#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!
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!
On February 1st of this year we hired our first, full-time Program Director! Not Forgotten has a longstanding relationship with Gene Idlett Panduro and we are very excited to have him fully and officially part of our ministry.
Gene is 37 years old and he just obtained a business degree with a finance specialization from the Peruvian Institute of Business Administration. For much of his career Gene has been a Children’s Program Director for Scripture Union of Peru in the city of Iquitos. Gene’s wife, Patti, will also be working with Not Forgotten. For many years Patti has worked as an educator in Scripture Union’s children’s programs. Further Gene, Patti, and their eldest child Kanny are all currently taking college level English classes. Gene and Patti currently have three children, Kanny (14), Josué (10) and Estefano (21mo).
Before working with children in Iquitos, Gene worked with the municipal police in the city of Lima. While working as a police officer in Lima, Gene states that “I could see the need for people whose only place of refuge were sewers, parks or abandon houses. I could also see the huge need these people had for God, and I silently asked God to give me the opportunity to do something for them. The lyrics to a song would come to my mind when I saw these people in need. These lyrics are the following…”
Help me to look with your eyes. I want to feel with your heart,
and not be insensitive to this need for Jesus Christ.
“In these moments my heart longed to serve God and cried silently asking God to give me the opportunity. God heard my request and gave me the opportunity to work with Scripture Union of Peru in 2005, and for nine years my family and I have tried to serve God and our neighbor the best way we can. It is our hope that more people change their way of life and have a personal encounter with God.”
Not Forgotten is very excited and grateful to have Gene and his family work alongside us in Iquitos. His experience is very evident, as are the ways in which the Lord has equipped him for this work. As the construction of our first homes continue to progress and as we get closer to consistently providing for and nurturing abandoned and neglected children in Iquitos, we feel extremely blessed that the Lord has provided such wonderful people to partner with us in our ministry and mission. Thank you to all of you who are intentionally praying for our ministry’s leadership and discernment, and thank you to Gene and Patti for their dedication and sacrifice for these boys and our God!
If you haven’t heard yet, Not Forgotten is one of the contest winners for Project for Awesome 2013! John and Hank Green just recently announced the winners and stated that each winning charity will receive $50,000!
This is very exciting for us because last week our organization broke ground on the first of five children’s homes in Peru. These funds will go a long way towards building future homes for abandoned and neglected children on the streets of Iquitos.
With these winnings comes a huge thank you to many people…
First and foremost, thank you to the Vlogbrothers, John and Hank Green. Thank you for creating this contest. Thank you for lifting up charities and for using your position and influence to highlight and promote the work and need of others!
Thank you to Destin and Tara Sandlin. Thank you for sponsoring Not Forogtten and for promoting our mission. Thank you for partnering with our organization and for providing hope and opportunity for the children we serve!
If you are unfamiliar with Destin’s YouTube channel, SmarterEveryDay, please check it out. His videos are the best combination of educational, entertaining, and amazing I have ever experienced. It is the only YouTube channel I subscribe to!
And thank you to all of you who viewed and voted for our video. And thank you to those who encouraged others to view and vote as well. Because of your votes we can build more homes and assist more children!
We would like to give a special thank you to Savannah Jones. Savannah saw our video on Destin’s YouTube channel and decided to sponsor Not Forgotten for her school’s Compassion Project over Christmas break. Through the donations of many people Savannah raised $469. This money will help make a big difference for the boys in Peru, and it will help save a boy’s life! Thank you Savannah!
Savannah made a thank you video for all of her donors and we would like to share that with you. Please view her video here, and thank you to all of the people who were a part of this contest. We are very grateful!
“I lift up my eyes to the hills.From where does my help come?
My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.”
For the past couple of years Not Forgotten has been planning and preparing a place that we pray will be a light not only to vulnerable children, but also to the surrounding community just outside Iquitos, Peru. With this purpose in mind, we are excited to introduce Las Lomas of Not Forgotten!
Las Lomas means “the hills” in Spanish. The piece of land we own in Peru is full of rolling hills, and our prayer is that as people look to the hills of our property they will see that their help comes not from an organization, foreigners, or any individual, but “from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.”
In January 2014, we will begin constructing the first of several family-style homes for children at Las Lomas. Rather than an institutional-style orphanage, children will be raised in a traditional family environment by loving caregivers. Our goal is to create a place where these children can grow up safely, obtain spiritual and psychological guidance, receive a quality education, and be empowered to affect change in their community.
