Sizzling Summer Specials and Newsworthy Events

Posted: June 1, 2022



Summer, summer, summertime! We’ve all been waiting for it, and WAR, Int’l is here to help you make the most of it with some special offers and important events.

Add us to your summer bucket list!


SPECIAL OFFERS

Mystery Item
UPDATE — We Have Sold Out! We are launching our 2nd Mystery Box on July 1st!

Introducing WAR Chest Boutique’s first ever Mystery Box! What will it be? Well, that’s for you to find out, but we can tell you the icing on this mystery cake is that it’s been handcrafted by rescued individuals from the beautiful country of Thailand. Starting TODAY, pop on over to warchestboutique.com and grab this exciting surprise, valued at $40, for only $10 while supplies last!

10% Off Special
For all parties held in June, July, & August, party attendees will receive 10% OFF their entire party purchase! Don’t miss this limited-time opportunity. Email our Party Event Center today to get your party scheduled!
Contact Party Central


SUMMER EVENTS

Join us the Fourth Monday of Every Month
Don’t forget to join us this summer for our monthly Zoom calls with founder and president Rebecca McDonald! In the virtual community we’ve cultivated, you will hear not only from Becky but also from courageous survivors and advocates who are passionate about combatting risk and fighting the injustice of human trafficking. The next call is scheduled for Monday, June 27 at 7:30 pm EST. To learn more, follow the link below to our upcoming events page!

Click here for Light Up Your World dates & speaker info.

June 7 – Outdoor Market Opens!
WAR Chest Boutique’s Outdoor Market will be back for the warm weather season and will feature jewelry, furniture, kitchen equipment, and accessories at excellent prices. Click here to learn more!

August 6 – WAR, Int’l Course
The WAR, Int’l Course, led by founder and president Rebecca McDonald, covers the history and mission of WAR, Int’l, how programs and partners are developed, the handling of products and sales with artisans, specific ways to get involved, and more. Click here to learn more!

August 10-13 – Unity Festival
WAR, Int’l will be at Unity Fest selling beautiful items handmade by rescued and at-risk individuals. Founder and president Rebecca McDonald will also be speaking on the main stage the evening of Friday, August 12th. Click here to learn more!

REMINDER

Our beautiful Tea for Two lookbook is HERE. Let’s foster hope and restore lives one handcrafted piece at a time!

Shop with a Purpose today!

TRIBUTE TO THE UNSUNG MOMMIES

Author: Rebecca McDonald, President & Founder
May 1, 2022


This Mother’s Day, I want to celebrate the women who never mothered a child biologically. They’re role models of a mother’s heart in ways deserving respect, love, and adoration. They sacrificially give of their time, talent, and treasure to nurture in the truest sense of the term “mothering.” True mommies to the mommyless or to others’ children, they may be single committed to nurturing others’ children or married but will never deliver their own. They nurture babies whose own mother was not there for them or nurture others’ kids in ways their parents couldn’t.

Single women profoundly influenced me as a young girl and one reason I am who I am today. I grew up on a humanitarian mission compound in a foreign land with a high number of single women serving the hospital, school, and other humanitarian works. They embraced singleness and poured their lives out 24/7 like a drink offering to nurture little ones. So powerful were these role models, I did not fear singleness. I saw lives that gave up marriage either by choice or by God’s design to nurture a world of children who desperately needed the maternal instinct that’s in every woman.

One of my heroes in Asia would love to marry and have her own children. My heart breaks that she is lonely in ways that married women will never understand. But she was called to be a mother figure to the broken girls of the red-light district who hang on her like the mother they never had. She’s too busy “mothering” to find a husband. She radiates joy and nurture; children flock to her in droves. She is the only safe person they know, a drink offering in a dark place.

Just because you can conceive doesn’t make a good mom. Sadly, this greatest job on earth requires no education, no certificate, no liability statement, and comes with no directions. Babies are having babies with no clue how to nurture. There’s so much more to “mothering” than physically bearing a new life.

This Mother’s Day tribute is to those mothers who have given their lives to lift others’ babies. I often state that after I raised my own babies, I am still just a mommy…Now a mommy to the mommyless. I’m nothing special. I simply do the work I’ve always done of nurturing. Women who aren’t biological mothers are experts at doing the same thing. We stand shoulder to shoulder and join forces with incredible ranks of “moms” who nurture to the exclusion of their own biology. I don’t deserve to be in their company. They know a pain and loss that I don’t. Yet they pour out their maternal instincts to lift the babies of the world.

