My new shop, Terri's Country Crafts & Books, has officially been open for not quite 4 weeks. This has been such a wonderful adventure for me and I enjoy every aspect of it. I obviously love the creative end of it - decorating the shop, working on new creations for both custom orders and to build up my inventory.
More importantly, I love the people I meet. And I get so excited when one of my vendors sells something. Yes, of course, I enjoy selling my own things but I love the encouragement I can pass on when I tell them that their item has sold.
I've added two new things this month that are exciting to me. I have a corner of the shop called "Pretty in Pink" for breast cancer awareness month. 10% of the sale of the items in this spot will go to a local organization that provides care packages to people going through cancer and other debilitating diseases.
I also have a section of my shop called the Bosnian Handcraft Project. These are handcrafted items from Bosnia, made by women who are struggling to support their families. 100% of the sales go back into the project and it is something that our denomination started and manages.
These two areas are exciting to me because it is a way I can pass on a blessing to others. As a woman in ministry, I didn't want to lose the perspective that everything I do in life is to honor the Lord and bless others. My main purpose in even starting a local shop was to get active in the community and get to know people. It didn't seem to be happening by just staying at home and God plunked this opportunity in my lap.
So while it is a business and I obviously want it to succeed and earn some income, to me it is so much more than a business. It is a ministry. It may not look that way to the outside observer, but my heart is definitely about reaching this community with the love of Christ.
I do that when I can be available when someone wants to chat about a problem they are facing (and yes, that has happened). I show His love when I encourage my vendors. I do it by listening and counseling a friend who doesn't know Him and has many questions. I show it when I go out of my way to make sure people are happy with their orders. I show His love when I encourage these women in Bosnia by selling their items (and I've actually heard from a couple and they were filled with thanksgiving).
It may not look like ministry in the traditional sense, but to me it is very much that way. And that is why it has been a very good month! :-)