Dec ’22. News. Events.

December 2022


Season’s Greetings, WARriors!

We wanted to take this opportunity to thank each member of the WAR family for your support and encouragement throughout this past year. Whether it was through your prayers, hours of volunteer service, donations, purchases, or hosting an event, you are what makes the mission of WAR, Int’l possible.

Our hope is that this month is filled with joy and peace for you and yours as we remember the reason we celebrate the season.


Giving Tuesday

Our word for Giving Tuesday 2022 is IMPACT as it is our goal to make an immediate impact on the lives we are called to help in their darkest hour of need. Our 911 Rescue fund allows us to say “yes” when a plane ticket is needed for a woman to escape her trafficker, when money is needed for emergency care, or legal aid is required. Thank you WAR Family for helping us be able to say “yes!”

GIVE TODAY!

LEARN MORE HERE!


Don’t Forget!

Our holiday lookbook is here to help simplify your WAR Chest Boutique shopping experience! Find gift ideas and inspiration as you peruse its pages filled with beautiful products for you to purchase, share, and enjoy.

Not only will you gain a quality handcrafted gift, but you’ll also be empowering rescued and at-risk lives with the power of your purchase. Shop our holiday lookbook here!


Shipping Notification

For any orders placed after December 16, 2022, the WAR Chest Boutique cannot guarantee delivery by Christmas. Please place your order accordingly – the earlier the better!

Visit warchestboutique.com to catch up on your Christmas shopping any time of the day or night! We’ve got something for everyone on your list so you can shop with a purpose this holiday season!


Did You Know?

We offer free shipping on all orders of $75 or more! You can #ShopToRescue anytime at warchestboutique.com and save on shipping while checking items off your Christmas list. It’s a win-win for everyone. Finish up your holiday shopping from the comfort of your own home this holiday season!


New Blog Post

Our 911 Rescue fund grew out of a partner’s request in the dead of night to rescue a baby who had been sold. Most of these stories are never told due to their danger and confidentiality… but because of you, they’re real rescues. Currently, WAR, Int’l is immersed in seven rescue situations. If we’re ever able to share any details, we will. In the meantime, read Real Stories of Rescue here.


As the anticipation builds for our next Light Up Your World, can we get a drumroll, please? #OOOOHHHH, who’s going to be our next special guest? We’re still finalizing the details but can’t wait to share them with you soon! Stay tuned by checking our upcoming events page for additional details as the time gets closer.

For the 26th, here is the Zoom link!

My Favorite Color is October

October 2022


As the days grow crisp and the leaves begin to turn, the world about us is aglow with autumn splendor. With myriads of fall activities and all things pumpkin spice, October bestows bushels of fun before ushering us into the upcoming holiday season. At WAR, International, we are excited to help you jump into fall with some fun new opportunities to partner with us and party with a purpose this October!

NEWSWORTHY UPDATES


A Holiday to Remember
Candles flickering in frosty windows. Pine cones. Snowflakes. Mugs of delicious hot chocolate. Cozy cabin aromas. All these holiday scenes float through our minds, inviting us to embrace each moment with those we love. And as we compose our upcoming holiday lookbook, joy is abounding as we seek to capture all these delightful “feels” and display our beautiful products for you to purchase, share, and enjoy. Our holiday hope is for you to gather with your family and friends to cultivate togetherness and invite All The Memories the season has to offer.

Until the release of our A Holiday to Remember Lookbook, why don’t you pop on over and shop our stunning collection of other lookbooks here!?

Update on the Great Flood
The restoration company is working hard to clean up the water damage before the repairs and rebuilding begin. Because of the damage done to portions of the upstairs flooring, we have had to move all staff office spaces downstairs, with the exception of our U.S. Training Center. On many of the now exposed boards found on the staircase or other interior building structures, you can once again see the scripture verses that girls from a Michigan safehouse inscribed beneath the surface All Those Years Ago. For those boards we need to remove, we are thinking of repurposing them into a mural. More on that when a decision is made!

