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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.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

School Fees Caught Up - Praise the sweet sweet Mighty Lord!

This past week we have received several donations.  Additionally I had another real estate closing and was able to make another donation from my family.  We are now officially caught up on school fees and have contributed $1,000 toward food, as the current food supply will run out in a couple of weeks.

I am SO thankful for the many people who sent in money this week, as well as to my real estate clients who continue to work with me and/or send me great client referrals.  Every time I sell a house, my family is able to give more, so we are deeply and incredibly thankful for the business opportunities.

I have received a revised figure for the next round of school fees, due in May.  The total is less than I had thought.  We are full of hope that we can raise $4,600 by the beginning of May, and then $4,600 again by September.  We do not have the current level of support to do this, so we continue to look for prayer partners and financial partners.

If you are in the middle Tennessee area and would like to consider working with me the next time you need a Realtor for either selling, purchasing or both, you may learn more about my career HERE.

To learn more about Beautiful Feet Global Outreach, please visit our official website for all info.  You may click HERE to get to the official website.

Thanks to everyone who is on this journey with us.  We are just floored over what God is accomplishing.  I cannot tell you what a joy and honor it is to be walking in faith that He is making Himself known throughout the world.

Matthew 24:14 "And this gospel of the Kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations and then the end will come."