As a practiced observer of pain, I don’t miss the signs of their sacrifice and sense of loss. They don’t cry in their soup and whine. They quietly give their lives to nurturing others. They are the teachers who pour themselves into the children born to others. They are the nurses who rock the babies in the nursery where the biological mom is incapable of loving for so many reasons. They are safehouse staff who faithfully go into the darkness to find little ones or who, when they were little, no one heard their cry. They hear the cry of the wounded and rejected. They make their pain their responsibility. They bring to the table whatever skill, talent, or treasure God has entrusted to them to be the moms those wounded, at-risk children never had.

It’s my privilege to stand in their shadow. I feel a unique pain for singles offered platitudes that married women and even clergy heap on their heads. I watch as they quietly bear senseless remarks and flippant misunderstandings. As a child, I cringed at the quiet pain filtering across their polite faces as grownups were oblivious to the impact of their comments. I have an uncomfortable knack for seeing pain that has no voice.

I have a soft spot for married women who cannot bear children. I grew up as an American in foreign lands where a woman can still be divorced, abandoned, used up, and discarded for this “sin.” I understand culturally why the women of scripture…Sarah, Hannah, Rachel, and Rebecca were devastated at their barrenness. I have a soft spot for moms who miscarry and mourn their loss. I have witnessed the unspeakable pain and confusion of Russian culture that considers abortion normal birth control, yet is taught by the Orthodox Church that abortion equals murder and is, therefore, an unpardonable sin. One of the earliest programs of WAR was stumbling on a weeping Russian who believed she was required to abort her new pregnancy because of living in a one-room apartment with six adults and no room for a child. She wanted this child in her happy marriage but couldn’t afford it. We supported her for two years. Now her precious son is a wonderful man.

So this Mother’s Day, the world of Women At Risk, International salutes those women who are, in some ways, more a mommy to the world than many biological moms. You are our heroes. We cherish you and lift you high. We honor you in the cultures of the world that would whisper other messages. We could not do what we do without you. We are proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with you as the mighty warriors of mothering and nurturing that you are. We honor your life as a “mommy to the mommyless,” standing together fulfilling the call to parent the motherless. I could write a similar letter to you about nurturing, protective dads who have not born biological sons and daughters, but that will come on Father’s Day.

Thank you for the honor of working beside you. Someday in Heaven, there will be a real Mother’s Day where the fruit of your labors will rise up and call YOU blessed. Because of you, they will celebrate your nurturing in their lives through your time, talent, and treasure.

From one mommy to another………..I love you. Becky

Is Happiness A Choice?

Author: A Dear Survivor
April 12, 2022


    This, I Believe

Over 10 years ago, NPR had a radio show called “This, I Believe.” This segment focused on written essays from listeners who were stating their stance on something they believed in. It was incredibly inspiring, but it also encouraged listeners to broaden their point of view to hear and understand someone else’s opinion. Below, I’ve written my own “This, I Believe” statement about something that can often be considered controversial:

    Is Happiness a Choice?

Having been a circle of protection to survivors of sexual and physical abuse, human trafficking, and other traumas, I believe happiness is a choice. Persevering against the odds stacked against them, these survivors have risen from the ashes because they chose to invest in their own happiness. One recurring observation I often hear when a survivor publicly shares their story is: “I would’ve never known they were a survivor because they’re just so full of joy!” Every morning, these individuals wake up and are haunted by their horrific pasts. They are faced with the decision of whether they are going to choose to linger in the darkness of their trauma or whether they’re going to choose the warmth of happiness – and by no means is that decision an easy one.

It is incredibly easy for anyone who has endured trauma to any extent to linger in those dark corner shadows where they won’t ever have to face what’s keeping them there. But the choice to be happy? That choice is one of the most difficult ones they have to make on their healing journey. When a person chooses to expose all those dark and scary places, they prove that they’re no longer afraid of what awaits when they open the drapes. It’s like when spring finally comes after a long winter, and they can finally open the windows, let in the fresh air, take a deep, cleansing breath, and allow themselves to begin sweeping up the settled dust and cobwebs.

I personally went through my own healing journey from the years of trauma I endured that resulted in multiple mental health concerns. After one final breakdown, where depression and anxiety left me on the ground, a shattered mess of hopelessness, questioning if I was strong enough to keep going, I realized that I needed to play an active role in my recovery to find true healing. It was no longer enough for me to solely rely on my weekly therapy sessions and my prescription medication. With the help of my therapist, I found it was most beneficial to start every morning making the conscious choice to choose happiness and appreciate the little things around me. I opened my eyes and found joy in the turkeys and deer as they walked through the backyard, in the sunrise over the golden cross that stands glowing high above the Cathedral on my drive to work, and in the sunsets as the burnt orange rays of warmth came streaking through my bedroom window in the summertime. Maybe that’s more of a testament to my personal growth, but similar practices are mirrored in the courageous and strong individuals I’ve had the honor of knowing and loving. Surely, if a survivor of something as horrific as human trafficking, torture, assault, etc., can open their eyes and choose their own happiness every morning, anyone can. This, I believe.

