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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

special letters ~ meet Yvonne

When I was in Zimbabwe last month I asked every one of the children to write a letter to their future sponsor, of course with the hope and prayers that each one of them will indeed have sponsors.  Below is one of those letters... it is actually only page 1 of 2 pages but I am having trouble with my computer today and cannot manage to save page 2 as a jpg file.  Just wanted you to see a sample of a heart and soul living in an orphanage in Zim...this represents a child waiting for you to journey alongside him or her. 
Yvonne and all of the others will need 3 sponsors each to cover their needs for school fees, food, housing and other basic essentials.



Yvonne is an amazing, outgoing, joyful girl!  I love this cute little smirk on her face!

Our sponsorship program will be live soon and available through our website, but if you are interested in signing up to sponsor a child now you may contact me at melissa@beautifulfeetgo.org.  Each child needs 3 sponsors at $25, $30 & $35 per month.  You are welcome to combine 2 amounts or cover all three.  We have divided it up into these amounts to make it easier for more people to participate.
God bless!






Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Look Who's Giddy








I returned back to the States from my 6th trip to Zimbabwe 20 days ago.  As you may recall, one of the BFGO Board Members went with me this time. Together, with all of the children, we had an amazing experience.  Many of you generously contributed to a fund that made it possible for us to take the kids on a 3 day retreat.  Those three days were packed with ministry, high-energy playtime and 3 big beautiful meals per day.  Our ministry teachings were focused on the life of Joseph, although we also explored prosperity from a biblical perspective.  It was such a beautiful retreat and we are so thankful to each and every one of you who made it possible through prayer and giving.

It's difficult not to just completely gush over these beautiful smiles.  Joy amidst their trials doesn't make sense.  I've had people state to me before that the children "look like" they are great and don't need anything.  I'll be honest... that bugs me.  Joy isn't an indicator that "life" is good.  Joy is an indicator that Jesus is good.  These children are filled with the hope of Christ.... more than any other children I have ever met.  They sleep because they believe that they rest in the palm of His hands.  They hope for tomorrow because He has promised to not forsake them.  They love with abandon because they are able to rejoice that Christ sets the captives free.  Oh yes, they have joy!

Michelle (BFGO Board Member) and I were able to have a wonderful, long and thorough meeting with the orphanage director and many of her staff to go over their monthly and annual budgets.  Their very bare bones budget (barely scraping by) would be $10,000 per month.  A better and more realistic budget is $12,000 per month... and even that doesn't take emergencies like truck repairs into account.  As of right now, together with all funds coming in from various sources, they are trying to survive on $6,000 per month.  Basically they rotate what they pay for because they cannot pay for everything.  They are always behind on something...whether it is rents, school fees, utilities, salaries, etc.  We want to be able to make up that shortfall.

The children are giddy!  We shared the vision for the sponsorship program with them during the retreat.  Each one of them has already written a letter to their future sponsors and they are so eager to be chosen... not just for the financial support but primarily for the relationships that can be formed via letters/photos over time.  While I was there in Zim I received emails from two different people who had pledged so sponsor specific children.  When we shared the news with them, those two children were celebrated in monumental ways.  Their were roars and shouts and laughter and praises!!!!!  It was overwhelming and so beautiful.

Beginning next week I will share some of those letters online.  Please consider impacting the life of a child through sponsorship!  Zimbabwe, financially, is the most depleted country on the entire continent of Africa.  There is a 93% unemployment rate.  93%!  This children need help, period.  And it looks like we are the only ones trying.  Help us make this dream a reality for them.

God Bless!
www.beautifulfeetgo.org


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Retreat

Glory to you, O Lord.  You are here.

We are now in our second day of the retreat that many of you helped us pay for.  I knew beforehand that God would surprise us with His presence, but I never could have imagined to what degree.  It feels like we showed up into His personal living room, welcomed with cups of tea, bowls of sugar and buckets of grace.  It doesn't hurt that there is a flower blooming here that smells like it may have been transplanted from Heaven.  Aroma.  Joy in my nose.

Michelle has been made an official auntie.  This took me 3 trips.. it took her 3 days.  I love her anyway... what a blessing she is in this place, not only to the children but to me.  We have been sharing in the leading and teachings.  We've been studying the life of Joseph with the children.  There may be nothing sweeter than to be reminded that at times in life we find ourselves in circumstances we never deserved, and yet, like Joseph, God is always with us. He can favor us in prisons or in palaces.  He can have great plans for us in low rungs.  Our destination is Heaven either way!  Yes, Lord! And in my best Zim impersonation, I'm saying "praise Jesus, hey".

Last night we encountered a spider.  And ants.  Good times.

A sweet one came to me after a talk today and confessed that he/she doesn't feel any reason to live.  The family situation has left a deep wound.  Abandonment hurts.  While we continue to pray for BFGO to be able to do good works among orphanages, can we please remember to pray for the tender hearts of the wounded?

We are beginning the work of collecting data for the Child Sponsorship Program.  The children are eagerly writing letters for the sponsors they hope to have some day.  I'm no longer praying and hoping for God to bring our sponsors for the children.  I am thanking Him for what He has already prepared and planned.  You guys... whoever you are... you are so lucky to have these children in your lives.  If God would send me a windfall.... I'd sponsor them all and not share.  But alas....

Thank you for catching up on our time here in Zim.  It is so much more than I could ever write.

In His Love,
~  melissa irwin
executive director

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Zim Baby - part VI

You win some.  You lose some.  This time, we won.

