A dream of clean water

Guest blogger: Chris Ensley is the youth group leader of Marion Christian Church in Marion, Kansas.

Everyone has big dreams in their lives. Adults tend to keep these dreams to themselves or share them as something that will never happen. Kids, on the other hand, share their dreams like they expect them to happen. There is a special young lady in my youth group named Kennedy who has a dream that involves orphans on the other side of the world from her in small-town in Kansas.

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Kennedy’s dream is to personally raise $15,000 to build a water well in Ghana, Africa in order to provide clean water for orphans in remote villages. Recently Kennedy had won both the KGTC Distinguished Student Award and the Alicia J. Pippen Scholarship for her efforts to raise money through the Change For A Change fundraiser to provide clean water for orphans.

What is even more impressive, Kennedy took advantage of the spotlight of receiving these special awards, not for herself, but to promote and sell hand-made products women in Ghana made. In just two days Kennedy sold $800 of merchandise that will go directly back to the women in Ghana so they in return can care for their kids, thus preventing more orphans.

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You can call me naïve, but I believe dreams can come true. I believe God has blessed Kennedy with a huge heart, sheer determination, and a great work ethic that will make Kennedy’s dream of raising money for a water well a reality.

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Kennedy is an inspiration for everyone to not tuck their dreams under the pillow, but to live in a way that makes dreams possible. And God enjoys making dreams reality that involves loving and serving others. It is an honor for me to have Kennedy as a sister in Christ, in my youth group and I am a very proud Youth Pastor who is learning from this young lady’s example.

Frock Free = Full Bellies

Guest blog written by Emily Fox…..the lady with the vision behind FORGET THE FROCK.  We are humbled and thankful for what God did this year through a tshirt, which turned into HUNDREDS AND HUNDREDS of tshirts.  

 

The passions of one girl… the convictions of one Mom. Friends, that’s how it started. Moved by Sydney’s story and her desire to defend the orphan, God used that to convict, push, stretch me as only He could. I didn’t set out to start anything… didn’t make plans to begin a movement. But God did. God had plans for “Forget The Frock” long before I ever decided to ditch the fancy Easter Dress.

He crossed my path with FTO.

He moved me to action.

He issued the challenge.

He stirred in your heart.

Actually, HE stirred in many hearts. From Pennsylvania to California, Oregon to Texas HE brought his people together, rallied them around something as simple as a T-shirt and together we fed babies. HIS babies.

I asked you to join us…to partner with us for $13,000 in 2013. Oh but HE had a plan so much bigger, so many more bellies that HE wanted filled. It is with absolute awe I type this final number… the 2013 total for Feeding The Orphans alone was nearly $30,000.

HE used YOU to do this. YOU, the teenager, the grandma, the pastor, the college co-ed, the young mama. He used YOU.

I love how YOU are part of the story. That it’s not just me, Jesus and some shirts. But YOU. Your stories were amazing this year! Ladies returning dresses, Grandmas sharing their shirts, Pastors challenging their congregations, Mamas challenging their friends and family. God wove YOU into the story. A story that is already beginning the next chapter as YOU make plans for 2014.

Thank YOU for being part of this story. For being willing to be used by HIM.

FORGET THE FROCK 2014, will YOU be part of HIS story?

Click HERE and HERE  to see more pics of FORGET THE FROCK 2013!

FTF 2013

An Easter "Dress" Detour

Guest blog written by Emily Fox…..the lady with the vision behind FORGET THE FROCK.  We are humbled and thankful for what God is doing through “a tshirt”, which He is turning into HUNDREDS of tshirts.  

 

So many of my friends and strangers are working hard to promote “Forget The Frock” this year… From North Carolina to California, Pennsylvania to Texas we are all joining forces to follow God’s command to care for the Orphan with something as simple as a T-shirt.

 

Red and Reds

 

The stories, oh the stories, that have been revealed through this movement… Teens challenging their peers, pastors challenging their churches, kids challenging their mamas. The stories. They are beautiful. A perfect picture of HIS people working together to build HIS kingdom.

But this story… This one hits close to home. She… we’ll call her “Granna.” She’s a lady who loves a new outfit and the very brightest shades of lipstick… But you see, she loves Jesus MORE. Follows HIS commands with more tenacity than vibrancy in her lipstick. So she, for the third year in a row, has laid down her fancy Easter duds…kissed tradition goodbye…and fed hungry babies with her “Easter Dress.”

But this year God had a plan… a DETOUR for her “Easter Dress.”

