EDITOR’S NOTE: To celebrate the recent launch of the Red Letter Marketplace, we’re touching base with some of our featured organizations to chat more about their good work toward justice in the world. This week, we get to hear from our friends at Preemptive Love, specifically Lindsay Tevebaugh, whose work at Preemptive centers around shop logistics and customer care.
Can you tell our readers a little bit about your company/organization: where are you located, what do you provide, who is served, what makes your efforts justice-based?
Preemptive Love exists to end war. We help quickly with relief to stop the spread of violence. We give help that lasts, creating jobs that reduce the risk of recruitment into violence. And we heal the past through community and relationship to change the ideas that lead to war.
We’re in Iraq, Syria, and the U.S.-Mexico border providing medical care, emergency relief, education, job creation, and community to refugees fleeing war and those trapped by violence.
Can you expound a little bit about your company/organization’s history? How was it started and when?
Over a decade ago, at the height of the Iraq War, Jeremy and Jessica Courtney chose to move to Iraq. There, they met a little girl who was dying of a heart defect. Soon they discovered thousands more like her, all waiting in line for surgeries their country couldn’t provide. That’s when the Preemptive Love Coalition began.
Over the next several years, Preemptive Love provided lifesaving medical care for thousands of children, along with hands-on training for local medical staff — empowering them to be the long-term solution to Iraq’s child health crisis.
Everything changed when ISIS stormed across Iraq in 2014, killing anyone who stood in their way and forcing millions to flee. With militants on their doorstep and other aid organizations pulling out of Iraq, the Courtney family and Preemptive Love chose to stay.
Since then, Preemptive Love has rushed emergency aid to several hundred thousand people in Iraq, Syria, and now on the U.S.-Mexico border. They also help refugees start small businesses to get back on their feet and promote peace across long-standing divides in the Middle East and in communities around the world.
Share with us some about your products or services.
We provide relief in the form of medical clinics, mobile hospitals, food, and winter kits. We help create jobs by providing capital so displaced people can create new businesses, coaching to help those businesses thrive, and connection to the global digital marketplace. The businesses we help launch include various types of soap making, fabric stores, grocery shops, welding businesses, tea shops, and agriculture.
Can you tell us a story of someone who was positively impacted by your company/organization’s work?
Ibtisam was very quiet the first time we met with her and her husband to discuss the possibility of supporting Ibtisam opening a small business. Her husband was quite used to being the one who did most of the talking. After all, before he got sick, he was the breadwinner of the family. But he’s no longer able to work, and their family found themselves living in a displacement camp far from home, without the family supports they had always known, and in a terrible situation.
Ibtisam had clearly given some thought to what would be a viable business opportunity in their particular block in their displacement camp: a produce and food store. In fact, she was ready with a list of everything she needed and a small space ready for her future store, across the street from their home.
Ibtisam was so ready to get to work!
On opening day, Ibtisam greeted us with an enormous smile on her face. Gone was the quiet, reserved woman we’d met the first time. She was keen to talk, answering every question with gusto. The family had been depending on dwindling aid stipends since they came to camp in 2015. The debt they owed was mounting, and the situation looked bleak.
Now, with this business, Ibtisam is not only bringing in an income, but she is doing something she has wanted to do for such a long time. She’s immensely proud of her shop and is determined to make it a success.
And in a few short months since the start of the business, she’s made it so.
She’s been fiercely disciplined with her profits: all the money that doesn’t go into daily expenses, restocking, or paying off debt, has been going into a locked box that she has not opened for six months! Her debt is more than 60% paid off, and she’s now looking for ways to add to her inventory now that she can consistently afford the family’s daily needs.
The shop has given Ibtisam the confidence of long-term stability (no matter what happens with her husband’s health) and with it, invaluable peace of mind.
What else would you like readers to know? Where can they find you in addition to the marketplace website?
Together, we can stop the spread of violence — when we show up on the frontlines, when we live like we belong to each other. We can all rise together. Learn more about the movement at www.preemptivelove.org and find us on social media @preemptivelove.
Find justice-based products from both Preemptive Love and other subversive, missional friends of Red Letter Christians by visiting the Red Letter Marketplace site today!