The family-styled homes we are constructing will house up to eight children per home and one pair of live in house parents. Along with the needed bedroooms and baths, each home will be furnished with a kitchen and a shared living area for the children and house parents. Each child at Las Lomas will be given their own bed, desk, and personal storage space within their home for clothes and any other belongings.
Due to God’s provision through your generosity Not Forgotten has been empowered to pursue our mission and provide for these children. In the coming year, Not Forgotten will be using this past year’s donations and contest winnings from Project for Awesome to build our first children’s homes. If you have given to us through contest votes, financial contributions, and/or prayers, please know that you have played an important part in our progress and we are extremely grateful!
This is a very exciting time for Not Forgotten! We have a lot of work ahead of us and we are thankful to have your prayers and support as we move forward.
The Holidays have officially begun! For Not Forgotten, as well as for you, this is one of the busiest times of the year. Like you, our Christmas lists of “Things to Do”, “Presents to Buy”, and “People to Buy For” seem to grow every year; and it sometimes feels overwhelming!
This year Not Forgotten is providing Christmas gifts for 87 children in Peru. We are grateful to give them all a new collared shirt, pants, and shoes; as well as a dinner out and a trip to the movies. In addition, we are giving all the older boys new leather bound Bibles engraved with their names.
Because there are so many children we would love your assistance in providing gifts this Christmas!
- $25 will purchase a Bible or a pair of Pants.
- $20 can provide a new Shirt
- $15 will sponsor a new pair of Shoes
- $10 lets a child enjoy a Dinner and a Movie
We are grateful for any contribution you make! To ensure that we do not add to your list of “Presents to Buy” this month, we will handle all the shopping for these kids if you can help us buy them! To contribute, simply click on the Donate tab at the bottom of this page and fill out the information. Please list Christmas Presents in the Tribute section so we know you are providing presents.
Merry Christmas, and thank you for help!
We asked Emily if she would be willing to expound on her experiences with us in Peru so that we could share them with you. Our organization is grateful to highlight this testimony and to illustrate the impact that Christ has on our lives as we love and are loved by these boys.
Thank you Emily for the openness, willingness and passion you have for Christ and the boys in Iquitos; you are a wonderful part of our ministry!
I was in my Adult Bible Fellowship class at my home church, First Bible Church ofDecatur, when I first heard about the Not Forgotten ministry. It was there I learned about these precious Peruvian boys that desperately need to know they have not ever been forgotten and they will not ever be forgotten. I immediately felt a desire within me to go to visit these boys and bring them the Good News. I prayed daily that if it were God’s will for me to go on this trip, He would provide the money for me to go. I am a single mom to my daughter Lenox, a full-time college student, and I do not have a full-time job. I knew I could not afford to go myself, but I trusted God would provide the way for me if it were His will for me to go. I wrote support letters and the money came pouring in from fellow believers eager to support the furthering of the Great Commission. And just like that, I was off to Peru. I find when I am describing my trips to Peru that words are inadequate and can only partially explain the emotions, revelations, and truths within my heart.
It was emotionally gratifying to get to be part of the first team to break the land where Not Forgotten’s own future orphanage will be. Of all the many ways this first trip there changed my life, these three results were the most important:
- One- I learned that God does not need me but instead, he chooses to use me. God’s work is going to happen in Peru, and everywhere else on earth for that matter, whether I choose to take part in it or not. It is humbling that God would choose to use a wretched sinner like me to further his kingdom. God used the testimony of my own brokenness and sin to show these boys what God’s grace and forgiveness looks like.
- Two- I experienced forgiveness. I had been at a place in my life where I knew the hatred I had towards my daughter’s father ever since he abandoned her was keeping me from comfortable communion with Christ. I had been praying and working the principles at Celebrate Recovery for months and months with the hope of cleansing myself of the hate I had for him. For some reason, it took me going to Peru to be able to fully forgive him. It took God opening my eyes to these precious boys who have it ten thousand times worse than I do to realize that I, too, could overcome the burdens of my own life. It took me building relationships with a couple of my Spiritually mature team members in order for me to finally see examples of forgiveness that were right in front of me. I remember the week I got home from Peru, after I had a discussion with my mom about forgiveness; I was driving in my car and kept hearing, “How many times have I forgiven you, Emily? How many times?” With tears flowing, I felt the Spirit completely relieve me of that burden I had been carrying for so long. It was finally over, Christ already died for that. I’ve never felt so free. God used Peru to do that for me.
