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Reflections from a Summer Team Member
September 2, 2015

Seth Graves participated in NF’s August trip to Peru. Seth is Spanish speaker, a UAB Graduate Student, and a member of Shades Mountain Baptist Church in Birmingham. He is passionate about sharing the love of Christ with children. Seth is from Decatur, Alabama and his home church is First Baptist Church Decatur. We are grateful to Seth for his willingness to share with us about his experience in Peru this summer…


I went to Iquitos, Peru with an organization called Not Forgotten from August 1 through August 9. The goal of our trip was to help with any construction and also to meet the boys and love them like Christ does.

We arrived Sunday and were able to have dinner with the kids in their homes before retiring for an early night. We ate each meal with the kids in their homes and would swap between the two homes at our discretion. I loved the meal times because they would sing a song thanking God for the food and then one of the kids would pray before anyone started eating. Each night before dinner, they would have a devotion where they would sing some songs and one of the house parents would tell a Bible story. My favorite was acting out Jonah and the big fish because I got to be the fish and “eat” one of the kids.

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday were all very similar. We ate breakfast with the kids before starting on construction. The project for this week was pouring cement for a new driveway. We worked for 3 hours in the morning before taking a break for lunch, and then we worked about another 3 hours in the afternoon. I did the math and we put approximately 616 buckets of sand into the concrete mixer while we were there. After finishing for the day, we had free time. I would normally go swim in the lake that they have on the property and then play a game of soccer with the local staff on their sand soccer field. After freshening up, we would have dinner with the kids and then head back to the hotel for a team debrief.

Wednesday was different. We took a break in the middle of the week and went on a trip with all of the school-aged kids. The trip was to a national reserve in the jungle where we were going to hike. To get there we drove 31 people in a 17-passenger van to a nearby town where we got on a very cramped boat. It took us about 4-5 hours to get there by boat because we had to stop and register at the reserve office. We hiked in the jungle, but the best part was stopping at a little beach area on the way back and swimming in the river with the kids. It was a 14 hour trip in total, but it was worth it getting to spend some time with the kids.

Saturday was also different because we left that night for the airport. That morning we took the kids to a zoo in Iquitos to see different animals. There is also a public beach area there where we played sand volleyball and got to swim in a lake. We dropped the kids off at the homes before going to Iquitos for a nicer dinner and then heading to the airport.

I work with kids in Alabama, and I knew that I would love meeting these kids; however, it’s hard to put into words the kind of impact these kids had on me. They have very little and come from very hard situations, yet they almost always have a smile on their faces. They are content playing with a stick in the grass for 30 minutes while I can’t even stand to wait 10 minutes in the drive-thru. The kids I work with in Alabama have so much more and can still whine and complain when they don’t get something. God really showed me how I can be the same way. It hit me like a brick this past week when I was telling the kids at the after-school program that the things of this world are NOTHING compared to the hope and joy we get from knowing that one day we will be with God. God used these kids to show me what true contentment in Him looks like – a reminder that I think we need every day. It was very difficult leaving these kids after even spending just a week with them, but I believe that God will give me another opportunity to return (and hopefully many more!)

This trip was exhausting with all the construction in the heat and then playing with the kids right after, but I would do it again without a doubt. I also can’t tell you how many times I made monkey and chicken noises after the kids figured out I was pretty good at it, but it was worth it seeing the smiles on their faces. Three of the kids are sons of one set of house parents, but the other 14 are children from 3 to 11 years old that aren’t with their parents for some reason. Regardless, these 14 kids have a real home where they are loved and where they can have the care that they need while learning about God who cares for them so much more. The kids all know that God loves them and that he cares for them thanks to what He has led Not Forgotten to do. It was sad leaving them, but it makes it better knowing that they are getting the food, shelter, education and love that they need all while learning about Jesus who loves them. I am incredibly thankful that I was able to go on this trip. I would like to thank those who helped me raise funds, and I thank God for what he is doing in the nations and in the hearts of the kids being cared for by Not Forgotten.

