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Transforming Lives

Thrivent member uses jewelery making skills to raise money & rescue children from sex trafficking

Kay Bach has no doubt that God led her to her current ministry. In 2000, she turned down the job of director of care ministries at Faith Lutheran Church in St. Louis, Missouri. At the time, she had a jewelry business and was also selling at-home business kits to help others start their own jewelry businesses. But within six months of turning down the job at Faith Lutheran, her booming business began "trailing off," she says. "I realized God was telling me, 'You were supposed to take that job.'" So she did.

For several years, Bach shelved her jewelry and business-building talents. But in 2009, she began teaching church members how to make and sell jewelry to raise money for the congregation's mission work in Peru and Jamaica.

By late 2010, however, she felt that God was trying to get her attention about the hundreds of thousands of children who are trafficked in the U.S. She found out that St. Louis is a hotbed for such activity due to its accessibility to highways, drugs and the booming strip club industry in East St. Louis.

"When I learned that girls on our own city streets were being sold for sex slavery, I couldn't wipe it out of my head," Bach says. She told her church group of jewelry makers that she felt called to use her jewelry and marketing skills to help these children. "Everyone said they were in," she recalls.

By May 2011, the group had named itself Monarch, which reflects the victims' "struggle to break out of the cocoon of sex trafficking and be free in Christ, fully restored and redeemed," Bach says.

Every Tuesday, two groups of Monarch workers gather in a room at the church, one group in the afternoon and another in the evening. More than 30 women regularly come, each bringing her own talents to the table. "We make jewelry from crocheted wire, stamped metal, polymer clay, beads, chains and charms," Bach says.

Monarch started off selling jewelry at the church bookstore and at local jewelry shows. Now the jewelry also sells at five local stores, and Monarch recently launched a new website (Link opens in new window).

All Monarch Jewelry profits – $30,000 so far – support International Crisis Aid, which rescues girls from sex trafficking worldwide and operates a Safe Home for trafficking victims in St. Louis. In addition, Monarch's jewelry makers have taught a few of the girls at the home how to make jewelry.

Monarch's goals are to increase awareness of sex trafficking, raise enough each month (about $2,000) to sponsor a girl at the Safe House and encourage others to take action against sex trafficking. "We believe there will be other Monarchs in the United States," Bach says. "Sex trafficking goes on in every city, and we want to stir people's passion to do something about it."

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