Sunday, August 21, 2011

.Not Forgotten.

While traveling the world for 11 months, I fell in love with blogging. I blogged consistently. It was therapeutic as it helped me manage the chaos of emotions flooding my heart and mind from a years worth of mission work overseas. Painfully long- they would be the briefest summary I could muster of all the adventures the Lord was bringing me through overseas. I loved telling the story of my team's service and being blown away by each memory's revelation of just how present the Lord was in each moment of our lives.

I arrived home, began working with Not Forgotten, and tried to start posting on this blog page. I couldn't. I have probably started 16 blogs that have gone unposted and now sit flooding my draft box.

They were blogs about my struggle of transitioning back into American culture. Blogs about my broken heart for the people I had left behind on my travels. Blogs about my struggle of being "home" yet feeling incredibly alone and isolated. Blogs about me just not fitting in anymore.

But, inevitably, these blogs of struggle would somehow end with the reassurance of His constant love for me.  Reminders that He is, in fact, omnipresent, accompanied by the gentle reassurance that He hadn't left me behind.

I didn't post these blogs because I thought they were irrelevant to Not Forgotten. They were about my personal struggle. What did those writings have to do with our ministry?

How silly of me...

Reflecting back, I now see how each unposted blog revolved around the heart of Not Forgotten. Each blog was a message from the Lord reminding me that I WAS not forgotten. How'd I miss the connection there?!

At some point we all need to be reminded that we are NOT FORGOTTEN. We need to be reassured that in our heartache, He is there. In our brokenness, He is there. In our suffering, He is there. To reflect on verses like Deut. 31:6 that tell us to be "strong and courageous" because He will never leave nor forsake us, and that's hope enough to continue on joyfully. To remember that this message of remembrance is relevant to every believer:

We are not forgotten, God sees us, and He loves us.

Receiving such a revelation makes me that much more excited about delivering His message of Hope to children worldwide. We can comfort one another so much more effectively when we've had to learn the same lesson. So- Lord help us to remember so we can teach in truth and love.

Friday, June 3, 2011

.Not Forgotten Bake Sale.

This spring, Not Forgotten was blessed beyond measure in an unexpected way. One of our dear friends, eight-year-old Caroline, shared the story of our ministry with her classmates, Reagan, Abby, Selah, and Lucy, at Crestwood Day School. Under Caroline’s leadership, these students decided not only to listen to Not Forgotten’s vision, but to act in response to hearing it. After brainstorming over how they could do something to make a difference in the lives of others, they chose to have a bake sale. Recognizing they could not do this alone, these girls rallied their parents and younger siblings (five-year-old Natalie, Sophie Claire, and Ansley) to help them organize a bake sale that would benefit Not Forgotten and another local ministry.  This bake sale took place Saturday, April 9, in Crestwood. Many neighborhood and church friends stopped by, along with curious passers-by and Not Forgotten supporters. Delicious baked goods such as muffins, cookies, and brownies were available for purchase, as well as original artwork by some of the girls. The weather was perfect and the bake sale was a huge success!

.sweet caroline.
This bake sale reminded me of a beautiful, familiar story from Luke 21 – “Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. And he said, ‘Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.’” I know that this offering of these girls’ time, abilities, and resources personally overwhelmed and humbled me. I was honestly more honored and pleased with their sincere, precious offering than I would have been to receive thousands of dollars for Not Forgotten. It meant so much. And if this was my reaction, I know our Father smiled as He saw these little girls’ pure hearts being poured into this event for His glory and on behalf of people who are so dear to His heart.

Our Lord does not ask that we give out of our abundance, but out of our poverty – when we do not see how we can afford to give, when we feel we have nothing of value to give. He does not want our extra, our afterthought, or our leftovers. Part of the beauty of giving is giving beyond our capacity and learning to trust Him. He desires to build our faith. He seeks not only our gift, but our obedience behind it – and He calls that beautiful. That is true worship through giving. Our God does not measure the value of our offering the way we do. It is all about His glory – and it is possible for Him to receive more glory through a smaller amount when that amount is given from a pure heart.

