Into the Light

As we celebrate six years at FTO we want to spend time sharing stories of transformation with you. Today, we want you to meet Benjamin and hear the story of impact YOU have helped make on his life.

Left without a father and with a bull’s eye on his back, young Benjamin fell into a dark and destructive life.  Demon possessed and performing unthinkable jobs, it was Benjamin that the village people knew had the assigned task of carrying out the Ningo Chief’s unimaginable sacrifice ceremonies. The screams and cries of the sacrifices did nothing to penetrate his soul.

An unspeakable trance his mother was concerned could never be broken, she did the only thing she knew to do. She snuck into the fishing village and offered to sell her son into a life of slavery in hopes this would, at the very least, rescue him from the downward spiral of darkness that was his life.

A life where slavery was the better option.

Then, God moved.

Our beloved Pastor Fred was notified of the story and he knew God was calling him to be part of Benjamin’s rescue plan. Pastor Fred made his way to the fishing village and rescued Benjamin. Together the two sought help from The Lord and soon Ben was delivered from procession and no longer a slave.

No longer a slave to fisherman. No longer a slave to the darkness. 

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This once dedicated sacrifice assistant now assists with baptisms at The Lord’s church in Ningo. Benjamin follows Christ with his whole heart and he has been made whole again.

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Did you participate in Forget The Frock? – Funds from t-shirt sales supported Benjamin for driving school. He completed his training and received his license! He is now the official driver for our partner ministry in Ningo- The Palace Chapel International.

FTO Turns 6

6 years ago today (April 30)  God broke my heart for the orphans. He called me to feed, educate, provide medical care and clean water to the orphans of Africa. He called me to be his “mailman” and take the good news of Christ everywhere. He called me to love.

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6 years ago when He told me to design a shirt and raise money for the orphans I couldn’t wait to make a little bit of a difference. I never thought that it would grow to be what it is today. It blows me away. FTO has assisted more than 19,500 people in Ghana and Togo. More than 10,300 people now have access to clean water. 10 single mommas are now employed so they can keep their kids. 42 villages have been served and brought the love and saving power of Jesus. 1 school in Ghana has been built. Countless kids now have full bellies, clean water, the opportunity to attend school and most importantly they have Jesus.

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As I think back to my first trip to Ghana and meeting the kids my heart swells and I become so thankful that God chose me for this journey. I remember stepping off that plane and the moment my feet touched that African soil for the first time. It immediately stained my clothes and my heart. I remember meeting the kids and how they stole my heart the minute I hugged them. I remember holding deathly sick babies and pleading with God to heal them.  I remember introducing the kids to bubbles and hearing them laugh so hard. I remember walking the dirt streets seeing utter poverty and how it broke my heart. I remember praying over little ones and kissing their heads as they went to sleep. I remember dancing and singing our hearts out. I remember waking up in the mornings and hearing the kids at my door saying “Mommy Sydney” over and over and then rushing to get new clothes on so I could go hug them all. I remember the moment that I sat holding a little one as the sun went down and knowing that this place would always hold a piece of my heart. 6 years ago today Jesus completely changed my life and I am so thankful He did. Its been a crazy journey and it’s only the beginning. 

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You have been on this journey with me from the beginning. You bought that very first shirt. You prayed. You donated. You have been here. And today we launch our 6 year anniversary shirt,

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“I am ONE in a LONG LINE of many who choose to follow”

because at the end of the day “Faith without works is dead – James 2:17″. Click HERE  and be ONE today (limited stock on our new shirt!!) ‪#‎iamone‬ ‪#‎countmein‬ ‪#‎iaminlinetoo‬ ‪#‎areyouinline‬

 

Join us as we celebrate….