HOSTING A POP-UP BOUTIQUE TOGETHER

Impact is defined as having a significant or major effect (Miriam-Webster).

Impact can be linking arms with your friends to host a WAR Pop-Up Boutique to have a positive and empowering effect on rescued and at-risk women.


Learn More Here

OUR STORY:
Our mission is two-fold. We seek to market and sell handcrafted items made by at-risk and rescued men and women from around the world, supporting culturally sensitive, value-added intervention projects while educating our shoppers about the risks the vulnerable face in our world. We invite you to shop with a purpose at the WAR Chest Boutique!

When WAR staff was asked to share the one thing they love about serving others in the Event Call Center, here were their responses:

“While on a mission trip to Nepal in college, I was blessed to be able to visit a safe-house, where a precious human trafficking survivor bravely shared her story with my team. We were then given the opportunity to purchase her beautiful hand-made products. I saw the value of supporting a survivor’s small business first-hand! A couple of years later, I started hosting WAR pop-up boutiques, sharing about that brave survivor, and wearing the bracelet she made. I love that I now get to work in WAR’s Event Call Center, booking parties and events where people can purchase survivor-made products and raise awareness with their loved ones! It’s such a blessing to help each hostess through the hosting process, and I still get so excited every time someone new books a pop-up boutique!” -Shelby

“One thing I love about serving in the event call center is getting to hear from our volunteers how the events they worked at went. It’s fun to hear how many people they were able to interact with and share the mission of WAR with and how fired up and excited it makes them for future events and another opportunity to be a part of WAR!” -Hannah

“I love getting to connect with other people that have a heart to make a difference in the lives of those who are at risk and that are rescued from human trafficking. You get to meet some beautiful souls.” -Tiffani

DID YOU KNOW:
Every $300 in WAR product sales can sustain an individual in one of our partnering international safehouses for a month, on average. This means that every $10 in sales can sustain an individual in one of our partnering international safehouses for a day, on average! Linking arms with your friends to host a WAR Pop-Up Boutique can have a great impact!

When you and your friends host a WAR Pop-Up Boutique, your sweet, important efforts:

– lift wounded women to lives of dignity

– create circles of protection around at-risk and rescued individuals

– invite your friends and family to shop with a purpose

– allow others to buy once but give twice

WAR can’t do what we do without you!
Our work is to give others a hand up, not a handout. Hosting a Pop-Up Boutique is one of the best ways to get involved. It is easy and so much fun! We give you everything you need to host with your friends and walk you through the whole process.

Don’t just take our word for it!
Here are some amazing reviews from WAR Pop-Up Boutique Hostesses:

Larry and Tammy are a husband and wife hosting team who hosted a Pop-Up Boutique at a horse show! People LOVED the glass-blown horse ornaments and stuffed alpaca fur horses. They want to host again!

Bette “Thank you for your close and friendly coaching…you were highly approachable and appreciative, covering all bases to help us succeed! Thank you!”

Pam “We were happy to host! And yes, we want to host again next September! It has become a tradition that the ladies at our ladies’ retreat look forward to!”

Meredith hosted her first-ever Pop-Up Boutique that lasted eight days. She took products to a few different places and had a very positive hosting experience! She gushed about the soft stuffed animals! She said a guest bought one llama for her mother in a nursing home, and one for her therapy clients because petting such a soft stuffed animal is therapeutic! She also said that a mother and daughter came to her booth, looked intently through all of the products, and chose a bracelet. They told Meredith that this bracelet meant a lot to them because they are both survivors! Meredith wants to host again next year!

Beka (Facebook Party) “My friends had some excellent questions for the party consultant, and it was such an amazing experience learning more about WAR’s mission simply because [WAR Staff] was there to answer all of our individual questions! But whether you are hosting a Facebook party or an in-person event, I can personally assure you that WAR makes the process super easy and relatable for hostesses and guests alike – the ladies at the headquarters are a joy to speak with! I chose the Geometric Key Necklace, because I wanted a beautiful reminder that God has given me the key to make brave and vibrant decisions for my life – but for the many women that WAR helps, God uses this organization to provide literal keys of freedom and hope!”

Samantha “I had a really good time and look forward to doing this again.”

Nichole hosted her fourth Pop-Up Boutique. Nichole said it went really well! She and her family had a lot of fun shopping for Christmas with the set. Nichole bought the gray Remembrance bag for her husband to put his stuff in, and he has been using it as an opportunity to share about WAR and raise awareness about human trafficking! She said it’s always a pleasure to host, and she will definitely do it again!

Sara loved hosting a Facebook party; her friends loved the jewelry; and Sara said it was the easiest party she’d ever hosted!

