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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 can't take full responsibility for them".  Well, they don't have mothers and God paired me with 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


  1. i'm already praying for this trip & will be there with you in spirit. please say hello to fatima, pastor philip & all the children.

  2. I'm so proud of you! Praying for you, Fatima, and the children. Special prayers out to the ones who are graduating this month. Must be scary for them to take the next step.