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Almost 6 years ago our founder, Sydney, spoke the words from her heart, “Why should we eat like kings and queens when they have nothing?” and her life changed.  Her family’s life changed.  And many, many other lives were changed by 12 simple words.  12 words.  So this weekend we will kick off a celebration of God’s goodness, His love, His mercy, His grace, His story and we will continue throughout the month of May.  Don’t miss the announcement on Saturday, April 30 and be a part of what God is doing….#iamone #countmein #iaminlinetoo #areyouinline #feedingtheorphans

James 2:17 – faith without works is dead

Going where He leads…

In August 2015 we walked into a hospital to visit a little boy we were providing medical care to. Little did we know that it would turn into something so much bigger. That day we were introduced to two precious babies. First they led us into the baby ward and we met baby Daniel and his 18 year old mother Bertha. Daniel had been in the hospital 5 months and couldn’t breathe on his own. We were told he has cysts in his lungs that needed immediate surgery so he could breathe normally. That day we placed hands on that precious baby and his mother and pleaded with God to heal him. Two weeks later we got news that he was being discharged and was off oxygen. We were overjoyed at his progress and thanked God. However, the cysts in his lungs have gotten bigger and he will still need surgery. He is currently living in the village with his momma awaiting surgery and we praise God that he is off oxygen and able to do that.image1 The doctor said I have one more baby I want you to meet before you go. He led us into this tiny room that was probably the size of a bathroom here in America and in the corner in a little hospital bassinet laid a precious 8 month old baby boy. Baby December was abandoned at birth because of his cleft lip and weighed only 6 pounds. He was the most precious baby boy I’ve ever seen. The doctor explained how he needed surgery to fix his cleft lip because he had a lot of trouble eating and he needed it asap. We spent about 10 minutes rubbing his hands, telling him how much he was loved and praying over him but then we had to move on. Walking into that room and seeing that baby just laying there all alone and then having to leave him like that was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.image1 We arrived back in America and he never left my mind. I would find myself praying for him throughout the day and staring at his picture. A couple weeks later we found someone to do the surgery but first he had to gain weight. So for weeks we prayed hard that he would gain the weight necessary for surgery and he was making progress. We planned on me traveling over before his surgery to be with him during and after as he recovered. Then on October 25th we got the heart wrenching news that our precious baby boy had gone to be with Jesus. That day was one of the hardest days of my life but I knew God had a bigger and better plan so I clung to that hope and sure enough He had the biggest and best plan in the making. In January God whispered that it was time for me to go back to Ghana and that He had big plans. He told me it was time for a new partnership to help with abandoned babies and families that can’t afford medical care in that same hospital where the babies were. So in faith Dad and I booked our flight and were off. We traveled to Ho and met with the amazing doctor at the hospital and shared our hearts and what we felt like God was telling us to do. The doctor did the same with us and the partnership was set. We currently have two little guys in our program. Baby Daniel who is getting closer to finally receiving his surgery and a little guy who has a heart defect and will also need surgery. Our goal in the near future is to build a “Ronald McDonald” house for mothers whose kiddos are receiving medical care and also a home for the abandoned babies so they have a safe and loving environment to grow in. We are beyond excited to watch all of this play out and can’t wait to see what God will do.Ho hospital Precious Baby December you changed my life and so many more while you were here on earth and you continue to do so. Baby boy dance with Jesus and know how very much you are loved. IMG_0236

More than a tshirt

Remember when you thought a tshirt was just a tshirt? Well, over the last 5 years we at FTO have realized that could not be farther from the truth.

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Almost 6 years ago at the age of 10, our founder, Sydney, decided to say YES to what God was whispering. He broke her heart and then gently whispered, “Design a tshirt. Sell it. Use that money to provide food, water and medicine to hurting kids so they will see My face. So they will know they are loved and cherished and adored.” And in that instant, she obeyed. Willingly and with a faith as big as her Jesus, she took that step forward.

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Fast forward a year and slip into the great state of Kentucky where God was doing a mighty work on a woman’s heart. That woman was named Emily Fox and He had big things in store. As she was planning Easter dresses for her precious little girls, God was nudging for something different. Something bigger than just dresses. Something bigger than anyone else could ever imagine. God broke her heart like never before as her best friend walked out the adoption process. And all of a sudden, every price tag was a reminder of little ones that were in desperate need. That was the year she laid down her frilly dresses for her family and instead all 4 of them slipped into a simple tshirt. A tshirt that would literally change the lives of children. As she and her husband, Jason, started sharing their passions with everyone around them, others followed suit and Forget the Frock was born. A movement that is all about our Father. A movement that is about His heart. A movement that challenges thousands and thousands across the world as His servants lay down their fancy clothes on Easter morning to make a difference through the simple purchase of a tshirt. (You can read the full story HERE.)