The biggest challenge Michelle and I faced coming to Zim this time was with our luggage.  We packed valuable and large items (office equipment) to gift to the orphanage organization to help with its management, organization and efficiency.  Technically we carried too much.  There is always a concern when flying the particular route that we flew (intentionally vague)... that items may be stolen when transferred from one plane to the next.  For that reason, we had to carry our valuable items on our person.  With that we were concerned about security and questioning.  Bringing such things into the country can be frowned upon... and if authorities want to they can either confiscate or impose a hefty tax.  We had prayed much in advance for all of these possible negative outcomes to be avoided.  We did have 2 very close calls and I feel certain I made one enemy in transit...however, God graced us with amazing favor.  For some reason, once we landed here, our bags were not checked AT ALL.  Everything made it through.  Glory!  Your prayers for traveling mercies have been a gift.. please continue to pray.  We are winning.

Having Michelle (a new Board Member) here with me this time is an immeasurable gift... and I may never be able to put fully adequate words to the meaning. She is at home here in more ways than one and I thank God for her.  The kids have instantly taken to her and it has been so nice to divide spotlights, to feel that none of the children is being overlooked and untended to.  If there is anything better than one visitor, it is 2.  Thank you, Jesus, for Michelle.  (And if there is anything better than 2, it is 3.  Hint Hint.)

The orphanages are way behind in their expenses.  This is hard to see and hard to know, but hard drives results.  I have never been more determined than now to use the place that God has given me to serve and the voice he has asked me to broadcast to work hard.  Due to finances there is a food shortage here.  The kids have been eating bread for breakfast and porridge for lunch without any meat, vegetables, fruits or dairy.  As you can imagine, they are hungry.  They do not dwell on hunger or complain about it.  Michelle and I purchased a ton of fruit and vegetables and last night we treated the older children (we stay with) to delicious meat pie.  It was such a joy to observe their delight in eating a simple meal.

During the day yesterday we played with the younger children.  They did some dances for us and were treated to some pecans that had blown over onto the property from a neighboring property with pecan trees.  I asked Momma Fatima where the pecans came from and she responded "It is truly a miracle. God has blessed us with a wind that blows pecans to us."  My friends, if that isn't manna then I don't know what is.  I had some pecans too.  Teeth are nutcrackers... did you know?

The girls have been cleaning the carpets with brushes and hot soapy water.  I swear, if I had to clean my carpets that way... well, I'd throw temper tantrums.

The hugs are even tighter in this Part VI.  It is amazing to observe how love swells and continues to grow.  Nothing about this place is foreign to me anymore.  When I arrived, they said... "welcome home".  Home is right where Jesus places you; He calls us to locations to love.  To each of us He has granted a territory and to each He has appointed a position and a task.  Michelle and I are studying the life of Joseph while we are here because we'll be teaching in a few days.  Something impressed on my heart today is that Joseph, by accepting God's will and keeping his posture toward the Lord even in desperate circumstances, was eventually appointed to a position of power.  However, in this power Joseph remained enslaved for quite some time.  In power, he was a prisoner.  Eventually Joseph was appointed to be 2nd in command over all of Egypt.. but his position was not royal.  Joseph didn't cease to be a servant and even when it appeared that Joseph had much as in influence and access, he had been entrusted with a hugely significant amount of responsibility.  He didn't have a relaxed, laid-back, easy going life on any level.  Obedience and walking in God's will doesn't promise us ease... if anything, it appoints for us great responsibility.  We can never be more than 2nd in command... always in service to our great King.

Today we are going to church to worship corporately but everyday we are singing His praises.


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Introducing ~ David M.


His eyes and smile say more about him than I ever could. He will be 8 in December.
David was abandoned at a museum in Zimbabwe when he was a little more than 1 year old.  Someone found him and dropped him off at a hospital where he was determined to be very malnourished, and quite probably near death. In fact, he was so unhealthy that he had to remain in the hospital for 6 months.  About 1 month before his 2nd birthday, David was placed in the orphanage and has been there ever since.  I am grateful that he was too young to remember the trial he went through. If he was so malnourished, I wonder about his momma... maybe she was dying too.  Maybe abandoning him was the only way she knew to possibly preserve his life, in this situation.  Who knows?  But God had a plan for David's life, for David to have this beaming smile and sparkling eyes.

David needs 3 sponsors to cover his monthly needs, including food, education school fees, the cost of housing at the orphanage and other essentials.  Please consider sponsoring him at one of these levels, $25, $30 or $35 per month, and if you can help round up 2 other sponsors for him... well, that is joy.  Our child sponsorship program is going to be launched officially at the beginning of October, but you are welcome to "claim" him now.  Just contact me at melissa @ beautifulfeetgo (dot) com.

**Myself and one of our board members are flying to Zim tomorrow and will be spending time with the kids at the orphanages for 2 weeks.  Please keep us in your prayers as we provide love and ministry to these tender kiddos.  Please pray that we honor God with our service to Him and in His name.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Introducing ~ Caleb


This is sweet Caleb.  Caleb was abandoned at a maternity hospital.  I am unclear about the details but my interpretation of the details is that his mother may have checked him in to be examined.  She apparently gave a false name and address for herself.  She left the baby and never came back. The police investigated the address and no one knew of her.  Caleb has been in the orphanage ever since.  
Caleb is 7 and will be 8 in December.  He is precarious and sneaky... almost just like my own little 7 year old.  Caleb will be starting school soon.  I can't wait to see him next week... he is the wildest (and strongest) little one... I have a feeling that a wrestling match is already in the works.

Please consider sponsoring Caleb!  And please consider finding 2 other friends/family/co-workers, etc. to sponsor him with you.  He needs 3 sponsors to cover all of his needs, at $25, $30 and $35 per month.