- Three- I was consumed with a deep, fierce love for those Peruvian boys. I knew in my heart I would be going back.
My second trip to Peru, during the summer of 2013, was an even richer experience than my first one. I had already met these boys. I had already fallen in love with them. I already knew that lasting friendships with team members would be created as a result of our experiences together this week. All I had to do was dive in.
During this trip I was able to deepen my existing relationships with many of the boys of Scripture Union’s orphanages in Puerta Alegria, which is smack-dab in the Amazon jungle, and in the city of Iquitos. Once again I experienced the truth that God’s love breaks all language barriers. Nothing can hold back Christ’s love from being displayed. You know how parents claim you’ll never experience a love so strong as when you hold your child in your arms for the first time? And those who are not parents do not get it? Well, unless you have gone where I have and met these boys for yourselves, spent time with them, and opened your hearts to them, you cannot know. You cannot even imagine how much we love these boys, boys who speak a different primary language and have a different culture than us. It is unreal how much of our hearts they manage to steal in such a short amount of time..
This trip, I was mesmerized by the beauty of Christ and of his creation, most notably—the jungle. Even among the poverty and heartbreak, God’s glory still shines. Psalm 19:1-4 has never been so true for me, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world…”
I asked some of the older boys to highlight their favorite bible verse in my bible. One of them highlighted Isaiah 43:1-2, “But now, this is what the Lord says—he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel; ‘Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” When I read what he had marked and I paused to look around and study the faces of these older boys, I saw this verse in a whole new light. I thought about what they had been through; I viewed the scars some of them walk around with. I had tasted a little bit of the life they live through my two trips here. As a result of all of this, I have never been more encouraged. Though not all the boys here have relationships with Christ, some of them do, thanks to God’s grace, the Christian Peruvian leadership in their orphanages, and mission teams that come here. The fact that one of these young men was able to acclaim this verse over his life is breathtaking. These boys have surely passed through the waters. They have walked through the fire. But they are not burning. God is lifting them up and setting them free in Christ. “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you.” I pray God will redeem the entire nation of Peru, starting with these boys right here. I know he can and I believe he will.
I have come away from my experiences in Peru with a spirit more giving, a heart more compassionate, and a mind that thinks moreBiblically. I have found myself becoming less materialistic and more dependent on Christ. Just as these Peruvian boys are engraved on the palms of God’s hands (Isaiah 49:16), they have been forever engraved in my heart. Even my two and a half year old daughter knows about my “Peruvian babies.” God is using this ministry, started by passionate young people, in mighty ways. I am so grateful to be a part of what they are doing in Peru and in turn, I am grateful for what it has done in my life. To God be the glory!
-Emily Reeves of Decatur, Alabama
In January of this year Caitlin Morris approached or organization about an internship opportunity with Not Forgotten. Caitlin actually introduced the idea while serving with us in Peru this past Christmas, and we immediately accepted and encouraged the proposal. It was apparent to us during that trip that Caitlin was very capable and hardworking; but most importantly, that her passion for missions aligned with ours.
Technically Caitlin is still a senior at Samford University pursuing a major in Language and World Trade and a minor in Nutrition. But after this coming Saturday she will be one of Samford’s most recent Alumni! Before the completion of her internship we asked Caitlin to reflect on her trip with us this past Christmas and her involvement with our organization. The following sections of this post we written by Caitlin and they belong her.
Thank you again Caitlin for all your time and work, and for the love and passion you have and share with the boys in Peru! We are very grateful to have you as part of the Not Forgotten family!
“As of a year ago, I had not heard of Not Forgotten. However, after I heard it once, the name “Not Forgotten” continuously came at me from all directions, thus living up to its name. What was here that the Lord kept putting before me? I could not ignore it any longer. So I dug a little further… What began as pure curiosity turned into my current involvement with this incredible ministry.
In October, I gave into the Lord’s calling when He blessed me with the opportunity to go on the Christmas trip with Not Forgotten. At this point I had no real knowledge of the organization aside from the fact that Samford graduates had started this non-profit for abandoned boys in Peru. After much research and reassurance from several people who had experienced it, I committed to the trip.
