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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Bus Ticket for Christmas




Isn't he stunning?  Well, just let me answer that for you.  Yes, he is!  His name is Richman.  He has been the hardest for me to get to know mostly because he is shy and quiet.  But the more I come around the more he has opened up.  This past trip to Zim was the best for me in getting to know Richman.  I fall more in love with this boy every time.

Richman wants to be a farmer.  He has really really really loved the farming work that he has been learning with the older children.  He loves it.  He wants to be a full-time professional farmer.  He really doesn't desire to go to a higher level of education.  He will finish high school in November 2012.  But not only does he want to be a farmer with his own farm, he wants to teach others to farm.  Among them he wants to serve orphans.  I learned something interesting and lovely about Richman.  He has a mother. And he has several brothers and sisters.  2 of his siblings are also under the care of the orphanage.  We talked a lot about how he ended up there.  He and his younger siblings had not been able to be afforded an education.  They didn't have proper clothing or shoes.  He told me a very sweet story about how his young school mates (when he was a little boy) would all pitch money into a little box to save money for his school fees.  They were giving their own money to try and help him.  Sometimes there was enough and sometimes there wasn't.  Ultimately someone eventually reached out to our fabulous Fatima and asked if she could take he and 2 of his siblings in and she agreed.  Sadly, his family lives very far away and at most he only gets to see them once per year for just a few days.  When he goes back to his rural village he teaches his family about Jesus.  He has personally seen everyone in his family come to know Christ and accept Him as their personal savior.  He has reported to me that they are all attending church now and one of his older brothers is becoming a pastor.  I know that this blesses Richman greatly.  To just think it may have been the separation of his family due to poverty that delivered them all to the riches of Glory!  Richman was so happy telling me this story.  I asked if he was going to get to see his family soon and he said no... it was a very soft "no" hushed in sadness.  I did some further investigating and found out that he couldn't go visit because there wasn't enough money for the bus tickets.  It would cost approx $50 round trip.  I asked Fatima if I could give Richman the money for a ticket as a Christmas gift and she agreed.  SO - BFGO sent Richman home to see his momma and his older brothers and sisters.  His two younger siblings did not get to go...but I am planning on seeing to it that they all get to go next Christmas.

As you can imagine, Richman was stunned and speechless.  He was fighting back tears and he was searching for words that he just simply couldn't find.  I didn't want him to make a big deal about "thank yous" so I just begged him to go and enjoy and not search for ways to thank me and BFGO.  I can't wait to hear from him though to see how his visit was.

Thank you to our donors for making sweet little surprises like this possible.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Q & A

I've posted a little Q & A over at my personal blog regarding the time I spend in Zim.  Please journey over there for the latest update.  I'll be back to post an update here soon.

MERRY CHRISTMAS & HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Rainy Season - This is Africa

After a long season of drought the rain is gloriously welcomed.  They have several crops here that depend heavily on mighty rains.  The maize (their staple food), potatoes, cabbages and so much more need the pour.  In the time that I have been here we have had several rains and many thunder storms.  It is the muddiest Zim I have ever seen.  It is the most drenched, saturated, well-watered Africa I have ever encountered.

I could easily describe my time here the same.  I have never been muddier.  Deep into the dirty parts of their backgrounds.  Some of these were dumped in the bush (the wild) as babies.  Some of these were horrifically exploited by the ones they should have been loved by.  Histories of sexual abuse, bugs eating heads, sicknesses driven to the brink of death.  The stories here are so troubled.  And I have entered deep into the mud with them.  I have wiped some tears.  I have cupped faces in my hands and raised their eyes up to mine so that they can see I love them so much and there is no reason to fear that a background could come between us.  My background....after all....

I have never been so saturated in love.  These kids have been miraculously (not an exaggeration) transformed into victors and champions.  They no longer feel like the "least of these".  They are sons and daughters of the Most High God and there is nothing "least" about that.

I have never been so poured into.  This one can't be explained.  You had to be there; here.  If ever the "streams of living water" have flowed within me; it is now.  NOW.  Very NOW and forevermore.

Two days ago my son (yes I believe this) Boaz came and whispered to me, "did you manage to do your wash?".  I looked at him, "No not yet" with eyes that signaled I might be lost.  His response, "come i will help you".  I proceeded to grab just a few articles of clothing.  I needed a clean dress for church and something clean to wear for today, and clean travel clothes for tomorrow.  He took me outside where they do all of their washing by hand and he showed me his method.  He washed more than half of what I gathered while I struggled with 3 or 4 pieces.  After about 5 steps in all to get everything washed and rinsed, I was finally trying to wring out the excess to hang up my clothing to dry on the line.  No matter how many times I twisted and squeezed, droplets of water continued to drip out and splash onto the stone walkway; perpetually drenched.

Lord may we all be perpetually drenched in your Living Waters.

"Indeed the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life."







I am here to testify again and again, the rainy season is essential to life.  Dont' be afraid of the mud.

The rainy season....this is Africa.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

the praying boy


Perhaps it isn’t necessarily the American way to hear a man completely gush; pour out the truth in passionate detail of how he feels.  But I’m not in America.

He never heard his Momma say she loved him until the day she died.  He was 17 then.  He had been away in a boarding school and she called him early in the month to say that she is getting weak and that he needs to come home soon.  Her time was coming to an end and he could hear it in her voice.  She asked of his exam schedule and he told her the date he would be finished.  It would be December 17 that year.  She said to him, “I will hold on for you until that day.  When you come to see me I will take my last breath.”  This wasn’t a date he was exactly looking forward to. 

He showed up and listened to the blessings of his mother.  She spoke so lovingly of him and to him.  It was that day she finally said “I love you”.  Words he had been waiting to hear all 17 years.  The whisper left her lips and journeyed to his ears, reaching his heart and soul.  As promised, she then took her last breath.

His Poppa died soon after leaving he and his brother desperate to journey for someone, anyone to love them and look after them; help them make a way in life; anywhere but the streets.  But for a bit the street became home anyway.  A series of divine helpers made their way into the life of this older boy while the younger had been taken in by someone temporarily. 

The story is almost too remarkable to type.  It sounds made up.  It sounds exaggerated.  But it is not.  I know it isn’t.  It involves angels of mercy, sightings of spirit agents of the Lord in the wild bush. 

For a while he was permitted to sleep in a church if he would agree to open it up each morning at 4am for the morning prayer service.  Not every Sunday.  Every DAY.  He agreed.  After a while he was permitted to stay with a family that he knew who lived in a one room apartment.  Every night he would go outdoors and pray for hours…into the wee early hours of the morning.  The landlord could hear the prayers; day after day after morning after morning.  After quite a while the landlord called to him to come into his own apartment with the family.  He asked the praying boy to pray.  He thought to himself, “there is not much I can do but I am always filled with prayer”.  He prayed.  They wept and were moved.  The landlord then evicted one of the tenants and gave that apartment to the praying boy for no charge. 

His story is full of twists and turns.  I listened for two hours as the details were shared with the big finish….  “now, here I am”.

He’s a pastor now, very much against the grain of what he wanted to be.  But if you could have heard the rest of his story you would see that God was not going to have it any other way.  The praying boy had no choice but to shepherd a flock …in this present case a young flock of other orphans.  I can only testify that He is always full of a powerful word and His love for Christ is infectious.

