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Tuesday, May 8, 2018

This Summer In Zim & a Giveaway

Hi Friends - thanks for coming here to check up on our latest news and needs from Zim. It means so much to us when you take an extra moment to understand the needs of our Zim kiddos.

We have been serving in Zimbabwe for TEN YEARS! Oh my gosh - that makes my heart race in the best possible way. It has been difficult and stressful but also rewarding and glorious. There will never be enough hallelujahs to adequately praise God for His goodness in connecting us to these children and Fatima. As much as I'd like to believe that BFGO has been a blessing .... what I really know to be true is that this work has enriched my life and expanded my heart in ways that nothing else could have accomplished. And I thank each and every one of you who've partnered with us along the way.

I'm heading to Zim in June with one of my sons - and here is what's currently on the hot list.

Political Climate in Zim and FOOD:
There have been big changes. The 30+ year dictator is no longer president and the current leadership has made some positive changes, but they aren't changes that improve the quality of life for our orphans. Unfortunately - food costs have skyrocketed. Our board member, Elaine, is there now and has reported back some disturbing information to me. Our kiddos have been eating very little and all have lost weight. The food has simply been too expensive. Some days they only eat bread. We need to raise some emergent funds to purchase foods that offer a balanced nutrition - to feed over 100 mouths. While Elaine has been there, she has implemented some changes herself with her missions travel funds. The children now have eggs thanks to our revived chicken project. $5,000 for food to stockpile for the next couple of months.

BFGO's mission from the beginning has always been about education. There is a 93% unemployment rate in Zimbabwe. Only those who can afford education stand a chance, so we are always striving to help provide in this area. We currently have 8 students who've completed high school AND qualify to go on to university. (Due to grades, not everyone qualifies.) Their school fees and books will cost approximately $950 per year. So, for $8,000, we can send 8 kiddos to University. All schools will begin in August, but they need to be registered now to confirm their slots.  $8,000 total.

Over the past couple of years our body of kiddos has grown to over 90. With caregivers, we are feeding, housing and serving over 100 people everyday. The orphanage founder, Fatima, has requested 100 blankets and has received a discounted bulk price offer of $26 per blanket. When it gets cold in Zimbabwe, it's extremely cold. There isn't a heat source pumping warm air into the houses so blankets are all they have. $2,600 total.

My 13-year-old son and I are traveling to Zim in June and are still underfunded. We could use approximately $1,500 more. $1,000 will go to our needs/expenses while we are there. The other $500 is for the emergency that will pop up, because it always does. ;) As a side note - our plane tickets are already purchased. I have personally funded a chunk of those expenses on my own by working extra shifts and by doing a few photography sessions. I've also already funded the side-trip that my son and I are taking. We've had 5 generous supporters so far for the Zim leg of our travel. I'm looking for a few more souls to fund our "go". See link below to give directly to the missions fund. $1,500 goal.

Our immediate grand total goal is $17,100.  

To donate toward Missions Funding, click MISSIONS TRAVEL.

For all other donations, click BFGO GREATEST NEED.

Finally, are you following us on Instagram? You should be! We have an awesome social media dude, Henry, regularly researching and posting news from Zim and about our kiddos. We are trying to build our audience on Instagram and are giving away an iTunes gift card. Please follow us here to learn more about that!

Monday, November 27, 2017

Victorious 2017 & New Beginnings

Here's what is next for Beautiful Feet Global Outreach!

Our 2017 was indeed victorious. Together we SAVED THE BETHEL HOUSE!  Yes, we did. It required blood, sweat and tears (or at least that's how it felt) but it is a done deal. The Bethel House was our largest goal in 9 years and the first huge victory.

Zimbabwe has also realized it's own huge victory. Just 2 weeks ago, the President of Zimbabwe was ousted in a military coup. He had been in power for 37 years. His tactics were cruel and corrupt, deadly and devastating. This could potentially mean great and positive changes for the people of that sweet country. The biggest dream that we could possibly dream would be for the orphans to no longer need BFGO - and I do pray it gets to that point. Zimbabwe could blossom and I'm excited to watch it unfold. Until then we will continue to dig in and press on to bring them aid and relief while the rebirth of a nation takes place.

Our ongoing greatest needs continue to be food and school fees. Many of our oldest kids are now hoping to go on to very affordable universities in Zimbabwe, trade schools and technical academies. And of course our grade-school kiddos are still in need of tuition assistance.

The best way to conquer these financial obstacles is through child sponsorship. We have a ton (seriously a TON) of kiddos without sponsors. The more kiddos sponsored, the more affordable these needs become. It's that simple.

Our website is full of kiddos needing to be sponsored. Please consider selecting a child or reach out to us by email and we can help match you with one. Many of your questions can be answered at but we are always happy to assist you.

We are so excited for 2018!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Save The Bethel House - Orphanage in Zimbabwe

***UPDATE: As of 5/5/2017 we are up to almost $24,500 in funds to "Save the Bethel House".

Inside this house in Zimbabwe live 20 infant/toddler kiddos and 4-6 upper level students. We are in real danger of losing this house - and it is more than a hub for our operations over there - it is the very heartbeat of it all.