God bless and thank you for your support of BFGO.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Zim Babies

I will soon be introducing you individually to these precious ones, but for now just wanted to share some photos.  These are photos I took in December 2011 when I was last in Zim... many more kiddos who will be needing sponsors.  Please plan to follow along with this blog and my personal blog www.bfgomelissa.com as I travel back to Zim from 8/15 - 8/29.  I have such great hope and am sending up many prayers that we will be able to match 3 sponsors to every child before Christmas.  Please help us spread the word.

While you are here, will you please sign up to receive these blog updates via your email so that you don't miss anything?  Thank you and God bless.












Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Introducting ~ Midwin



Her favorite subject in school is Integrated Science.  Age 16.  This is Midwin.  Both of her parents died of HIV by the time she was 8 years old.  Extended family was not able to or willing to afford her care and this is why so many children end up in an orphanage.  She is in Form I (grade 7), so she will have at least 3 more years of school.  Midwin has 3 brothers, (2 full and 1 half) also in the orphanage.

Many children in Africa start school late (if at all) because their families never had the money to get them started.  Or they start . stop . start . stop.  This would explain why Midwin is a bit older.
In about 2 weeks, I will be with these children once again, the sweet Lord willing.  I will be working hard (with help) to pull together a program to make it possible for you to pair up with a child, in support.  I am so excited and filled with hope over the ways that this program can impact lives, not just theirs, but yours too.

Please consider sponsoring a child.  Each child will need 3 sponsors at the 3 following levels per month:  $25, $30 and $35.  I will make it possible for you to communicate with your sponsored child at least twice per year.  Feel free to scroll down through this blog to see our featured children so far.  We haven't listed them all... so there are many more.  But if you see a child here on our blog that you feel you would like to sponsor, please go ahead and reach out to me so we can get that set up for you before the official program launches in October.

God bless and thank you so much.

~melissa irwin ~
executive director

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Introducing ~ Gennette


Gennette - so pretty in pink.
Gennette is getting close to celebrating her 9th birthday!  She and her brother were referred to the orphanage in 2009 when her foster parents passed away.  I do not know anything about her natural family but hope to learn more in August when I see her again.  She is a precious thing... isn't she?  Gennette is quick to smile and one thing I know for sure... she is glue to those 2 girls you see in the background.  They are the best of friends!  I am so excited to think that Gennette may have sponsors someday who can meet her needs every month.  Would you please consider sponsoring her?  What a great opportunity to teach your own child to love and serve from such a young age.  I'm kind of dreaming and hoping that some family with 9-10 year old girls will come along side Gennette and form a lifelong friendship.  That would be such sweetness in Jesus name.

Gennette will need 3 sponsors at the 3 following monthly giving levels:  $25, $30 and $35.  Together at these levels her needs will be met.  Glory!

God bless and thank you for following along with BFGO on this precious journey.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Meet Marlena



Marlena is one of a sibling group that all live in the orphanages.  These children have the same mother and different fathers.  Marlena has never known who her father is.  Her mother runs off for months and even years at a time, often to other countries.  I have been in the room when the momma has called the oldest daughter . . . nothing ever could have prepared me for the joyful squeals that commenced.  "My momma called me!".  Unfortunately, according to the oldest daughter, this only happens about 3 times per year.  Sometime she is in Zim.  Other times, Mozambique.  At other times she is in Botswana.  They haven't seen her since 2010, and that was only for a few hours.  

Before Marlena and her siblings were rescued and brought into the orphanage, they were eating leftovers from a school that they lived near, and none of them were personally attending school.  They lived with their grandmother who sent them into the streets to peddle for money.  Often they were sent in to the streets to "sell" the leftover food scraps, and they themselves were not allowed to eat.  Local leaders became aware of the girls and their needs which resulted in their placement at the orphanage.

I am particularly fond of this precious girl.  Her birthday is 9/22/97.  Marlena's favorite bible verse is Romans 10:17 and her favorite school subject is Math.  She is a little difficult to get to know, but her dimple has drawn me in time and time again.  Often she tries to find a way to be right next to me without giving me the time of day.  It is not uncommon for her to look away when we make eye contact.  I wonder what lives in her broken heart.  But on my last visit... there were times when I would sit on the sofa turned to one side talking to another child and then would discover that Marlena had managed to quietly as a mouse, seat herself next to me with not much more than 1/2 inch of space in between us.  Other times, she would lay her head in my lap and wait for just the right amount of attention... (not too much).  And this girl loves hair... so she has braided mine many times at this point.  She would have me return to the states looking like an African Princess if I would allow it.

Marlena has 3 years of school remaining and needs a sponsor.  If you would like to sponsor Marlena, please contact me.  Our sponsorship program will launch officially in October, although we can get you signed up in advance.  She will need 3 sponsors at the following levels $25, $30 and $35 per month.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Meet ~ Misheck (aka Mr. Charming)



Misheck was born the day before Christmas in 1997.  He is 14.  Misheck has never known his mother as she abandoned him at a young age, so he has been raised by his father, and at time, step-mothers.

For me, Misheck slipped in under the radar last December (2011) while I was in Zim.  He wasn't there... and then he was there, and I wasn't quite sure who he was.  It isn't all that uncommon to have curious kids from the neighborhood to want to get a peek at the white lady staying in their neighborhood... so I really thought he was just a carnival spectator waiting for the white lady to dance... (yes, they love for me to dance!).  He is SO charming and so curious... inquisitive without ceasing.  After he appeared the following day, I finally asked... who is this kid?  To my surprise, he was a new resident of the orphanage.  A youth leader who had really found a tender heart toward Misheck sought care for him at the orphanage.  Misheck still has a dad although the dad has been unable to care for him.

Misheck wasts to be a pilot... and I do truly believe that if we invest into his future, He will soar!  Misheck loves the Lord and proclaims this often.