He gushes with the heart and truth of a child.  He confesses his deep need to know who the people are in his life who love him.  He crumbles (his word) if he doesn’t hear those words regularly (daily) from the people he has entrusted his heart to.  Although it pains me to know he suffers so deeply in his heart when love isn’t announced….it teaches me something new into the lives of these kids.  The only people in this life that you can trust (usually) to love you are your momma and daddy.  Without them….  Well?

I am multiplying my “I love yous” in this place.  Forever more.


 i'll also soon have an update at www.jasperwalls.wordpress.com

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

They want to know about DC, New York, Chicago and Hollywood.  These are the places they have heard of.  They ask countless questions about snow and cold air.  They want to know what time it is in the USA. When I explain the different time zones their faces go blank.

Yesterday we went to one of their maize fields so they could see the growth progress.  They truly rejoiced - shouts and whistles to see that some of the stalks have already grown 1-2 feet tall.  The teenage children are all responsible for working a portion of that land.  They are assigned sections.  Beyond that laborers are hired to complete the rest of the field.  The children take part in each phase, from tilling and plowing to planting and weeding.  What I LOVE about the spirits of these kids is that they do not view it as work.  They view it as a necessary step to produce a harvest.  I think that we as Americans forget this on a daily basis.  We view our jobs as work often and quickly forget that the work is producing a harvest.  Whether it is harvesting wisdom in children or the accomplishment of a system or the provision of food on the table to feed the babes.  The kids here go to work for the harvest using their hands, backs, legs, and very rough feet.  They remind me to sow for what the seed will produce ultimately.  I thank them (and God) for that.  The seed and the laborers were paid for by Beautiful Feet Global Outreach thanks to our donors.  Glory to God and thank you for your faithfulness in giving; planting seeds.

This morning I awoke to a practically empty house.  All of the boys have gone to the field and will be gone all day.  I must confess - I deeply hate being separated from the boys.  But this morning I have had a wonderful (2 hour) conversation with one of the older girls.  She is 22...the one who also just had a birthday.  She is the chef for us while I am here and she is amazing.  Last night I taught her how to prepare American mashed potatos (they have never had).  It was a par-tay!  The potoatos with butter and salt in creamy milk were gobbled up quickly.  The older boys began to barter with one another for shares of the others portions.  It was so sweet to me that none of the boys was willing to give up his portion but for the one who does not like butter.  But - back to my conversation with the older girl....

I felt comfortable to ask her how her parents passed away.  She shared openly.  But after she finished telling me the stories of their passings she looked at me in the eyes and said "aunti Melly, God has since raised up wonderful parents for me."  She is speaking of her aunts and uncles whom love her so much and are caring for her like she is their own.  She is attending university and learning to drive.  I'm just not sharing her name yet because I haven't asked her permission but I will show you a photo soon.  What I love about her is the immense amount of Godly wisdom from which she speaks and thinks and does.  And I love her love for others.  She will tell me about a friend of hers and say "she is a most beautiful and wonderful girl...she is truly amazing".  She will talk about her friends for a very long time in describing her love for them before she moves into giving me the detail of what she wants to share.  It is just incredibly beautiful.  She had explained to me that one of her friends had to go away and she hasn't seen her in a long time.  But then she had a large small on her face and stated "but God is faithful and He raised up for me another glorious friend like a sister".  I could weep at that.  In fact I did dispense a tear and tried to hide it from her but I think she saw.

Yesterday late afternoon my tender one, 17-year old Boaz pulled me into the dining area and I could sense that he wanted to have a serious talk.  Because otherwise we are laughing and he loves to sit on the sofa with me and rest against me...either on my shoulder or with his head in my lap.  Tangent:  one morning he came and rested in my lap (yes a big 17 year old)... and he said "I am just so happy.  I can't believe I am resting here on you lap and that God sent you into my life."  Sometimes I hear things like this and I just sit in silence.  I cannot imagine how they feel - especially the ones who have lost their parents or the ones who have never known them (like him).  Off tangent:  so at the dining room table he wasn't sure what he wanted to say and so nothing was said for a moment.  I asked him what are his greatest temptations and from there he poured and spilled and gushed.  When I see the tenderness and openness here it really causes me to see that we in America are missing something.  We have learned secrecy, privacy and shame.  Here it is a bit different.  He shared with me exactly his temptations and the inner turmoil and struggle of not wanting to go the way of the world but to remain constantly attached to the vine of Christ.  His greatest fear - messing up his destiny.  He refers much to his "background" of being very low-class (my wording).  He knows that in this country he is a reject but that in God he is a champion.  He has been blessed with much love along the way through the orphanage, Fatima (myself), etc.  He doesn't want to mess that up.  I am stricken by his ability to see the big picture.  I am frozen by his determination to overcome all temptations in the name of Jesus.  They think I am here to love them and impart wisdom.  They have no idea.

This is enough for today.  If you missed my first post on my personal website you may see it at www.jasperwalls.wordpress.com.  Also I have posted several updates on Facebook if you would like to search for Beautiful Feet Global Outreach and follow along.

For now I will leave you with just  a photos.







These were just a few from our Christmas party.  Their first tree, EVER!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

off

off i go
with ornaments and socks
money for their expenses - due to recent donations (thank you!)
a heavy heart
a full heart
a hopeful heart
and some nervous anxiety to boot

it is summer in zim
i fully expect a sunburn on my feet

video
the above video was taken in April when we had our Easter celebration.  you are seeing most of the children and all of the staff.  the youngest children were not in the dance line.  enjoy.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Heading Home

My apologies for the lack of posts recently.  We are continuing to support the Zim orphanages on a monthly basis, however the finances continue to not be enough.  Rather than post repeatedly about how we need more monthly donors I have been quiet and still.  It is good.

I am returning to Zim next week to spend 2 weeks before Christmas.  This is always such a critical time of year because their school year has officially ended and the children have completed final exams.  In January those who are still in school will advance to the next grade level.  But for those who have just completed their final year it is the end of the road for them.  The orphanage cannot keep them.  The director works tirelessly to try and find placements for them.  She recently placed one girl in a home to be a child tender.  She is a wonderful girl and I cannot fathom the blessing that she will be to that family.  My prayers are for her well-being and fair treatment.  I do not know if I will get to see her this time but I pray that I get to see her at least once.  It was her sweeping broom that awakened me every morning at 5am when I was there in April.  I wonder who will be sweeping in her place.

As preparations for this time of travel are underway I find myself saying things like "we'll figure that out when I get home" or "once I'm home we can....." and the funny thing is, I'm not talking about "here"... I'm talking about "there".  I'm so excited to sleep in "my" Zim bed and bathe in "my" Zim bath and cook in "my" Zim kitchen and be with "my" Zim family.  Except for the separation from my biological nuggets and my fur critters, I feel like I'm heading home.  My Zim loves will be filling my arms next week.  I can already smell their sweet heads and hear their quiet voices.  I can feel Emily's tight hugs and I'm looking into the eyes and smile of Boaz and I'm having endless conversations with Bestman and Pastor Phil.  That God would grant me this privilege over and over is beyond my comprehension.  That He would break my heart for them and others like them is like an early treasure in my soul that He promises is everlasting.  It still feels strange on my tongue that I can say there are orphans in Africa who are children of my heart.  Why would He possibly allow me this?  I have no idea.  But every time I go I spend time in the Spirit knowing that it is of Him, from Him and for Him that I go.  And my heart is surely settled that Beautiful Feet Global Outreach is His cause and that I am just a servant trying to be obedient to His plans.  I can not design its success.  It is entirely up to Him.