"The Bethel House" is the most convenient and in the best shape of all of the houses (4) that are part of our orphanage cluster. It is walking distance to the school that was founded a few years ago by our orphanage director, where her offices are also located. If we lose this house - we also lose the school and the offices. Furthermore - the children of the community lose their school as well - so the loss of this house will have a gross, negative domino effect.

The owner of this house is in a desperate situation and needs to sell it promptly. We've leased it for many years but that option has expired. The owner is only asking $55,000 and it is easily worth $90k - but we must act quickly or it will go to the highest bidder. Our appeal is that you will help us save this house. From the bottom of our hearts - this is so important because we would lose the children back into the social welfare system - and the school. It wouldn't be as simple as just finding another house to rent. It would devastate us on multiple levels.

We've raised $7k so far - that's a tremendous blessing! Historically - it takes BFGO a long time to raise funds for extra projects because we are tiny, unknown and we do not have a marketing budget. We hope you will help us to grow organically. Word of mouth. Share to Social Media. Email your friends. Pick up the phone. I know that together we can do this.

The link to "Save The Bethel House" is here. All donations are 100% tax deductible.

Meanwhile, my prayer is that God is moving His Holy Spirit through each of us. I pray that our faith and hope surrounding this matter will reach farther and wider than our hearts even know to dream. That Heaven would come down and God's Name will be glorified with this provision - and that our orphanage director would be renewed and refreshed, and that the children will know His great love.

In humble service to Him - our great Father,

Melissa Irwin

Some photo updates below:

Elaine and our orphanage director celebrating extra food!

This is my namesake - sweet baby Melissa.

Elaine doing what she does so sweetly - loving on a toddler!

This is Richman - he recently graduated from Bible College! (A BFGO First!)

2 Receipts showing repairs needed for 2 of the 3 vehicles. But the 3rd one isn't working either... 

Celebrating the toddlers achievements!

Our fearless orphanage director, Fatima.

Students from our International School - many of these are also part of our orphanage. The are Head Girls, Head Boys and Prefects. All of excellence!

Thank you for taking a moment to see some of these updated photos. I hope it helps you to gain a feel for who we are serving and some of the sweet things being accomplished.

Monday, September 19, 2016

They Need Food

Dear BFGO Community -

I'm begging for your forgiveness as I have been silent far too long. Life has tossed me a few good excuses, but please know that I am aware that I could have done better at keeping you up to date. This is my effort to jump back in.

BFGO is still moving and shaking, even when I'm silent. We are still serving and ministering in the day-to-day, even though you may not be hearing about it.

*If you would like to skip directly to the immediate needs, please scroll to the bottom.

It has been a hectic year in Zimbabwe. If you care to follow along with the news headlines, I do prefer the BBC application or website for accurate information. There is civil unrest, violent clashes between the people, the military police and government, including bombings and burning down business establishments. It's not good. There is a cash crunch and food shortages, and where commerce is operating, prices have been grossly inflated. It is more difficult than ever to be one of our kiddos over there. And it is nearly impossible to be the orphanage director. Along with running operations of the orphanages and the school, our sweet Fatima has endured tragic loss. Her husband passed away. One of the children died of illness, and just this past week, one of her brothers was murdered and his body was discarded into a river. And somehow she still manages to provide excellent care and direction to the children with the gospel as her first priority.

The children are growing to be oh so big, and babies continue to be registered with us. I think we are up to 18-20 infants and toddlers. I truly wish each one of you could experience living with 20 babies and 5 teenagers in a 3 bedroom house. Or, if that isn't your cup of tea, perhaps you wouldn't mind experiencing 25 teenagers in a 3 bedroom house? Or 22 elementary age? It's bananas.

Our Board Secretary, Elaine, has spent a lot of time in Zimbabwe over the past year and is on her way back again in November. She personally oversaw the training of new caregivers, and she took one of the babies in for eye/neurologic surgery, then stayed with him for several weeks for his recovery. We've recently learned that his surgery was a total success. We truly praise God for His hand in making it all possible, especially for all of the funds donated to cover the expenses and the hands of the gifted surgeon. Little Muna would have a completely different future if it were not for the movement of  hearts stirred to care for him. We are forever grateful for this.

Here are the immediate needs, one of them being quite urgent:

1. The orphanages have enough maize and beans but they are almost completely out of perishables. Because of the volatile economy, we need to make an immediate push to raise funds to stockpile more food. There is an immediate concern that food will not be available to purchase in the very near future (October) because the government is trying to issue a new "fake" currency. The last time this happened, people died from hunger. Unfortunately - I have only learned of this today and only because I reached out to them and asked for an update on the food situation. They are afraid to ask for too much - but in times like these, they need more than we could every give. If I could send them $2k - $4k by the end of September (over and above their monthly support), I do believe it will sustain them for another 3-4 months. Please, please consider donating to this fund immediately, HERE.

