How Orphan Care Saved A Nation

What difference does orphan care make? What difference can you make? How could taking one orphan under your wing really matter in the long run? Well, it mattered in Persia many years ago. In fact, it saved a nation from the evil plans of their enemies.

Man and Child on Tracks

Imagine losing your parents, being torn away from your homeland, and carried into captivity by the enemies of your people. You have nothing. You are young and afraid and feeling lost. You don’t know what to do or where to turn. And then…your cousin shows up. You may or may not know him well. He is older than you, but he is a godly man, and he takes you in as his own child. (Esther 2:7)

If the story stopped there, the comfort and hope Mordecai offered would have been tangible relief to Esther. It would have guided her through the rest of her life and made a difference in every day that she lived. It’s definitely the makings of a good feel-good movie, but that’s not the end of the story.

Mordecai did more than feed and educate his young niece. He brought her up as his daughter. He loved her, trained her, and instilled in her the importance of obedience, responsibility, duty, faith, worship, and courage. Without these things, the story would have been very different.

The fact that Mordecai took Esther in as his own did not change the fact that they were captives. His wisdom in guiding her placed her in a position to prosper within that captivity. His counsel to keep her nationality to herself likely helped her rise to the position of queen. His willingness to expose the plotting of the king’s chamberlains illustrated both his loyalty to the king and his courage to Esther—which she would later emulate. In short, Mordecai’s investment in Esther’s life, set up an orphan to be the means of deliverance for her entire nation.

So I ask again, what difference does it make? It could make all the difference in the world. When I think of children like those I have met in orphanages, children’s homes, foster care, or even in my own church who, like Esther, have faced the fears, struggles and pain of loss, I wonder, “Could it be that God has a plan for them, a plan to bring hope to the world around them?”

The three ministries we support each year through the Green Bean Project are (combined) reaching out to more than 500 children. Not all of those are orphans, but many of them are. Many of those who are not orphans come from destitute homes. The couples leading these ministries have taken these children in as their own to love, guide, instruct, and point to Jesus. Who knows, perhaps, they are raising the next Esther.

Let’s do our part to make a difference.

Click here to participate in this year’s Green Bean Project.

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How a Can of Green Beans Has Reached Around the World

“And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” Mark 16:15

Just as we are to go into our Jerusalem and our Judea, we are to go to the uttermost parts of the earth. (Acts 1:8). The Green Bean Project has allowed FTN to do that through meeting specific needs of three orphan ministries around the world. In fact, that’s the very purpose behind the GBP. When that lady at Walmart had compassion on me and my pitiful can of green beans all those years ago, she had no idea what she was starting. (Watch the video here.)

Meet our First Ministry

“Anju and Preeti came to our children’s home after the big earthquake in 2015. Their mother died in the earthquake when Preeti was just 7 months old. She was 14 months when we got her. We learned about the girls from a Christian lady who had been working with the girls. Their middle sister, Manju, came to us later because she had been staying with their aunt. Now, they are together.

“English is the main medium at our school, Bethel Baptist Academy. This is also the same school that Forbid Them Not helps with books each year through the Green Bean Project. Anju has had to work hard to learn English, but she is determined to learn. Manju has also had to work hard and has been improving. Preeti is fast to learn the songs we sing in devotion time.” — Holly Tamang

International Trailer - Holly and Kids
Anju (13), Manju (10), Preeti (3), and Holly

This ministry needs space to expand. This year, they have turned away 20 children because they had no place for them. The needs among the children in surrounding villages are desperate. We would like to see the Green Bean Project have a part in helping with this expansion.

Meet our Second Ministry

Nine years ago, I found myself in the mountains of a former Soviet republic, surrounded by energetic children, stunning views, and more than just the occasional fly. It didn’t take me long to fall in love with those children, that place, and the missionaries who daily put everything on the line to care for them. I left there almost certain that some day I would be back. That hasn’t happened yet, but this ministry and these children have never left my heart.