This time I travel with tough love in my pockets.  The children will be hearing things from me they haven't heard before.  I will reach out with firm words of rebuke toward those children who are misbehaving.  I will be bringing messages of hope in the power of Christ to resist temptation.  I will share more and more of the truths of my past so that they can know how truly I can relate to their struggles (some).  And I will show them the Love of Christ, anyway....because like all of us, they need to know about redemption, grace and mercy.  They need to be reminded that they have been adopted as children of God.

Sometimes I am discouraged by well-meaning friends.  Yes, I said "friends".  Sometimes the people closest to me act as if I'm impossibly trying to save the world.  I am not.  60 kids does not a world make and I have not once confused myself to be their Savior.  Sometimes my friends question what a difference my presence can make...that I should just send the money.  All I can say to that is that we do send tons of money...and my presence impacts them and me.  Presence is the only way to build relationships.  Money isn't encouraging.  Money isn't love in the flesh.  Money helps get the most critical jobs done.  Face to face leaves everlasting impressions.  Some of my friends question whether we are just enablers.  How many times I've heard "teach a man to fish instead of just feeding the man".  That is exactly our hope and our vision...  but until we can find water and fishing poles we will continue to serve under the authority of Christ to help deliver their daily bread.  Someday when there is a capital budget to do so, we will build them a training complex where they will learn all sorts of skills to be able to sustain lives in a country where there is no opportunity.  Once I was discouraged with these words, "they aren't your kids Melissa...you can't take full responsibility for them".  Well, they don't have mothers and God paired me with them...so in some way they are my kids.  While I do not take full responsibility for them, God has asked me to be a mouthpiece for them.  He has asked me to point to them, focus on them, love and serve them, teach them and encourage their increased faith.  He has asked me to model love for them.  That is all I am doing.  That is BFGO.

Thank you to all of those who continually support BFGO with encouragement, love, prayers and finances.  The difference you are making cannot be measured.

I'll be posting more frequently between 12/8-12/19 in Zim depending on internet connection.  Prayers deeply appreciated.

melissa irwin
founder ~ executive director

Monday, October 24, 2011

Planting Fields

It's time for an update from the field.  We have established a routine of transferring funds to the orphanage director in Zim once per month.  Every month we send her all of the money that we have in the account minus the charge for the wire transfer and any other fees that may be due at the time (post office box, web hosting, etc).  And since I'm on that subject...we have to give Paypal a fee for every donation as well, but the rest goes out to the orphans.  This past week we sent $1,000.  It is the smallest transfer we have sent to date...still behind thousands in rent and school fees.  (And not really sure what the consequences of that are going to be yet).

But...it is time to sow seed in Zim.  Literally.  If they are going to have enough grain to eat next year they have to plant the seeds now, so with the money we sent they were able to hire a truck to plough the field.  They also purchased 10 bags of fertilizer and some seed maize.  They will be planting the field at the end of this week.

It is unbearably hot in Zim right now, so please be praying for them as they work hard in the field to plant the seeds.  Many of the children will be involved.

We thank you for your prayers and donations!
God Bless All!

  ~melissa

Monday, October 10, 2011

Crisp & Juicy (updated 10/12/11)

(UPDATE) - Please contact me if you would like to be added to our monthly newsletter, or go to our main website and subscribe to it.  We have a NEW giving level.  Level 1 is $17 per month which is set up automatically through PayPal (from website).  If we could find 160 people who would be willing to donate a minimum of $17 per month, we would have all the basic needs in Zim met.  We are nowhere near this.  Please help us find our 160 angels.  Out of the 7 billion people in the world, this should be a simple task...but it will take effort and commitment on behalf of the small group of people who actually know about BFGO.  Please help spread the word.  THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH!  

It is my favorite time of the year for apples.  A couple of years ago someone mentioned to me how delicious Honey Crisp apples are.  I paid little attention.  I may have even silently acknowledged to myself "how much more delicious can one apple be over another?".  Little did I know.  Oh so very little, indeed.  I don't recall a single detail of the what, when, where or why, but I clearly recall the sensation of tasting my first Honey Crisp.  I think I looked right at that apple and asked, "where have you been all my life?"  Seriously, I am beginning to wonder if this perfect species of apple was the very temptation dangling on the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the Garden of Eden.  If so, no wonder Eve couldn't resist.  (I kid).  I have to kid sometimes, because sometimes the details are overwhelming.  I'll get to the details in a moment.

The reason I am thinking about apples is because I have a tray of gorgeous, delicious honey crisp apples in my kitchen.  I have been eating an apple a day since the beginning of June as part of my weight-loss plan.  The thing is, one of my dear, precious, beautiful, vibrant orphaned Zim children LOVES apples.  Boaz and I had several conversations about apples the last time I was there.  He went into great detail about what he loves about the flavor of an apple.  Any apple.  I know that the children there spend most of their meals eating boiled grains and very little opportunity to partake of delicious fruits.  It is one of the ways that my life has been changed.  I think of them every single time I eat a piece of fruit.  Every time I peel a banana for Shawn, quarter an orange for Asher, or eat a fibrous apple for myself, my thoughts go to how much I wish I could share it all with the sweet kiddos in our Zim orphanages.  It seems like it should be so easy.  It is not.

Friends of BFGO, our donations are down.  The bottom line dollar amount for the needs is going up and the donations are currently down.  It's not the up and to the right trend I've been hoping for.  Fortunately for my spirit, I am fully well aware that BFGO was instituted to be a resource for aid, not to be a god.  I know that we are not responsible for lives or for souls; we are simply called to do the best we can with what we have to give.  And that is exactly what we intend to continue to do.

I will be sending some funds to the orphanage director the week of 10/17.  As of today it appears to be the smallest donation we will have sent so far.  Rent is far behind.  School fees remain unpaid for 55 children.  We are planning a large, fun celebrity filled fundraiser for early 2012.  We are also on the radar of some local entities who are considering partnering with BFGO beginning next year in financial donations... but for now we are still very much in need of grass roots, local, simple love from you and you, you you and you and you.

Please consider making a difference in the lives of 60 precious children today.  Let us be the very crisp and juicy flavor of God's love to them.  Every donation impacts their very livelihood and displays the power of the love of Christ.  Please join with us in this heartfelt mission.

In Him,
Melissa Irwin

Friday, September 23, 2011

Today - Near Nashville

**UPDATE**  Thanks to those who donated some items and money.  Delivery was made on Saturday 9/24.  God bless you all!



A sweet baby girl was born prematurely.  Her mom doesn't have the best record, evidently.  Sweet baby girl has gone into foster care here locally in Middle Tennessee and is being fostered by a mom that I know and respect immensely.  Baby girl has some very special needs at the moment.  This situation came up practically overnight (or possibly exactly overnight)....and we can jump in and help them.  The hope is that the mom I know will be able to legally adopt her very soon, but there are certainly details to be worked out in the meanwhile.