To stay up-to-date on the latest, follow our WAR, Int’l Facebook page.

If you wish to help with the costs of restoration, please consider leaving a financial gift here.

In Case you Missed it…
As this month’s second blog post, we have shared an editorial interview done by VoyageMichigan Magazine where you will have the chance to hear founder and president Becky McDonald’s story in her own words. You will be inspired by her passion and commitment to helping those whose voices have been silenced, while also learning more about the history and mission of Women At Risk, International.

Read the latest blog post here!

OCTOBER EVENTS


Hear Becky in Person!
We would like to personally invite you to join Becky on Sunday, October 2, 2022 at 6pm at New Life Baptist Fellowship. She will be sharing the work of Women At Risk, International as well as stories of rescue and hope. Product made by and in support of rescued and at-risk artisans will also be available for purchase during the evening. Find additional details here!

Cops, Coffee, Donuts!
Invite friends and family to join our annual Coffee with a Cop event on October 5 from 9:30-11:00am at our Grandville location. Enjoy a time of community, coffee, and donuts where you can learn what our local cops are doing to combat trafficking and their advice to help you do the same! There’s no need to register – just show up with your questions and be ready for a fun time! Learn more here.

From Survivor to Thriver
Don’t forget to join for us another survivor testimonial on this month’s Light Up Your World Zoom call! On Monday, October 24 special guest Pearl and WAR, Int’l founder and president Becky McDonald will be leading a conversation on overcoming trauma as Pearl shares her story and provides an honest picture of the path to healing. Prepare to be inspired by her courage and determination in not only finding her own voice, but also to speak on behalf of others struggling with the impact of trauma.

For additional details, visit our Upcoming Events page here.

Dress-up Time!
WAR Chest Boutique invites families to join us on October 29 from 10:00am – 12:00pm for treats & tales! Princess Jasmine and Sleeping Beauty will be there to read stories and pass out candy, crayons, and coloring books. Also available will be our kid’s bead bar where your littles can expand their imaginations and bring home their treasured creations. Free for all, make sure to dress up as your favorite superhero, princess, or storybook character! Find the details here!

Book your Holiday Pop-Up Party ASAP! Or email- party@warinternational.org.

I Call Out

Author: Kayla, WAR, Int’l Intern
September 2022


As a teenager in my late teens, I call out for the injustice being done to my generation. I call out for the voices that are silenced. I call out for freedom and protection for children and teens who are vulnerable. I call out for moms and dads to be involved.

I am calling out because it takes many voices to be heard, and I want to voice something that I see is a problem. Many people, including myself, have believed that our voices don’t have value or won’t make a difference. This is my cry to make a difference—not as a political resume but as a voice of freedom.

I have been given this opportunity to share what is heavy on my heart and to invite you to join me in calling out for freedom!

A Cry for Men, Women, and Children to Take Action!

I look around my country in the land of the free, and I see a lot of brokenness and isolation. I see people vulnerable to being trafficked and exploited. I call out for moms, dads, aunts, uncles, grandmas, and grandpas to create circles of protection! We like to turn a blind eye to what’s happening, but we can’t! We have to get uncomfortable and reach out to people who are hurting!

This is our problem! We need to do something. We have an epidemic of slavery transpiring in our country! According to the U.S. State Department, at least 1.5 million people within North America fall victim to sex or labor trafficking. Friends, 1.5 MILLION PEOPLE in North America! Don’t think of that number as merely a statistic but as representative of other human beings like you and me, each with a name and a face, each with their own hopes and dreams, each with their own fears and insecurity. People like you and me who are enslaved and being robbed of their future.

I plead with people to take a risk and step up for the voiceless by educating themselves so they will not be caught off guard! The internet and COVID -19 have changed the face of trafficking as we know it. According to Statista.com, 83% of human trafficking is facilitated through the internet.

