Sisterhood Across the Globe: Elizabeth + Marina
Elizabeth’s Story – San Antonio, Texas
When Elizabeth became a Noonday Ambassador, her biggest goal was to meet the Artisans she was advocating for through her Trunk Shows. She loved sharing the stories behind the pieces her customers loved, and dreamed of knowing the Artisans personally and coming to understand their lives on a deeper level.
“When I found out I had earned the opportunity to travel on an Ambassador trip to Ecuador, it was a dream come true for me,” Elizabeth reflects. “But it was also so meaningful for me to get to bless the women here in my community who have supported me and believed in the work I am doing. When I traveled to meet the Artisans, I was representing my customers and Hostesses as well.”
In Ecuador, Elizabeth got to meet several of the Artisan Entrepreneurs Noonday partners with, including Marina and her husband Luis. For Luis and Marina, the opportunity to share their handmade pieces with the world is a dream decades in the making.
Marina’s Story – Otavalo, Ecuador
When they got married, Marina and Luis took any work they could in an effort to support their family. But in the rural area where they lived, jobs were scarce. Many rural-dwellers were forced to immigrate to the city in search of work and were forced to become separated from their families.
Luis had always harbored a dream of becoming an Artisan using the tagua seed craft traditional to his region. One day some family members suggested that the couple open up a stall in the local market to sell Luis’ goods. But because Luis needed to continue working manual labor jobs to support the family, it was up to Marina to launch the family jewelry business.
“When I went into the market to find out about getting started, I was so overwhelmed,” Marina reflects. “There were so many people selling there. I didn’t know how to barter or how I would communicate with the English-speaking tourists who passed by.”
Marina was worried about the new challenges she would face in the market by herself. But she knew that this was a chance to earn additional income for her family and to help support her children – so she gathered all her courage and jumped in. “I was at the market every day, rain or shine,” Marina shares. Eventually the business began to grow, and today Luis and Marina work as Artisans full time – and even employ others in their community, helping them keep their families together.
The Things We Share
When Elizabeth traveled to Ecuador with a group of her fellow Ambassadors, meeting Marina was at the top of her list. “Meeting Marina was so honoring and humbling at the same time,” Elizabeth says. “She worked hard and brought all of her family in to make our time in her home so very special. And she cooked us one of the best meals I had in Ecuador!”
As the wife of an entrepreneur, Elizabeth immediately connected with Marina’s courage in the face of uncertainty. “From the day my husband and I met, he was in a 100% commission-based job,” Elizabeth reflects. “Like Luis and Marina, my husband and I recognized that with hard work, prayer and determination, God would provide us with meaningful work.”
When Marina launched her family’s business, alone in the market, she was uncertain if she had what it took to be successful. Luis had always been the bold dreamer in the family, but when the season came for those dreams to become reality, it was Marina who was called to step out boldly.
Since meeting Marina, Elizabeth says that her advocacy for Noonday’s Artisan Partners has become even more meaningful to her. “Now, when I sell one of Marina’s pieces, I’m not just advocating for an Artisan – I’m advocating for a friend,” Elizabeth says. But what’s more, her connection to Marina has encouraged Elizabeth in her other roles as a mother, wife and friend.
“As I think about Marina’s story, I aspire to be more like her,” Elizabeth says. “I was so impressed with her quiet, gentle and peaceful spirit. She was willing take a risk to empower her husband to become all he was meant to be. It brought tears to my eyes to see the incredible things they have built together.”
Want to join us on an Ambassador trip next year? We’re looking for women who share our passion for building a flourishing world. Learn more about how you can become a Noonday Ambassador in your community!