Hope Hinges on Rahab's Rope

“Let us break bread together on our knees. 

Let us break bread together on our knees. 

When I fall on my knees with my face to the rising sun, 

O Lord, have mercy on me.”  — American Folk Hymn 

How we interpret the lyrics of this beautiful hymn depends on our raising. For some, it brings to mind holy Communion, for others it conjures dining with loved ones around a graciously loaded table. It’s a safe bet to say that for most, the phrase “breaking bread” means more than just eating. To break bread with others is to connect spiritually, to foster brotherhood, to join hearts and minds. We break bread to nourish our common humanity. 

During the Christmas season, we are reminded of this more than ever — in the midst of a peppermint flurry of consumerism generating upwards of $930 billion last year — to remember the needs of others. That might mean sharing a tin of your grandmother’s ultimate divinity with colleagues, volunteering at a local food bank, or, as in the case of Vicki Moore, founder and CEO of Rahab’s Rope, starting an international non-profit with the mission to empower women and children in the fight against human trafficking in India.  

Vicki’s story begins in 2004 when she first read of the plight of women and children forced into sex trafficking, with one young woman’s story striking her particularly painfully. This woman had been forced into prostitution as a child. Having escaped, she found herself at age 20 with no training, no education, and no footing to navigate her new life. She pleaded not for a handout, but for guidance.

Vicki prayed to God, asking why no one stopped this horrible atrocity. He answered, “I would like for you to do something.” 

Photo Credit: Brooke Gragg, Artistic Images

By the end of that year, Vicki introduced her non-profit organization, Rahab’s Rope, at a Christmas celebration in Bangalore, India. In attendance were 100 women who had lost all but a sliver of hope of ever reclaiming their lives after years of unspeakable abuse. Yet here they were, ready to receive this unexpected lifeline to restoration. 

“With an expectant posture of the Lord’s faithfulness, I took the next steps,” Vicki recalls. 

Today, Rahab’s Rope in Bangalore is one of four physical locations in India ministering to the needs of thousands of women and children over time by providing housing, education, aftercare, and repatriation (returning a minor to a safe environment). For some, Rahab’s Rope offers protection from the possibility of becoming ensnared in human trafficking. For others, it paves a path to a restored life after escaping the ravages of the sex trade.  

Rahab’s Rope is named for the Biblical character Rahab, a prostitute who was able to save herself and her family by offering Joshua’s spies protection in Jericho. She later helped these spies escape via a rope she hung from her house which was built into the city’s walls. According to the book of Joshua, all but Rahab and her family were destroyed in the famous battle of Jericho.  

What better name than Rahab’s Rope, which has, through 14 programs developed over 19 years, helped so many women and their families escape or recover from an impossibly cruel situation. 

Like a strongly woven rope, Rahab’s Rope has several strands, pulling together to support its mission. Hands-on ministry, education, and rehabilitation take place in four areas in India: Bangalore, Goa, Mumbai, and Manipur. Work in each location specializes in a specific area of care.  

Rahab’s Rope also encourages monetary donations, which directly support the work of the non-profit. 

A third strand, easily accessible to all who might wish to contribute to the women aided by the work of Rahab’s Rope, is the retail or wholesale purchasing of artisanal products made by women in India protected by fair trade agreements. Conscientious consumers can purchase items online and in two brick-and-mortar stores located in Gainesville, Georgia, and St. Simons Island, Georgia. When they do, 100% of the proceeds from these products goes to the mission of Rahab’s Rope. More than half of the organization’s income is garnered from these sales. 

Far from simple crafts, the products sold by Rahab’s Rope are quality items, made by either the women themselves who are directly served by the organization or from suppliers that also work to empower women around the world. They include apparel, jewelry, kitchen items, home décor, holiday accessories, and a variety of other gift items.  

The fine quality of the products reflects the organization’s mission. As Vicki explains, “When a woman achieves quality craftmanship, it transfers over to how she feels about herself. It brings her dignity and value.”

Rahab’s Rope’s bestselling item is the bread warmer, featuring an intricately carved terracotta stone which rests in a handwoven basket, and a woven cloth for wrapping bread. Wrapped and placed atop the heated stone, bread stays warm for toting or serving. 

Earlier this year, Vicki and her daughter, Jennifer Lunsford, who serves as director of sales for Rahab’s Rope, were able to travel to Bangladesh to work directly with the artisans who make the bread warmers. 

“We met with about 40 workers from 8 different families,” she explained.   

After sharing and tweaking ideas for new designs, the artisans went straight to work. The process is straightforward and elegant. They take the clay directly from the riverbanks, sift and clean it, then press and carve designs into it. The clay is then fired, resulting in a beautiful terra cotta piece. Groups of women pick kaisa grass, grown on the banks of the river during the monsoon season, spread the grass out to dry, then hand wrap and weave the grass to make every single basket. 

“I feel it’s important for customers to know the story behind the pieces,” Jennifer says.  

The bread warmers are available in seven styles, with an eighth coming soon, which vary in shape, the stone’s imprint, and the design of the cloth wrap. The full price of this bread warmer is $42, less than the cost of two large pizzas and a couple of soft drinks. 

While the purchase of a bread warmer may not save the fate of all of the 40 million people living in slavery today, it will directly influence the lives of some. As we break bread, both literally and figuratively, with friends and family during this season of abundance, it is a time to be mindful of the needs of others.  

To learn more about Rahab’s Rope, visit www.rahabsrope.com.