Are you ready to link arms with your friends to impact rescued and at-risk women?

Simply email party@warinternational.org or call 616-855-0763 to get started!

International Women’s Day: My Thoughts & Three Conclusions

Author: Rebecca McDonald, President & Founder
March 1, 2022


As I’ve traveled the world, I have heard of horrific stories of the lack of rights, some unrepeatable. In many lands, a woman raped must have a witness because a man’s word is literally worth 2 women. If he comes up with a male witness to say the opposite, she must find 4 witnesses. I’ve discovered faith systems where the women are not allowed to take part in ANY part of the worship. They can cook for the men but have NO say in their faith. Should their family cease to produce a male, their faith dies completely out. Men can get a divorce just by saying so 3 times, but a woman can never divorce. In rare cases, if she does, she will never see her children again. Women are denied school, can’t hold jobs even if trained as doctors or lawyers, must not run a business…the list is endless.

Growing up as an American in lands where women and girls had next to NO rights had a profound effect on me. My home was a safe place where my voice was precious & heard. Being an only girl with 3 brothers helped with the “princess status.” But seriously, my parents took me seriously to the point that my word carried more weight than my older sibling due to our approach to things. I was treated like the oldest child in many ways. Meanwhile, outside my home, my girlfriends had almost no say. They were bought and sold in a marriage contract. The culture even had “marriage brokers” the same way we approach buying a home to find the right details, price, pedigree, etc. for the male family to “consider.”


Three distinct events left an impression on me.

1) You recall my 14-year-old village girlfriend was raped (by family), fought back, and had acid poured down her throat to “silence her” literally.


Nehru: My 14 yr. old girlfriend forever silenced with acid poured down her throat.

2) For the wealthy, it was even harder in some ways with more at stake. I remember 2 upper-class girlfriends. One, the daughter of the Minister of Education, a power elite family, “met and fell in love with” a high-class boy while in the USA getting their education. From the richest Bengali family, it was “OK.” BUT, they had to go through the charade of pretending it was an arranged marriage and they’d never met. Heaven forbid a woman should choose her own path…or a boy for that matter.

3) Then as an adult, I sat in the home of another wealthy family related to the nation’s President who babysat his young son. That night while my son played with the President’s son, their daughter came in angry from university classes. Her father had arranged a marriage to another wealthy family. The sisters of the “groom to be” came to “check her out” looking her up and down in the door of the classroom like she was “a cow for sale at the market.” She complained bitterly that any family whose women treated her like “property for sale” was not a home she wished to marry into. Very simply (so liberal of him), the father just said, “Ok…I’ll look for another.” She walked off happily. I sat thinking about the fact that she was submitting happily to his giving in yet still in charge of who she’d marry.


What Does All This Prove?

Simply that for all our progress as women, we have a long way to go in many lands. I have 3 conclusions from a lifetime of working to empower women.

l) I love America despite its many many flaws. I am a woman that founded an organization and has a voice in any setting and platform I wish to pursue. Yes, it may be that I have had to fight harder, dig deeper, swallow slights…but I am willing to do so if it means lifting the broken, the voiceless, the wounded, the hurting. At the end of the day, there is no slight, indignity, or put-down that compares to those of the lives we represent. So for them, we willingly take up that cross and march on. I’m patriotic not for apple pie, motherhood, or football, but for our right to speak out! I beg you to hold your rights as a privilege and luxury. The day we lose the right to speak freely, we are not a great nation anymore. I know what that looks like. I grew up with girlfriends that had no voice. We must always allow the voice of the silenced no matter whether we like its sound or not. It is what makes us great. When you silence anyone, you give predators power. Our right to free speech in every aspect is truly what sets us apart.

2) I am a mother of 3 boys (& 1 daughter), a sister to 3 brothers, grew up as an American surrounded by the “Taliban mentality,” & work with law enforcement and clergy (male-dominated). I know the world of men and I respect it. I don’t want you to bash my boys any more than my daughter. While we must find rights for women, we must not do it to the detriment of our boys. Fixing a wrong by going to extremes only hurts everyone in the end. I have an article on this on our website. Suffice it to say, All Voices Matter Regardless of Genders. We need to stick together to lift all voices in the fight for freedom.

3) Four decades of being the “Voice of the Silenced” proves those who suffer have the most profound insights. We’d be wise to listen first to them, the experts. They may not have the solutions to the problem politically, legally, or structurally. But their voices should be the template, the mentor, the guard rails that guide significant changes. To fix something without the insight of the experts is to not fix it at all. With 2 ears and only 1 mouth, listen first and twice as long. Then be the voice of the silenced no matter how small you think you are.

Passionate to be the Voice of the Silenced:
Becky