As you can imagine, taking in a new baby all of a sudden is expensive.  And the mom will have to take a considerable amount of time off work to care for this preemie newborn baby.  My desire is that Beautiful Feet Global Outreach could raise some quick funds for a Walmart or Target giftcard.  If you can help, please do so today!  Thank you so much!

Go to the website and click on the donate button.  www.beautifulfeetgo.org

Thursday, September 1, 2011

You Have More Power Than You Realize

I cannot believe how quickly September 1 has arrived.  The last time Beautiful Feet Global Outreach paid school fees was in May.  Back in May I had an endless amount of hope that by the time September rolled around, we would have more than enough to pay the next round of school fees.  I didn't anticipate a rent crisis.  I didn't anticipate another food shortage.  Neither did they.  Neither did anyone.  So - here we are at the time that school fees are due again.  We need about $4,000 more than we have.  And that is only for the school fees...it doesn't even begin to touch the rent that is due again, nor the food that needs to be replenished again.

Sad story...I know.  But those of us who are involved with BFGO and the leaders/administrators at the orphanage, as well as the orphans themselves, have been called to persevere, have hope, not give up and not grow weary.  We know that God is working.  It is so evident.  He is ever present.  His presence is seen and felt most in the hearts and spirits of each of us.  He shows up everyday...in fact, He never leaves us.

Guilt is not a reasonable tactic.  In fact, I will have no part of it.  We are not competing with other orphan ministries and Christian organizations.  We are just here to honor God is some small way by serving some desperate children who no one else seems to even know about.  We saw a need that wasn't being met and we are trying to be used of God to fill in the gaps.  HE is the provider and that is all that we have to know to know that HIS will is at work and HE will send the manna.  But our part is crucial too.  We have to raise awareness.  The more awareness and exposure we bring to the lives and hardships of these children, the more donations we will receive on their behalf.   The two questions for you are:
(1)  Can you give?
(2)  Can you spread the word?

2 is even more important than 1.  You have the power to spread the word, increase awareness and raise funds for BFGO to serve the children in the precious name of our Lord and Savior.  This power that you have impacts lives in ways you cannot even begin to fathom.  Please help us spread the word.

www.beautifulfeetgo.org

Respectfully,
Melissa Irwin

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Vintage

We have a sweet partner that I want to share with you.  If you scroll down in the left sidebar you'll see a chair logo design for "Vintage Shabby Chicks".  You can click to their blog from there.  They are located in Franklin, TN in a wonderful location (111 Bridge Street) in an old house that has been converted to a store, called City Farmhouse.  They have committed to donating a portion of their sales to Beautiful Feet Global Outreach monthly.

I couldn't be more grateful or more inspired by these two incredible ladies.  The work that they do to restore or give new life to old furniture pieces is truly beautiful.  I'm not just saying that.  I am nuts about the work they do.  And I am crazy about their hearts.

If you are within a 50 mile radius of Franklin....please go see their stuff.  You won't be disappointed.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Beautiful Announcement

Friends,

I am so overjoyed to be able to announce to you that we, Beautiful Feet Global Outreach, Inc. (aka Beautiful Feet G.O.) were notified by mail today that the IRS has awarded us official exemption.  We are now a 501(c)(3) Tax-Exempt Non-Profit organization.

This confirms that all of our donors since 9/29/2010 will be able to claim a tax deduction for every dime donated to our organization.  We are so honored and overjoyed!  Please praise the sweet Lord with us.  We know this is all from Him.  (We received our status in record time...just 6 months!).

Humbly before Christ,

Melissa Irwin,
Executive Director

Friday, July 1, 2011

Updates & Angels

Because of some generous funds received over the past few days we will be wiring at least 1 months rent for each house in Zim on Tuesday of next week.  That will cover May.  We desire to also raise enough to cover June and July....of course...but we are so grateful that God used a precious handful of people to come up with one month so far.  God bless each and every....and the greatest thanks to God the Father who is working in our hearts and teaching us about bits and pieces.  (I love you Lord!)


We are grateful to Chiropractic Nashville who is partnering with us in a fundraiser for the month of July.  We are ecstatic that they will be offering a very special deal to new patients, as well as to existing patients..just for making donations.  They are a GREAT small business who serve the Lord with their hearts, finances and other resources.  God bless your business!


We are grateful to 2 Nashville/Franklin based antique business operators who have pledged 10% of their monthly profits (ongoing) to Beautiful Feet G.O.  This chokes me up on the highest levels.  They are both women of God who serve with FIRE and PASSION and have immeasurable levels of hope.  One of them stated to me on the phone this morning that they dream of being our biggest donor someday.  Well, hallelujah, praise the King!  I pray that too!  LOVE YOU SO MUCH.  You can visit their new blog and find their locations at Vintage Shabby Chicks.  


Mark Mabry - Mark is a web developer, graphic designer, marketing specialist...extraordinaire!  I cannot thank Mark enough for all he has done to launch our web presence and various graphic needs.  He recently designed this incredible poster to be displayed at Chiropractic Nashville for their July fundraiser!  And ProGraphics of Nashville donated the printing, mounting, laminating and framing at Mark's request.  Seriously y'all...... blessings coming together...it rocks my world!



**please click on poster to enlarge it for easy readability.  




And lastly but far from least....  to my friends Kim & Bryan who have just recently launched their business and charitable organization...  Eraselets and Erase World Hunger.  They have pledged for Erase World Hunger to serve Beautiful Feet Global Outreach as soon as they can be funded.  Their product, Eraselets....is a fantabulous eraser bracelet with incredible designs so fun for kids.  Some of their designs include scriptures.  They are currently close to getting their product sold in a MAJOR Christian retail store as well as a MAJOR mainstream retail outlet.  God has already worked some heavy miracles in their lives and we are believing Him for greater miracles to come.  Some day (maybe soon)...they will be able to help Beautiful Feet G.O. do incredible work for the Kingdom in serving these precious orphans globally.


Everyone who impacts us big and small is an angel to us.  We understand how God works....one of His favorite ways to bless us is through other people.  When we say you are a blessing...we really mean that. God used you......

My humble appreciation goes out to all,

Melissa Irwin



Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Orphans....EVICTED!

Ok - I kinda need you to "get this"...whoever you are.  Please share on facebook and retweet on Twitter.  PLEASE (humbly begging).  We have a crisis.

Like you, I am tired of (me) being in the business of crisis aversion....but this seems to be our track for the time.  Just when we think we are about to get ahead of the curve and course about a reasonable ebb and flow of receiving/giving....something bigger than us falls into the middle of the plate and shatters it into bits.

Here is the short nitty gritty.  Our partner and orphanage director in Zimbabwe has been using 3 houses in Zim as orphanage homes for almost 6 years.  In all of this time they have never had to pay rent.  That's right....kind generous people who didn't need the houses (and couldn't really sell them for much)...just decided to let Fatima use them until further notice.  Well.....further notice is now.  Fatima CAN continue to use these 3 houses and the 4th house that she is using as a "transitional" home right now for some of the older kids.....BUT....she must start paying rent.  And well, she was supposed to start paying rent in May.  She hasn't.  If she doesn't (and how can she?)..... then they have to all vacate and go....nowhere.