Over the last nine years, I have watched them be faithful. Often medical needs arise or issues with guardians or the government. There are constant repairs and upkeep that must be done to the buildings in a part of the world that seems to receives everyone else’s rejected products. The needs are constant. But they have never asked for much when it came time for the Green Bean Project each year.

This year is a little different. They have some very costly repairs that need to be made, and I want very much to see us help them (and all of the ministries) to the best of our ability. Here are a few of the items on their list:

  • Shoes for ALL of the children.
  • Kitchen Repair and remodeling, in particular the sinks and counters.
  • Landscaping and repair in the back yard
  • Playground equipment repair
  • Roof repair.

None of these come cheap, but they are all great needs. Let’s pray (and work and give) together to see what God will do through us.

Meet our Third Ministry

For many of you, the ministry in Kenya may be the most familiar since I’ve traveled there twice. This ministry has grown and grown and grown since I first met the Sangs in 2010. They currently are reaching out to 502 children through three schools and are housing and caring for 28 orphans.

The Sangs have poured themselves into this ministry, and they have done it all without a car. But they have other needs in the ministry as well. Currently they are using a ten-year-old laptop to run these three schools and all the other aspects of their ministry. This is the need they have brought to this year’s Green Bean Project.

 

Let’s walk alongside of these ministries in prayer and giving. Click here to be a part of this years Green Bean Project.

Reaching Our Samaria

BrokenSamaria was not the vacation destination of choice for the Jews. In fact, the Jews had “no dealings with the Samaritans.” (John 4:9) The disdain between the two peoples was longstanding and much of it truly was rooted in the sinful practices in which the Samaritans had engaged over the years. The Jews saw themselves as the superior and holier of the two groups. They wanted nothing to do with their neighbors to the north. And yet in order for Jesus to go from Jerusalem up to Galilee, guess where he had to go? Samaria. He had to pass right through it.

Jesus, however, did more than pass through Samaria. He, the Creator of the universe who truly was holier than the people of the land, stopped and talked with a woman by a well. She was one of those women, the sort that no one wanted to talk to: Unmarried, living with a man she wasn’t married to after a long line of men she had been married to, and most likely regarded by most as a sinner. And yet, Jesus didn’t just have a passing conversation with this woman. No, this conversation and the subsequent events take up forty-two verses. In the end, Jesus and his disciples stayed there for two days! I wonder what His disciples thought of that!

Our Acts 1:8 Samaria may, like the Samaria of the Jesus day, not be a lovely place. It may be a place where most of us have no dealings. And yet, our Savior calls us to go with Him there. Reaching the fatherless, in our culture, often means reaching into situations many of us never want to touch. We don’t want any part of the broken, ugliness of a home torn apart by drugs, abuse, immorality, divorce, incarceration, or abandonment. We don’t want to touch the unclean thing. (2 Cor 6:17)

Have you ever had a problem that you just wanted to ignore? Maybe it was even a big problem like resolving a conflict at work or making some complicated, frustrating home repair. You felt that if you could leave it alone for a day or two, maybe it would go away. Unfortunately, that approach usually makes the problem bigger and more complicated. It’s a little like the video of the woman who has a nail in her forehead. We can talk about it all we want, but until we resolve the problem nothing will change.

In the book of the prophets, the Israelites had a similar problem. They weren’t necessarily doing what God had told them not to do. They weren’t necessarily afflicting the fatherless—they were just ignoring them.

“Thy princes are rebellious, and companions of thieves: every one loveth gifts, and followeth after rewards: they judge not the fatherless, neither doth the cause of the widow come unto them.” Isaiah 1:23

In Deuteronomy, God very clearly told His people that if they afflicted the fatherless, He would kill them with the sword. In Isaiah, God calls them out for neglecting the fatherless. He goes on in verse twenty-seven to tell them that “Zion shall be redeemed with judgment.” But just a few verses before this, He tells them the desire of his heart.

“Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow. Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” Isaiah 1:16-18

Israel had to learn the hard way, but we don’t. Jesus in His concern for the Samaritan woman exemplified the concern, which He wants to see in our lives toward the fatherless and those seeking to raise them. He set the example in the way he cared for the children that surrounded Him during His earthly ministry and His teaching regarding them.

With one word, He paints an amazing picture of what our relationship to these children ought to be. In Matthew 18:5, Jesus said, “And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.” That little word receive has several meanings. Among them are:

  • To take by the hand,
  • To receive into one’s family to bring up and educate,
  • To take upon one’s self, to sustain, bear, endure.

Sounds a little like caring for the fatherless and a lot like love. (1 Cor. 13:7)

Reaching our Samaria, our people with whom we might desire to have no dealings, may not be our idea of a ‘great ministry opportunity,’ but have we forgotten so soon that without the redemptive sacrifice of Christ we too were fatherless? Have we forgotten that when we minister to the ‘least of these’ we are ministering to Christ Himself? And not only that but it is also the form of worship, which He considers pure!

“Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” James 1:27

Reaching the fatherless may require us to step outside of our comfort zone—Scratch that, it will require us to step out of our comfort zone. But that is where we come to know Christ. When we follow His leading, we learn more of His heart—a heart that cares deeply for the fatherless.

Are you reaching your Samaria? Are you allowing compassion to move you? Are you following Christ’s example in this area of life and worship? Are you willing to step out of your comfort zone in order to obey?

Let us support you where you are! Contact us here to find out more about how you can reach out to the fatherless in your community.

Support us where we are! Click here to help support FTN and the Green Bean Project as we walk alongside of other ministries reaching out to the fatherless.

 

The Simplicity of Compassion

Thanksgiving was just around the corner, and for the first time ever I was standing in line at the food bank. I wasn’t there for myself. I was just the driver. Beside me, stood a single mom and her four-year-old son. She had contacted me days earlier in a panic.

“I’m wondering if your church can help me. I need a ride to the food bank to pick up my Thanksgiving box,” she said as soon as I answered the phone. “I just keep getting the run around. No one will help me.”

Simplicity Girl with red hair

We talked for a few minutes. She explained her situation, and I realized this mom didn’t have a car because of a car accident. She just needed a ride. That’s it. How easy is that? So we made the appointment to pick up her Thanksgiving box on the day the food bank was distributing them.

There we stood, waiting in line, getting acquainted, watching the well-oiled system and the energetic volunteers at the food bank. Tina (as we’ll call her) turned in her slip that said she had completed the necessary paperwork and went about filling her boxes. Some of the boxes were prefilled, and she conscientiously removed items she would not use so that others could use them. The process took less than fifteen minutes, but it put food on the table so this little family could eat, not just on Thanksgiving but also beyond the holiday.

As we were loading the car, Tina stopped mid-action and looked at me, her eyes sincere and grateful.

“Thank you,” she said.

“You’re welcome.” I replied, “But it’s not a big deal. That’s what we’re here for.”

She shook her head emphatically. “No, you don’t understand. I called churches all over town, but your church was the only one willing to help a single mom. Thank you.”

My heart sank. How could that be true? Later that week, I started doing a little research. I already knew that 41% of American children are born into fatherless homes. I discovered that in Billings 32% of children are growing up in single-parent homes, roughly 75% of those homes being fatherless. But tears came to my eyes when I discovered that nationwide, only 1% of churches has any type of ministry specifically to single-parent families. How could there be such a vast disparity between the need and the number of those reaching out to meet it?

Often the needs of the fatherless seem overwhelming. We see pictures of droves children with big eyes, empty tummies, and outstretched hands, and we wonder how we will ever meet the need. And then we walk away. Not because we do not care, but because we’re overwhelmed. Meeting those needs, however, doesn’t have to be overwhelming. No, we may not be able to meet every single need, but perhaps we can meet one. One need met, followed by another need met, followed by yet another need met leads to the meeting of many needs—a simple fulfillment of the compassion which moved us in the first place.

