Learning and Praying Together

Post Theme: Learning and Praying Together – Ministry Update, March 2018

And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, and said…
And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.
…Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven. For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost. …Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.”

Matthew 18:2,5, 10,11,14

 

Twenty percent of children who age out of foster care become homeless immediately. Only fifty percent of the children aging out will be gainfully employed by age twenty-four. Seventy percent of the girls will become pregnant before they are twenty-one. Sixty percent of the boys will be convicted of a crime. Fewer than three percent of these children will ever, at any time in their life, earn a college degree. A quarter of them won’t even finish high school.

Holiday Trailer - sergey-fediv-74227

Please Pray With Us

Three weeks ago, I met with the director of the local Foster Care Independence Program (FCIP) to see how we could get involved. To my surprise, the meeting started with “I didn’t want to cancel this meeting. In fact, I was told not to cancel this meeting because we’re still trying to network, but—our center is closing.”

I stared back with mouth hanging open. The center that ran this program was a vital part of assisting at risk children and families in Yellowstone County and beyond. They hosted everything from the FCIP to the program that provides forensic testing for children from sexually abusive situations. This closure leaves an enormous hole. As of Friday, they still had not found a new host for this program to complete the current term. (Providers bid on it each year.)

We are praying for a more permanent, Biblically based solution for the children in our area and are asking the Lord to show us what our part will be. As much as we want to fix things today, we know this will be a long process. Looking at the needs (both those that were being met by the FCIP program and many serious needs that were not being met), we know whatever lies ahead will be an enormous undertaking. But with God nothing shall be impossible.

Will you pray with us? Will you consider getting involved as things come together? This is not something that one or two people can do. We WILL need help. But it is an amazing opportunity to see God magnify Himself and show Himself strong not only on our behalf but especially for these children.

 

Learning Together

It may surprise you to find out that we pray over what we post to Facebook, but it’s true. We want to provide inspiration and helpful information along your journey in ministering to the fatherless. This month, the Lord has led us to a series of blogs entitled What the Bible Says About the Fatherless. It is a lengthy series, packed full of information. Starting today, we will be sharing one of these blogs each week.

We would like to invite you not only to read and learn through these blogs but also to share your thoughts, ask questions, and invite others to join us on this journey. We’ll be asking the group specific questions to help all of us think more about the needs of the fatherless in our communities and sharing the Bible passages that go with the blog throughout each week. We’ll be doing this in our Facebook group. So if you haven’t joined, now is a great time to do so!

Click here to read the first blog in the series.

 

One Last Thing…

Forbid Them Not is now set up as a non-profit on Facebook. This means you can make donations directly to FTN through our Facebook Page. You can also select us for a fundraiser for special events such as birthdays, holidays, Orphan Sunday, or just because you love the fatherless. You can check our page out here.

Thank you for your prayer and support. You are a huge part of our team!

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When God Show Himself Strong

2018 is off and running! It seems time moves faster every day. This year, things got off to an unexpected start at FTN. While it certainly wasn’t without its stresses, it has been a joy to see God show Himself Strong.
God Shows Himself Strong Verse
Image Source: pablo.buffer.com
In January, we received word that StateFund would be conducting a standard, end-of-the-first-year audit. The following week, we received an invoice requiring additional premium payments, which would more than double our total annual premium. The required amount would wipe out our general fund. In addition to this, we discovered that we had been given incorrect information regarding classifications when the account was set up. As a result, they were going to lump everything under the classification with the highest premium rate.
We began praying and making phone calls. We spent much of January gathering the information required for the audit, speaking with people at StateFund about the additional premium, and waiting for answers. The situation felt almost paralyzing. If the premium was allowed to stand, we would have nothing left on which to operate! We were already facing another, unrelated decision, which required a step of faith regarding finances. At times, it seemed like the audit and premium change could put us under financially.
By February 2, we hadn’t received any new word on whether we still owed the additional premium, which was due the following week. We also hadn’t heard anything about the audit. I called StateFund, and we learned that the audit had just finalized the previous day. The account had been set up incorrectly from the beginning! The data we submitted during the audit was sufficient to help them reclassify the account. The issue has been resolved and the additional premium was removed from the account! They have corrected the classification errors!
God is good! It is amazing to watch His hand at work. We don’t always understand why certain things happen, or why we face the stresses and obstacles that seem to hinder the work. But even in these things, God is seeking to show Himself strong on our behalf and to prove Himself to any who are watching!
Are you watching? What has God done in your life and ministry to show Himself strong? We would love to hear about it so that we can rejoice with you!
We ask your continued prayer as we look toward this new year and all that the Lord has in store for FTN. Some new doors of opportunity may be opening for ministry with the fatherless. We look forward to sharing them as the Lord shows more of His plan in these areas.
 