So, to add to the expenses of food, electricity, water, school fees, clothing, etc.....there is now the added monthly expense of rent.  We (BFGO) would be honored to cover this for them (worthy, beautiful, precious, deserving children).... but we do not have the funds.  We were aiming for being able to pay for food and school fees for the entire year....but obviously without a roof....we can do nothing.  I am going to copy and paste the email exchange between Fatima and myself.  I asked her what she needs right away....(if) there was anything at all...since the next round of school fees are not due until September).

In OTHER news....we have been communicating with the IRS and I think we are getting so so close to good news (and praying for it!)

We are so grateful for our monthly donors....and we do not want to ask you for more...so that is not what this is about.  If you have never given to Beautiful Feet GO OR if you could help us spread the word we would be forever grateful.  There are 55+ incredibly hopeful and loving children (orphans) on the other side of the world that we are praying will not lose the only home they know.  You can be a blessing!  Please help if you can.  We are so humbly grateful!

{email from Fatima}  -----I had specifically asked her in a previous email what their greatest needs are besides school fees.

Dear Precious Melissa,

Thank you for the exciting news that you want to visit the children once more. You are more than welcome. The best time to do this visit would be the 1st of December up to the time when you want to leave. This will give children a nice break especially after a hectic week of exams. Let me know about your schedule for the intended visits.

We desperately need GOD's intervention regarding finances to settle our rentals and water and electricity.  we have gone for two months without paying rentals and if GOD does not intervene we can be evicted. The rentals payable for four properties are US$ 2300 per month and we would need about US$ 2 500 to settle our water and electricity bills[ these have gone unpaid for sometime now] but the normal for all our properties would be us$ 500.

we thank GOD for a gift from Larissa. she informed me and Phillip that she had collected a few laptops that she could give to someone coming to Zimbabwe. Please could you bring them for us? these will go a long way by assisting the various units to do a continous update of the children's bio data.

MAY GOD BLESS YOU OUR CHAMPION.

WE LOVE YOU SO MUCH.

fatima for all





PLEASE VISIT OUR OFFICIAL WEBSITE TO MAKE DONATIONS.  www.beautifulfeetgo.org

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Updates and Needs

Hi friends,

Thank you for regularly visiting our blog and our facebook page.  Believe it or not we are blessed just by you showing up here and there.  Knowing that there are peeps who care about this ministry and the kiddos being served just helps us to keep moving on.  So, thank you!

You might recall that last month we were so incredibly blessed to send the balance of the school fees that were due right then.  At that same time the truck being used in Zim to carry out the ministry errands/deliveries broke down.  After discussion, we permitted the organization leader in Zim to use money from those funds to fix the truck.  The truck is repaired now, thank God!  So, yesterday we were able to wire $1,400 more to cover the school fees.  Some of that money will also be used to pay the driver who was kind enough to drive me all over Zim while I was there recently.  ALSO, approx $200 will be used to pay for Pastor Phillip to take some exams that he needs to take in order to try to come to the USA for some further education.  You may recall that Pastor Phillip is an adult orphan.  He lost his parents when he was young, as they died in a car accident.  He is a very special man and an INCREDIBLE PREACHER!  I wish I could hear him preach every week....the special messages that God placed on his heart and spoke out of Phillips mouth while I was there were fresh and new and inspiring.  I am praying that he will get to share the word of God to many many many more in his lifetime.

The director there is sending me acquittals this week so that we can log her expenditures.  I am forever grateful to have a partner there who is leading with the Spirit of the Lord and who accounts for every penny.  It is her relentless pursuit of Christ and devotion to His ministry in loving these orphans, and accountability to us that keeps this process fun, hopeful and worth every tear.

Beautiful Feet Global Outreach needs many many many many more financial partners.  We would love to find at least 75 more people who are willing to donate $25 per month to continue to feed the children, send them to school, provide their food, clothing and shelter....and pay for those unexpected things like broken-down trucks.  Please consider.

Also please pray for the ministry director in Zim, Fatima.  She fell very ill with an infected boil.  She is feeling much better.  Fever is gone, but the boil is still opened and it is hurting her.

As always, please visit our official website to learn more about us and to set up donations.  Thank you so much and God bless every sweet soul that lands on this page.  www.beautifulfeetgo.org

Photos of our sweet Fatima!




Saturday, May 14, 2011

Videos

I had originally posted about riding in the back of the blessed blue truck while I was in Zim.  I have some footage of one of those rides.  In this video you will see Boaz in the red shirt.  Pan to the left and that is Richman.  To my right are Bestman and Emelie.  Emelie at one point redirects the camera in my hand onto myself...in an effort to make me feel as awkward as she felt.  She's a funny girl.  We were humming to the vibration of the truck (poor truck...).  It made our voices sound funny.  Notice some of the Zim life on the sides of the road.  Enjoy.


video

Friday, May 6, 2011

Where Am I?

I have been on USA soil again for 10 days.  When I am busy, I am okay.  When I have down time, like this morning, I am really not okay.  I have 508 photos of my most recent time in Zim that are worth keeping.  I tend to look at them over and over on my computer screen.  It is a grieving process that I just suppose I have to go through.

But as an organization, we are not grieving.  We are so very hopeful.  Today we are wiring enough money to cover school fees due next week.  For that I am so ecstatic.  I praise God Almighty for that provision.  We do have one problem however, and that is that the truck (primary vehicle for the orphanage director) broke down and needs repair.  It will cost approx $600 for that repair and it is needed asap.  Furthermore....the kids do have an abundance of grain right now and some potatoes as well....but they do not have ANY protein.  We are still praying for donations to help put some healthy proteins on their table as well as to fix the truck.

In the very near future I am going to do a fundraiser.  I have some great authentic handmade goods from the area that I visited in Africa , that I will offer in exchange for donations.  I will share that info soon, along with pictures.  Also, I am making jasper necklaces.  Per Revelation 21:18 "The wall was made of jasper..." in reference to the walls of the New Jerusalem, in the Kingdom of Heaven.  Jasper is a gorgeous stone that comes in many colors and varieties.  I have had a fascination with jasper for a long time.  Over time I have collected some jasper rocks and have a couple of jasper necklaces that I wear not only because they are beautiful, but to remind myself that I am on a journey to the Kingdom of Heaven.  It is like wearing a little piece of Heaven around my neck....except that I know the Jasper in Heaven will be even more breathtaking.  I have purchased several pieces of "Safari Jasper" and "Spider Web Jasper" along with some other random smaller pieces and have been making necklaces on leather cord.  I'm excited to reveal them very soon.

I feel like I am in a million places.  I have several stories to share from my recent trip as well as to explain some plans.  I will post those stories in the coming week.  Thank you all for your patience.  And thank you dearly for your intercessions, your giving and your kindest words.