Earlier this year, a friend of Forbid Them Not was moved with compassion. A homeschool mom, she considered the amount that it would have cost her if she’d had to buy school supplies for all of her children to attend public school. Then she considered the many families that would struggle to buy everything on their school list. She approached Forbid Them Not about partnering together to help meet that need.

As a result of last year’s Green Bean Project, we had forty pounds of school supplies waiting to be put to use this fall! We’d also been given some beautiful children’s Bibles as well as some coloring books on forgiveness. Between those things, and the donations of individuals and local businesses we were able not only to help ten children with backpacks and school supplies but also to help supplement a third grade class with many students who were not able to get everything on their lists!

Did it take a little effort, organization, and time on our part? Yes! Of course it did! But that simple act made a difference—a lasting difference. You see, I’ve since had reports of the children using their Bibles with excitement. One grandmother thanked me for the coloring book and said, “This is so needed. We will definitely be going through this.”

Maybe you were part of last year’s Green Bean Project and felt that you didn’t do much. Maybe you weren’t sure it would really make that much of a difference. But it did! Not only were we able to provide these school supplies as a result of the GBP, but over the course of the year the funds that went to FTN also helped us to provide a car battery in one situation and groceries in several other situations. Your simple act of compassion made a difference and will continue to.

Earlier this year, we interviewed two single moms to learn from them and gain their perspective on how a ministry like FTN can best walk alongside of them and others in similar situations. When asked, “What do you feel is your greatest asset?” one of the moms gave an answer I will never forget. She said, “God bringing the right people into our lives at the right time.” Each of us could be that person so long as our hearts are attuned to God’s leading.

The answer does not lie in a massive government program. The struggle these families face sits at our door, waiting for us to take action. Compassion isn’t complicated. It’s simple. It is love and sorrow compelling us to move. All we have to do is act.

Will you join us in making a difference? Click the link below to be a part of this year’s Green Bean Project.

 

If you haven’t already, please join us on Facebook to make sure you don’t miss a thing!

 

Back the Green Bean Project Here!

 

What IS the Green Bean Project?

Over the years, I’ve had many people ask me, “Just what is the Green Bean Project?” To be honest, I know when I share about the project everything in my heart tends to well up and a TON of information pours out. To me, it seems simple and straight forward, but sometimes I leave people in a dither. So this is my attempt to simplify all that heart gushing in one clear and concise post.

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The Short Answer:

The Green Bean Project is a fundraiser. That’s the ugly truth. Ministries have needs and often those needs are met by funds. But there’s more to it than that. There’s a vision behind the fundraising.

The Vision:

The vision behind the Green Bean Project is to give God’s people an opportunity to visit the fatherless in their affliction (James 1:27) as we bless ministries working with the fatherless by meeting their specific needs through the love, giving, and action of those who participate in the project.

Why?

Why is this so important? The answer is multi-faceted. Caring for the Fatherless:

Is God’s Command – God’ mentions the fatherless more than 40 times in the Bible. He repeats the commands to visit them, defend them, and judge their cause throughout those passages. He also passes severe judgment upon His people when they neglect the fatherless and the widow. For a complete list of references dealing with the fatherless, click here.

Is a God-ordained form of Worship – In James 1:27, God defines pure religion (the carrying out of our faith, worship) as visiting the fatherless and the widow in their affliction and keeping oneself unspotted from the world. The second one often receives greater attention because it can easily be thrown into a checklist, but visiting the fatherless and the widows is equally important in God’s eyes.

Allows us to demonstrate God’s love and His plan for Redemption – In nearly every reference to adoption in the New Testament, God is speaking of redemption. Caring for the fatherless whether through projects like this one, praying, mentoring, fostering, or adoption provides amazing opportunity for God’s people to become living pictures of redemption.

