Before we left Indonesia I went on the hunt for nokens, hand-woven net bags that everyone carries in Papua. They're the favorite local handicraft, not just for tourists but used in everyday life. In villages they use big ones that expand so much that ladies carry huge loads of garden produce home in nokens hanging on their heads. Or they might carry their own baby, or a baby pig! In the cities people wear them across their body, hanging at their sides. Men wear them too, usually just big enough for a Bible and a cell phone. People love them in bright colors and designs. They're given as gifts, and if Isaac is asked to speak at a church he is usually given a noken from the area.
Well, nokens are sold at tourist stores in town, but at prices that are prohibitive to me buying in bulk to bring back to the USA. So I put out an appeal on facebook and asked my friends if anyone had some on hand, since I was in the market to buy. I did buy from some students and needy families near me, but unbeknownst to me my friends at our church got together and each made one or more nokens that they all gave to me to take back for friends and family. I can't tell you how special that was, to know that these ladies I love had spent hours creating these nokens themselves, with their own hands. Plus, Elly's teacher who arranged the whole thing made some of the most beautiful and uniquely patterned nokens I've ever seen!
Such talent. And such an act of love that spoke volumes to me. These are some of the ladies who made them, though the photo was a couple of years ago. I love that we are on mission together.