artisans

Watch Noshy (and God) at work


from our Executive Director


Noshy is a rug maker. 

His workroom feels like an artist's studio: bleached stone walls, lofty timber ceiling, art hanging up high. The narrow space is ringed with sacks of wool, coils of yarn, and scraps of paper designs. And at the far end is a wooden loom — the place where Noshy has woven together a life that's seen both plenty and want.

I visited Noshy on a breezy day in September, along with a few American volunteers and some local leaders from the village. We stepped inside through the shade of the date palms that edge this little village in Upper Egypt.

No sooner did Noshy welcome us in than he disappeared again through a side door.

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We had come to learn about his livelihood, built with help of a few TOLI microloans. Noshy's village was a hard place to make a living, especially with four growing boys to raise. But Noshy had a craft, and after he took his first TOLI microloan of just $200 to invest in wool and equipment, he was able to provide for his family.

Noshy appeared again, now carrying trays piled with peanuts and 10 glasses of orange soda for us. We politely declined — he insisted.

We sat on benches cracking peanuts and listened to Noshy tell us about his rug business, which he's now got down to a science: He buys the wool and ships it to the south part of the country to be spun into yarn and dyed. In all, it takes three months to get the wool, send it away, and wait for it to come back. Then it takes him just two days to weave a rug.

Waiting and weaving. Weaving and waiting.

Noshy's work depends on both.

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But that's true for all of us, isn't it?

In work, and in life, we wait — for the job offer, the proposal, a pregnancy. For the diagnosis, a cure, some clarity.

And we weave — an education into a career, our skills into a livelihood, our resources into security.

And while some weaving and waiting are ours to do, most of it is God's.

If we pay attention, we see that it's him doing the weaving. Weaving our friendships into community, our gifts into a ministry, our people into his church. He takes the raw materials of our lives, rough and unshaped, and crafts something beautiful and useful and good. 

And he waits. Our gentle and loving God waits patiently for us — waits for us to say yes to him, waits quietly for us to draw near to him, waits confidently for us to open the door he's been knocking on all along (Revelation 3:20).

He knows that in this life we're never a finished product, that we're always becoming something. So God waits, and he weaves, so that we may become ... His.

Because His is who he made us to be.  

When the orange soda was gone and peanuts were eaten, we stood to say goodbye and pray with Noshy. In a circle, we gave thanks to the Lord for this man and his family, for how he was able to educate all four of his now-grown sons. We gave thanks for the work of his hands, the ministry of his gifts, and the community he quietly blesses.

And for those peanuts. We gave thanks for those peanuts.

With gratitude and joy, 

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 — YOU CAN BUY A NOSHY RUG —

Coming to our May 9th Event? You can bid on the rug shown above — as well as other products made by TOLI clients— at our Silent Auction.


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take the next step

> Come to our next #TOLITuesday Prayer Gathering: May 14 from 12-1pm (at TOLI, 5785 N.Union Blvd, Colorado Springs, CO 80918)
> Become a monthly giver. Start here.
> Discover other ways to get involved here.


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