The FTO package arrived, the box was opened, but the size was wrong… Or so she thought. Rather than repackage for return Granna prayed… prayed God would guide her… show her a great recipient for this shirt. Hours later and many miles from home Granna found herself in the hospital visiting a friend when a sweet young girl walks in.

Conversation ensues…God moves.

It is evident that the recipient of Granna’s T-shirt is standing before her.

You see HE was there, God, working and weaving this story for HIS glory… A wrong size, a timely package, a perfectly orchestrated meeting… A committed Granna following fast after God’s plan and a young girl with a heart for God’s people.

The young girl, brave and oh so bold, is taking a step of faith, challenging her church to flee from their cultural norm, their desire for things that have no eternal value, to love others more than the sound of, “Oh, I just love your outfit,” and stand up to care for the least of these.

Miss Callie Parker in all her 17 year old glory, dressed in “Granna’s shirt” is now a voice crying out for the Fatherless, from the deep hills of Eastern Kentucky.

Last minute Christmas gifts….

Everyone needs a last minute gift or two and we have the perfect ones for you today!!

 

Shop our store and get low prices on all our tshirts by clicking STORE.  We also have other products available made by the women of 7 Continents and GMI.  Each purchase will help sustain a single mom.

 

Another awesome way to give a gift AND give back is to choose one of our projects.  Once you make a donation, we will send you a handpainted card (by Franklin Beebe) that you will be able to gift that special someone with.

 

A school is being built in the village of Hondzo in the Volta region of Ghana.  It is almost completed, but it still needs a roof.  We need $260 to finish it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And this weekend over 500 children will gather for an outreach in this village to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ as they receive clothing and food!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last, the precious little ones at GMI have been sleeping on this

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Give the gift of a bed this Christmas to a child!!

 

To make a donation, please click GIVING and designate which gift you would like to “purchase”. We will then mail you your card and send a picture of how you made a difference in the life of ONE!!

 

Luke 12:48 – Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required.

Sharing the birth of Jesus…

What do you think of when you hear the word “Christmas?  Are you instantly reminded of a baby born two thousand years ago?  Or gifts that you will give and receive?  Or does something else come to mind?

For me, I picture joy.  The joy of a child. The joy of my children living under my roof. The joy of children that live just minutes form me with what they think is no hope. The joy of children living halfway around the world who have become like my own. The joy of a little baby who was born to give us so much. And then, I am reminded of the gift we have been given.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The ultimate GIFT our Heavenly Father gave us so sacrifically.  HE gave His only Son just so we may have life.  Life. True, unending life.  And then, I am reminded of the joy I see on the faces of little ones as they hear the words, “Jesus loves you” as I have whispered it into their little faces. And the tears come because I am reminded of what Christmas is truly about.

Jesus.  Our Jesus.  Our Savior.  Our God.

Join us this year as we bring that same Jesus to the children of Africa.  Help us bring Christmas as you sponsor a child in honor of someone else. Or share with someone that this is what you desire as your own gift. The gift of love.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Each sponosrship is $20 and it will provide a Christmas feast to the orphanage (or single mom) plus a new dress and shoes to each child.  Click DONATE and designate it AS NEEDED:  CHRISTMAS SPONSORHIP to sponsor your child today.  We will then mail you an envelope that you can give as a gift with a hand drawn card by Franklin Beebe, a very special young man who is living with his missionary family in Ghana.

We have 150 children in need this year.  Not only will you be giving them a Christmas gift, but also the love of Jesus.  Will you be the sponsor for just ONE?

And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger. – Luke 2:12
 
And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. – Matthew 2:11

 

and God said GO

Almost two and a half years ago, I sat in a church gathering with my own children (and a few extra ones) between Righ and I.  I opened my heart for God to lead me, to lead our family, to guide our path. You see, we were about 3 months into our first adoption and broken completely for children all over the world, including right here in Knoxville.  As a matter of fact, we had three extra children with us that morning from downtown who we thought of as our own.  Boys that have forever changed our lives.  Boys that God opened our hearts to and boys who taught us things we would have never have known otherwise.  Today was different, though. God had something else in store.  It was all about to change.

 

Then, one of our dearest friends stepped on that stage and bore his heart for all to see.

