Last Thursday was my last day to spend at the Marylebone Project during my time living in London. I am so sad that it is over, but I feel so incredibly blessed by the fact that I was given the opportunity to spend any time there at all. Shannon made the overly kind gesture of bringing cupcakes for everyone during the last 30 minutes of the Design Camp to celebrate the return of a past volunteer – Katie Sampson – as well as a goodbye treat. Everyone was super thrilled about the adorable cupcakes and it was so fun to celebrate with the community that has been created at Marylebone over the past few weeks, as well as months.
In addition to the exciting news that Katie will be helping out more often with the Design Camps, Polly and I met last Thursday morning with a ‘proper’ jewelry designer from the Fairtrade jewelry company, Cred and she has volunteered to give some of her time to come talk about, and explain what she does at one of our Design Camps in November!! I am MOST disappointed that I will be missing out on her visit – it was lovely to spend some time chatting with her over coffee and to hear about what led her to designing jewelry specifically in the context of Fairtrade. Another upcoming event I am disappointed about missing, but am thrilled others are getting the opportunity to experience is the trip the Design Camps are taking to the Victoria & Albert Museum December 1st!
As my last Design Camp came to an end, I was saying goodbye’s to all of the women present and they kept thanking me. While this isn’t a strange thing for them to say I kept thinking, and saying back to them, ‘No thank YOU,’ for allowing me to come hang out with you, and for the graciousness and gentleness you have consistently shown me every Thursday for eight weeks. Despite the reality that initially I was a complete stranger to these women, they have genuinely embraced me from the get-go. Unfortunately this is not exactly a social cannon these days and while over time there is a trust that has to be gained to form any sort of real relationship with the women at Marylebone, I was given the chance to do so from the beginning; I was ‘let in’ so to speak. I have learned so much from the women at the Marylebone Project by the way in which they continue to be open to new people and new things, and continue to wear a smile and remain positive in the face of serious adversity – adversity that I cannot even begin to understand or imagine. They have humbly reminded me that Christ alone is sufficient and that, ‘the Joy of the Lord,’ provides an awesome and abundant strength. What’s more, the delight that the act of crafting jewelry brought to everyone present at the Design Camps each week restored my belief in the healing effects of creating something beautiful – of actually taking the time to enjoy what is beautiful, and seeing the beauty of God even in repurposed jewelry. As I have mentioned before, I believe that God is doing very special things through the Design Camps that occur every Thursday at The Marylebone Project and that He alone is changing the lives of the women who are participating. It has been a true true joy and honor to have the opportunity to experience His work in that context.