Category Archives: Ministry

Living Water: Timmy’s Story

“but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:14 NIV

In most villages in sub-Saharan Africa, fetching water is a part of life—and most often, it is the children who do the fetching. They’ll wake up early, make the long trek to the river or watering hole, fill their buckets until they’re overflowing and walk the long trek back.

But in many villages, World Vision has changed that. By digging boreholes, World Vision gives them access to clean and safe water close by. And with the new boreholes also came a new mindset.

Access to clean water affects every area of a person’s life—health, school, income and even family life.

We previously wrote about Dorcas, a nine-year-old girl from Zambia whose life was drastically improved when World Vision came and installed a borehole in her town. With clean water, she and the rest of the people in her community are in better health, and she attends more school, rather than spending her days walking to a distant watering hole.

Today, we’re sharing Timmy’s story with you. Timmy is a 14-year-old boy, also from Zambia, who never used to fetch water but is now seen at the new pump every morning and night.

Timmy Uses The Water Hole From World Vision

Timmy showing how happy he is to help pump water now.

Along with others in his village, Timmy used to believe that fetching water was only a girl’s job. But when World Vision came into the picture and dug new boreholes, everything changed. Not only did World Vision provide clean water for his entire community, but they also shared the gospel. And at that point, Timmy learned that the water was a gift from God.

“I said, ‘Mom, I have to look after the cows first. I’ll do that later.’ I thought it was a girl’s job to fetch water and wash dishes,” he said. “Now [that] we have water, things are a lot different. I help my mother in the garden. I don’t think fetching water is a girl’s job. I will help my wife fetch water [someday].”

Clean water not only provides for Timmy’s physical needs but also his spiritual needs. He was taught about “Living Water,” or the promise of eternal life that Jesus talked about in John 4, and now he displays the same sacrificial love for his family that Jesus shows him.

Something as simple as clean water is changing lives all over the world, and YOU can be a part of this change.

Join us and World Vision as we seek to create a better the future for people in need around the world. World Vision is committed to a goal of providing universal access to clean water by 2030, so let’s help them! Donate $10* by texting FAMILY to 52000. Or, find out more by visiting us in stores or at familychristian.com/wvwater.

#FCGiveHope

*Your one-time donation of $10 will be added to your mobile phone bill or deducted from your pre-paid balance. Message & data rates may apply.

12 Days of Giving

Since its inception, Family Christian has strived to provide products that help you grow your faith and share it with others. But we also have a heart for giving back.

That’s why we, as a nonprofit organization, seek to serve orphans and widows in need, just like our Father calls us to do in James 1:27:

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. – James 1:27 NIV

However, none of this giving is possible without YOU.

When you shop with us, your purchases support our efforts to unite with ministries that are helping children and families in need around the U.S. and the world.

All the money we’ve raised and the lives that have changed over these years are a direct result of you shopping with us.

Now it is our turn to say thank you with our 12 Days of Giving. On each day from December 13–December 25, we are offering a special deal on a product or a collection of products that we know you will love—and drastically reduced the price for you.

Some of the deals to keep an eye out for are for Fisher-Price’s Little People® Nativity, Jesus Calling and the recently released 90 Minutes in Heaven.*

These and all other products in the sale will help you grow in your own faith or make for a great gift for a loved one.

None of what we do would be possible without you, so once again we just say: Thank you.

Thank you for your prayers.

Thank you for your support.

Thank you for your giving.

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*To make sure you find out what each deal of the day is, subscribe to our emails using the link at the bottom of the page or follow us on Instagram.

Give Hope: Water

As Christmas draws near, we are reminded of our Savior’s birth and the hope He brought to the world. Today, so many people around the world are struggling, and are without the hope of Jesus. Our prayer is that together we can help fill many of them with that hope.

There are three ways in which we aim to give hope this year: through education, food and water.

Give Hope: Water

Our final initiative this year is giving hope through water. Together with World Vision, we are raising money to provide clean water to so many people who are currently without it.

Did you know that there are 748 million people around the world who do not have access to clean water? Because of this, about every 90 seconds a child under 5 years old dies from diarrhea caused by water contamination, poor sanitation and unsafe hygiene practices.

The surviving children are often in charge of fetching the water. With such long distances to travel, they’re unable to attend school on those days.

Dorcas Walking

Photo Credit: World Vision

Four times a day, nine-year-old Dorcas made the trek for water, which is a necessity, but also a curse. With no other resources, Dorcas and her grandmother were forced to drink water from a filthy open hole—where animals drink, bathe, defecate and even die.

Sickness caused by this unclean water caused Dorcas to miss even more school than she already had. In the first quarter, Dorcas was absent 12 times in 9 weeks.

Then , in the fall of 2014, World Vision came to town and installed a borehole right within the city, which has given them access to clean water through a filtration system.

Now, Dorcas and her entire community live healthier lives since they are no longer plagued by sickness.

And instead of spending so many hours of the day traveling to get water, Dorcas attends school more regularly, allowing her to continue studying and working toward her dream of becoming a teacher.

Dorcas Smiling

Back in school and in good health, Dorcas can continue working toward her dream of becoming a teacher.

Without World Vision’s help, providing clean water and teaching the people about proper sanitation and hygiene, who knows how many more of them would have suffered.

Motivated by a love of Christ and a love for others, World Vision believes everyone deserves clean water. From this love a goal of providing clean water to every single person by 2030 was born.

And YOU can help them reach this goal.

Make a difference in the lives of children just like Dorcas by visiting our Give Hope: Water page, or text FAMILY to 52000 to donate $10.*

*Your one-time donation of $10 will be added to your mobile phone bill or deducted from your pre-paid balance. Message & data rates may apply.