So Caroline, Reagan, Abby, Selah, Lucy, Natalie, Sophie Claire, and Ansley, thank you for being doers of the Word and not just hearers. And thank you for your sacrificial gift in obedience to our Lord that was of great worth in His sight. 

By: Allison Fuqua

Saturday, May 21, 2011

.a closer look at trips to puerto alegria.

Sometimes it is difficult to express what all is involved in a trip to Puerto Alegria. From construction work to play time, we have a full week to develop relationships with brothers and sisters that don't necessarily share our culture, language, or customs. These relationships allow us to share our faith and laughter though as each trip carries a unique lesson and new memories. One of our teammates from New Year's made a video to share with friends and family, and it painted another picture of our team time in Peru. Enjoy :-)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

.aiming to love like Him.

In May of 2009, I was in Johannesburg, South Africa and had the amazing opportunity to spend 4 weeks befriending some boys that have a few things in common with the children Not Forgotten aims to serve. The next few posts will reflect some of the ways the Lord has changed and challenged us through this ministry, and I thought this reflection summarized some of the ways it has impacted me. Not one of us is forgotten.

"Heal my heart and make it clean
Open up my eyes to the things unseen
Show me how to love me like You have loved me.
Break my heart for what breaks Yours.
Lord, everything I am for Your Kingdom's cause.
As I walk from earth into eternity..."

They line up against a wall smelling of earth and sweat. Their faces are streaked with dirt and scars, and glue dries in streams beneath their noses. They're hungry, broke, and filthy. They've probably stolen something from you, mumbled some crass remark when you avoided them, or sang you a jingle asking for cash. They'll tell you their story, but it's rarely the truth, and many of them have mastered manipulation even though they never passed the 7th grade.
They're the unlovable of Johannesburg, South Africa. They make you hold your purse a little tighter when you walk through town, and they're a large part of the reason you avoid the city streets at night.

They're street boys. 

For the last 2 weeks, my teammates and I have been working alongside Melville Junction Church developing possible programs that serve the homeless men, women and children of Jo'burg. In researching needs and ideas, I met Ricardo and friends begging on the street corner between McDonald's and KFC. They're street boys who beg from sun up to sun down, and take a break in the afternoon eat some soup with my team. We caught looks from everyone coming in and out of the restaurant. They would just gawk at the 4 Americas chatting with the street boys through the McDonald's window. Some of them would even speak. They would ask if we were naive, scared or just crazy.

Crazy? I'd think. For talking to a street boy? ...  At first, I was angry and hurt by their comments. But, as I started to think back to who I was before Christ, I began to understand the looks a little better. I knew I would have been the one munching on French fries and passing judgment 5 years ago...I still have moments where I sit back and judge without even attempting to understand. This time I just happened to be on the other side.

I remember hearing stories about the company that Christ kept when I first became a Christian. "Lunatic," I thought. Who pursues the prostitutes, beggars, and thieves? Aren't you taught to avoid people like that as a child? Great example, Jesus. Why don't I run down to the red light district and have a quality chat with the lady on the corner of 3rd and Peachtree? I'm sure she won't mind me stepping between her and this month's rent. And that thief over there? I'm sure that he won't steal from me because I have a cross, a smile, and good intentions. Wrong. Thanks for the example, Jesus. I'll stick to Birmingham suburbia. Much neater. Much safer. Much more expected.
But then I find 40 boys in the Amazon jungle, Hueso in the Dominican, Wesh in Haiti, Teekah in Botswana, and now, Ricardo in South Africa. They're all the types of people that Christ would have loved, while onlookers shook their heads in confusion. And before I can stop myself, I am loving them too. Relationships like these teach you to love with Christ's eyes, as titles fall to the ground and nothing but laughter and love rise to the surface. It's when they become more to you than the orphan, the prostitute, and "some street kids." Instead, you're changed; when through Christ's power they become your friend, your teacher, and your family. Christ molds you through these relationships. He challenges you to serve, pray, and love way past what is comfortable. You love with no guarantee that the love will be reciprocated, and it doesn't deter you from loving harder. You're reminded that the Creator of the Universe adores YOU, and that's all the Love you need for fulfillment.

