Easter Campaign

Meet our Partner: Eyes That See

It's the final day of Partner Week and today, we're talking with Nikki of Eyes that See. 


Eyes That See currently works in Ethiopia with women who desire to leave the sex industry. The women live at their center, The Keziah House, where they receive rehabilitation, counseling, access to health care, clean water, daily life necessities and education through an accredited school. Upon graduating the program, women are gradually  transitioned into the surrounding community and offered continual support as they enter the workforce and begin to live increasingly independent lives.

 ANGELA: How do women end up at Keziah House? How do you serve them?

NIKKI: When we first got started, our staff (all Ethiopian) used to walk the streets of the brothel handing out our information. The flyer said a bit about our program, and if they were interested in changing their lives, to come check us out. Well, it didn't take long from us searching for women who needed help to end up with a waiting list of more than 200 women who had come to sign up to be in our program. It was heartbreaking to see. We no longer go out and look for the women who are needing help. They come to us. They go through an intense interview process to see if this program is right for them. Once accepted to our Keziah home, their basic necessities are provided, they are given an education at an accredited school, offered intense rehabilitation and counseling, emotional support, and job training and placement assistance. More importantly, these women are offered love and community and a chance to find redemption and regain their sense of self worth.


ANGELA: What have been some of the biggest challenges ETS has faced?

NIKKI: Unfortunately, finances have been our biggest challenge. Over the past years, there have been times we've had to postpone another class entering for a couple months due to lack of funding. That's why movements like Forget The Frock are so crucial to organizations like ours. Our funding is private, so we are grateful for this opportunity to partner again with you all. 


ANGELA: How has your work with ETS impacted you personally?

NIKKI: Wow, so hard to put that into words. I'd like to think I'm a more compassionate, kind, and loving person because of my work with ETS, but then I go and see my Keziah ladies and they shatter the very definition I have of those words. They are amazing women who are so strong and brave. I look at them with envy and wish to be like them! I strive to have their confidence when they walk out of the doors of the Keziah house on graduation day. Its an amazing thing to see. The joy in their eyes comes straight from a place that only one can know when overcoming adversity and redeeming ones life. 


ANGELA: When you think of the work that has been accomplished through ETS, is there a particular woman that has stayed with you? 

NIKKI: That would be Eyersalem. (A smile comes on my face just saying her name.) I love her so much!! She came to us for the 4th Keziah class. She had a story similar to many others. After being admitted to our program, she went to the routine medical check that all women go to when entering the Keziah house. That is when she learned that she was 3 months pregnant. This was the first time this had come up for us at Eyes That See. Hearing the news, Eyersalem was so worried that she wouldn't be able to be a part of Eyes That See. She was certain that we would kick her out, so she was going to secretly have an abortion. Thankfully, she talked to one of our staff, who talked to our director, who talked to me and asked what our plan was. It was a new issue that was super easy to answer: of course she could stay and of course she could be pregnant and we would help her with the next steps of her journey. It was a lot to take in for me, personally. The fact that Eyersalem saw such value in Eyes that See that she was willing to do anything to stay a part of it, was just so very humbling. I remember meeting her for the first time and putting my hands on her growing belly. Seeing the joy in her eyes about becoming a new mom soon, but also finding redemption and hope without shame, is something I wish everyone could experience. I know I've said it before, but I look up to these ladies. I want to be like them someday!  


ANGELA: How do you define success at ETS? How do you evaluate the work that is being done there?

NIKKI: Defining success at ETS is easy, it's in the face of each one of the 103 women who have graduated from Keziah! It's in the faces of all 30 of the children that are now Keziah children because their moms are forever a part of our lives (3 more Keziah babies coming soon!) Seeing how one of these ladies enters our program - broken down, abused, lonely, and defeated - then walking along side her as she breaks away from her past and finds freedom and healing in Christ is very real proof that this is needed in Ethiopia. 


ANGELA: ETS has partnered with Forget the Frock for several years now. What were you able to accomplish as a result of the campaigns?

NIKKI: We LOVE partnering with FTF! Seriously, I get so excited when it is time to reveal the new shirts and then again when it's time to box and ship them off to the wonderful people who purchased them! We use the results of this campaign for practical things such as paying tuition: $250 pays for 6 moths tuition for just one of our Keziah ladies. And because of FTF, our last year's graduating class was able to have a fancy graduation party, where we rented out a restaurant, hung decorations, had music, and even caps and gowns for the graduates. It was a fitting way to celebrate all they had accomplished.  


ANGELA: What are your dreams or goals for the coming year? What are some concrete things you’d like to see ETS accomplish? How will the funds from this year’s FTF campaign enable you to accomplish this?

NIKKI: We are in the interview process right now for filling our 7th Keziah class. The funds from this year's FTF campaign will go towards the start up cost of having those new women move in. Each time we start up a new class, it is always the most expensive time. We like to purchase a new mattress for each woman (each graduating woman gets to take her mattress with her when she moves out) some clothes, supplies, medical care, and basic needs. For every 170 FTF shirts that ETS sells, it will cover the expense of one woman for an entire year at Keziah! 