-Seth Graves

 

Do Something!
August 1, 2015

Back in April of this year, Not Forgotten was privileged to be the guest speaker for the MIT (Missionaries In Training) Retreat for Shades Mountain Baptist Church’s 1st-5th graders. Approximately 60 children and 30 adults attended the retreat. We had a great evening charging the kids with “Operation: Orphan Care” and the mission objectives of 1) Define Orphan, 2) Know Why We Should Care, and 3) Do Something! We encouraged those in attendance to use their gifts to bring glory to God by considering others. We gave some examples of practical things kids can do to make a difference by serving God and loving His people.

As a result of that night, our little friend, third-grader Sydney Allen, decided that she wanted to take pretty immediate action. For Sydney’s upcoming birthday, she decided to ask her friends to collect band-aids, flip flops, toothpaste, and toothbrushes for the children with whom Not Forgotten works. Sydney’s friends chipped in and the final count included 2 boxes of band-aids, 14 toothbrushes, 13 tubes of toothpaste, and 9 pairs of flip flops!

It is never too early (or too late) to start using your time, talents, interests, creativity, money, and your very life to care for others and glorify our Father! Remember it all belongs to Him anyway… “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein” (Psalm 24:1). Let’s work to continually loosen our grip on what He has given us, surrendering it to Him to use for His {always better} purposes!

On Obedience
April 27, 2015

Over the years that I have participated in ministry directed toward vulnerable populations, I have fallen into the temptation to measure “my” work by human standards: numbers and results. You see, these things are attractive to us… they are concrete, we understand them, we can see them, we can count them, we can quote them, we can attempt to control them. But this is not how our God works. The Lord of the harvest allows some to plant, some to water, but HE is the one who brings about the growth – in His time, in His way, according to His plan.

Therefore, we cannot allow ourselves to become distracted or preoccupied, bogged down or discouraged with our “production” in this ministry to children in need. We cannot “produce” anything anyway. That is God’s responsibility. Our only job is to be obedient. This should bring great freedom to you, brothers and sisters! We are called to be obedient whether or not we ever see “results” this side of heaven. If change happens in the life of ONE child, it is all worth it. I take that back… if NO change is ever seen in anyone, BUT the truth has been proclaimed and Christ the King has been honored in word and deed, it is all worth it. He promises that His Word does not return void (Isaiah 55:11).

Obedience is what our Lord desires. If all He wanted was efficient results, He would do all of the work on His own and not bother with bringing us into the equation. (We tend to make a sloppy mess of things, right?) But He is such a good Father that He wants a relationship with us, for us to learn to be dependent upon Him, for us to have to trust His plans (which are higher and better than ours – Isaiah 55:8-9)… because He knows that is what is BEST for us! Participating in this trusting relationship with Him is in our best interest. He is committed to His work in each of our hearts!

The great hope and freedom for us when we labor in this field of ministry (which is incredibly difficult, by the way) lies in this: the change that God works through us to bring about will happen not because of our successes and in spite of our failures. He will not allow one heart that He has predestined to capture for Himself to hang in the balance or be lost because of my disobedience or misreading of His call. I am just not that important! How dare I be so prideful to think that someone’s eternal destiny or even the accomplishing of God’s plan for their earthly life is contingent upon me!

Therefore, it is imperative that we do not respond to needs, but that we respond to the person of Jesus Christ. There will always be needs around us, so we must learn to listen to His direction regarding where and with whom He wants us to spend our time and talents that He has given us. He may intend to use you in ways you would least expect.

I urge you to follow Jesus’ model and go deep with a few. Look at His life… He spent 3 years pouring into 12 men… and those 12 turned the world upside down. Do not fall into the temptation to overvalue numbers and breadth and undervalue discipleship and commitment. This is our heart for Not Forgotten. Join us as we strive to imitate Christ. Let’s be obedient and trust the truth that He is always working!

 

Dear SMBC and FBC…
March 20, 2015

NF's booth at Shades Mountain Baptist Church
“I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.” ~Philippians 1:3-5

The end of February and beginning of March has been such a rich time of blessing for Not Forgotten! We had the immeasurable privilege of attending two nearby missions conferences:  Shades Mountain Baptist Church’s “Global Impact Celebration” in Birmingham, Alabama and First Bible Church’s missions conference in Decatur, Alabama. Both of these churches have been wonderful partners for us over the years and we are extremely grateful to them for their continuous support and encouragement. It is such an honor to be able to share the story of Not Forgotten and the journey on which the Lord has us… not only with individuals who stop by our booth, but also congregations, Sunday school classes, and small groups of people who are attentive, moved by, and excited about all God is doing in and through NF.

