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Mission co-workers start Resilient Threads

Sandi and Brian Thompson-Royer at the 2019 Jubilee Market.
by Mary Stamp

For 20 years, Sandi Thompson-Royer has marketed crafts and textiles from Guatemalans she has come to love through years of doing domestic violence training with Debbie Dupey, and spending five years in Guatemala with her husband, Brian. They served as mission co-workers with the Presbyterian Church (USA), supported by their congregation, Bethany Presbyterian Church.

Sandi, who grew up south of Seattle, earned a bachelor's degree in women's studies and fair trade at Evergreen University in Olympia. For two years, she worked with Spanish speaking women with the Thurston County domestic violence and sexual assault program.

Sandi had a more than 30 year career in domestic violence/sexual assault work, which included county programs, faith communities and the Kalispel Tribe. She and Brian lived in Leavenworth, where she managed Jubilee Global Gifts and gained her passion for fair trade. Brian worked in affordable housing in Spokane and Leavenworth.

Since returning, Sandi and Brian have run Resilient Threads, which sells hand-sewn napkins, hot pads, bibs, placemats, table runners, bags and aprons made by indigenous women in Guatemala.

"Guatemalans have hope and faith.  They say, 'Todo bien!' or 'All is good.' In reality, it's not good. It's been tough, but they are resilient," she said.

"Our call as Christians is to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly, to love our neighbors, and support our sisters and brothers who struggle," Sandi said. "Fair trade is a way to do that in a relationship that promotes dignity and fair wages."

In October, Sandi received the first shipment from Guatemala since March 2020. Bethany Presbyterian provides a room to store the items.

In Guatemala, she said she walked in faith with people who walk every day in faith that God will provide, in contrast with many North Americans who think they don't need God in their lives because they have "stuff."

Sandi said Presbyterian mission is about partnership. Co-workers are invited to walk along with the people, working together to create a more just world.

"We seek to be creative in promoting our products and are open to church sales, small parties and other possibilities," Sandi said.

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Copyright@ The Fig Tree, November, 2021