2017 Green Bean Project Report

Green Beans in Basket text

Year in Review

It’s that time of year when we step back and look at all God has done while, at the same time, looking forward to what He is about to do. Last year, was a busy year at Forbid Them Not, starting in March with the Forum on Fatherlessness. We are so grateful to all who participated. What a special day!

Over the summer months, we held the Growing Together campaign. The intent of the campaign was to spread the word about both the fatherless and FTN, to encourage others to grow in their outreach to the fatherless, and to grow our online community as we came closer to the Green Bean Project. We saw several people glean from this time. The campaign also resulted in the development of helpful new materials on reaching the fatherless. We hope to compile these materials into a booklet this year.

In the fall, a friend of the ministry suggested working together to provide backpacks and school supplies for fatherless children in our area. Thanks to her initiative, supplies donated through last year’s Green Bean Project, and supplies and gifts from individuals, we were able to provide backpacks for 10 children in Yellowstone and Carbon Counties. Each backpack contained supplies per the lists from the children’s schools as well as Bibles and Bible-based coloring books. What a blessing to meet these special needs!

As Christmas rolled around, Fellowship Baptist Church in Cheyenne, WY contacted us about providing Christmas gifts for the children. Through their gifts and the gifts of individuals from several churches in the Billings area, we were able to provide Christmas bags for 11 children. We are so grateful to all who participated in this! It was a huge blessing both to the children and their moms!

Throughout the year, the Lord has allowed us to assist individual fatherless families as well. This includes a family from my own church who took in a homeless teen. FTN was able to help with groceries while they sought a safe, permanent place for this girl.

We have seen God do amazing things in 2017 and are looking forward to what He has in store for 2018.

Green Bean Report

Now, for what we’ve all been waiting for! The Green Bean Project report! This year’s Green Bean Project came with some overwhelming needs. Needs that brought me to tears on more than one occasion. We cannot cover those needs entirely. But, this year our total income for the project was the highest EVER. We finished the project at $2700! This means we will be able to send $675 to each ministry. We are praising the Lord and thank each and every one of you who prayed and participated!

It’s hard to believe we are nearly halfway through the first month of 2018. While we have done some praying and planning for the months ahead, only God truly knows what this year will hold. We ask for your prayer as we look into new areas of ministry that have recently come to our attention. Please pray for God’s guidance, protection, and provision. Most of all, we want to magnify and glorify Him through all we do!
May the Lord richly bless you in this new year!
 

 

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!

Why We’re Moving the Green Bean Project and What to Expect

Fall is certainly here! In fact, I’ve already seen snow. How about you?

The last three months of the year are some of my favorites. In our family, in addition to all of the usual holidays we also have multiple birthdays and anniversaries in October and November, and of course the Green Bean Project!

Beans Extracted

Normally, we would be announcing the start of the Green Bean Project on October 1st, but this year, with everything else that has been going on, we felt the need to push the start date back to November 1st.

Some of you reading this may be wondering, “What is the Green Bean Project?” That’s a great question. The Green Bean Project (GBP) started in 2010 with a “reality check” and a list of specific needs from three missionaries working with orphans in their respective countries. Each year since, we have been able to meet various needs, providing school supplies, textbooks, fabric for school uniforms, clothing, and small financial gifts to each of the ministries. You can watch a video telling of the project’s origin here.

In 2013, we added FTN’s “Loving Locally” program to the project. This program reaches out to fatherless children, single moms, non-parental guardians, and foster families here in Billings, MT. Our 2017 outreach was completely dependent on what came in through the 2016 GBP. Through it we were able to help provide groceries, a car battery, backpacks and school supplies for multiple fatherless families while developing a relationship and opportunities to share Christ with the women and children in need. So you can see how very important this project is to this ministry!

This year we will be taking a slightly different approach than we have in the past. We will be sharing with you in our blogs and social media a little about each of FTN’s three primary areas of ministry: OUR Jerusalem, Judea, and the Uttermost Parts of the Earth. They break down like this:

Jerusalem – Billings, MT

Judea/Samaria – Our immediate surrounding region/Other locations in the US

The Uttermost Parts of the Earth – The three international ministries.

As I said, we’ve decided to push the start date back to November 1st, but the project will have the same ultimate goal: Helping each of these ministries honor the Lord as they reach out to the fatherless with the love of Christ. Here are a few important dates to keep in mind as you consider what part the Lord might have you to take in this years GBP:

Wednesday, November 1 – GBP begins.

Sunday, November 12th – National Orphan Sunday

Monday, November 27th – Cyber Monday – Do your shopping through Amazon Smile to help boost the GBP

Tuesday, November 28th – #GivingTuesday

Saturday, December 9th – Join us for our annual Christmas Open House here in Billings.