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Since 2011, Forget the Frock has helped raise nearly $500,000 for orphan care, simply by asking people to “Dress with a Purpose” on Easter. Children have been fed, mothers have been able to be mothers, safe homes have been built, young girls have been rescued out of slavery, teachers have been hired in schools in remote villages, children are fed lunch at school (that may be the only meal they receive in a day), children with no hope can attend school and the list goes on and on and on. God broke a woman’s heart and she said yes. That is how big our God is…don’t you want to be a part of it this year?

Click SHOP to join the movement.  Or click FORGET THE FROCK to get all the details to join FTO in 2016.

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Call to Action

HELLO
FIVE YEARS AGO GOD BROKE MY HEART FOR THE ORPHANS OF GHANA AND SINCE THAT TIME SO MANY OF YOU HAVE CHOSEN TO JOIN US ON THIS CALLING. I AM SO THANKFUL FOR EACH OF YOU AND THE WAY YOU HAVE SACRIFICIALLY GIVEN TO HELP US BE THE LIGHT OF CHRIST IN SOME OF THE DARKEST PLACES OF GHANA. THE CALL GOD HAS PLACED ON MY LIFE AND THE TASK HE HAS GIVEN MY FAMILY COULD NEVER BE ACHIEVED WITHOUT YOU. PLEASE KNOW HOW INCREDIBLY THANKFUL I AM FOR YOU…
[Read more…]

Kids and Backpacks

Guest blog: Today we would like to introduce Chris Ensley. He lives in Marion, Kansas and is a youth group leader. The Lord brought he and his family to FTO several years ago. His wife, Jessica, serves as our Sponsorship Coordinator and they are both huge advocaters for FTO and the fatherless around the world.

In mid September I was contacted by the Oasis Conference (a middle school and high school youth conference sponsored by Manhattan Christian College) director, Natalie Holdren, about a partnership with Feeding the Orphans and the Oasis Conference. The conference board wanted to try something new this year by offering a service project for students and youth workers to be a part of during a time between the main sessions.

I thought it was a great opportunity for Feeding the Orphans and for those attending the conference. There were two issues: First, “How can youth and youth workers in the Midwest serve orphans in Ghana, Africa?” Second, “We have three weeks to plan and obtain any and all supplies.” FTO director, Righ O’Leary, was able to quickly connect with those leading the orphanages in Ghana and ask what is something needed. As the answers came in it was evident God was directing everyone to the same way – orphans need school supplies.

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From collaborating efforts between FTO and the Oasis Conference (who willingly purchased all supplies needed and provided the needed manpower) the service project came together – a Backpack Packing Prayer Party. Let me explain. Youth groups attending the conference signed up in a time slot (which all slots were filled) to come fill a backpack with some school supplies, candy (what every child needs), a note of encouragement written by students, and students prayed over the orphan who would receive the backpack they packed.

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Through this amazing opportunity, 284 backpacks were ready to be shipped to Ghana and placed in the hands of an orphan. As many of us parents realized just a couple of months ago, backpacks and school supplies are everywhere in the U.S. and school supplies are necessary for our children to be educated effectively. In Ghana, backpacks and school supplies are not as nearly available as they are for us. We cannot thank Natalie and the entire Oasis Conference staff enough for this incredible blessing for the orphans. And we praise our living God and Savior for opening doors and hearts to serve in a way that location did not hinder.

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And those backpacks have made themselves across the ocean and into the hands of children in the village of Hodzo and the community of Ningo, two areas we are planting the Gospel of Jesus Christ so deeply.  And those backpacks have brought smiles and joy and love to many!

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Into the darkness…

The sun beats down on the village of Ningo on the outskirts of Ghana… penetrates the buildings and the people. For these people,

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the sun and the heat doesn’t phase them. They are here, all gathered, hundreds of them, because today is a special day.

You see, for years this scorching sun could not burn through the darkness that settled itself in the village, thick and suffocating. This darkness that claims hearts and heads and in its heaviest moments claims the lives of young babies, sacrificed to honor fake gods and idols of man. But today…

Today, the SON has invaded the darkness.

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The SON, Jesus Christ has entered into this village and things are changing.

