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Go shopping to benefit women in India
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After hearing Vicki Moore speak about the women she is helping in India, members of the women's ministry at First Baptist Church knew they had to help her.

The group started to brainstorm on how they could help Moore's cause and they came up with the Hearts & Hands Emporium to benefit Rahab's Rope.

"The women were so taken back by her story and the conditions the women in India were having to live under that they decided we want to help do something to change their lives," said the Rev. Jenny Burns, an associate pastor at First Baptist in Gainesville.

In 2004, Moore began Rahab's Rope after visiting friends in India.

The organization in Bangalore, India, helps women who have been forced to be a part of the sex trade industry or have been abused, among other tragedies. Rahab's Rope is a Christian-based ministry that helps educate the women.

Through the program, the women learn to make items that are sent to the United States and sold at Moore's shop in Gainesville, with all the profits returning to India.

"Items for sale in the store are made by the women in India," Moore said. "Most all of our jewelry in the store ... and then a lot of our sewing items, handmade paper products are made by the women at the center." Along with items from Rahab's Rope, there are 40 other vendors slated to be at the emporium.

Some of the vendors include Frames You Nique, Furniture by Dave, Perennials, Polkadotspots, The Posh Princess and Your Slip is Showing, among many others.

Burns added that the church will have a cafe and bakery at the Hearts & Hands Emporium.

"We have a cafe, which will be serving sandwiches, hot dogs and chips and drinks - kind of a light lunch," she said. "Then we have a bakery that will have breakfast foods and then also all kinds of homemade baked goods that people can buy and take home."

The women's ministry hopes to raise $12,000 for Rahab's Rope, to provide a Christmas for the women in India.

"This will be our fifth annual Christmas celebration in India and every year the number of women that come has doubled," said Moore, who visits India about three times a year. "It's an all-day event, with a huge buffet for the women. Each woman gets a dress ... and we do the traditional Christmas program and then we do Indian song and dance, the women perform dramas.

"Last year we had planned for 500 women ... 921 showed up. So it was pretty overwhelming."

This is the first Hearts & Hands Emporium at First Baptist, but Burns hopes to continue with the emporium next year.

"We would like to turn it into an annual event and every year we would do it for a different women's ministry or organization ... that directly impacts the lives of women," she said.

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