If you would like to sponsor Misheck, please let me know.  Our sponsorship program will officially launch in October but we can get you set up in a tentative fashion now.  God bless!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Orphan Facts & Fiction

FACT:  There are more than 150 million orphans in the world.


FICTION:  They are all up for adoption.


     Let's just begin here.  I know many families who have adopted or who are in the process of adoption... I love them.  I love their hearts of service and love, especially where the gospels have driven their decisions to lay it all down before the throne, to take a helpless and vulnerable child into their homes and lives to provide them with endless supplies of love.  Every fatherless child dreams of family.  When family shows up... the gospel is coming together in the flesh and it is stunning.  BUT - what you may not realize is that most orphans are not even up for adoption.  For many it is due to government regulations, lack of leadership, etc.  I can't explain it because I don't understand it... but it remains true... most of our world's most destitute orphans aren't "available" even if you want them and try to convince the authorities to allow you to claim them.  It's not happening!  Not anytime soon.  So...


     what about them?


The very last thing that I, as the leader of BFGO, wants to do is to take attention away from adoptable children.  Heck no!  Go get them!  They are waiting for you!!!  But what I do hope to inspire in this position that I'm in... is the courage and the stirred heart for you to also reach out and help the helpless, send love to a child who cannot come to you and to lift up the futures of the ones who, without you, have no future at all.  I ask you to remember those who cannot be adopted.  I ask for you to care for the ones who need the love to come to them, serve them right where they are and provide a better tomorrow for the ones who may be stuck in a dry land.  


     The sad truth is that even most of the adoptable kids are not getting noticed.  There are more than enough Christian families around the world to quickly solve that problem.  If you've ever considered adoption... have no fear.. God has gone before you and He is WITH you.  It is a shame when we allow fear and uncertainty to be our barrier.  I know this because fear has been a blockade for me in many ways, many times.


     Today - would you carve out $10, $25, $35 or $50 bucks a month to share your wealth and improve the life of a child in our BFGO orphanages?  These kiddos cannot be adopted.  In their land, they are viewed as garbage, discards.  We can change their futures by keeping them in school so that at the end of their tenure, they are afforded the same opportunities as the other kids.  Even more than that... with our love and support, their opportunities can be even much greater.  


     Please join with us.  We currently have 65 kids who need 3 sponsors each!  They all need school fees, food, meds, housing fees, and other essentials.  These 3 categories are $25, $30 and $35 per month.  If these amounts do not work in your budget, we gladly accept any other amount $8, $12, $4... whatever you can give which we apply toward the grand total of serving the orphanages.


     Beautiful Feet Global Outreach, Inc. is a 501(c)3 Non-Profit; an orphan care ministry based out of Tennessee, currently serving in the southern region of Africa.  You may learn more at www.beautifulfeetgo.org  and we also offer TONS of info on our facebook page, including financials.  Our sponsorship program will officially launch in October, though you can begin participating now, "unofficially"if you'd like.  Just review the previous featured kiddos and let us know which one is on your heart.


     Sign up here on the blog to receive updates by email.. each week we feature one child from the orphanage because we want you to get to know them and their stories.


    Here are some of our sweet, precious kiddos...






In humble service to our precious Lord,


melissa irwin
executive director & founder





Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Meet Our Money

Today is Tuesday, as you may have noticed.  It is the day that we feature a child of the week, but today is going to be a little bit different.  I have been babying our financial summary for the past few days and I am going to feature it instead.  Why?  BFGO is in great need of more financial partners in order to carry out our mission.  We repeatedly hear that the push back is that (1) we are new (2) our financial statement isn't published (3) we haven't established a reputation yet.  Well, these 3 things are true.

      We are still new.

  •       We were founded in 2010 although I had been serving in Zim since 2008.  
  •       We started fundraising in 2011 so we have one full accounting year under our belts.
  •       We have passed the IRS test and have been granted 501(c)3 status as a charitable non-profit.


      Our financial statements have not been published.

  • We raised less than $50,000 in our first full year, 2011, and were not required by the IRS to do a complete tax return.  We were required to do a 990N postcard.  We did.  It satisfies the IRS but is not really informative at all.  
  • As of TODAY, a full 2012 financial summary has been posted to the BFGO Facebook Page.
  • As of TODAY, copies of 2012 checking & savings account statements for BFGO have been posted to our Facebook page.
  • As of TODAY, copies of every outgoing International wire transfer to our Zim Orphanage Director have been published to our Facebook Page.  
  • The only thing not published are the names of donors and individual amounts.
      We haven't established a reputation yet.
  • This takes time.  The board members and I are dedicated to upholding the highest standards of service, ministry and responsibility with regards to BFGO.  We are all moms, church members, hard-workers and have humbly received the grace of God in salvation through Christ.  We have all given beyond our means, prayed fervently and served humbly.  We know that this work, this organization and its mission are from Christ and belong to Him.  We cannot establish much more of a reputation than that...but we believe over time, watchers will begin to recognize and believe that we are who we say we are... orphan care advocates with the mission of Jesus in our hearts.
So - the child we feature today is this mid-year financial summary below.  Please see our Facebook Page for the pdf documents of our statements and transfer receipts.  WILL YOU PLEASE SHARE THIS AND HELP US FIND OUR DONOR PARTNERS AND PRAYER WARRIORS?  God bless!

***

Click HERE for a link to the Mid-Year Financial Summary


And click HERE to go to the Beautiful Feet Global Outreach, Inc. Facebook Page to find the links to our various statements and wire transfer receipts.  


God bless each of you!!!  