Sunday, December 31 – GBP Ends

We’ll be using these two months to share a lot more about each area of the ministry, what it’s all about, and how we would like to see it grow—so you won’t want to miss anything. Here are the best ways to follow along:

Check out our website

Like our Facebook page

Join our Facebook group

Follow our Blog

We’re looking forward to seeing what God will do through this year’s Green Bean Project and hope you will join us!

(Rachel)

 

 

 

 

Joining God in the Arena of Risk

Have you ever tried to push a car up a hill? Some friends of mine did. They tried for an hour, pushing and pushing and then having to let the car roll back down the hill so they could try again. It wasn’t until one more person jumped in line behind the car that they finally made progress. That person wasn’t big or strong or especially fit. They were just another body. Sometimes that’s all it takes! Just one more person. YOU could be that person for Forbid Them Not Ministries.

One More Person

This summer at Forbid Them Not, we are focusing on Growing Together. The last two weeks we have challenged you to grow with us in the areas of (1) sharing the Facebook group with others and (2) Prayer. This week we hit the challenge that strikes where the rubber meets the road—or in the case of my friends, where the rubber meets the slippery hillside.

Forbid Them Not operates by faith. It always has. As the Psalmist said, we wait on God because “[our] expectation is from Him.” We have seen God do amazing things on very little. We have seen Him provide when we did not know where the funds would come from. When the Lord laid it on our hearts to hold the Forum on Fatherless in March, we had $116.79 in our general account. We had not taken out any of the month’s reserves for rent, insurance, salary, or any of our other expenses, but we knew God was leading us to host the forum.

Our first expense was purchasing postage for the letters that would be going out to pastors in our region. The postage cost $98. We took the step, bought the stamps, and trusted the Lord. Three days later, an unexpected $50 came in, a little later an unexpected $100 came in. God provided every step along the way. In fact, by the time it was all done, not only were all of the expenses covered but we were also able to give love offerings to our two guests speakers who traveled so far.

“This is the LORD’S doing; it is marvellous in our eyes.” Psalm 118:23

As we grow, we have no intention of operating in any way other than with our eyes on God as our Provider, but we do need to grow in the area of financial partners. We are currently operating on a “committed” income of less than $700/mo. (You read that right.) As mentioned earlier, this must cover all of our operating expenses, including rent, insurance, and salaries. We have a small amount remaining from this year’s Green Bean Project with which to help local single moms and fatherless children. We know that this is not an impossible situation because we have already seen God provide in mighty ways. We would simply like to invite you, to challenge you, to come along with us on this journey of faith.

I have always struggled with inviting others to partner with the ministry. Not because I do not have a passion for the ministry, not because I do not want the ministry to grow, but because I know what it is like to live on nearly nothing. I know that when you or I give to missions, especially above or beyond what we are accustomed to giving, it can be a huge sacrifice. As I shared in last weeks’ post about prayer, I am a natural listener and sometimes fail to speak. But I am also a natural “doer” for others and very often hesitate to ask anyone to do something, which I feel might burden or inconvenience them. Instead, I just trundle along and make do. I am so grateful to a man named Jerry Long, who is now with the Lord. He helped me see how wrong my perspective has been in this area. Last year, Jerry encouraged me to study Philippians 4:17. What I found amazed me.

Philippians 4:17 is a short, simple verse, but the use of one word in this verse packs a lot of punch. The verse says,

“Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account.”

The word logos is translated as “account” 8 times in the New Testament. In all but two of those, the Scripture is speaking either of someone giving an account of us or of us having to give an account of ourselves. One of those two exceptions, Hebrews 13:17, tells us how to make sure those over us can give a good account (through obedience and submission). But Philippians 4:17 is the only verse that tells us how to have fruit that abounds to our account.

Paul was speaking to the Philippian believers, praising them for the fact that they ALONE ministered to him financially when he first went into Macedonia. He called the things they had sent to him, “an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice well pleasing to God.” And then he made them a promise, a promise that is just as good for you and me as for the Philippians,

“But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”

Over the years, I have been concerned that by inviting others to partner with this ministry I was inviting them to take on a financial burden, but that isn’t true. The invitation to partner is actually an invitation to bear fruit and lay up treasure in Heaven, to fellowship with us in this ministry, and to watch God provide.

And so, I lay out this week’s challenge: Will you be that one who will step in behind Forbid Them Not and help push it up the hill? Will you take a risk and let God prove Himself? Will you lay up fruit to your account? Will you partner with Forbid Them Not?

I believe God wants us to grow. I believe He wants us to grow TOGETHER. And I want you to have the joy not only of watching Him work but also of being a part of that work. We’ve made it very easy to join us. Simply, click the link below to go to the partnership page on our website, which allows you to set up monthly investments in the ministry through PayPal.

We have already stepped into the arena of risk, and we have often seen His reward. Won’t you join us?