As I fast forward from my original opinion of Jesus' company, I can't help but laugh at how He has reinvented my opinions and heart. He is teaching me to love through His eyes so much more this year, and it's transforming my attitude towards just about everything. While I once believed Christ a lunatic for seeking out the "unlovable," I now feel a divine calling to love them out of darkness. Befriending them no longer seems strange. We are loved so perfectly and abundantly by God, how could we not strive to pour that out on everyone we see?  
I pray that the Lord continues to open my eyes and "break our hearts" for what breaks His. It's scary at first. Uncomfortable even, but the conviction and obedience to love never return void

Thursday, January 20, 2011

.new years update.

Each journey to the jungle is full of its own unexpected blessings. Each trip is different as the teams shift, the children grow, and new children enter the home. But, I've never left without being amazed by the greatness of our God and the wonder of His constant provision. 

I wanted everyone to have an insight to this last trip, but I wanted it to come from someone who was experiencing Puerto Alegria for the first time. The following blog was written by one of my teammates from the World Race: Shannon Higgins. Up until December 28th, Puerto Alegria had been nothing but stories. Check out Shannon's perspective now that it has become a reality!


Shannon's Blog:
I usually spend the week between Christmas and New Year’s hitting up the after-Christmas sales and relaxing with family, but this year was different. Instead, I ditched the malls and headed to the jungle where I had the chance to impact the lives of 39 boys with Not Forgotten in Puerto Alegria, Peru. I've been all around the world, but the 6 days I spent in Puerto Alegria will be imprinted on my heart forever. I had never been to the jungle before. I had only heard of its beauty and of those boys for 11 months from my World Race teammate and Not Forgotten’s Kristen McKee. 

Well, I was not disappointed. 

It was an amazing week. I was able to meet a whole new group of friends through the Not Forgotten team, help build stairs for the gazebo, and help construct a dock. I swam with piranhas, bathed in the river, and ate jungle grub worm (suri).  I celebrated New Year’s Peruvian style, which is loud, colorful and full of crazy flying fireworks...that weren't always facing up. :-)

However, the most impacting part of the trip was getting to know the children that live in Puerto Alegria. At first I struggled through my lack of Spanish skills, but as the days went on I began to find those boys that the Lord had picked out for me to connect with. Even as I am writing this, I can see their bright smiling faces, and it makes my heart hurt that I am so far away. It is amazing how the Lord's love, photos, spanglish, sign language, music, and games can develop relationships that surpass language barriers. 

I am not sure I will be able to let another Christmas pass that doesn't have me heading to the jungle. Undoubtedly, I have left a part of my heart in that place. I'm so grateful for the opportunity to have served in Puerto Alegria. It's not an experience I'll soon forget.

Monday, September 27, 2010


So, I love to write and you're going to find that I use this blog as a platform to megaphone the cries within my heart and the hearts of my Not Forgotten comrades. :-) Cries relating to the needs of the people in the world around us, frustrations we experience when we can't provide for those needs immediately, and encouragements on how we continue to press on amidst those frustrations. I frequently read a blog written by a missionary in Costa Rica. She's honest. Sometimes shockingly so...and this particular post put picture to how we feel sometimes when we try to tackle an issue that we could never begin to conquer ourselves. This week she talked about poverty. The poverty that so often sends the children we're fighting for to the streets. She acknowledges it's overwhelming size and how the Lord calls her to face it. Remembering that only He is big enough...

Feeding the Ducks

I'm gonna go fight poverty for two and a half hours. 