In Christ,


Melissa Irwin
Founder/Executive Director

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Introducing Midwin



I have been captivated by the smile of this child since I first met her in 2008.  Midwin and her two brothers have been living at the orphanage since 2006.  Their parents both passed away of diseases, first their mother in 05 and then their father in 06.  There wasn't anyone who was willing to take care of the children so they were entered into the orphanage.  Midwin was born on May 12, 1998.  Her favorite bible verse is 1 John 4:7  "Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God.  Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God."  Sweet Midwin, she is typically so quiet in my presence.  I'm hoping to peel away some of her layers in August and learn more about who she is.  The 2 photos above are from December 2011.  The 2 below are from April 2011.



If you would like to sponsor Midwin for school fees and essentials, please let me know.  Our sponsorship program (web program) will launch officially in October, however.. we can start you off as a monthly donor now and transition you to the sponsorship program in the fall if you'd like to go ahead and impact this beautiful girl!  God bless!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Crusade for Reality - 200 People Wanted!

I have the opportunity to speak regularly with people who are on a crusade for something... anything.. to bring awareness to the need of those in poverty, including but certainly not limited to orphans.  We all recognize the same thing... it's difficult to get people to listen and to care.  So very difficult.

Last week, my friend Marcia who is also a BFGO board member stated that when she posts a status update or a blog entry about American Idol, she receives hundreds of comments... but when she posts about Beautiful Feet G.O. all she hears are crickets chirping.  It is so sad but so true.

The reality of the condition of most people in America is that they care more about reality tv than about reality itself.  It is a sad state when the public cares far more about engaging in hot topics that don't amount to a hill of beans in the Kingdom of Heaven.

I'm on a crusade for reality... the real kind.  I don't want for people to feel guilty... I want them to just get real and feel true joy for it, be blessed by it and be transformed for it.  Let's have our guilty pleasures but let us not place them above reality.  At the end of the day, are we helping anyone?  At the end of the day, are we serving God?  At the end of the day... are we thankful for His abundant grace and mercies lavishly poured upon us minute by minute?  At the end of the day, are we on a crusade for reality?

Reality that people are lost, many are hungry and countless numbers lack any ounce of hope. Reality that God, through His word, has called us to serve the poor, feed the hungry and to care for the orphans and widows.

BFGO is in search of more friends who really understand this principle, who want to partner with us to greatly and positively impact the lives of orphans.  We are not trying to be the most well known organization and we are not in competition to reach the most children or to be the "most" in any way.  We know that there are 200 people out there who care enough to support our Zim orphanages.. we just need help connecting with them so that we can continue to carry out the work that God has called us to do.

We need 200 people to sponsor a child in October.  Only 200 people out of 7 billion in the world.  We only need 200 sponsors!  This is 3 sponsors for each child (due to high cost of living in Zim)... to pay for school fees and all of the essentials (housing, food, medications, teachers, school supplies, etc).  Those sponsorship levels will be $25 $30 and $35.  (Each child needs one sponsor at each level for a total of $90 per month).  In addition, BFGO needs monthly donors at lower amounts to help fill in the gaps, cover the unexpected expenses that come up every month and to keep our program running.  For all donors who want to participate but cannot swing $25, $30 or $35... we deeply appreciate recurring monthly donations at any amount... you can literally set up for $5, $8, $11, $19 or whatever!

For the record, there are not any paid employees of BFGO and there will not be any salaried or hourly employees of BFGO until donations exceed what Zim needs and we find ourselves in a position of growth.  Then and only then will salary be considered and only for the purpose of growing the organization.  


Are you one of our 200?  If you are ready to join us today, we greet you with a mighty Howdy and Welcome in the Lord's precious name!!!!!  We are featuring one child per week here on the blog so that you can begin to get to know them.  We'd love for you to join us now as a donor or at the least, please select a child in October when our "official" sponsorship program begins.  You will be able to communicate with your child at least twice per year via letters.  You will also receive a photo and it is also the goal to have you receive a video greeting from your sponsored child once per year.  Please help us spread the word... RETWEET this post, post it to your facebook.  We'll love you and be so grateful for your prayers and your willingness to share.  No crickets please... we need megaphones!  


God bless!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A Squeeze For Sweet Ruth

This is Ruth. 




Ruth was born on Aug. 25, 2002.  Ruth may have missed school in her early years due to lack of finances within her family because she has just recently completed grade 1.  While I am not certain of how long Ruth has been at the orphanage, it has been confirmed for me that her mother died and that someone drove Ruth to the center of the city and abandoned her there.  Ruth is precious and sweet.  The thing that stands out in my mind about her is that she is a bit shorter than the other kids her age but twice as solid.  Every time I hug her and go to lift her off the ground, I'm reminded of how powerful her little body feels.  I can barely hold her.  She's heavy.  I wonder if she's carrying all of that heaviness in her heart or in her memory.  These abandonment's really break my heart.

Abandonment is a common practice and a theme that you might begin to recognize as we continue to feature a different child every week.  I am sure that many of our readers have traveled and served in 3rd world countries but to those of you who may not have had that experience yet, it is truly eye opening.  So many countries in Africa have very small concentrated areas of wealth while the vast majority have nothing.  Most governments are not "for the people" but for the concentrated groups of the wealthy and they are operated like kingdoms instead of governments.  This sets up little abandoned sweethearts like Ruth to suffer; not having anything for today or for the scope of her tomorrows. Unfortunately the flaws are not likely to get worked out in Ruth's lifetime.  Mommas will continue to die of Aids and nearby acquaintances will continue to take orphaned kids and drop them off in the center of the city to wait for the trash collectors to figure out what to do with them.