In Christ,

Melissa Irwin

Sunday, April 24, 2011

somebody

I wish every donor...past, present and future could have been here with me in Zim today. Every child from all of the orphanges met in one location for a farewell party for me and an Easter party for Jesus, (please know that He was the main attraction and not myself). The children presented poetry and songs of gratitude for all that Beautiful Feet Global Outreach has already done, and all that we are trying to do. They have prayed for massive movement in the hearts of the people coming alongside us to impact the lives of these orphans. I was so humbled today to hear them pray for the global orphanages who will meet Jesus through us someday....such glory in that prayer, and I pray it was answered at the beginning of time.

There is a recurring theme here that both blesses me and breaks my heart. From the staff to the smallest child, they keep saying that because of Beautiful Feet G.O., they now feel like somebody instead of feeling like nobody. They say this repeatedly. Oh how I proclaim that Christ has declared them somebody's, in His precious name. Their faith, were it a tower, would pierce through the Heavens and the angels would have to move over. Their hope, were it a rocket, would fly through unknown galaxies. Their gratitude, were it light, would blind the whole of the universe. I'm not just saying this to persuade you. I'm not just saying this to manipulate the strings of your heart and pull them with a fierce tug. I am saying this because these children are special. They are brilliant. They are exquisite. They are full of joy. They are sharp. They have the manners you dream of for your children (and me for mine). Their prayers are heard before they are uttered. These children are so precious, so dear, so loving. These children are His. He has heard their crys.
The children need school fees. The administration needs to be able to afford internet and they need fuel for the blessed blue truck on a monthly basis. They are very soon to be able to enjoy their harvest of maize and potatoes, however the need for dairy products and meat is ongoing.....they need food. I cannot stress how badly they need food. For the food, I ain't too proud to beg.

I have received some email notifications that a few donations have been made this past week and for that I am ever grateful. When you give as unto the Lord, He will reward you with joy, His supernatural peace, and Heavenly riches. I pray He multiples the love in your heart until your heart can hardly contain it all, as it must pour out onto every soul you meet.

As a very new organization we face many challenges. We are far from reaching the momentum that we need to accomplish this work of caring for these orphans year round in the way of school fees, food and other essentials.

Will you consider partnering with us? We humbly appreciate one time gifts as well as monthly recurring donations. Please help spread the word about us. We offer transparency and accountability on all levels. We thank you.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

sweet bonds

I was asked to bring an American cookbook the last time I came. Instead of bringing an entire cookbook I brought a collection of recipes. Before coming to Zim again this time, I was kindly prompted again to please bring a full American cookbook. I decided to donate one of my own, a good old-fashioned Better Homes and Garden recipe book. I presented the book to Fatima and the kids and there was much celebration about it. Now, I completely understand that their food supply is limited and low. I wasn't really sure what they could accomplish with the book, but decided it wasn't for me to worry about. A couple of days after my arrival, one of the staff ladies (Yvonne approx age 29) asked if I could teach her how to bake cakes. No one here in the teenage home has ever witnessed baking. Never. I agreed and went shopping. I had to spend a small fortune to acquire every ingredient, but yesterday I worked with all of the girls, including the adult staff and even some of the younger girls from one of the other orphange units....and we baked all day. We made 4 cakes. I instructed and oversaw the process for 3 cakes and then the final cake they had to do on their own. If joy, pleasure and pride could float, it would have been hovering over this house. We even made homemade butter cream icing and the girls all got to share icing the cakes. And would you believe that I made my first ever pineapple upside down cake in Africa? That is funny to me.

The challenges were many. First of all, in Zim they measure everything in grams and kg's and ml's of which I know nothing about and neither does my cookbook (now theirs). But even so, this home does not have a measuring cup or spoon of any kind, let alone the American kind. We had to improvise, but this is a practice they are more than used and now, so am I. We took a plastic green cup and pretended it equaled one cup and then we measured everything by it. In truth, it was more than one cup, so when using the actual table spoon or the actual tea spoon to measure those ingredients, we added a little more to try and accomodate. I think everything turned out fine. We did manage to destroy one of the cakes because we did not cook it long enough and learned that the inside was still creamy. We cooked it longer and then covered it all up with icing so that the boys wouldn't know that it was messed up. And indeed, they did not know. The cake was gone in about 14 seconds flat. There might have been some tummy aches, but I warned them. They determined the ache to be a gift that they would receive mightily. Ha. (I love it).

The icing on my cake day was at the end. I have been really blessed while I have been here this time to form a great relationship with Winnet. Winnet is 26 years old and is currently working on her MBA. She is on the staff here, very thankfully she is not orphaned although she has had a very rough background. She has a mother whom she loves very much. Winnet is in charge of the teenagers here at the orphanage. She is their live in matron, but she also works on the business side of the orphanage with Fatima. Winnet is beyond remarkable. There are no words truly to describe her. The wisdom that she holds is for that of an 80 year old woman. She has incredible business wisdom, remarkable relational wisdom and above all, she has a keen and glorious spiritual wisdom. She is an observer of all things and of all things she learns something valuable. And then of what she learns, she teaches. She and I have taken a strong bond with one another. It is going to be so deeply painful to leave Winnet. She comes into my room at night and we can talk for hours. And she is normalyl the first to give me a hug in the morning, and her hug is made of love and strength. There is no denying that this young woman, with wisdom far superior to my own, is my sister. The last time I was in Zim she was completely professional and reserved. This time she is the joy of the room at all times. She reminded me last night during our private talk that when I was in Zim last time I wrote each person a personal letter. She shared with me that she reads the letter I wrote to her about once per month at the end of the month and that she is inspired and encouraged by my love for all of them. I couldn't have believed that my letter would have made that much of a difference, but I sure am enjoying the joyful, praise filled, prayerful, glorious Winnet. How blessed the children are to have her. She is a mighty woman of God. She is also hilarious. I will remember her all of the days of my life.


To view a photo of Winnett please go to http://www.jasperwalls.wordpress.com/

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Daily Details

Daily Details
My time here is rapidly coming to a close. My heart aches even just to type those words. I still have 3 precious days here to cherish before the big bird flys me to MY native land. I don't want to weep these days away. I want to enjoy them like they will forever last, even though I know better.

I have learned so much more than I thought there was to learn about these orphanages and their fearless director. I have been to visit the cattle farm 2.5 hours drive away, not in the rural area, but in the "rural rural" area. There are great possibilites and there is great hope. One day the cattle can be multiplied and the bulls can be sold for $1,000 each. It is a great and wise vision. The work has started, but the time to build such an operation is long. The cattle currently are not being fed well. They need good feed so that they can be valuable cattle. The hope is there. When discussed, you can see the childrens eyes bouncing and exciting and hoping for the greatest things to come for their future. There too are some goats. We traveled with a goat back to the home in the back of the truck. A nervous goat who screamed "MAA MAA MAA" over and over again. It's feet and legs were all bound together. It's eyes uncertain of its destiny. I'll be honest, it was a cute goat and I had a hard time telling it goodbye as silly as that may sound. But I could see the goat as God's provision for some meals, or maybe for one meal for 60 children. Meat is rare. And by rare I mean rarely. Goat is good. And by good I mean protein. I will not be there for the slaughter or the partaking. But I am here for the rejoicing.