The Green Bean Project gives us the opportunity to either to take the first steps in caring for the fatherless or to grow in the care we are already giving. It allows us to come alongside of those caring for the fatherless through their ministries in the U.S., Africa, and Asia.

The How

You might be wondering how the Green Bean Project Works. Here’s a quick step-by-step account of how it normally goes:

  1. Each year, the missionaries leading the ministries involved provide a list of specific needs. These needs touch the lives of 500-600 children every year.
  2. When the Green Bean Project launches, usually either October 1st or November 1st, Forbid Them Not shares those needs with you through our website, blog, emails, and social media accounts.
  3. Over the course of the project, we ask you to prayerfully consider what God would have you to do to help meet these needs.
  4. God’s people pray and give.
  5. At then end of the Green Bean Project, December 31st, the total amount received is tallied and we praise the Lord for His wonderful works!
  6. After the New Year, we divide the funds evenly between the ministries. Sometimes, the needed items can be purchased in country. In those situations, the funds are sent to their mission agency and applied to their account. At other times, the items need to be purchased in the States and shipped. In those situations, we do the shopping for the missionaries and then package and ship the purchases. Any remaining funds are then sent to their mission agency and applied to the missionaries’ account.
  7. A Final Update. Often things happened during the period of point number 6 that further display God’s provision. We always try to share those events with you, so you can see the full picture of what God has done—at least as full as we can give you this side of eternity.

 

So, to sum it all up, the Green Bean Project is an opportunity for us to put our faith into action. It’s an opportunity to meet the needs of children in desperate physical need, while at the same time living out for them the love Christ demonstrated to us on the cross. It’s a place to begin, a place to grow, and a place to help ministries to the fatherless thrive.

Participate Here!

2017 Green Bean Project is Here!

Today is the big day! Today launches this year’s Green Bean Project. Some of you may be very familiar with the GBP, while for others this is entirely new. For those of you who are just learning about the project, the GBP started as a result of one woman’s kindness in the midst of holiday shopping mayhem. That moment was an enormous lesson to me about the importance of stepping out of sleeve-brushing distance and right into people’s lives—specifically the lives of the orphan ministries we were working with at the time. Life situations do not always allow us to be right there on the field with a missionary, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t have a relevant part in their work. Each year, the GBP seeks to meet specific needs faced by each of four ministries.

Over the next six weeks, we’ll be sharing more about each of these ministry with you. Acts 1:8 says,

But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”

This year, we’re going to take a look at how the Lord is enabling Forbid Them Not to reach into our Jerusalem, our Judea and Samaria, and the uttermost parts of the Earth, and how you can have a part in that through the Green Bean Project.

For now, we want to invite you to join us for this online event. This is an amazing way for each of us to add to our account as Paul said in Philippians 4:17. To make sure you don’t miss a thing, please join us on Facebook. We’re excited to see how God will work through this year’s Green Bean Project!

LATE ADDITION:

In the final days before the launch of this year’s Green Bean Project, we realized that the needs of each ministry are much bigger this time than any previous year. Please check out this Facebook Live video, which shares a little about those needs and what God has already begun to do.

Please help us spread the word by sharing our blogs with others!

Just Around The Corner

October is quickly coming to an end, which means the Green Bean Project is just around the corner. We’re excited to be sharing a lot of new information with you this year, and to have an opportunity to introduce you to the international ministries in a way we’ve never been able to in the past.

The Green Bean Project will be starting November 1st. For now, we ask that you join us in prayer for the project that:

  1. God would be glorified,
  2. Hearts would be stirred for the need of the fatherless,
  3. God will grow each of these ministries through this project, and
  4. Specific needs of each ministry will be met through this project.

Thank you so much for your prayer and support of Forbid Them Not and the Green Bean Project. We look forward to sharing more with you about how God has used your faithfulness to help us reach the fatherless.