NF Founder & President, Tyler Fuqua, speaking at First Bible ChurchAdditionally, WHAT A JOY for us to learn from and fellowship with other missionaries, to be poured into by these precious bodies of believers, to feel rejuvenated in our calling, to be reminded of God’s faithfulness and provision, and to receive love and encouragement beyond belief! We are filled to the brim and ready to pour out again – largely due to the faithfulness and community found in these fellow laborers for the sake of the Gospel, who are passionate about telling others – next door and around the world – about Jesus Christ. These two churches sure know how to love on some missionaries and they do it selflessly and so very well. From the bottom of our full hearts and the depths of our refreshed spirits, we tell you, SMBC, and you, FBC, two little words that fall very short, but we mean sincerely: THANK YOU. Not Forgotten loves you dearly.

 

 

Children have Arrived!
February 9, 2015
Not Forgotten is beyond thrilled to announce the arrival of our first four boys at Las Lomas!!! As of the end of last week, two sets of brothers now call Las Lomas home. Jesus (5 yrs) and Alexander (7 yrs) reside in the home of house parents, Isaac and Ruth. Fabian (2.5 yrs) and Adrian (8 yrs) are in the home of Moises and Mery. 

Although our hearts are grieved over the circumstances that caused these boys to need to come to us, we are overjoyed that the Lord has ordained their placement in our home. We are so thankful that they are in a place where they will be kept safe, cared for with excellence, loved unconditionally, and introduced to the person of Jesus Christ.  Please join us in praying for the transition of these little ones – pray that the peace and knowledge of Christ will flood their minds and hearts as they process all of the loss and change they are experiencing. Pray for their families, who are in need of redemption and hope that come only through Christ alone. He is the only one who transforms hearts and brings lasting change. 

We need your prayers and support now more than ever. Please lift up our children, staff, and leadership. And please consider giving to Not Forgotten. We especially need consistent, monthly donations to ensure that high quality care for these children is sustained from this point forward. If you would like to give, please click on the “donate” tab at the bottom of the page. Thank you for partnering and rejoicing with us over what the Lord is doing in our midst! We stand in awe of Him and give Him all the glory.

 

Only the Beginning…
January 31, 2015

Not Forgotten Leadership returned from a week in Iquitos this past Sunday. We are overjoyed to report that the trip went extremely well!

Gene has been training our new staff for several weeks; they are being well-prepared in all areas you could imagine. Tyler, Allison, and our dear friend, Whitney White (co-worker of Allison’s from Lifeline Children’s Services), continued the staff training during our time there. In the mornings, Whitney and Allison prepared the entire staff to care for children “from hard places” and in the afternoons, an attorney friend from Lima trained the staff on various legal topics. Our Not Forgotten staff at this time officially includes: Gene and Patty, our two sets of houseparents (Moises & Mery, Isaac & Ruth), our professor (Clevinton), the runner/scholarship program overseer (Rodbin), our social worker (Marta), our psychologist (Nancy), the groundskeeper (Chumbico), and the night watchman (Alex). Jhan Geys and Wixler, two of our scholarship program participants, prepared lunch for us every day on the property. They did an excellent job!

We were so pleased as we saw the Lord affirm time and again the WAY we are trying to do things, the STRUCTURE of the children’s home (family-style bungalows), the PEOPLE we have in place, and the LEADERSHIP that Gene is providing. It is obvious that Gene has such invaluable knowledge and experience; he is leading this team of people so carefully and well. This is so much bigger than us. God has gone before and is preparing the way. We are so, so grateful.

We presented certificates of completion at the end of the training, held a sweet time of reflection as a staff, had a formal ribbon-cutting ceremony, and took the whole staff out to dinner in Iquitos to celebrate. If you have been to Peru with us, you know that nothing says “let’s celebrate” like roasted chicken and french fries! The birthday of Las Lomas is now officially January 23, 2015. We eagerly anticipate the arrival of our first children in the next few weeks. This is about to become incredibly real, folks! And this – this is only the beginning!

