I sometimes forget that the people who read this blog only occasionally, or who have only recently found it, may not know what I’m talking about. (Sometimes I have no idea what I’m talking about.)
Anyway, here’s the back story about some of my recent posts referencing soapmaking, Spanish and mission trips.
I have taken foreign mission trips through LEAMIS International Ministries, a small, non-denominational missions agency based in Sewanee, Tenn., since 2003.
In 2003, we went to Nicaragua, for a relatively routine construction-and-visitation trip. For me, it was a great introduction to foreign short-term missions. But the founders of LEAMIS wanted to break out of the construction mold for such short-term trips.
In 2004, 2005 and 2006, I traveled to Kenya with LEAMIS as the agency moved to a cottage industry approach. I and my fellow volunteers taught simple skills which the people of our host churches could use to produce a marketable product. In 2004, I taught a craft called copper foiling, but I had doubts about whether it was really practical as a cottage industry.
In 2005, because LEAMIS would be working simultaneously at two sites in Kenya, I was asked to teach cold process soapmaking. I knew nothing about it, but I was trained by Carolyn Schussler, the volunteer who would be teaching it at the other site. I taught soapmaking again in 2006, all by myself.
This year, LEAMIS is not planning a team trip to Kenya. LEAMIS has not abandoned Kenya and will be making some smaller trips this year to install water purification systems. I am sure they’ll do another cottage industry trip in the future.
LEAMIS is doing a trip to Bolivia, in South America, this summer, and I will be a part of it. I am now raising money for the trip. Task assignments haven’t been finalized, but the assumption seems to be that I will teach soapmaking again, so I am working in that direction. It is, however, always possible that the host church will request something different.
We still need team members for the Bolivia trip; contact me or LEAMIS if you are interested.