I recently came across two sets of statistics about this country...(Zim.bab.we).  Between data provided by both Unicef and CIA it seems that there are between 1.5 - 2 million orphans in this country.  Keep in mind that this country is smaller than Texas.  Only 2% of these children have a safe place to stay and the majority are not receiving an education.  While I do not know what God has planned for their futures, I know that He has called us to make it broader, wider, deeper and more hopeful.  He has asked us to sew into the least of these by giving up the most of ourselves, for Him.

Thank you so much to all who do that with and for BFGO.  If I could pick up each one of you and squeeze you I would.  

Here I am squeezing Ruth...

Ruth needs an education sponsor and an essentials sponsor.  
Please consider going to bat for sweet Ruth.

God bless all,
melissa irwin
executive director

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

I'll Be Honest...

I'm not a big shopper.  In fact, I really strongly dislike shopping.  There is possibly once exception to this statement... in that I love antique stores or unique stores with artsy things. The last "thing" that I purchased in a store in which I enjoyed shopping was a $30 bench made by an Amish man out of reclaimed barnwood.  But other than that, I don't enjoy shopping.

When my 2nd and 3rd boys were born, everything was different from when my oldest son (now 23) was born.  I was able to shop online for everything from diapers to formula, at good prices and often with free delivery.  I practially stopped going IRL shopping altogether.  For a while there was even a grocer in our town that delivered and I used their services for about a year.  The only time I go shopping in actual stores is if I'm needing something that I truly should inspect with my eyes before I purchase.

All of this to say that the internet has revolutionized the way I shop and probably the way most of us shop.  I'm going to keep preaching this next part because I cannot begin to stress how much it will serve the Kingdom if we will just take one extra step and switch our shopping habits just a smidge.  And I'll start by sharing my own real life examples!

Our family doesn't really have disposable income.  So when we do shop online it is usually because we really need something, with a few exceptions.

Our needs recently:
1.  school clothes for Shawn
2.  Summer shirts for Shawn
3.  Work shoes for hubs
4.  New shades for our door that had to be replaced due to storm damage
5.  Mother's Day gift.
6.  Father's Day gift.

We were able to purchase every one of the above either from EXACTLY the store we wanted them or exceptionally equal or better stores that we had never even heard of before... by using the BFGO Lambshops shopping launch site.

Recent wants:
1.  Books
2.  2 nights hotel stay in Gulf Shores

We were able to purchase the above also through Lambshops.  So far, we have raised almost $50 for Beautiful Feet Global Outreach just by doing it this way.  No, it didn't cost us an extra $50... it didn't even cost us an extra penny...   we simply earned $ for BFGO because we went through Lambshops and those retailers  (crews for shoes, amazon, hotels combined, blinds . com, etc.) were graciously willing to "give back".

Can you imagine the kind of impact this would make if hundreds or thousands of people would jump on board?  You can find furniture, high end gadgets, electronics, jewelry, cosmetics, high-end clothing, etc.  The lists are endless.  There are plenty of bargain sites too, like Dollar General.  Need vitamins or supplements... you can find those too.  PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE start doing your online shopping through our site.  It will make a huge difference in our orphan care ministry!

One of our donors recently purchased a mattress!  Seriously, people... revolutionary!

God bless!
https://beautifulfeetgo.lambshops.com




Tuesday, June 12, 2012

This is Jackson....

 **Update** - Jackson's photo did not display properly when first posted.


This is Jackson.




Jackson is one of three siblings who were rescued and brought to the orphanage.  They arrived in 2009.  Their parents both passed away of HIV/Aids.  Jackson is 10.  DOB 2/10/2002.

I can't wait to see Jackson in August.  He is a mysterious one... can't you tell?  He seems to wear the expression of hard life on his young face.  I've been staring at his photo for 10 minutes and it has truly drawn me in.  Who will he grow up to be?  Will he grow up at all?  I pray in his heart that he knows he is loved.

Jackson needs a sponsor.  His school fees at this age and level cost $110 per session, or $330 per year.  Would you please consider sponsoring Jackson?  He also needs a sponsor for essentials.

Jackson is in the photo above at far right looking straight at the camera.  What a smile!

God bless.

melissa irwin
executive director
beautiful feet global outreach, inc.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Child of the Week - Meet "Pretty



I'd love to know a lot more about this tender child than I do.  She has never shared a single intimate detail of her life with me.  Quiet.  Wordless.  Guarded heart.  Even her hugs for me are quick and loose, letting go before she truly latches on.  But she is pretty.  "Pretty".

Details come to me from leadership.  This is all I may ever know.  Pretty was abandoned in the city of Harare.  A relative left her in a busy district and claimed that she was going to guy buy some food and other essentials and would return soon.  She never returned.  A good samaritan found her and took her to the police station to seek safety.  The police took her to the hospital for a medical checkup and soon she was accepted at the orphanage in Zim.  She hasn't been there much more than a year, I believe.

Pretty was born on July 15, 2000 - so she is 11, very soon to be 12 years old.  Her favorite bible verse is John 3:16 (yes, Lord).  Her favorite subject in school is English.

Pretty needs a sponsor for school fees and also for essentials.  We will officially launch our sponsorship program in the fall but please don't hesitate to contact me here if you would like to go ahead and sign up for Pretty.

God bless!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Child of the Week - Tadiwa



This is our beautiful child of the week.  Her name is Tadiwa.  She is incredibly special to me for reasons I might not be able to explain, because at the heart of me I'm not totally sure.  She is the least verbal child that I've met at the orphanages.  I'm not clear as to whether she can or cannot speak as she has had some developmental challenges.  I have seen first hand that she understands the language of love... her heart bounces forth from those beautiful eyes.  She loves hugs, without a doubt.  She regularly tries to sneak one from me... and you know what I do... I give her all the hugs she wants.

