How did we get involved with Threads of Hope?
Since graduation from college, we had lived in Colorado, England, New Hampshire and Australia while furthering our IT careers. We returned to the USA, to Wisconsin, to raise our children and homeschooled both Ben and Will for 13 years through Will's high school graduation in August of 2011.
We began the process of helping Threads of Hope in January of 2011 by responding to an email from our friend, Doreen, who did the shipping. We took everyone in the house to the church to help count bundles of bracelets as a way to introduce "service" to our niece and Will's friend, who both lived with us. We were shocked by the volume of bracelets that were being processed. TOH was growing. I (Julie) offered further help and shortly thereafter was asked to assist with shipping to allow Doreen some time off. After doing relief shipping every few months, it happened that I was helping in June when Alex and Chris came back from the Philippines for the summer. Alex and I were talking about something as simple as saving a master of the TOH DVD as the source to use to make copies. Then, out of Alex's mouth came the words, "We could really use you in the Philippines." "Oh really!", I thought. "Maybe this is the ministry God had in mind for us all along." We had investigated another ministry in the past, but it was not for us.
We began to help at festivals and ask what seems like thousands of questions. The more we learned the more we found ways to help. I found "holes" in the business systems that could be fixed in simple ways to help customers know how to return payments and products. Then I started maintaining the website, wrote FAQs and created an order system. During the process of creating business systems, while Jim still worked in IT full-time, we raised support to take a vision trip to the Philippines in January of 2012 to see if that is where God wanted us. Support came in for all four of us to go; a clear indication of God's will.
The trip was wonderful. God was answering prayers for TOH and the Marsh family in amazing ways. We returned to the States and in June of 2012 we started raising monthly support to make the move to the Philippines. Jim quit his job January 1, 2014 and jumped in full-time take over the accounting functions and we prepared to move. We moved to the Philippines in March of 2014.