Despair is being defeated by hope.
Depravity is being devoured by opportunity.
Child sacrifices are being replaced with child dedications.

Parents dedicated to raising their child for a life lived in honor of Jesus.

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Meet Evelyn, her parents now known as Deacon Josiah and Rejoice, have stepped out in faith, dedicated her to the Lord. Our Feeding The Orphans team was there to celebrate with them on this special day.

For the past three years Feeding The Orphans has invested in the people of Ningo and we have been so blessed to battle the darkness that is here. This darkness rages on even now and we are fighting it with the Son. Together with Pastor Fred we have watched God grow this group of believers from a mere 12 people to over 200 faithful followers. A community of people clinging to the hope of Jesus.

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We know that Darkness can be defeated by the SON.

We are so thankful for each of you who join us as we minister to the people of Ningo. When you choose to “Finish For One” this Summer, you are finishing for children just like Evelyn. That they may receive not only things to meet their physical needs, but the one true thing that can quench the needs of their heart. YOU become weapons battling against this darkness. Because of you and your support, Feeding The Orphans can bring the Son to this, one of the darkest of places. The children won’t have to be devoured by the darkness they can be dedication to the Savior.

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Will you finish for the village of Ningo and her children this Summer? Register to #finish4one here!

John 1:5 – The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

5 years later…

5 years ago today God gave me the vision for FTO.  A vision to provide food, water and medicine.  And a vision to design a tshirt.

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However, as I sit here thinking about all God’s done in these five years it amazes me.  I think back to the day I first stepped foot in Ghana and the day I met 17 children who had absolutely nothing.

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The day I walked the dirt streets of Ghana and completely fell in love with the country, the people and the culture.

 

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The day we met sweet little Mary and her four kids.  The day I went to Choker and saw the utter poverty that completely broke my heart.  The many days I spent just sitting and holding little ones.

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The day I stood before hundreds of street children, so hungry and just wanting to be loved. All of these memories I will cherish forever.  God has done so much in just 5 years.  Over 300 kids are sponsored for food and education, 10 single mothers are employed and are able to keep their children, 10 water wells and churches have been built, and 1 school was built and much, much more.

 

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Five years ago I never imagined it would be this big.  I figured we would be able to help a few people and spread the love of Christ, but I never imagined it would become a non-profit organization supporting thousands of people.

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 Some people tell me I’m amazing and are just so blown away by what I’ve done, but it’s not me. God picked me five years ago to be his “mailman” and to share the love of Christ with as many people as possible.  I want all the glory and honor to go to Him and I can’t wait to see what He will do over the next couple years.  I know it will all be something incredible and I pray that it will brings tons more people to Christ.  All that really matters in this world is making sure everyone has the chance to hear about Christ and experience His love.  So join us on this amazing journey of following Christ and changing the world one child at a time. I know it will change your life just like it changed mine.

 

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Faith without works is dead – James 2:17

 

Reaching across the globe….

Right now in Ghana, in the small village of Hodzo there is a school filled with smiling children and stocked with school supplies. These supplies, such a simple thing for most children here in the United States, are a true treasure to the children and teachers in Hodzo. But, the story of how these supplies came to the children and teachers of Hodzo make them all the more special.

In wasn’t a grant or even the sacrificial gift of a donor that made these supplies possible. It was the huge giving hearts of students at Walnut Hill Elementary in Liberty, KY. Last year, the students at WHE spent weeks collecting school supplies for Feeding The Orphans and the children of Hodzo. The support of Feeding The Orphans didn’t stop when the collection ended. Many of the teachers at WHE also supported FTO during the Forget The Frock campaign. Recently, Feeding The Orphans, Founder, Sydney O’Leary and Forget The Frock, Founder, Emily Fox were able to visit WHE and share with them the impact they had on children across the globe!

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“WHE wants to thank both these amazing young women for coming and sharing with our students how they chose to make the world a better place. Thank you!” – Matt Willoughby, Assistant Principal

Making a difference doesn’t always mean you travel to the other side of the world.

Sometimes, helping can be as simple as collecting.

We are so thankful to WHE and their ongoing support of Feeding The Orphans. If you or your organization would like to explore ways to partner with FTO simply email us! Let’s partner to care for children.