Mandy Clapper is a great friend of Loom and recently joined us at the Celebrating Children Workshop: Part Two in Tanzania. We asked Mandy a bit about her experience at the CCW and how it impacted her.
Loom: First, tell us a little bit about yourself !
Mandy: I was born in Portland, but I grew up in Salem. I really like coffee. I enjoy art and craft projects. The Oregon Coast is one of my favorite places. I like to go on hikes.
L: What is something that keeps you up at night, something you’re passionate about?
M: I worked as an instructional assistant in a special education classroom for over three years. Injustice against children is what keeps me up at night. I want children to be heard and seen and loved. I learn so much from children and I know that they are so important. We need to invest in children more.
L: How did you first learn about Loom and how have you been involved since?
M: I first learned about Loom when they came to our church—Church on the Hill. There were a couple of guest speakers from the CCW happening in Portland at the time and there was an information booth for Loom in the foyer at church. Since then I have had more insight into the workings of Loom through Steve and Hanna, who I got to know well when we traveled to India together for a scouting trip. I came to understand the work that Loom does more clearly and became a monthly supporter.
L: What interested you about attending a Celebrating Children Workshop? What were you hoping you would learn?
M: We are planning to host a CCW at Church on the Hill (COTH) this July so I was interested to see how a CCW is run abroad and how it differs. I hoped that by going to the CCW in Tanzania I would be more prepared to help with the connection between Loom and COTH this summer.
L: What was the experience of the CCW like?
M: The CCW was amazing—just meeting all of these passionate workers from all over East Africa and learning about the work that they do. It was really interesting to see the discussions that came up when material was presented and to watch everyone sort through and try to figure out how much of it was cultural and how much something actually should be changed. I learned so much just from talking to the other participants. The lectures were so informative and brought up some really good questions. Even though some of the material was review for me, I still learned a lot. Worshipping together and praying for each other were definitely highlights.
L: Who did you meet that inspired you?
M: I met so many people who inspired me. Khake Melodie is one person who stands out. Melodie and I first connected in our discussion group. Our shared experience working in special education is what we bonded over. I was inspired by her determination despite lack of resources. She is really someone who is could see taking on that challenge to “be the person you needed when you were younger.” Her joy radiates from her beautiful smile and she just lights up every room.
L: How will those experiences continue to impact your life today?
M: The people I met will never cease to inspire me to work harder and give God my all. The friends I made during the CCW are so dear to my heart. This was my second trip to East Africa and I pray that I will return. The injustices I learned about have called me into more times of intercession. I want to stand with my brothers and sisters there and fight for the rights of oppressed women and vulnerable children. I have been sharing what I learned with friends since I’ve been back, and I believe that even that will make a difference.
L: Anything else you would like to add?
M: I want to thank the Loom team for inviting me to the CCW even though I hadn’t gone to the CCW part 1 there the year before. I am honored to have spent two weeks learning from such a dedicated team, beside so many giants of faith from East Africa. I am so excited for CCW part 1 to run at our church this summer so that our community can also be impacted by this workshop. I love how it can be so easily replicated and how the CCW graduates are encouraged to take what they have learned and multiply it.