He led us through the 10/40 window and the unreached people of the world. He shared of the need so many people in the world have, of knowing a Savior that came to take away their sins.  To die for them. To give them life.  And they have never heard His Name uttered.  Not once.  My tears fell as I listened to God speak through our friend with tears falling down his face at the same time.  My heart was broken….into a million pieces.  I knew God was stirring us to GO, but I just wasn’t sure where.  Then, as Reid prayed over our communion time I poured my heart out.  Please, God, I want to be obedient. I hear you calling, but I’m not sure what you are saying.  Open my heart, open my ears, open my eyes and I WILL LISTEN!!!  


Suddenly, I knew and the tears came faster.  Africa.  The place where two of our children were living, waiting for us to come to them.  The place calling our names, calling our family.  Right then, though, I knew I didn’t want to plant an idea in my sweet husband’s head.  I wanted God to show Him, not me.  As I looked over all the little heads (and big ones) sitting between Righ and I, I could see the same tears flowing down his face.  Could it be?

 

After the service, we loaded the children in the car and I could barely contain myself.  (You see, God has really worked on my patience.)  I somewhat calmly asked Righ what caused his emotions in church.  As he told me, “I feel like God is calling us to Africa,” I wept with joy and fear.  And I said, “I heard the same thing!  And then…..” All of a sudden, he interrupted me, “The Beebes will be with us!”

 

I sat in disbelief. God had spoken the same thing to us at the same time during communion.  Missionaries to the people of Africa.  Sharing the Good News of our Lord Jesus Christ and our friends would be with us.  Wow!!  Now what?  We weren’t sure, but we were ready to follow.

 

The next few months, we continued to minister alongside the Beebe family (and our dearest friends in the world, the Von Hagens, the Brownings, the Bowlings, the Bales, the Rodgers) to the children of inner city Knoxville. We shared the Gospel to the fatherless right here and we waited for God to lead us.  I watched Reid, Robin and Righ share the love of Jesus through Scripture and I felt unworthy.  I am not a teacher, but all three of them are.  What could I offer?  What could I give?

 

LOVE.  Hugs. Kisses.  My heart.

God opened my heart to my gifts, the ones He had bestowed upon me.  Ones He had called me for.  He  gave me a vision for women, mothers and their children.  I saw myself walking the dirt roads of Africa and loving God’s people, His children.  Loving the little ones, but also teaching the women that they are fearfully and wonderfully made.  In His image.  HIS children.  His blessed ones.   Teaching them their worth in Jesus Christ.  Showing them the freedom they can have in HIM.  And I felt a peace.  A peace that only He could give me.

From that point on, God began to pave a road that I did not plan.  He gave my oldest daughter a vision to provide food, water and medicine to the children of Ghana (Feeding the Orphans).  He brought my African children home and broke my heart in the process for the mothers and children left.  He showed me mothers from the vision and He laid out a plan.

 

Then, when I (and Sydney) so desperately desired to live in Africa, He said not yet.  Your place is here.    You are to be their voices.  Their advocates.

And then He called one of my best friends to live in Ghana among the people that held my heart.  Among the mothers He had called me to help.  Among the children who Sydney dreamt of each and every night.  Once again, I did not understand, but I trusted.  I trusted in a God who always has a greater plan.  Who always knows best.  And I thought about how much I would miss her each and every day.

You see, when God spoke to Righ and I that we would be missionaries to Africa, we thought we would move.  Not His plan. When we thought the Beebe family would be involved, we thought they would stay here.  Not His plan.

 

His plan?  For them to move to Ghana (and take a piece of our hearts with them) with their 5 boys, who I lovingly call the “Beebe boys” and for us to stay here.   Once again, we are a team.  A team of two families ministering to the fatherless of the world.

 

And today, as I listened to my friend talk from across the ocean, I longed to be sitting next to her.  I longed to be serving with her, again.  Like we had done so many times before.  Not His plan.  Instead, I listened to her tell me as she was delivering food to Feeding the Orphans’ Chorkor mamas, she kept thinking I should be there. I should be hugging them, holding them, telling them of Jesus’ love because that’s my heart, but it is also hers.  And I realized God’s plan because as she talked God was showing me His perfect plan.  Her family there loving them and my family here advocating for them.   Hearts connected to a people we both love so dearly.   And I trust.

 

Now, the Beebes are full time missionaries IN Ghana, West Africa.  And us?  We have followed God to be missionaries TO Africa (and other countries plus domestically) through Feeding the Orphans in a story only He could write.  After working for 15 years in the pharmaceutical industry, Righ has come home to be the full time director of FTO.

With 7 kids, that does not make sense to anyone, but it is where God has called us and we are following.  We are trusting.  Some days we start to doubt and then He sends us reminders like these.

Smiles like these.

And tears like these.

They remind us we are doing what He has called us to do. They remind us of what our purpose is in this life….to train our treasures He has entrusted us with under our roof, to glorify His Holy Name, to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to care for the children of the world, the fatherless.  To show them that they truly are not fatherless, but have a Heavenly Father who loves them beyond their imagination.

 

And to do that, we must raise our own support.  We could take a percentage, a salary, from Feeding the Orphans, but our hearts cannot do that. What is given for the children goes to the children.  What is given for the single mothers goes to them.  God will provide for our needs and He does each and every day.  We trust Him, but if you would like to join our family on this journey, click PARTNERSHIP.  None of it would be possible without you….and God, of course.

So come along on this journey and join our two families as we follow Jesus to where He has called us by following our blogs, Beebe and O’Leary.  Then pray about how God wants you to make a difference in the lives of His little ones.


for we walk by faith, not by sight – 2 Corinthians 5:7

 

Ghana Bound

I am going back to the place I love so much, I am going back to the place where I hear my name being called 100 times a day, I am going back to the place where I can LOVE each and every day and I can’t wait!!!!!!!  I leave for Ghana on September 5th and return the 18th.  I can’t tell you how excited I am to go back to my “HOME!!!  

I can’t wait to get on that plane and fly to Ghana, I can’t wait to step off the plane in Ghana, I can’t wait to rush to the orphanage and hug and kiss those sweet sweet kids, I can’t wait to smell and taste the yummy food they make, I can’t wait to tell them about Jesus’ love for them!!!!  Please pray for health, safety, for us to do what God wants on this trip and for us to have a AMAZING time! 🙂

 

Today…

As I type this I have tears streaming down my face.  We had to pull out of an orphanage I love so dearly and it broke my heart into a million pieces.   It broke my heart to have to watch them fight over tiny little crumbs.  Will I ever get to see the kids again?  I want to smell the food, I want to hear precious voices calling me mommy, I want to hug and kiss them one more time before it’s too late.  I just want to get on a plane and never come back.  I hope to be able to visit that home again someday. I hope to hug and kiss all of those kids again and to share the love of Jesus with them. I pray for them each and every day and will continue too. Please keep these kids in your prayers!!!!

Village of Deti

In the village of Deti they have to walk 15 minutes down a narrow path just to get water that’s not even clean.

We got an email from our friends, the Beebe’s, telling all about the village.  As I read it, my heart was broken to hear that the kids’ bellies were distended and they had torn clothes.

We did a campaign, CHANGE FOR A CHANGE, last year for Orphan Sunday where families, youth groups and churches put their loose change in a bottle and God used you to raise enough money to build a well for this village.  I am so excited that their borehole is finished and their CLEAN WATER will be pumping this week!!!

This village is desperate for Jesus!!!    There are shrines in front of nearly every home.  They need JESUS and this well will be the start of bringing them WATER FOR LIFE!!!

 

When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue is parched with thirst, I the LORD will answer them; I the God of Israel will not forsake them. – Isaiah 41:17

 

Formula and more formula

Robin Beebe is serving with her family of 5 boys in Ghana for two years.  She will be sharing her heart with you from time to time as she and her husband, Reid, are living out the Gospel and loving orphans and widows in their distress.  We are extremely thankful and blessed to have the the entire Beebe family serving with FTO.

 

Because of donations to Feeding the Orphans of liquid and dry formula
and other nutritional supplements, children will now be receiving
adequate nutrition.

Feeding the Orphans is donating all of these supplies to two
organizations in Ghana – West Africa AIDS Foundation and City of
Refuge.  West Africa AIDS Foundation works with mothers who have
tested positive for HIV.  These women are unable to breastfeed, so all
of the formula will be nourishing infants from birth.  It’s a
wonderful gift to help these children begin their life with the
vitamins and nutrients their little bodies need!

City of Refuge is using the nutritional supplements to nurture the
growth of children who have been rescued out of a life of slavery.
Many of these rescued children are extremely malnourished with
multiple nutritional deficiencies.  All of these donations will spur
these children on to stronger health and development.  Many of these
children will be living in the FTO Safe House, so it’s doubly exciting
to know they will be recipients of these donations.

Thank you for donating these supplies to children who are in great
need of help.  We are grateful to all of you who have given.  If you
have any donations to offer children around the world, please contact
us.

Matthew 6:26 – Look at the birds of the air:  they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?