fair trade

I met today with Nancy, an advocate for fair trade in the Sunderland, ON area. Our meeting was for me to connect this work with our SERVE and Encounter week (Jun 30-Jul 4), with the theme “Right The Wrong”. We sat outside at Katie’s Coffee House in Sunderland, enjoying a beautiful day and very friendly passersby.

After I shared who I was, my involvement in SERVE and Encounter, and my growing interest in fair trade, she shared a great God story. Nancy would describe herself as a maybe agnostic, but at a recent fair trade show in Toronto, God spoke to her loud and clear. It was a slow day for sales, and at the end of the day, frustrated by the poor sales and worrying about finances, she came to her truck and saw a $20 on the ground. As she bent to pick it up, she saw a white paper under the truck, which she grabbed too. Not having her glasses, she handed it to her son Noah, who then explained it was a page from the gospel of Matthew. It included Jesus words about it being “easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God” (Matthew 10:25). It then talks about people giving up stuff for the sake of God and others, receiving in the end multiplied blessings (Matthew 10:29-31). She looked up to the sky and smiled, knowing God had just spoken to her.

God is good! It was a reminder to me that I do not bring Jesus into the world, He is already at work in the world (and under the truck), and my job is just to join Him where He’s at.

I also listened and learned about fair trade, and God’s heart for the people. Nancy admits that she originally looked into fair trade as a marketing strategy, but now she is passionate about the people. People who need to be paid to feed their families. Children who die at a young age making Christmas ornaments cheaply, being exposed to dangerous chemicals. We talked about the glocal community that we live in, and that we would never shortchange a farmer in person, but we do it from a distance, through unfair trade practices. How many farmers are growing cocoa for cocaine because that is where they can get the money, because they do not get paid enough for the coffee or then chocolate. Does that make us accomplices?

Anyway, it was a great conversation and a God-moment for me. I look forward to meeting again with Nancy and her son Noah, and having them speak to the SERVE and Encounter youth about fair trade and social justice. Thank you God!

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