Sweet, Sweet Progress!

Just over three months in, and, as cliche as it sounds, it feels like we’ve been here forever, but also as though we just got here. And we still aren’t up and running like we wanted, but we’re OK with where things are at. Honest.
I know some people read this blog to see how things are going, so here’s the rundown. We got our SEC (government approval) paperwork back for the business a little over a week ago, yay! We are an official business in the Philippines! Our CPA is in the process of securing the necessary local permits we need to legally operate in Davao, probably another few weeks there. So then we can buy machines, hire employees, and start, right?! Not quite!
When we came here, we had a vision. We wanted to improve the lives of people in the area, give them good jobs, and teach a skill. We had a business model to put our plan into action. Since being here, we have discovered a large number of small shops, similar to ours in the States, that are more than capable of producing a high quality bag. These shops are primarily family owned, the ones we have toured treat their employees well, and one in particular has mentioned that when they get busy, they bring in employees to help handle the load. Sounds a lot like what we wanted to do. But, what if we could transfer the responsibility of training and employment to those who are already doing it, and focused on other missions projects? We still have a vision of opening a shop and trade school, but if we can slow the process, get product made locally that will support us financially, it gives us a chance to “do it right” and not jump in out of necessity. We can still oversee production and “ethics”, while lifting a huge burden.
We have bought some equipment and fabric to begin design concept and prototypes for some new ideas, but still have no workshop space. Our bedroom is currently housing it all. We joked the other day that we’ve never had a machine in the bedroom. Everywhere else in the house, but not the bedroom! Interesting thing about timing though, the condo two doors down from us is opening up for rent in the next month. Dan texted our landlord, and he is OK with it being used as a work space. We haven’t committed to renting it yet, but boy are we thinking and praying about it! We have scoured the town for appropriate space, how awesome would it be if it opened up less than 100 feet from our front door!
Speaking of timing. Dan and I went to immigration this morning to renew his visa. There were three American men there, just leaving. After we finished, we went to Starbucks, and they were also there. We began to talk to them, and one of the three is moving back to the States next month. He asked if we had a car yet, which no, we don’t. Long story short, he has EXACTLY what we want, down to the color (bright yellow, ohhhh yeah!), and is planning to sell it the end of the month. He is asking about half of what it’s worth, and it is currently in the shop being overhauled, so it will be like new. We will look at it Saturday when it’s done, but I am really hoping it’s an answer to prayer! We would love some prayer for this, as well as all the decision making that needs to be done in a short amount of time, thanks!

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