Click here to enter the arena!

Element of Risk

 

Confessions and How You Can Pray

Growing Together

This summer, we’re focusing on Growing Together at Forbid Them Not. Last week, I shared a short video with you that lays out some of our goals for this season of growing. (If you missed it, that’s okay, I’ll share it again at the end of this post.) In the video, I challenged you to join us in growing a group of people with a heart to see the fatherless come to Christ. This week, I’d like to challenge you to grow with us in the area of prayer.

 

Over the last year, I’ve been learning that I’m not very good about voicing to others the things that are on my heart. I’m a natural listener, and that is good for what we do here because if you do not hear, it is almost impossible to respond based on the Word or with discernment. But this strength comes with an inherent weakness—the failure to speak.

Most missionaries struggle with finding the right balance in prayer letters and blogs. What do I share? People want to hear what will encourage them. They want to hear that their investment in our ministry is paying off. But what about the struggles, the stark realities, the needs?

Some would say that if a missionary is truly walking by faith they will NEVER share the needs they are facing because they should be able to trust God alone to meet that need. God should be enough. And He SHOULD be enough, but what about the balancing principle that we are to bear one another’s burdens? How can you pray if I never tell you about the need? How can you comprehend the full depth and breadth of the answer, if I have never told you the full depth and breadth of the need?

So today, I’m going to speak. I’m going to be open, honest, and maybe a little blunt. I’m going to share with you how you can be praying for us, and I’m going to challenge you to COMMIT to pray with and for us.

Here are 8 ways you can pray for us:

  1. That God would be magnified through this ministry.
    We want to operate in a way that allows Him to reveal that in HIM the fatherless find mercy. (Hosea 14:3)
  2. That our hearts and minds would be attuned to the leadership of the Lord.
    It’s easy to get caught up in all that needs to be done and suddenly realize you haven’t stopped to listen to the most important Voice. This ministry can be draining emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Pray that we will be aware of the need to spend extra time with the Lord and TAKE it. Running on fumes helps no one.
  3. That fatherless children, single moms, other guardians, and members of our community would come to the Lord through this ministry.
  4. That churches both in our community and in other communities would be strengthened through this ministry.
    Pray that we will have wisdom as we share with others what God has taught us about ministry to the fatherless and single moms and how they can apply it in their own communities.
  5. For wisdom and boldness as we reach into heartbreaking situations. Imagine this…
    You’re sitting face-to-face with a fourteen year old who, with tears streaming down her cheeks, says, “I’ve been a burden since I was seven years old. My mom kicked me out to please her boyfriend. He’s abusing her.” How do you answer her?

    A frantic phone call comes in from a single mom whose parents are telling lies about her and have pulled her into a custody battle with the state. What resources do you offer her?

    A fourteen-year-old boy wants to be a man and lead in his home, but can’t seem to resolve the anger and hurt caused by the rejection of his father looking him in the face and saying, “I don’t want you in my life.” How do you guide him to forgiveness?

    You receive a late-night text message from a single mom who has lost her children, “Is it wrong for me to hate the man who abused my children for the things he did to them?” What hope do you offer her?

    We need your prayer.

  6. For financial partners.
    We are currently operating on approximately 8.5% of what we estimate we need to be fully operational. This must cover our operational costs as well as our ministry costs. We have seen God do AMAZING things in our poverty, and we don’t ever want to come to a place where we are not relying on Him. But we also know that in order for us to minister effectively, we need partners who will consistently invest in this ministry. Our prayer is that God will raise up partners who have a heart for both the fatherless and this ministry.
  7. For volunteers
    We can’t do the work alone. It’s too big. 31% of the children in our county are growing up in single-parent homes, and 48% of the children in the next county! Laborers are needed. Over the summer, this will be one of our main areas of focus. Please pray with us that even now God would be stirring hearts to join us in projects, in mentoring and discipleship, in teaching classes, in providing transportation, in offering whatever talents the Lord has given them to be used to touch the lives of the fatherless around them.
  8. For wisdom in balancing time and priorities.
    Right now, we have a staff of two. We both have other work, are active in our churches, and want to be involved with family as much as possible. Sometimes balancing everything can be a bit like juggling knives. Please pray that, as Hudson Taylor said, God would be our one great circumstance, and that we would follow His direction and leadership. He has already provided and led in amazing ways.

So there it is. My heart. Our need. Prayer is something we often take for granted. It’s something anyone can do. It’s something we assume others are doing. Sometimes it’s something we commit to do and then forget about—sadly. It can become routine. But it shouldn’t. Prayer is powerful.

Will you commit to pray with us about these things, maybe not every day, but at least once a week? If so, please let us know by simply leaving  note in the comments. We covet your prayers.

In Case You Missed It, Here’s Last Week’s Video: