Lydia's Market helps people struggling across the world - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Lydia's Market helps people struggling across the world

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DALTON, GA (WRCB) -  A local church is on a worldwide mission trip-- without having to leave town. First Baptist Church in Dalton is selling items hand-made by people in need at the annual Lydia's Market.

Last year the market raised more than $45,000. It's helping people who are struggling on the other side of the world and as close as Nashville.

"This is a way for our congregation to go on probably the biggest mission trip we've ever been on," said Courtney Allen, the church's Minister of Community Ministry and Missions.

It's the second year for Lydia's Market.

"It is truly a ministry of empowerment," Allen said.

Gifts are hand-made by real people who are currently oppressed by war, poverty or human trafficking. Allen said every dollar goes towards giving those people a stable income -- and a sense of self worth.

For Jeni Pepper, it's more than just a shopping experience.

"It's also knowing that what you're doing, what you're paying for something, is going to make a difference for someone else," Pepper said.

The scarves and stockings made by women in one of the poorest parts of Romania mean a lot to Pepper.

"It just means so much more because I've met some of the ladies that the money is going to," she said.

She saw first-hand how simple work like sewing can translate into something much bigger.

"Love in every language. Even if you don't know their language, you can feel the love," Pepper said.

It's paying it forward with something money can't buy.

"Helping people really live beyond the oppressions and violence or victimizations that much of their lives have been a part of," said Allen.

The market is open through Sunday. The church accepts cash, checks and credit cards. All proceeds go directly to each vendor's mission.
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