Tadiwa is almost 6 years old and has been at the orphanage since she was 3.  Her father died and the whereabouts of her mother have been unknown since Tadiwa was about 1 or 2 years old.  This beautiful girl has escaped some horrific attempts to harm her, but her time in the orphanage seems to have calmed and eased her once dark memories.  This second photo of her with a wide open smile... this is how I know her.  God bless this precious child.

A sponsorship will be available for Tadiwa in the fall of this year.  Please consider providing for her school fees and others costs to cover her care.  She is a very special treasure!

God bless you all!

With Hope in Christ,

Melissa Irwin
Founder / Executive Director

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Child of the Week - Deborah

~  Deborah  ~



My heart skips a beat every time I see this precious angel face.  Isn't she just stunning in every way?  Deborah is 3 1/2.  Her birthday is November 13, 2008.  Deborah came into the orphanage when she was just 2 weeks old.  She had been abandoned by her mother in a valley soon after her delivery.  She was discovered the next morning by students who were walking to school because they heard a baby crying.  The baby's umbilical cord was still uncut and the baby was still covered in blood. The police were notified and they took this sweet beautiful baby girl to a hospital where she was placed in an incubator for two weeks and then was taken into care by the orphanage where she has effectively lived her whole life.  She is a precious bundle and always carries the warmth that you see above.  I love to squeeze her and kiss those precious cheeks.  

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Child of the Week - Beauty

~  Beauty  ~


This beautiful girl in the orange shirt is named, Beauty.  Yes, most of the girls at this age range have very short hair.  It is a school requirement.  Beauty was born April 14, 2004 which makes her 8 years old.  Beauty was abandoned when she was 2 years old.  Her mother had passed away and no one in her family would agree to care for her so they abandoned her near a hospital.  Beauty stayed at that hospital for 3 months until she was taken by the social welfare department.  The department worker contacted Fatima, our fearless orphanage director and so became a part of the orphanage immediately.  Beauty has been in the orphanage for a little more than 5 years.  When asked what she wants to be when she grows up, she says she'd like to be a nurse.  I am not sure what her birth name was as it is very common for the children to receive a new name when they are rescued.  It is symbolic in making a new and better life.  Isn't she a beauty? 

I took this photograph in December 2011.  This expression that you see on her face is the one I most regularly see.  I think she is still trying to figure me out.  She is shy toward me but as she gets a little older I believe that will change!  Beauty will be a part of the sponsorship program we are launching in the 4th quarter of this year.  Stay tuned.  If you have any messages or questions for Beauty, please post them here and I will exchange them with our sweet Fatima and try to get you a response soon.


Beauty is almost smiling in the photo above.  

To make a donation or to become a regular monthly partner with Beautiful Feet Global Outreach, please visit our website.  Thank you!  www.beautifulfeetgo.org 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

3,2,1... ACTION!

video

Howdy!  I hope you enjoyed the video update.  Honestly, it made me nervous but it sure felt personal and that is what I want.  Next week I'll post a video about our tax return.  Seriously y'all are gonna need some popcorn and your favorite beverage because it's gonna be good!

Don't forget to subscribe to the blog post updates.  Also you can follow us on twitter and pinterest both at @bfgomelissa.  And please find us on Facebook also.  It's easy... just search Beautiful Feet Global Outreach, and BAM, there we'll be.

Love to each of you in the precious name of Jesus!

Melissa Irwin
Founder ~ Executive Director

Friday, May 11, 2012

EXCITING NEWS!

Friends!  I'm beside myself with joy.  I don't even really have good news, I'm just feeling an overall sense of calm and knowing that God is in control.  He is at work and I'm anticipating His glory like never before!

Here is what I do know!  BFGO is going to increase and improve communication with our community of donors, prayer warriors and friends.  Be on the lookout for a more efficient and informative blog.  Very soon we will implement regular updates to include:

  • BFGO financial statements
  • Child spotlights - yes, we'll be doing feature stories on the orphans
  • adoption stories
  • Down syndrome adoption stories
  • Lambshops - item of the week  (https://beautifulfeetgo.lambshops.com)
  • EXACTLY how monthly donations are spent
  • stories of faith and inspiration
We are going to establish a Facebook group that will be completely private.  This group will be only for donors and prayer warriors.  It will be a place for us to share sensitive information that we cannot post on the blog or blast in email newsletters because we'll have to know exactly who our audience is.  Please email me at melissa@beautifulfeetgo(dot)org if you want to be invited into that group.  You'll need to provide me with your facebook information as well!

We are partnering with some bloggers to do some fantastic giveaways including jasper and t-shirts!  You'll find out about those here at this blog, so I'm requesting that you sign up for the automatic email feed.

And finally, my most exciting announcement...  in August when I return to Zim I'll be organizing a sponsorship program.  There will be at least 3 ways to get involved.  We will have programs for (1) school fees (2) Staff sponsorship (zim staff)  (3) Project sponsorship.  **We will begin offering a correspondence program between the children, staff and donors.  I could not be more excited about this!  You'll get to bond through correspondence with a Zim orphan or caretaker.  

PRAY WITH US AND FOR US.  GOD IS MOVING MIGHTILY.  WE KNOW IT AND WE FEEL IT.  May God bless each of you beyond your wildest imaginations!  

Monday, May 7, 2012

Yield

**(starting off with a note of praise)  Last week I received an email from our warrior leader in Zimbabwe giving us reason to rejoice.  It is such a sweet experience to get to rejoice from time to time although the daily struggles are still very  present.  BFGO funded the maize crop.  You might recall that we provided funds to purchase seed and fertilizer, and to hire additional help to plant the crops, last August.  The crop was harvested a couple of weeks ago and it has been determined that there is enough to feed the orphanages for a year (Sudza - their staple food) with a little left over to sell.  Praise Jesus!  The amount left over to sell isn't much, but "every little bit helps"... the mantra we will never stop repeating!  So, please rejoice with us!  Planting and praying has yielded a sufficient harvest.  Amen to that!

