adventure. In the beginning of this year, God had spoken to me about stepping out in faith, and given me confirmation repeatedly through people and bible scriptures, which finally led me to resign from Compassion Thailand, the ministry I had been involved in since I first came up to Chiangmai. It was a hard decision because I was still so much in love with my job and had fun living life. Yet I knew God was right – I started to create for myself a comfort zone. So, when He told me to leave, Like Abraham, I am on the road out of Ur.

At first, I was not so sure what I would be doing next. The only thing I could do, and all I have done is to seek His face and press into His presence. For the past five months, I have begun to realize that it is not so much the destinations – as in successful career or sufficient amount of money in my bank account – that He is after. But it is more of the daily fulfillment – that I be driven by His purpose, to wholeheartedly rely on Him to provide for my needs and be transformed into His likeness, each day. It has not been easy but, by His power and grace, it has been possible.

Having spent some time off, I recalled one of the goals I never got around to do because of my work schedule – attending a Bible school. It has been my desire to dedicate a time of focusing on studying His word and growing in the knowledge and the experiences with Him so that I would “always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have” (1 Peter 3:15), as Peter encouraged us to do.

As a result, I have submitted my application to the South Pacific Bible College in Tauranga, New Zealand (http://spbc.org.nz). It is a two-year diploma in advanced biblical studies. I have prayed over this decision, and felt at peace in pursuing the degree. I am excited about the upcoming journey. And I would like to invite you to join me in this new adventure. There are two ways you could get involved:

1. Praying – If you would like to pray for me, please let me know so I may add you on my email friend’s list or ask you to follow my blog, where I will be updating on my progress. First request I would like to ask now is for the successful application process in a crunched time. I have a little less than three months to get everything ready. Pray that God’s favor would be over each process. 

2. Funding – If you feel led to support me financially, an easy way to  send the money is through Paypal account (www.paypal.com). You can click on the given link. It will lead you directly to the main page, where you will see the “transfer” tab. Click on that, and enter my email address – mink.mijji@gmail.com with the amount you wish to donate. Then follow the website’s directions.

Another option is through a bank transfer service from where you live to my account. If this is your option, I will send you my account number.

Currently, my needs for the first year are:

–          Tuition fee                                  $7,200 US/ year (Asking for discount from college now)

–          Insurance                                    $378 US/ year

–          Airfare                                          $1,000 – 2,000 US/ trip

–          Monthly expenses  about    $840 US/ month

I am trying to raise as much money as possible by the end of January. As of now, it is not yet announced that I am accepted into the college but I am trying to prove that I will have enough financial provision to support myself while there. I would be grateful if you could help me be ready for that. However, if it turns out that I am not accepted, the donation will be returned. I’d be honored to have you as my partner, in one way or the other. 🙂

Thank you so much for taking your time to read this post. I appreciate your friendship and support over the years past. Following the Lord, in our own unique ways, is always challenging and not so comfortable. But this is what God calls us to do – to obey and to live a life that He has called each and every one of us to for the glory of His name.

One final thought- Many of us tend to romanticize the Christian hardship. We get starry-eyed when we hear a story of someone abandoning their wealth to live in a third-world country; or of a doctor who sacrifices expensive salary in sterile hospital to serve the poor in mountain villages with only rice and eggs in return; or of a woman who says to her abusive partner, “My worth is priceless. I do not need to be someone’s punching bag. I’m out.”

It is one thing to celebrate these people’s bravery but let us not get caught up in others’ stories. Yes, we should applaud people who perform the act of total obedience, of dying a daily death to themselves and of walking in faith with no direct steps. We should cheer each other on. We should ooh and aah at what they have accomplished. But we should not forget that each decision comes with long hours of praying, of pushing themselves into His presence even when it does not make sense and of making up their minds to follow Him with tears-stained faces. So please, do not walk away and say, “Wow, those are great stories. But I am glad it is not me to have to do THAT.”

Oswald Chambers wrote,

After sanctification, it is difficult to state what your purpose in life is, because God has moved you into His purpose through the Holy Spirit. He is using you now for His purposes throughout the world as He used His son for the purpose of our salvation. if you seek great things for yourself, thinking, ‘God has called me for this and for that,’ you barricade God from using you. As long as you maintain your own personal interests and ambitions, you cannot be completely aligned or identified with God’s interests. this can only be accomplished by giving up all of your personal plans once and for all, and by allowing God to take you directly into His purpose for the world. your understanding of your ways must also be surrendered, because they are now the ways of the Lord.

I must learn that the purpose of my life belongs to God, not me. God is using me from His great personal perspective and all He asks of me is that I trust Him. I should never say, ‘Lord, this causes me such heartache. To talk that way makes me a stumbling block. When I stop telling God what I want, He can work His will in me without any hindrance. He can crush me, exalt me, or do anything else He chooses.

He simply asks me to have absolute faith in Him and His goodness. Self-pity is of the devil, and if I wallow in it I cannot be used by God for His purpose in the world. Doing this creates for me my own cozy ‘world within the world’ and God will not be allowed to move me from it because of my fear of being ‘frost-bitten’.

Loved ones, God is carving your own story. It will come with grease, mud and dirt too. Ask ourselves today – how can we cheer each other on? How can we become a part of this global Christ-lovers community in order to advance His kingdom? I know that you know the answer. Each time you say yes to His purpose, your story arch is shifting heavenward.