ANGELA: Speaking directly to people considering buying a shirt to support ETS, what would you say to them?

NIKKI: Thank you! It's easy to scroll past something like this and not give it any attention. So thank you for taking the time to consider buying a shirt from ETS or any of these great organizations. It is extremely humbling to know that a shirt you chose to buy to put on your body will help another woman gain ownership back over hers.

Meet Our Preferred Partner: Feeding the Orphans

Each day this week, we will be interviewing the people behind our Partner Charities to help you get to know them a little bit better. We are kicking things off by chatting with Kristie and Sydney O'Leary of Feeding the Orphans.


Feeding the Orphans is a grassroots organization founded in 2010 by then-10- year-old, Sydney O’Leary. FTO advocates for the fatherless of West Africa in Jesus’ name, working to first meet the immediate earthly needs of the community and then build long-term relationships that foster knowledge of Christ. FTO works in partnership with existing Christian ministries when possible, but if needs are identified that reach beyond the scope of these ministries, FTO becomes the driving force to provide for those in need. FTO serves by feeding children, providing educational grants and scholarships, drilling clean water wells, coordinating medical relief missions, and operating Esther's Hope, a job skills and mentoring program that provides education and employment to single mothers to help them find independence.



ANGELA: Feeding the Orphans was started when Sydney was just a child. Kristie, what was your initial impression of her vision?

KRISTIE: When Sydney first came to us with her idea we were in the middle of our first adoption and we were personally fundraising for that.  I remember thinking to myself “This is such an amazing thing she wants to do, but we cannot help her fundraise, too. There’s just no way.” Then God nudged my heart that He’s the one doing all of it and to stand behind our daughter and her dreams and visions. So we did.  And He showed up like we never imagined. 

ANGELA: Did you ever imagine the organization would grow like this?

KRISTIE: Never.  Her goal was to raise $500 by selling the 'Kings and Queens' shirt and we thought that would be the end of it. 


ANGELA: At what point did you realize that this was more than just a kid’s fundraising project? 

KRISTIE: When, within two months of a 10-year-old girl selling a t-shirt and speaking out for the fatherless, $8,000 was raised. At that point, we realized this was God moving in a mighty way. Only God can turn a simple question into a life changing ministry for thousands.  

ANGELA: What have been some of the biggest challenges Feeding the Orphans has faced over the years?

KRISTIE: Some of the biggest challenges we have faced are just the vast needs in front of us every day.  The girls that are prostitutes. The children that are sacrificed.  The moms that feel like they have no other choice but to give up their children.  The children who long to attend school, but have no means to do so. The babies fighting for their lives because they have special needs and there’s no money for medical care.  And then loving those little ones, yet watching them leave their earthly home.  The greatest challenge we face is knowing we can never help all of them, but resting in the hope of our Savior and that He loves each of us (and them) more than any of us can ever imagine.  Sometimes that is easier said than done. 


ANGELA: When you think of the work that has been accomplished through FTO, what is a particular woman or child or situation that has stayed with you?

KRISTIE:  Regina.  A beautiful 15 year old girl. I had heard stories of her.  How she couldn’t care for herself and her siblings.  How she didn’t attend school.  How she was desperate. But the day we drove to her house was something I was not prepared for.  I felt like I couldn’t breathe as we got out of the car.  And she was cooking, but it wasn’t food.  It was grass she had plucked from the field to boil for her family. Yes, grass.  Only grass.  And I stood there and tears poured down my face as I looked at her and her family. Hungry and hopeless.  And our partner told me she felt she had no other choice other than to become a prostitute.  Instead, though, God intervened and He sent FTO.  He sent people to purchase FTF shirts and He changed her life. He provided food for her family and then a sponsor.  And He provided a way for her to attend school.  That precious girl who had so much shame that she couldn’t even look at my face on that hot August day is now a radiant, thriving, smiling teenager dreaming of being a nurse.  Her life was literally transformed by a simple t-shirt.
SYDNEY: Mercy and Favor.  About a year ago, we got news of two precious siblings who were fighting for their lives in Ghana.  They were both severely malnourished and little Favor could barely even sit up.  We immediately sent emergency medical care money and they started to make progress.  A few weeks later they moved into one of the orphanages we partnered with and two weeks after that I flew to Ghana to meet these special little ones.  They stole my heart the second I met them.  Today, they are thriving and two of the happiest toddlers you’ll ever meet!  


ANGELA: How has Forget the Frock impacted your organization?

KRISTIE: FTF has literally transformed this ministry. God founded it on a simple tshirt when Sydney was just 10 and now He’s using FTF and the sale of tshirts at Easter to transform lives all over Ghana, Togo and East TN.  


ANGELA: What are some specific things you’ve been able to accomplish with the funds from past campaigns? 

KRISTIE: As a ministry, we have over 600 children in our daily education and food sponsorship programs.  2/3 of those children do not have individual sponsors so because of FTF those kids are receiving an education and daily nourishment. They are going to school, learning trades and realizing they can achieve their dreams.  In the end, together we are raising leaders for the next generation. 

ANGELA: What are your dreams or goals for the coming year?

