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!

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

Love After Trauma

Author: A Dear Survivor
February 21, 2022


Merriam Webster defines the essential meaning of love as “a feeling of strong or constant affection for a person.” While that seems simple enough, after enduring traumas such as human trafficking, rape, abuse, etc., love’s definition becomes less clean cut. Love also begins to change shape after a traumatic experience like the ones stated above. For some of us, love becomes sleeping on the floor together, because beds are too much of a reminder of the things that have been done to us, and our bodies begin to seize up, leaving us unable to move – or sleep. Some of us can’t argue with our spouse because it’s a stark reminder of our past experiences and shutting down is the only way to cope. Sometimes, love looks like sleepless nights, wrapped in a weighted blanket and the arms of our spouse as we endure another anxiety attack that shakes us to the core of our being and leaves us sore, exhausted, and unable to communicate other than in soft whispers once it’s over.

The idea of finding love after trauma can be terrifying. While some of us had happier childhoods and others learned the feelings of abandonment from a young age, the one thing we all can agree on is that we can still feel the brokenness and betrayal long after we were wronged. For myself, my father taught me at a young age that I would never be good enough for any man to stay in my life, including him. I carried that with me for my entire life – admittedly, I still do – which led to continuous situations of abuse while accepting any “love” that may have wandered my way…because I craved being loved. When I found my husband, it was the most terrifying experience of my life, even more than the traumas I had already survived, because it was REAL love, it was POWERFUL love, it was a love that was kind and would never falter. What I didn’t realize was that this love would be the hardest for me to place my trust in – it was just too good to be true.

One of the first things I ask when I speak with other survivors is, “How did you learn to trust people again?” That question is often answered with a little smirk and a chuckle, knowing that’s a loaded question with a loaded answer. I ask them, mainly, because any advice I can get is valuable, but also because it truly is the one aspect most of us can relate to. Almost every time, the first sentence of their answer is, “it was really hard.” Then, I asked one survivor that loaded question, and she told me that her trust in God was so abundant that her trust in people was because of Him. She then wrote me a verse on the back of scrap paper about trust that I still hang in my home office to this day. Mind you, this incredibly strong, sweet, and wonderful woman had been trafficked and tortured after trusting in people, yet smiled the biggest, kindest smile I had ever seen and answered my question so confidently, there wasn’t a split second of time for her to even think about what she would say! I have to say, I was completely awestruck! How did she make it sound so easy!? Though I’m still working on the trust part myself, I have been blessed with a husband who is patient and kind, does not envy or boast, is not arrogant or rude, and whose love will never end.

After surviving trauma, love can “sometimes” look like many different things. However, for survivors and their spouses, love is always sitting through the highs and lows of a painful past that may never be fully understood. Love is always just being there for each other 100%, even when we may not be 100% ourselves, and knowing that is enough. Finally, love will always be full of forgiveness and overcoming any argument or situation without giving up!



If My Jewelry Could Talk

Raising 4 kids around the world, we “lived off the land.” We did NOT take “America” in a container overseas to outfit our home. We went on treasure hunts & searched for “what’s this culture make that’s uniquely theirs, tells a story, shows their art & skills?” If jute carpets were the thing, we hung them on the walls of the tall tropical ceilings. In former Russian Central Asia, Saturdays were treasure troves. I’m no garage saler but I wandered streets filled with antiques once gracing dachas (private cabins), mansions and more. Carved mirrors or desks inlaid with leather no longer cherished, were sold for pennies to make room for uber-modern. Crystal decanters became our flower vases. Chandeliers lined sidewalks. Elegant china no longer fit their modern dream. Oil paintings, leather bound classics, silver work stuffed in cardboard boxes was cheaper than any Walmart wannabe.
My own parents raised me overseas too. For my high school graduation in the lofty Himalayans, they bought me a set of hand carved chairs and tiny table from Peshawar in the Vale of Swat in the Khyber Pass where Osama Ben Laden hid out in caves. We got carpets and brass for birthdays. There were no game boys, tv’s or apple products in the Himalayas.

Moving back to the USA, our children’s friends that flowed through our home called it a museum asking for the stories behind the furniture, wall hangings, table ware, water pitchers, foot stools & more. Most everything has a story, a life it lived before us and then with us. If it doesn’t, it probably doesn’t belong. Those stories get asked over and over and over. Things don’t really matter to us. Stories and the lives lived do!

An inventory of our home would be brass, oil paintings, leather, carpets, tapestries, carvings, china, collections of painted fans, mirrors, eggs, spoons from dozens of lands, weird trash cans, funky table games in bone, ivory, marble, jade, agate, blown glass, brass, sandalwood, stones from Israel, Samarkand, the pyramids, Mount Nebo, the Taj, the Bay of Bengal and more. A head count found throw pillows each with a story from 14 of 86 lands we’ve roamed, décor from 67 & jewelry from 48. Each corner you turn hides another treasure and story.

I have been asked to tell YOU some of those stories. The way I’m asked to do this is by making some of my personal possessions available to YOU. Yes. You read that correctly. Things don’t really matter to us. Stories and the lives lived with them do. So, WAR is going to start making available my own personal collection of artifacts, treasures and particularly my jewelry.

Many pieces I wear are made by survivors as personal gifts. Often I’m asked if I’m wearing one we carry. If it is board or staff come and remove it to sell “on the spot” while I stand talking to someone. I’m used to being stripped of my jewelry OR often give it away while traveling. When a flight attendant compliments it, I give it to her. When she asks to pay for it, I say, “No, just tell the world that it was made by a precious survivor and they can shop the work of her hands at warchestboutique.com.” Sometimes it is a piece we’ve never carried or no longer do.

No matter what, these pieces have traveled the world with me. They’ve run through red light districts, hugged crying children offered to me in sale, giggled with girls in a safe house while we talk about their dreams, or sat faithfully on my sink in the hotel or guest house at each stop along the way. I’ve worn these pieces in palaces with Princesses and attended royal weddings with them on. I’ve worn them to humble widow homes where the only place to sit is on the mud floor. They’ve attended banquets for hundreds of rescued where we twirl, dance, giggle, play games and dwell in the joy of being girls set free. They’ve sat through graduations of tiny girls and a few boys now raised to be doctors, lawyers, seamstresses, engineers, nurses, teachers or precious mommies that are to their babies what no one was to them. They’ve had soap bubbles and baby spit on them when we taught teen moms how to bath their babies. They’ve hugged a child with polio being hidden by her mom under her bed to protect her from predators. They’ve had too many tears on them to count and listened to the cry of my heart as I wept with, prayed over and comforted. Some times they’ve heard me fight my way through a crowd of angry men or stare down a predator that is daring me to pass him. Then they become my warrior jewelry, mighty and fierce shouting to those around me, “This was made by broken hands now set free, I dare you to defy that freedom.” Ah…If my jewelry could talk…

Click the picture above to find out how far our newest featured piece has traveled!