2.5 hours on a Tuesday morning to solve the biggest problem in the world. What a joke

We will show up with a bag full of brad and an armload of bananas, and the children will clamber around us like ducks at a pond. A bunch of little ducklings, falling all over each other for a bit of bread and a soft pat on the head. 

And for 2 and a half hours we will laugh and play and eat, and we will talk about Jesus. And when we leave, they will be just as poor as when we arrived. Poverty taunts us as we drive away. 

It's overwhelming. 

The problem is so big, and we are so small. It feels ridiculous.... showing up to war wielding a loaf of bread. 

Of course that's how David showed up. Just a shepherd boy with some bread for his brothers, a kid who was quick with a sling shot. He chose for battle against a giant, not a sword, or the kings armor, but five smooth stones. And he won.

He said to the giant:
"You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the LORD will hand you over to me, and I'll strike you down and cut off your head. Today I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth, and the whole world will know that there is a God is Israel. All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves; for the battle is the LORD's and he will give all of you into our hands." -1 Samuel 17

I kind of love that.

I'm going to feed the ducks, now.

And then, with all my might, I will hurl a tiny pebble at their giant enemy. And I hope it hurts like hell.

-Jamie, The Very Worst Missionary

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Welcome- Kristen McKee

Greetings all Not Forgotten followers...

In order to take advantage of all growth opportunities in the future for Not Forgotten, a new member has been added to the team. As that new member, I thought I'd take a minute to introduce myself! My name is Kristen McKee and I'll be joining Not Forgotten as the Director of Administration and Development, aka Tyler's relief worker. I have been on numerous trips to Puerto Alegria, and share Not Forgotten's heart for the street children of Iquitos, Peru. 

I went on my first international mission trip to Saltillo, Mexico when I was a sophomore in college. I met a little girl named Fanny and spent ever possible moment with her family. Never in my life had I experienced such urgency to share the gospel as I had with Fanny's family. I loved them and I ached for them to believe in His peace, His grace and more importantly, His sacrifice and resurrection. I was surrounded by nothing familiar in that tiny Mexican shack, but I knew I belonged in that house, and that this trip to Mexico had forever changed my passions and redefined my purpose.

Less than two years later I had another opportunity to serve overseas. While spending a summer abroad in Spain, the Lord brought two dear friends into my life: Allison and Tyler. We had toured all around Spain together: learning what it was to be Americans in a foreign country, talking about missions, and discovering our mutual love for Latin America. Tyler kept talking about his love for Peru specifically, and how much he wanted us to come on one of his mission trips to this orphanage in the jungle. Frankly, as much as I trusted Tyler, I thought that he'd lost his mind. I wasn't exactly jungle material. The Lord's plans were a little different than my own however. So, a year and a half later Allison and I were jungle bound with deet and chacos. :)

Prior to this trip I had never had any interest in leaving the United States permanently, and was intimidated by the unknown. After this trip to Peru though, and the 8 that shortly followed, I was truly changed. I learned what it meant to truly be a new creation in Christ, as I discovered a new confidence and talents that I never knew I possessed. Tucked away in the middle of the Amazon jungle are 42 children that have captured my heart. Each journey down there brings James 1:27 to life as the orphans I'm called to care for aren't just children, but friends. They are unique. They each have different personalities, interests, idiosyncrasies and dreams. I want so badly to give them the hope and love that Christ has given me. I want to radiate with Christ's love so much that those children hunger for it and seek after it themselves. 

It was these relationships that triggered my desire to serve overseas as a missionary for AIM for a year.  I wanted to testify to God's grace across all nations, not just in Peru, but now the Lord has called me back to the ministry and home that first captured my heart. I'm willing to do whatever I can to ensure those children are being served, loved, and nurtured in a way that equips them for the future as servants of our precious Savior. They will know they are loved. Lord, let us be the difference...

I'll be available for any questions regarding Not Forgotten's mission, involvement opportunities, and upcoming trips! Feel free to contact me at 


Blessings, Kristen McKee