We rang in the New Year grieving what would have been yet finding peace and rest in the goodness of God. It was a year of waiting and trusting. Jose went back to work, in part so we could access medical coverage for Rhea’s healthcare needs, and although we really wanted to be done with TK Collective, it continued to be the passion that got us out of bed in the morning.
Every time we have been on the verge of giving up two things have happened. 1). We dreamt vivid dreams about our artisans and the friends who are and will be impacted through this work, and 2). An unusual donor, meaning someone who does not regularly support us, would make a donation for a significant amount, that came on the back of a dream.
No matter how much transition we have experienced, or how many times we have had to pivot, our donors have been a huge motivator in seeing this through. To know that someone believes in you and your vision enough to put their hard-earned money behind it, is a vote of confidence that has always kept us looking forward. The truth is, that even though we had lost hope we still had a small group of people who believed in us and what we were doing, and that gave us a reason to press on.
For months, when we didn’t have the strength, we clung to the faith of our donors and their belief in us.
Although, we were unsure about the future for TK Collective, we were certain that the passion and vision were not going away. We had months prior, back when our flight was canceled and it became clear we were not leaving in January, begun to funnel donations through a partnership with the Guatemalan church for relief aid to vulnerable communities. At this same time, we began to invest our time in building up a stateside presence for TK Collective’s retail arm. Through pop-ups, and local events we started to get some brand traction, and the profits from those efforts coupled with the donations, allowed us to continue supporting vulnerable artisans and their communities through a very difficult time and for that we are so thankful.
However, charity relief was never our aim.
Our goal is to use missional business as a platform for holistic transformation in some of the most vulnerable communities around the world. This model focuses on elevating the individual gifts and skills of a community to solve their own problems, as opposed to offering a handout. While the aid was essential for covid relief, and in many cases, lifesaving, it’s was not a long-term solution.
Remember we said that God needed to break some things off of our vision that could only come through the refinement of trials, well the thing he needed to break off was our ego. One of the greatest aspects of having our “plan” stripped away was the clear shift of perspective from what we wanted, to being moldable vessels of God. From trying to steer the ship ourselves, to waking up every day asking God, “what way is the wind blowing today, and how can we journey with you”.
It was from this newfound place of freedom, without a rigid plan, that we began to take only the next best step. Which by the summer of 2021 included selling our house, a miracle in its own right. Despite having been on a modified mortage for 18 months, we walked away from the sale with enough to pay off the debt we had incurred during the months of unemployment and without a home tying us down we would be free to follow as God led.
Still hoping that He would open the door for us to finally leave, but also having to navigate the delicate needs/desires of our children who by this point had spent a great deal of time living in limbo and were ready for stability, we juggled what was important for them alongside our dreams in something akin to tight rope walking. A task that required continuous prayer.
Which is what we did through the end of 2021 into 2022.
After selling our home we moved into a short-term rental and we quite striving to make things happen. Instead, we committed ourselves to prayer, we poured into our children, we received counseling, we increased our soft skills, we learned and built relationships with others in the industry, we partnered with other missional brands, we hosted 7 pop-up events, launched several new products, provided dignified work for over 30 artisans and their communities in 6 different countries, and every day we have taken at least one step in the direction of our vision.
So often, you hear only about the juicy parts of a success story, but really, it’s the mundane, the painful lessons, the sacrifices, the failures, and the grittiness developed through the hard that makes success possible.
Sure, it hasn’t looked at all like what we had planned when we first started. There has been a lot of disappointment along the way, but the steep lessons and big sacrifices coupled with what we have learned and the impact that we have been able to make this far, leaves us with nothing but excitement for the future. What we are doing and why is clearer today than it has ever been. We have no shortage of vision for what is to come and are sitting on the cusp of some really big changes.
We are excited to share where we are headed with TK Collective and will be doing so next week, in chapter 4, the final chapter of Never Easy: Always Good.
*Make sure you to keep your eye out because we are giving you the skinny, including some really important dates you will want to make note of.