Color, energy, life… these characterize this friendly country that is open to the gospel right now. One of my favorite things to do each summer is work at a camp that we run for kids right on the beach in Ecuador. The week-long camp setting has allowed us to build strong relationships with the kids and we have seen many of them get saved. The jewelry from Ecuador is bright and colorful and often made of natural materials such as feathers, seeds, nuts.
It’s not easy to be a Christian in a Chiapas, Mexico. It’s one of the few places in the western hemisphere where persecution of Christians is active and deadly. With a huge need for tourist dollars and humanitarian aid, however, water filters, medical clinics, and children’s programs create open doors for the gospel. The jewelry is a mix of wooden and hand-made pieces and some of the trademark color for which Mexico is known.
Until four years ago Myanmar was known as one of the most closed countries in the world. Now it is the most open it has been in decades. Currently more than 90% of the population is Buddhist and you will find golden shrines dotting landscape everywhere. The styles of jewelry range from refined pearls to antique-looking silver to a tribal edginess to certain pieces.
My time in Guatemala was spent primarily working with the deaf community. Many deaf children in this country grow up with no language, no education in sign language, and very little communication even with their families. I was working with a school for the deaf that not only teaches sign language and basic education, but also the gospel. Most of the accessories I found in Guatemala are based on their vibrant textiles with fun colors and textures.
Many abandoned children still roam this former communist country. Though communism is gone, the economy is still in serious trouble. As young adults move to other European countries in search of work many young people and grandparents have been left behind to fend for themselves. Seeing their loves transformed through love the gospel is one of the most rewarding experienced ever. I only have a few pieces from Romania. Jewelry is not easy to find here.
Though usually one of the more secular, peaceful Muslim countries, Turkey is currently experiencing unrest caused by ISIS in Syria, refugees fleeing the violence to the east, and uncertainty created by Russian aggressiveness to the north. On the other hand, there are many people who are interested in hearing about the gospel, especially among the refugees. The jewelry from Turkey has an Old World feel to it. I picked it up on the European and Asian sides.