The popularity of technology and social media has increased trafficking and made it easier for predators to find victims. In a world where a lot of kids and teens are attached to their phones, it makes sense that traffickers have changed tactics. It is much easier to deceive and entice someone on the internet.

I challenge parents and kids to set up precautions and have conversations about the risks that the internet and social media present. It seems so innocent until it’s not! Traffickers know that kids and teenagers are vulnerable, and they use this to their advantage.

Take a stand today and have a conversation with your kids about internet safety. You can’t put your kids in a box to “protect” them from this issue. Parents need to have open and honest conversations about this topic. Talk about “red flags” and boundaries that can be put in place to safeguard them from being exploited. It means being practical and smart as you handle this new generation of technology at your fingertips. Circle around your kids, your nieces and nephews, your grandchildren! They are lonely, confused, and hurting. Being a teenager is not easy, so give grace but also give truth. They need you to circle them in protection and love.

To the teenager and beyond, if there’s anything you take away from this message, know that you have a voice! Will you stand with me to reach out not only to our peers but also to our communities?! Not in anger, but with love and a heart to listen. As I wrap this up, I want to communicate a spirit of humility that I am right there with you wrapped in my own comfort bubble, and this is the beginning for me to break out of my own comfort zone one step at a time. That’s all I ask—to take one step at a time!

This is Kayla calling out!

My Shopping Habits Were Changed Forever

Author: Rebecca McDonald, Founder & President
August 2022


My experiences of rescuing survivors of horrific abuse and teaching them to work with dignity by making artisanal products changed my shopping habits forever.

I was never one to buy shoes, purses, or jewelry. Then I started creating programs for survivors on a global scale and realized they needed a sustainable source of income. I told God, “If I’m going to have to sell something, it has to be beautiful!”

And so it began. WAR, Int’l started selling handcrafted jewelry and accessories made by rescued and at-risk women (and even men) from around the world. Now, I’m a walking mannequin for WAR!

Besides, the day I don’t dress up is the day I will be asked for an interview or meet with a person of influence, and I want to take every opportunity to show off the work of our artisans’ hands! Today, the WAR Chest Boutique has over 7000 unique gifts handcrafted by or sold in support of rescued and at-risk individuals.

The stories of the survivors we support are the heartbeat of our mission, and every product comes with a story card allowing you to read personal stories of men, women, and children who have passed through our programs. Whether they’re made in a preventative or a restorative program, our artisans craft fair trade items within a safe environment where they receive wraparound services designed to rescue, restore, and empower them to live with dignity and purpose.

Shopping with a purpose proves how my meager purchases have the power to change a life forever. Another non-profit that rescues survivors and sells handmade candles as we do says, “A single candle cuts through the darkest night.” Decades of experience have taught me the truth of Dr. Martin Luther King’s statement, “Darkness does not drive out darkness, only light can do that.” Our goal is to shed light on a dark subject and give hope and healing to those who seek safety beneath the shelter of our wings.

When you buy a product from the WAR Chest Boutique, you’re truly a fellow soldier in the fight to set the captives free. You literally jump in the trenches with us lifting the lives of those once trafficked and exploited to jobs with worth and dignity.

I can’t shop at Walmart or JCPenney anymore! I struggle shopping at the dollar store. I don’t know who made their products, their working conditions, if they’re being paid fairly, how they are being cared for, how old they are, or even if they’re free to choose differently. My eyes have been opened.

Every Friday, just for you, we curate a collection of specialty gifts from the WAR Chest Boutique. It is a treasure chest, if you will, of unique and beautiful handcrafted items – like ​jewelry, scarves, accessories, and more – to provide you with moments of opportunity.

-The opportunity to add fresh style to your home and attire.
-The opportunity to equip and empower survivors.
-The opportunity to give a hand up for those at risk to live in freedom.

Please take a moment to shop with a purpose at the WAR Chest Boutique!

Browse this week’s collection at Fresh Finds!

TRIBUTE TO THE UNSUNG MOMMIES

Author: Rebecca McDonald, Founder & President
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