We ask that you pray for our staff – for encouragement for them, for certainty in their calling to this work, for retention of all they are learning, and for Christ’s strength to be made perfect in their weaknesses.

We ask that you pray for our children – that the Lord prepares and guards their hearts, that their transition will be as good as it can be, that they will soon know who Christ is and what He has done for them to make them His and call them by name.

We ask that you pray for ongoing financial support for Not Forgotten. Our budget is about to increase DRAMATICALLY as we have hired these staff members and will be bringing in and providing ongoing support to children. Please pray the Lord specifically provides faithful monthly donors. Will you please consider GIVING MONTHLY to Not Forgotten even as you read this?

“To God be the glory, great things He hath done!”

Not Forgotten Wins Project For Awesome!
January 14, 2015

John Green announced today that Not Forgotten is one of the twenty winners of the 2014 Project for Awesome!  As a top ten, community-chosen, grant recipient, Not Forgotten will receive $25,000 that will be used to support the orphans and street children we serve in Peru. Thanks to everyone who supported Not Forgotten and voted for our video during this year’s competition.  Also, we would like to say a special thank you to everyone at Project for Awesome for making this special event possible.  Last, we could not do this without the amazing work of Destin Sandlin of Smarter Every Day who made a great video for us this year.  If you haven’t seen our video please check it out in the blog below.  Congratulations to each of the other winning organizations who are all doing awesome work in efforts to “decrease world suck!”

Project For Awesome 2014
December 12, 2014


Last year Not Forgotten won $50,000 from Project for Awesome thanks to your votes!  We used that money to build our first two children’s homes.  Now that they are complete, we need your help to support the children who will live here.

Here’s how you can help!

STEP 1: VOTE!!! http://bit.ly/VOTE4_NF_2014

Step 2: DONATE! http://bit.ly/HelpNotForgotten

Step 3: SHARE! – http://bit.ly/NF_P4A_FB The more people we get to vote for Not Forgotten the more boys we can help.

Giving Tuesday!
December 2, 2014

#GivingTuesday has become a day set aside for giving at the beginning of the Christmas season, in an effort to combat the general commercialism and consumerism of the holidays. Today, Tuesday, December 2, 2014, organizations and individuals all over the world will celebrate generosity and place their focus on others as they give.

The concept is simple: find a way to give today! Then share how and to whom you are giving. Spread the word and invite others to give alongside you. Not Forgotten asks that you join us in our mission to build hope and break the cycle for vulnerable children in Peru.

To give to the mission of Not Forgotten, click on the “donate” tab at the bottom of the page and fill out the information. Please list Giving Tuesday in the “tribute” section. If you prefer, you are welcome to mail a check to Not Forgotten at 1111 Fern Street, Homewood, AL 35209.  Please write Giving Tuesday in the “for” blank. Thank you for your partnership and for participating in #GivingTuesday 2014!

Christmas Gifts 2014
November 10, 2014

As we move into the holiday season, Not Forgotten has many things for which to be thankful.

At the top of our list are you, our supporters.  We are extremely grateful for your love for us, your commitment to Not Forgotten, and your faithfulness to play your part in the work the Lord is accomplishing through all of us, His body, in Peru.  May you know that each of you is an essential contributor to that work.  Our Not Forgotten team is extremely aware of how our God is using you and we say a resounding, sincere “thank you”.

Looking toward Christmas, we call on you to again offer your support to  the children who have captured your hearts.  We intend to provide Christmas gifts for 54 boys living in Scripture Union’s homes in and  outside of Iquitos, Peru.  To do this, we need your help!  In sponsoring a child this Christmas, you will be providing him with a new shirt and pair of pants, a new pair of socks and shoes, and an age appropriate gift (just for fun).  For $50, you will be able to give these Christmas gifts to one of these 54 children, and help assure him that he is not forgotten!

To sponsor a child, simply click on the “donate” tab at  the bottom of this page and fill out the information.  Please list Christmas Sponsorship in the “tribute”  section.  If you prefer, you are welcome to mail a check to Not Forgotten  at 1111 Fern Street, Homewood, AL 35209.  Please write  Christmas Sponsorship in the “for” blank.

Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas, and thank you for your help!

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