SYDNEY: One dream of mine is to finish Nyame Dua’s new home.  We just have a little bit more to do on the upstairs and then these kids will have a place just for them. A place that’s safe and a place where they will learn all about Jesus.  Another dream is to help Ho hospital in Ghana run their NICU and make sure that every tiny blessing from God is cared for and loved.  


ANGELA: What would you like to accomplish with the funds from this year’s campaign? 

KRISTIE: We would like to finally be able to purchase phototherapy lights for a hospital about three hours outside of the capital city.  This hospital receives abandoned babies and lots of pre-term babies on a consistent basis.  We have personally held some of these little ones, prayed with their mommas and loved on the doctors and nurses.  They are in desperate need of these lights and we are anxious to watch FTF help provide them. 


ANGELA: Speaking directly to people considering buying a shirt to support Feeding the Orphans, what would you say to them? 

SYDNEY: I would say thank you so very much.  By purchasing and wearing a simple shirt, you are literally saving lives.  You are feeding little ones, providing medical care to kids that desperately need it and you are also raising awareness about the plight of the orphan.  It’s an all around win, you get to wear a comfy shirt on Easter and support precious kiddos in Ghana, Togo and now the US. 

Starting the Conversation: Inviting Your Church to Host a Campaign


We've seen a lot of excited discussions on social media about the campaign, with many wondering how they can get their local church involved. This is incredibly exciting, and we wanted to give you a few tools and pieces of advice when inviting your church to host a campaign. 

We want you to know that Forget The Frock doesn't always begin in churches as a church-wide campaign. Often, it is a few brave souls (small groups, youth groups, Sunday school classes, etc.) that are inspired by the movement, that show up on Easter Sunday in very untraditional dress. Then, as they share their convictions and their heart for the oppressed, they see the movement begin to resonate with other people. The next year others begin to join them as they choose to "Forget The Frock," and before they know it many are on board. 

If you feel called to take the message of this movement to your pastors, certainly we want you to do just that. We are so thankful to the many that have! Know that we are here to answer your questions and help in any way we can. But also know that starting small, with your circle of friends, can have great impact too! (Hey, that's how this whole Forget the Frock thing got started!)  Don't be discouraged if your church initially declines to participate as a body--often, the church staff and pastors have logistical reasons they may decline to host a campaign, but in our experience, are always supportive of the heart and commitment of those who participate. Regardless of the way you choose to help us carry the message, know that we are praying for you and the impact you will have on vulnerable lives. 

Here's a sample email you can copy/paste/customize and send to your church staff to start the conversation: 

I have recently discovered an amazing opportunity for our church body, a chance to embrace the commands of James 1:27 “to care for the orphan and the widow.” I would love to tell you a little more about it. It's called "Forget The Frock."   
Churches across the nation are joining the growing movement. The Forget The Frock Easter campaign encourages people to use the money they would normally spend on a new outfit for Easter and instead, purchase a t-shirt that benefits orphan care. Forget The Frock isn’t focused on one specific organization, rather they encourage us to explore their shirt partners or other ministry organizations and then partner with a ministry that we feel called to invest in.
Participating in Forget The Frock is a simple way our church can rally together to care for the orphan, rescue human trafficking victims or invest in family preservation. I believe this could be a great opportunity for our body to actively join together for a common goal. The pictures these churches share on social media of their people coming together in their shirts is inspiring.
Forget The Frock has tons of resources available to make launching a church-wide campaign easy. You can check it out on their website www.forgetthefrock.org. I would love to talk with you more about this and how I can work to bring this simple campaign to our people. 


Here are a few links you might want to include: 

Forget the Frock's Church Hosts page: http://www.forgetthefrock.org/church-hosts/

Feeding the Orphans' webpage re: Forget the Frock: http://www.feedingtheorphans.org/forget-the-frock/


Good luck with your conversations, and please, reach out on social media or at info@forgetthefrock.org if we can help! 


A New Look and More!

Well, what do you think? Like the new website?

We have been working hard to update and clarify our website and get everything ready for the 2017 Forget the Frock Easter campaign. It seems so far in the future, doesn't it? But in reality, we are just 15 weeks from the launch of the 2017 campaign. Yikes!

Our team and our long-time partners have been working behind the scenes to prepare for what we hope will be the largest and most successful campaign yet. We have visions of working alongside our followers to feed more children and care for more women than ever before, spreading the Good News and the love of Christ through your small Easter sacrifice. But we are really going to need YOUR HELP!

As you cruise around the website, make sure you visit the page to Become an Ambassador--we need you out there telling everyone about Forget the Frock.

Invite your church to get information on our Church Hosts page--they can learn all about the movement and how they can host their own Forget the Frock campaign, either in support of one of our Partners or even a local ministry or outreach that they already engage.

And if your Women's Ministry or MOPS group is looking for a great speaker, visit our About Us page, where you can read about how Emily is speaking at events to empower women to live out their God-given potential in service of the Kingdom.

And don't forget to check back often, here on the blog or on our social media pages: we'll be featuring stories from some of our recent events and bringing you our annual Purposeful Giving guide just in time for Christmas!