Dear Friends of Uncharted,
I’m writing this letter to inform you of some exciting changes coming soon for the Loom House and Uncharted. As people who are core to Uncharted, and who have a rich history with the development of the Loom House, we wanted you to know about this before it goes public. We hope this gives you the time to process, ask questions, and celebrate the healthy developments.
In short, during the first quarter of 2018 (Jan-March), the Loom House retail portion of Uncharted will develop into its own 501c3 and no longer be operated by Uncharted. While it will maintain the name “Loom House” it will legally function under the 501c3 of “Reclaimed Lives” under the leadership of Jimmy Lefler.
Why is this happening? In short, Peter and Rebecca Thang (the founders and owners of the Loom House) have requested it! During his recent visit, Peter met with Geoff Bunting and me, informing us that they would like to restructure the operations of the Loom House. Here are some of their reasons:
The way the Loom House currently operates has added a level of stress to them personally. They would like to streamline their operations and become more independent.
They would like the partnership with Uncharted to really focus on the Orphan Network, and they have felt more time, energy, and conversation has gone towards the Loom House than the Network.
Why is this good news? While it might seem like a big change that Uncharted will not operate with a fair-trade retail store, there are significant points to celebrate:
The Loom House has grown! Several years ago, when this operation was started, I don’t think anyone dreamed it would get this big. Isn’t it wonderful to know that tens of thousands of dollars are being sent back to support women and ministries with these dollars. It has outgrown the framework and staffing of Uncharted. Now, as its own organization, they will be able to grow even more and continue to support these people and ministries.
The above point means it is more self-sustainable. I trust you realize the significance of this! In all things that Uncharted does globally, our ultimate goal is to work ourselves out of a job; to see ministries and programs get to a point where they can operate more independently, less reliant on resourcing from outsiders to fulfill their mission.
We celebrate self-determination. I love the fact that Peter and Rebecca spent weeks praying over this and discerning God’s will for this direction. Frankly, this was not our call to make! Uncharted has never “owned” the Loom House. For them to self-determine a major decision like this is very healthy and we support them in doing so.
What does this mean for You & Uncharted?
First and foremost, our relationship and partnership with Peter and Rebecca and the Network Leaders remains strong. We are not pulling out of Myanmar and we are certainly not abandoning them. If anything, in 2018, we will be raising the banner higher for our church planters and network leaders / sponsorships. We will also be offering more short term trip opportunities to Myanmar in 2018. Uncharted’s presence in and commitment to Myanmar remains strong.
Second, this will mean the retail store operations of Uncharted will cease to exist. This will happen during the first quarter of 2018 in a phased approach and we will communicate those details as they happen. The plan as of now will be to maintain our building and office, but we will no longer be a retailer. We are exploring all options for future use of our space. We do know that on March 22nd we will have an open house celebration for the Loom House (this will be the last open day of the retail store at Uncharted). We hope you’ll join us!
Third, you can continue to make a tangible, positive impact on the women in Myanmar! Blankets will still be available to buy and the proceeds of those sales will continue to provide an income and livelihood for those who make them. The sales will operate under Reclaimed Lives and goods can be purchased the following ways: 1) Local retailers (Old National Bank, The Refinery) 2) Online 3) Lefler Auto Collision Stores
We want to be as open and transparent about this change as possible. Please do not hesitate to contact us.
Finally, considering the rich history of the Loom House, I thought it also important for you to hear from Amy Kerney as she was instrumental in the launch of the Loom House. Please take a moment to read her note below.
As I reflect back on the Loom House it began as an idea Rebecca had to help some of her girls learn the skill of weaving. She sent me a few blankets and I sold them out of my basement. Eventually, the products moved out of my basement into a real store and Rebecca and I were so excited. Never did she or I imagine that the Loom House products would be so successful. Now the Loom House is taking the next step to become its own ministry. This process reminds me of a child growing up and becoming the person God wants. The Loom House has "grown up" and I am so excited to watch what God has planned for the next step in this journey.
- Amy Kerney