I have been moved this morning in my quiet time to think about this word, "yield".  This word often causes me a great deal of stress.  14 or so years ago I entered the sector of financial services.  I served in retirement planning, wealth management and trust administration.  It was all about "yield".  Everyone wanted a hefty return on their investment, a strong yield.  Of course, we all want that, even in ways that have nothing to do with finances.  I want to yield children with strong character.  We want to yield praise and recognition for the work we do.  At the core of each of us, we want to yield something.  And then we want more.

My pastor, Pete Wilson, of Cross Point Church has been leading us through a series based on his new book "Empty Promises".  I'm halfway through the book so far and loving it.  Pete addresses that we continually fall for the lie that something earthly will fulfill us when in fact, only God can fulfill us and give us our needs and even satisfy our wants.  I'm beginning to look at it this way, in this life we will only be satisfied with what we "yield" in Christ, through His Spirit.  In Christ we yield hope, peace, joy, love and all other "fruits of the Spirit".  There is no greater return than what the Spirit produces in us and through us for the harvest of His Kingdom.

So, where does this leave BFGO?  As the leader of this organization there is much that I want to see yielded through our sacrificial efforts.  I want to be able to testify to more food, more school fees, more hearts of orphans surrendered to Christ, more encouragement to our Orphanage Director in Zim, more awareness about orphans who are not up for adoption, more support for missionaries, more gifts of adoption grants given to those on the adoption journey...   more for them.  More.  For them.

This week I was traveling on an interstate that is under construction.  I was shocked to have to learn in the moment, without warning, that the "on ramp" had been shifted considerably and it no longer "merged" into the traffic.  (Major death trap in my opinion!!)  I was on this on-ramp and had to slam on my brakes and completely "yield" to the traffic instead.  In this case I had to come to a dead stop and wait until a considerable window of visibility opened up for me to sneak into the pack.  When the opportunity came up for me, since I was starting from 0 (mph) I had to gun it, just for my survival and for those around me.  I feel like that is where we are with BFGO.  We have been so blessed to reach our peer group in a grass roots effort, but unless we gun it now, we are probably going to die.  Why?  Because the Zim orphanages need about double our current support just to stay afloat, and we believe that God has called us to do that.  We believe that He is using BFGO for this provision from Him.  We have to ramp it up.  He is looking for our faith, hope and obedience to increase so that He can yield a return of abundance, for His glory.

Could you help us gun it?  We are currently raising about $25,000 per year for the Zim kiddos and we need to raise $50,000 just for them.  Just to cover their basic needs ranging from school fees, food, house rentals, staff salaries, clinic visits, crop expenses, the chicken project, the peanut butter project, etc.  If you join with BFGO as a monthly partner and share about our ministry, it will happen.  You can set your monthly giving at any amount you choose.  Will you blog about us, tweet us, like us on facebook, share us with your "in real life" networks?  This is the point at which God has indicated that we reach out further, that we proclaim His precious name louder, that we yield to Him and yield in His name.  We will.  Will you?

Donations can be set up at www.beautifulfeetgo.org.   And please consider buying a copy of "Empty Promises" by Pete Wilson by using our BFGO Lambshops site.  To make the purchase, click HERE and then search Barnes & Noble.  From there, search "Pete Wilson" where you can also pick up a copy of his first book, "Plan B".  By the way, the Empty Promises series at Cross Point has been awesome.  You can find and listen to the services here.  **Every purchase made through our Lambshops site earns free money for BFGO.  You can go through us for all of your shopping needs.

God bless!  As always, please let me know if you have any questions.

In Christ,

Melissa Irwin
Executive Director




Tuesday, April 17, 2012

T-Shirts $19 OR $23

Hey friends of BFGO!  I'm so excited to share that we now have some sweet t-shirts that you can proudly wear to display your support or fondness for BFGO and our mission!  We've got tons of t-shirts and we are making them available to you!  For a minimum donation of $19 we will happily send you a t-shirt.  If you need to have it shipped to you, we'd be so thankful if you would please pitch in a couple of dollars to cover shipping too... so for that please make it $23.

You will need to go to our main website and click on "donate".  We have a new donation platform that is more effecient and less costly than paypal.  You'll need to register there and then submit a donation to the "greatest need" category.  When we receive donations in the amount of $19 or $23, we will know it is for a t-shirt and someone will contact you to make the arrangement to get it to you!

In Unisex style soft shirt - please indicate S, M, L or XL.  The photographs you see below are the unisex shirt!  We also have a ladies fit which looks EXACTLY the same but is more fitted to a female figure.  We have these in sizes S, M & L - but be informed... these shirts run small!  If you typically wear a medium, I would order a Large in the ladies fitted T.  If you typically wear a large, I would order a unisex shirt instead.

This is the BACK of our t-shirts!
This LOGO is the FRONT of our t-shirts!




Front/Left - Back/Right

Awesome, huh?  C'mon peeps!  Proceeds from the shirts will help pay for school fees for 60 children in Zim, due in May.  Please also help us spread the word!  THANKS TO MARK MABRY FOR THE T-SHIRT DESIGN AND TO ARENA IMPRINTS FOR THE PRINTING SERVICES AND THE ADDITIONAL SHIRTS THEY TOSSED IN AT NO EXTRA CHARGE!  Please ORDER HERE! by clicking the "donate" button.