Jesus said to him, “’Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.ʼ This is the first and greatest commandment. The second is like it: ʻLove your neighbor as yourself.ʼ”
When we moved to Guatemala, these were our goals. Love God, love our neighbors. It’s a great philosophy, but it’s more than that. It’s a commandment, it requires action. As we became friends with people in the villages and towns where we lived, we saw the same problems over and over. When we asked people how we could pray for them, the same answer came up over and over. “Necesito trabajo, hermano.” I need work, brother.
As part of our ministry, we do Bible studies in a few drug and alcohol rehab centers around our community. When the guys we meet there get out, they need to work. They need to have purpose. They need to have some form of community that keeps them accountable every day.
These people who God told us to love, had this pervasive need. That’s how Limitless Leather was born. We saw the need and we took action because that’s what love required.
We met our first employee when he was 17. He was fresh out of rehab and on Guatemala’s version of parole. His uncle approached me and presented the idea of his nephew working for us. “He is a good kid.” “He needs guidance and an opportunity.”
Our second employee came about in a similar fashion. We had a previous relationship with him and had sponsored him in a rehab center. The day I picked him up from a month of rehab, we talked about his future plans, or actually, his lack of future plans. He started working with us the next day and hasn’t looked back.
We have many goals for these guys. We want to teach them the value of quality. We want them to have a sense of pride and accomplishment that can come from making a product that will stand the test of time. We want them to be able to stand on their own.
Leather is a perfect medium for this project because the pelts we buy often have scars and imperfections, and if it doesn’t affect the strength or quality of our products, we don’t cut them out. We love the way these “imperfections” mirror what happens in our own lives. I once read a quote that has been said in many different ways by many different people, “A scar does not form on the dying, a scar shows I survived.” I have said many times while talking to our Guatemalan friends and employees, “Our past helps form who we are, but it doesn’t define us.”
The pasts that our employees have, I believe, help make them better employees. They take nothing for granted. They see what has taken place in their lives. They see what their present is. Now, little by little they are seeing what the future could be.
If you would like to see and purchase some of the items that these craftsmen are producing, you can check them out here.