I was going to tell you about my daily details and I got sidetracked. It is easy to do here. The sweetest Emily is 17 years old. She comes from a rural rural area where her mother has Aids and her grandmother tried to sell her. Emily volunteered to be my personal hostess all the while I am here. Words cannot describe how special she is. The house has not been receiving tap water for quite some time. Each morning, and I mean each and every morning, Emily boils 3 pots of water and pours them in my bathtub. I have a personal tiny kitchen station that she set up in my room where she serves me only from their finest dish. She saves for me the finest fork and the finest knife. She keeps my coffee pot filled with ready and she starts it for me in the mornings. If I should beat her to it, it makes her either very frustrated or very disappointed. She wails sometimes with disgust that she did not get to serve me if I have taken the opportunity to just do it myself. We go to the market nearly every day to purchase some hot meals for me. She will not let me carry anything. Not a thing. I beg. She says no. Today I almost had to argue with her in the parking lot because her hands were full, as were mine, and she still did not want me to carry anything. I finally agreed to pile all of my stuff in her arms and she audibly praised the Lord for my surrender. Sometimes I call her into my room to come speak with me and she gets down low in front of me and I meet her there to see eye to eye. Her eyes glue to me as I speak and her lips part with a modest grin and I can see her teeth, just barely. More than anything her eyes say the most. She is so gracious. She is also a prankster but that is another story. Emily wants to be a nurse. She is a very smart girl....so smart and so wise that I cannot make sense of her to you. She is pure and she is concerned about her purity before the Lord. She does not want to be bothered with boys....but they certainly want to be bothered with her. Emily has a servants heart, not because she thinks that she must, but because she deeply desires to bring comfort and ease to those who are loving her. She is not unreasonably submissive....she is just so delicate and beautiful and hopeful. She recognizes love. She wants love, but only from the right places. If you ever meet Emily, you will fall in love. (I cannot post a picture now but I will when I am back in the USA). So, I add some cold water to my bath and I struggle in the tall skinny tub with my anti tall, anti-skinny body to get clean. Emily has determined that I cannot miss a single day of bathing, and some days she determines that I need another. If I get one article of dust in my hair, it is off to the bath I go. Bless her....she needs to chill out a little bit. (((wink)))

I take my morning cup of coffee and bread with peanut butter and sit outside under a tree at a table. The morning air is crisp and the wind blows. It is such confusion considering the sun will melt your shirt right off. Whoever is passing by me in the morning (of the children, or the pastor or the house matron) will stop and sit with me to talk about the morning. Every morning I am told over and over that I was missed overnight. "I woke up in the night thinking of you auntie melissa and just couldn't wait to hug you this morning.". I tell you....it's just too much. I am not ready to die, but I could and I would not feel that my life missed a moment.

I should have warned this will be a long post. Hope you have some caffeine.

One of the most interesting things I have learned here is about the children and their cell phones. They almost all have cell phones that have been acquired used, or traded for other things. But none of them have air time. It is quite a conundrum. The air time here is purchased in advance and it is very expensive. The children do not have money of their own so they are usually bargaining with other children in the neighborhood or the neighbors. The children can go and do some work for a neighbor in exchange for $2 to get some air time. They are constantly bartering with each other "Ah, do you have an SMS sis-tah be'coz I truly need to send a text?" And the reply is often, "ah NO, I do NOT have an SMS for YOU." Oh, the rejection is tragic. But this is daily an issue and it will continue to be. Money makes Zimbabwe go round though Zim seems to have no ferris wheel.

Boaz is 16. He is the one who will not leave my side, and I must admit I have zero complaint about this. My comfort with the kids has come to such a level that they will lay across me in the living room and let me scratch their backs, or they will lay their heads on my shoulders. The morning hugs are powerful enough to sqeeze the last ounce of air from my lungs and leave me gasping. Today was shopping day for me in such that I went to a local place where things are carved by hand and I bought several goods to hopefully do something profitable with when i return home, to send the profits back to the orphanages. Boaz experienced me in a new light. I was not paying attention to the children. I was scouting and thinking and bartering and refusing to buy some things and then getting into heavy discussions with the tradesmen. At one point all of the children were hovering around me and Boaz asked me what is wrong. I told him everyone is too close. The quickly all disappeared, even Boaz. Later in the car on the way home he asked me what had been wrong and I explained nothing was wrong but that I needed space to accomplish my task. He said, "Oh momma auntie I do understand nah but I do still have a wound." Wow, we really had to talk that through and soon he was smiling and so happy to learn that I had not been angry. Wounds are not acceptable, especially not from me and especially not to him. All is well now. What a gift that sweet boy has to come forth and inquire. His sensitivies will serve him well, because he is mostly extremely strong, shrewd and brave. What a nice blend of strength in character, not to mention that he praises Jesus day and night.

These kids have such incredible hope. I am inspired more than ever to raise trillions of dollars to serve these children and thousands of others around the globe. What a mighty God we serve to link us across oceans and continents. These children have been in my heart since before I was born. The sweet Lord deemed it that way. I couldn't praise Him enough if I tried. And I do try.

These children have such incredible potential. Zim has good schools, good colleges and universities but is lacking in the job opportunities afterward. If we can help these children to survive without being returned to the rituals and cruelties of the rural rural areas....if we can help to get them all educated, it is possible they can then take advantage of job opportunities in other countries. The prayer of my heart is that Beautiful Feet Global Outreach will attract enough regular monthly donors, and occasional gift donors to accomplish this work, in the precious name of God. I ask each of you to be reminded that every dollar that comes into BFGO is going straight to the benefit of the children. I am using my own personal money for marketing expenses and no one earns a salary. In addition, I am donating a large chunk of my real estate commissions into the organization as well....so I am not only seeking donors, I am a donor.

God bless you all who read this far. I am sorry for the length. I am almost out of megabytes and almost out of money, so I thought it would be best if I type as much as possibile into a word document and then just cut and paste onto the blog, for the best utilization of my online time. This is why I cannot post pictures today because the time to upload would deplete all that I have left. :-)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Day In Pictures, Tuesday April 19, 2011

I hope you have enjoyed the photos from my day in Zim.  The words about the photos can be found at the Jasper Walls blog.  Please visit there http://www.jasperwalls.wordpress.com/

Thank you.

And Who?

And just who do you impact when you financially support Beautiful Feet Global Outreach?  Who's minds do you equip with knowledge through education?  Who's bellies do you fill?  Who's hope do you increase?  Who's spirits do you open to the word of God and the love of Christ Himself?

Just these.....and many more like them.
 

To learn more about our organization, please visit http://www.beautifulfeetgo.org/  ALSO - please scroll down to see the other post I published today.  Thank you.

More Zim Baby

Sunday in Zim - August 17, 2011

To my dismay, we went to a modern mega church led by white American pastors. I reserved the urge to say "been there done that every week for the past 11 years, but okay". While in Africa I do prefer the rural black African church where the Holy Ghost stomps, shouts and utters Jesus name twenty million times. Where the hairs rise stick straight off my arms from the goose bumps chilled by the same Holy Ghost. I do love me some tribal worship. But alas, not this time.