Initially, I was reluctant because I knew no one on the team. However, as I boarded the first plane I had no idea what the Lord would teach me despite my hesitancy. Nine days later, my idea of ministry was revolutionized. I met incredible people who truly illustrated the idea of walking by faith and following the Lords calling no matter how daunting the task.
Now I’m sure you may have some idea of what Not Forgotten Inc. does, such as taking teams to spend time with the boys, cleaning up the facilities in which they live, and working on the new land. However, this is only the surface of the Lord’s work through Not Forgotten. What I was able to experience on this trip was a much deeper work the Lord has set in motion. With each team coming down to Peru and each board that is being repainted, these boys are being changed through the Love of Christ in this ministry.
I said earlier I write to you as the intern. Yet I am really writing to you as a fresh and new perspective into the effectiveness of this organization. From my recent experience, I have learned that Not Forgotten is founded on a principle of commitment; commitment to the community of Peru, the boys in the home, and most importantly the Lord’s work in their lives.
After seeing first hand the environment in which these boys normally grow up, I now know the only way out of their situation is the gospel and the reality that they can strive for more. I was shocked to realize the love from my family that I know so naturally is virtually unfathomable to these boys. In our communities, we receive constant affirmation that we are loved from every angle, be it friends or family. Yet what voice is expressing love and encouragement to these boys? How does one know love if one has never received it?
THIS is the ministry of Not Forgotten. These people come back year after year to show these boys what this word “Love” means. And they do it through the gospel. It takes time to combat the years of harsh realities in which these boys were born. However, Not Forgotten is committed to this long-term goal of introducing love, grace and mercy into their lives. An effective ministry is a committed one. To improve a community or situation in general, you must start with the leaders and build them up in the Lord.
These homes for the boys are doing just this! They are rearing boys in the gospel and turning them into men doing the Lords work and improving their community. I could list several firsthand experiences with specific boys that illustrate the effectiveness of the gospel in their lives. From hymns to favorite verses, I saw evidence that these boys KNOW the gospel and see it in these people that continually visit them year after year.
After visiting not just the boys but also the 100 acres of beautiful new land Not Forgotten has purchased, I now grasp the future of this ministry. The trips are just the surface at this point in the process. The reality is the future. What can we do to help? We must spread the word and increase support, both spiritually and financially, to bolster the passion of Not Forgotten, its mission, and its community.”
What a great trip our Christmas/New Year one was, to wrap up 2012 and lead into 2013! Not Forgotten had the privilege of sending a team of 14 individuals to Iquitos, Peru to spend time doing maintenance on existing children’s homes that we partner with and, more importantly, building relationships and loving on 87 boys – showing them in a tangible way that they are indeed “Not Forgotten.” We treasure the trip that falls during this time of the year because the message that you are “not forgotten” can carry a deeper meaning for people during the holidays. This is a season that naturally reminds these children very harshly that they are not with their families. We desire to bring joy, laughter, healthy distraction, true hope, and celebration to them to cheer them up during what has the potential to be a dark time.
For the second half of our trip (Jan. 1-Jan. 4), we headed back into the city of Iquitos to spend time with the older boys, ages 14-17, and those who now live in the nearby transition home. There our project was to sand, scrape, and re-paint the outer wall of the boys’ home in the city. In the remaining time we worked more puzzles, played soccer and volleyball, played (a little) basketball, made bracelets, played games, sang and danced some more, took the boys to a recreation park, took them to the movies, delivered more presents and Crocs, and played a lot of practical jokes (hint: whoopee cushions were involved).
Another especially exciting part of the trip was showing Not Forgotten’s property to our team and sharing with them the vision that we have for it. It was encouraging to the leadership of Not Forgotten to see the progress that is being made on the land and to have the chance to spend time with our friends who are faithfully guarding and working on it while we are stateside. Good news, people: grass is growing on the soccer field! (Remember this is South America; let’s talk about priorities, here.)
In summary, we want to specifically thank our amazing team for their hard work, tireless efforts, willingness to get dirty, encouraging spirits, flexibility, positive attitudes, and heart for these children and this ministry. It was an honor to serve alongside each of you. And lastly, but potentially most importantly, we want to thank those of YOU who gave to make this trip possible. Whether you sponsored a child so that we could buy him Christmas gifts or Crocs, or you supported one of our stellar team members, you contributed in a huge way and we are extremely grateful. Thank you for your eternal investment for the sake of making our King and His Kingdom known on this earth.