What began as a small purchase of handbags from a few refugee women years ago has now grown into Christian Freedom International's micro-enterprise imitative, helping the neediest Christian families who face persecution regularly.
CFI released today a new "self-help" handcraft catalog just in time for the Christmas season when much of the donations are made. The catalog features such items as weaving, tunics, blankets, tablecloths, scarves, basketry, candles and jewelry hand-made by Christian artisans around the world.
Working with local pastors from such countries as Bangladesh, Indonesia and Laos, where persecution is ongoing, CFI has expanded their handcraft collection since 1998 to provide income to the marginalized Christian families.
"It started out by purchasing handbags from Karen refugee women in Thailand," said Vickie Koth, vice president of CFI. Soon, Koth found out that their supporters loved the products and as demand rose, more items were added to what has now become a complete catalog.
The human rights organization makes purchases throughout the year from persecuted Christians in areas where it provides medical aid, education and Bible distribution in a world where religious persecution is increasingly taking place. Donations made through the catalog go back into program, covering all costs.
"This is a great way to find a special gift for friends and family, at the same time help the persecuted church," said CFI President Jim Jacobson in a released statement.
With the upcoming Christmas season, Koth told The Christian Post that many people do their holiday shopping through the CFI catalog for two reasons. Firstly, she said, contributions are made to help the persecuted Christians and secondly, to introduce family and friends to the persecuted church as they are informed of the origin of the products and how the purchases are benefiting Christian families around the world.
"I encourage churches, caring Christians, and freedom-loving people to order a free catalog today, while supply lasts especially coming into the Christmas season," said Jacobson.
In the event of the International Day of the Persecuted Church on Sunday, CFI will be visiting Tabernacle United Methodist Church in Fredericksburg, Va., where they will make a presentation on the persecuted church and set up a booth for handcraft items.
CFI is a nonprofit, nonpartisan Christian human rights organization for religious liberty helping persecuted Christians. To order the free Frontline Handcraft catalog or to shop online, visit www.christianfreedom.org.