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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!
 

 

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What Will Our Story Be?

Everyone has a story. Each story consists of challenges and successes. Sometimes situations we cannot control determine our stories. At other times, our choices clearly write every line. This is one of those times. The choice we make will determine the pages that follow.

Over the last few weeks, we’ve shared stories from single moms, pastors desiring to reach the fatherless of their communities, and missionaries. Last week, we considered the story of Esther and Mordecai, which demonstrates the great hope that caring even for one orphan can bring. Today, as we near the close of the Green Bean Project, I want to ask you a very important question. What will our story be? What will your story be?

What Will Our Story Be Text

Orphans don’t have a choice in their situation. If they did, I’m sure most of them would choose not to have lost their parents in the first place. They would choose to grow up with a mom and dad who loved them and raised them in the way they should go. But they don’t get to choose that.

They also don’t get to choose who or how others become involved in their lives. They don’t get to choose who fosters them. They don’t get to choose who their teachers are. They don’t get to choose who will invest in their life. As a single mom testified earlier this year, their greatest asset is God bringing the right people into their lives at the right time.

We, like Esther, do have a choice. Esther reminded Mordecai of the risk in going to see the king without an invitation. If the king did not raise his scepter to welcome them, they would be put to death. In response, Mordecai said,

“For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father’s house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14)

If we want the right people in the lives of the fatherless, then at some point, we must choose the fatherless over ourselves and the lives we’re used to living.

What if the choice you make in this area determines the pages that follow? What if, like Mordecai, the choice you make will set an orphan up to bring deliverance to an entire nation? What if the choice you make will bring the hope of salvation to hundreds of children—or maybe to just one. The choices we make as we consider the Green Bean Project are not light choices. They have eternal impact whether we determine to participate, invest ourselves, or ignore it.

What will your story be?

 

Click here to give to the Green Bean Project.

 

Contact us here to find out more about how you can personally get involved, either in your communities or ours.

 

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.

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.

 

Reaching Beyond Our Doorstep

Beyond our Doorstep
“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.” Acts 1:8

Over the last two weeks, we’ve focused primarily on how God has called us to reach into our own community to reach the fatherless, but Acts 1:8 doesn’t stop at our doorstep. In fact, it reaches far beyond. Christ commanded His disciples to go not only to Jerusalem but also to Judea and Samaria: The regions directly surrounding them.

Billings certainly has its needs, but what about the area around us? What about the rest of the state? What about the states around us? And what about our nation as a whole?

In Montana, we have an enormous problem. Meth and Heroine use has grown astronomically. The number of children in Foster Care has gone from 1,746 in 2011 to 3,454 in January of 2017. That’s nearly double. Of those cases, 65% are drug related.

According to the 2012 census, approximately 41% of children nationwide are born into fatherless homes. It isn’t hard to find statistics on the results of fatherlessness. Simple Google searches such as “fatherless statistics,” “the fatherless epidemic,” and “number of children in foster care” instantly bring up long lists of statistics. Like:

But a danger exists in seeing the problem only statistically. Humanity is lost in numbers. The reality that each of these numbers represents not a statistic but a child disappears in percent signs and ratios. In truth, these children are real. They are souls. Many of them are living nightmares such as most of us could never imagine. Their futures look bleak, but God has provided a solution:

You and Me.

As an individual, I can never reach all of these places. But you can reach the children in your corner and I can reach the children in mine. That is why we feel it is so important for Forbid Them Not to reach beyond our doorstep to help others reach the children in their sphere. Because of this we have a desire to walk alongside of churches and individuals around the state, region, and our nation to see others fulfill this command of Christ.

How can we do this? Through providing:

  • Encouragement
  • Insight
  • Training
  • Resources, and
  • Prayer

Forbid Them Not wants to be there to help as others catch the vision for the fatherless in their community.

So where do you come into this equation? Each person reading this can play one of two parts:

  1. Get involved in your community.
  2. Support FTN in supporting others.

It’s that simple. If you’d like to find out more about how you can get started where you are please contact us at rmiller @ forbidthemnot (dot) com or 406-208-7332. Follow this link if you’d like to have a part of supporting our ministry to walk alongside of others who are reaching out to the fatherless. Click here to be a part of this year’s Green Bean Project. Be sure to subscribe for more information.

 

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.

 

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