From the time I arrived until Sunday evening the boys have monopolized my face. They want to know everything so they probe, with permission. I love the boys so much. These teenage boys are so close to being men. In some ways they truly already are, as they work the fields and take long journeys by foot to retrieve this or that, or this and that, or this and that and those and more of these. They are always on the run to fetch something. And they are crafty. They have more skills than they realize, one of those being to monopolize my face. The girls wait to spend time with me and it seems they will wait forever. So at the end of the supper time I invited the girls to come to my room and share time with me without the boys. The boys visibly pouted and mourned. It was a funny sight. I love that they love me so much, but as I have no daughters I truly crave the girl time. Pleased, each girl agreed and thus the night of girl talk began. It almost did not end. I could not believe how much they would open up without the boys hogging the auntie. My my, those girls are something else. What a privilege and honor to be their sounding board, their temporary momma. I still have one solid week here to spend and even so I am already grieving the goodbyes that are scheduled. The thin wall that was standing between me and the girls is now shattered into dust. Goodbye, wall. Hello love.

I told the girls that I love the sound of the early morning sweeping. This morning I awoke to the loudest sounds of sweeping I've heard so far. I suppose they wanted to bless me.

I am blessed.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Just Joy

They begin brushing the carpets at 5 or 6 am.  There is no vacuum cleaner here.  They use handmade straw brooms, very small to hold lightly in on hand and they sweep sweep sweep sweep......every day.  It is a soft rhythmic sound creeping under my door to tell me this is life in Africa.

I wake to no water. Wanting to brush my teeth, but no water.  I improvise.  You don't need to know the details.  I brush with a soft rhythmic sweet void of water reminding me this is life in Africa.

I finally arise and come out of my room to one young girl assigned to be my personal hostess for 2 weeks.  She is intent on not allowing me to do anything for myself.  She locks my room to keep it safe and when I try to enter my locked room, she laughs at me.  Sweet soft rhythmic laughter reminding me this is life in Africa.

I step outdoors to see where everyone is.  They are washing dishes outside from the well water and the boys are washing their clothes, by hand, in a water pail with hand soap.  They do this with smiles and simplicity.  Rhythmic back and forth, in and out washing what precious little they can call their own.  This is life in Africa.

I take a journey in the blessed blue truck, our first gift to the orphanage director, to go into town to get an internet connection.  Wow, this is not life in Africa...but it is.  I ask to buy fruit for the children and I am quickly taken to a market.  But this is not any market.  This is a wild market outside of town in an industrial area where the poorest of this area live.  They hock fruit and potatoes in a farmers market type environment.  Massive amounts of fruits and vegetables.  Same goods, different prices.....they still have not learned marketing in these parts.  I feel like the only white person in the entire country and they all spot me at the same time and begin to call out "lady lady come buy my fruit".  I am accompanied by 2 well abled young men to guard and protect me.  They do this very well.  My sweet Boaz and Pastor Phillip....good company.  Mighty good company.  We choose apples, bananas, cucumbers and oranges.  Loads.  And I want to kick myself in the face for not having my camera.  What a site.  Rhythmic calls and hollars from the salesmen over their fruit.  This is life in Africa.

I return home and share the most lovely evening with Fatima and the kids.  They think I know everything based on all they ask me, and somehow the answers find me and confidently leak from my lips and I can see that the children treasure me.  What a treasure they are.  One lovely young lady followed me to my room to ask if we could talk.  And of course to me this is like chocolate.....divinely sweet.  My day could not be more full of joy.  It is pure.  Just joy.

30 children met me at the airport.  All crammed into a bus for 20, plus all the adults.  This is life in Africa.  There is much to do here, much I will see and get to photograph and share.  I will see the maize harvest and the chicken project.  There is much to rejoice and much still to pray about. School fees are due the 10th of May and we need to raise $4,000 more.  If you have ever considered sharing your pocket with these tender, beautiful, hopeful ones, now is a good time.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Packing Underwear

Normally when I travel to Zim, I take 3 pieces of luggage... 2 checked bags and 1 carryon.  The carryon carries the essentials in the event my luggage is lost.  So far my luggage has only been lost once, and I got it all back eventually.  And one time my luggage was robbed, yes robbed.  I take so much luggage because I am delivering things to the children and to Fatima.  I always just come home with all the bags stuffed into the largest bag, containing just some clothing and toiletries for myself.  This time I will travel with 2 carryon's which will be miserable at points during layovers, but all in all will be okay.  See, the kids need underwear. All 65 of them.  I will be delivering some things they need, as well as several bibles, a cook book, some gifts from a friend of mine, and some clothes, etc.

My phone rang this morning and it was Fatima, the orphanage director.  She asked in a very humbled voice if I could be burdened to bring some underwear for the children because many of them are going without.  I was overjoyed at this request because with all of the food money and school fee money we have been raising for them, there has been no room left over for "gifts".  I'm just happy to know that there is another need that can be met.  The more that we do for them as an organization, the more they can rejoice.  I know that our sweet Lord has connected us for a purpose.  He wants to meet their needs and He wants them to know Him.  Somehow, we just get to be blessedly stuck in the middle of it....and I cannot tell you how much that rocks my socks.  I'm hoping to find some fun, inexpensive small things too, for their delight.

Our focus continues to be raising approx $4,600 more by early May for the next round of school fees.  We cannot lose sight of the ongoing need for food and school.  Food and school.  Food and school.  Food and school.  I cannot stress to anyone really how dire the circumstances are there.  I hope to be able to translate this better while I am there, through pictures and hopefully some video too.  We have merely cleared the first hurdle, but the finish line continues to be far off in the distance.

I continue to be humbled and grateful for the support we have had so far.  Our financial supporters and prayer warriors are angels to us and to the children.  I cannot wait to hear their African screams and whistles as they rejoice over all that I share with them about you.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Eraselet - Bracelets that Erase Pencil - and World Hunger





My friend, Kimberly and her husband Bryan have invented an awesome product and launched a company.  The product is a bracelet that erases.  It is awesome for kids of all ages because the bracelet is stylish and fun, but it doubles as an eraser, therefore providing a useful function even outside of fashion.  The eraselets(R) come in multiple designs ranging from sports packs, animal packs to cute girly designs, and on and on.  But there is something even better about this company and product.... Kim and Bryan have created a division to their company called "Erase World Hunger".  They are contributing 10% of their profits to this division, to then be distributed out to charitable organizations who help feed the hungry.  I am so blessed and honored that Kim & Bryan have chosen Beautiful Feet Global Outreach to be one of its recipients.  Furthermore, very special BFGO Eraselets were made and donated to us to help spread the word for us and for them.

Eraselets can be customed ordered for any organization or fundraiser.  I have known Kimmie for a long time, but what I love most about our relationship today is that we are connected by Christ.  Her life and mine have been radically transformed through our relationships with Christ - and to be able to reconnect in that way has been sweet.  I am so blessed to see Kim's love for the Lord and to be able to serve alongside her in this life.


Thank you Kim, Bryan, Eraselets and Erase World Hunger.  I am so excited about what you are doing.  I'm hopeful that your product will be well received and that together we can feed the hungry.

(In this photo to the right you can see how the bracelet works...when you need to erase you just flip it over to the underside and hook on your thumb...then erase away!)


Please explore to learn more at both:

Eraselets Website

&

Erase World Hunger Website

If you are interested in specifically obtaining a "Beautiful Feet Global Outreach" Eraselet, we will mail you (2) for a minimum donation of $6 to the organization.  You can visit our website and learn how to make donations HERE.