2. Our young man, Richman, is nearing the end of his 2 years of Bible School. He will be graduating on December 2nd. He still has outstanding school fees and a graduation fee that need to be paid before the end of October. We are hoping to raise $500 for this. Direct link to support Richman:  HERE

3. This last need isn't urgent, but it is important. I personally am looking for monthly support to cover my missions travel fees and to contribute toward a salary for myself. My goal is to raise at minimum of $1,000 per month and to have that split 70/30 for salary and missions travel expenses. Please consider partnering with me directly, HERE.

Our website: will direct you to all giving and sponsorship opportunities.

Thank you for taking the time to read and catch up. Please know that we are continually grateful for our supporters and that the children are living drastically better lives because of you.

Humbly and gratefully,

Melissa Irwin
Founder / Executive Director

Monday, December 21, 2015

When Cash Makes More Sense Than Clothing

So often ... way too often, a well-meaning line of questioning about BFGO turns sour because the inquisitor wants to know what they can purchase for the kids because they'd prefer to give a tangible object rather than money.  I'd never suggest that this feeling/belief/desire is wrong, but it's often not best.

No two mission trips or charities are the same. Some countries are easier to serve because they are geographically closer, goods are more readily available, ships or planes make multiple daily stops, economies are friendlier (low prices), and multiple other reasons.

I love that people want to send backpacks full of books to Zimbabwe. The heart for this is precious. But that will not ever make sense - and here is why: school supplies are easy to buy in Zimbabwe. Very easy. Some items are more expensive than in the USA but some are cheaper - together it all works out. To ship a SMALL 10 lb box from Franklin, TN to Zimbabwe costs us $150. Then the recipient in Zimbabwe has to pay a customs/import tax. By the time we've paid the fees, the shipping costs far exceed the value of what was in the box.

Almost everything that our Zim babies need can be purchased right there.

When our missionaries travel to Zim, we do cram as much "free stuff" in  our bags as we can. Over the years we have taken dental supplies, clothes, vitamins, medications, books, bibles, computers, printers, etc. Often we have to pay $100 for each additional piece of luggage over the airline limits. If we pay an additional $100 for a box of toothbrushes, we have spent way more than it would have cost to purchase toothbrushes at the Zim market. This is true for most things.

The exceptions to the above are (1) technology (2) medication (3) certain text books.

We cannot send the children Christmas Presents but we can send them each $10 to go shopping for their favorite hair clips, small toys, ball caps, or earbuds.  We cannot send them warm blankets but we can purchase them brand-new $30 each. We cannot send or deliver school supplies, but we can fully supply a child for $20.

Zim has nearly all of the goods but our orphanage partner simply lacks the funds to purchase them. This is straight economics. In a country with a 90% (usually higher) unemployment rate, the sad fact is that for our friends, it is nearly impossible to obtain the needed items. This is why people die for no good reason ... lack of water, lack of medication, lack of shelter. And these reasons go back to the root of why we partnered with them in the first place, even why we formed BFGO. It's so simple... they need money to buy necessities and to pay for school fees, medications and some food items.  And although we haven't shared much about the other details, we are also helping pay the salaries of the caregivers and teachers as well as the rental fees for their various shelters. (They rent 5 houses: 3 orphanage houses, 1 school and the Poultry farm).

During this Christmas season, I know how fun it is to pack boxes for Samaritans Purse, donate coats for the homeless, deliver meals to the shelters and choose an angel off the tree to provide for a vulnerable child. These are beautiful - in fact, stunningly beautiful. My family also has participated in all of these activities. It is so important to give in tangible ways and to teach your children. My kids have had fun in selecting items for those boxes and for those angels. They have gone into homes with me to deliver groceries and we've left in tears. Donating much needed funds is also a beautiful activity and it's impact shouldn't be diminished.

A financial donation online isn't quite as touchy and feely, but for organizations like ours where money does the greatest amount of good for our orphaned kiddos, your donations are almost too impactful to measure. Please consider a financial donation to BFGO during this Christmas season. We are raising money specifically for unpaid rentals and a Christmas Gift for each child - that they will select at a market in Zim next week.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Zim Baby Updates

I was just in Zimbabwe for 2 weeks and captured these cuties! They are adorable and we are honored to have them in our lives! Their needs are costly and we'd love to have a team of financial supporters to help provide their food, formula, diapers, and medical visits.

Baby Elaine

Peace (boy)

Ruva (girl below)

Tadiwa (boy below - he has extra medical needs)

Tafadzwa (boy below)

Baby Kundai (boy below - preemie with extra medical needs).

Tariro (girl below - normally smiling. :) )

Makanaka (girl below)

Munashe (boy below)

Nyasha (boy below - special emotional needs)

These kiddos have a special fund setup through our donation platform. Click HERE if you would like so specifically support their needs each month or for a one-time donation. In the drop down fund menu, please select Zim Babies. Thank you!

** There are many other needs in addition to the babies. If you'd like to help the older children transition to University or give to our greatest need fund, we'd be so grateful for your love, prayers and support.