Family Christian: Moving Forward

In this brief, but thorough video, our President and CEO, Chuck Bengochea, discusses what’s new at Family Christian and what is still to come. In it, he touches on new store designs and layouts, our new service promise, and how thankful we are for your support and trust in us.

At Family Christian, we put purpose over profit. Check it out:

Give Hope: Food

What is hope? “A reason to live.” – Ron Morin, Founder and Director of Pray America/Manos de Jesus

As the Christmas season draws near, we are reminded of our Savior’s birth and the hope He brought to the world. Today, so many people around the world are struggling, and are without the hope of Jesus. Our prayer is that together we can help fill many of them with that hope.

There are three ways in which we aim to give hope this year: through education, food and water.

Give Hope: Food

Beginning November 20, our campaign to give hope through food kicks off. Along with our ministry partner, Pray America, we are raising funds to feed 10,000 Guatemalans for one year.

In the late 1980s, Pray America began serving people in need in Central America. Their Christ-centered and non-denominational ministry works to bring spiritual, physical and social restoration and wholeness to Mayan widows and orphans.

Through their programs, families are fed both physically and spiritually, meaning that in addition to the food they receive, they are taught about Jesus and the eternal hope that He provides.

Ron shared that in the regions they are serving, “most of the people they meet are hopeless, but once Pray America introduces them to the gospel, their outlook dramatically changes.”

Take the story of Micaela.

After putting her through years of verbal and physical abuse, Micaela’s husband up and left, leaving her and her two children to fend for themselves. Times were tough – there were days when, she Debora, 12, and Freddie, 5, could only eat once a day. Then Micaela met the people at Pray America, and her family’s life began to change.

Now she attends the widow’s discipleship program held once every two weeks, and her children attend a feeding program twice a week. Through the food provided to them, they receive hope for tomorrow. Through the teachings of Christ, hope for eternity.

Micaela and her two Children

Today, Pray America operates three feeding programs in Chichicastenango, Guatemala, but even the weekly programs could not make up for the food shortage that took place in 2014. Due to a drought that year, corn only grew to about half its size. Corn is a crucial food to Guatemalans, so without it—they struggle to survive.

Ron was concerned. What if the drought returned? How would Guatemalans survive?

Ron asked and God answered. His response was to build a bodega, which is a food storehouse. Earlier this year, construction was completed, and now the need is to fill it with dry, natural food that Guatemalans can survive on. As soon as it is filled, Pray America will begin distributing the food to the families with the greatest need.

A full bodega can keep 10,000 people fed for an entire year, so from November 20th to the 29th, please consider helping us feed these 10,000 Guatemalans in need. For the first $25,000 donated, our nonprofit ministry, Family Christian Ministries, will match the amount.

If you would like to join us in giving hope to the people of Chichicastenango, please visit our Give Hope: Food page, or text FAMILY to 52000 to donate $10*.

*Your one-time donation of $10 will be added to your mobile phone bill or deducted from your pre-paid balance. Message & data rates may apply.

A Family Christian Ministries Update: 2015 So Far

God is in pursuit of the orphan and widow. Throughout scripture He has promised that He would maintain their cause, lift them up, execute justice on their behalf, make them a home, never forget them, rescue them, never forget them, and defend them. He has asks us as well to express His heart toward the orphan and widow and toe “look after them in their distress” (James 1:27 NIV).

Helping Widows and Orphans

By God’s grace, Family Christian Ministries has been a part of His story by serving and rescuing orphans and widows in 2015. As we have joined Him in serving the oppressed around the world, we have been able to touch the lives of over 1.5 Million orphans and widows this year.

Our ministry to the orphan and widow fall into three categories:

  • Quality of Life Improvements for Orphans and Widows
  • Hands-on Orphan and Widow Work Care
  • Adoption Assistance Program

This work has been supported by donation from guests who shop Family, employees who give, commercial co-ventures with vendors, vendor donation, and donations from leadership.

Because of support from you, our customers, God has allowed us to continue to advance His Kingdom and destroy evil. Look at all you’ve helped to accomplish so far in 2015:

  • Through our Barnabas Bear donation program, more than 70,000 lives have been touched.
  • Through our partnership with Faith Comes by Hearing, more than 14,000 lives have been touched.
  • Through World Vision International child sponsorships, more than 10,000 lives have been touched.
  • On our missions trips that we’ve taken to Mexico, Guatemala, Haiti, and more, more than 3,000 lives have been touched.

Overall Family Christian Ministries has impacted over 1.5 million people in 2015 and that number continues to grow. We couldn’t do any of this without your help. Thank you for your continued support and take heart knowing that your financial assistance, the donation of your time, and your prayers are touching the lives of many children and widows all over the world.

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This post was written by Family Christian’s own Steve Biondo, the SVP of HR & Organizational Development at Family Christian.

Give Hope: Education

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. – 1 Peter 1:3 ESV

As the Christmas season draws near, we are reminded of our Savior’s birth and the hope He brought to the world. Today, so many people around the world are struggling, and are without the hope of Jesus. Our prayer is that together we can help fill many of them with that hope.

There are three ways in which we aim to give hope this year: through education, food and water.

Give Hope: Education, Food, Water

Our first initiative is to give hope through education, which runs from now through November 12th.

Along with our partner Back2Back Ministries, we are raising money and support for orphans and vulnerable children, offering them an opportunity to live in a family-style setting, and receive scholarships, tutoring, and encouragement to pursue their dreams.

The ultimate goal is to teach these children how to become self-sufficient and to give back to their communities. With more education, children are more likely to become leaders of tomorrow and forever shape the direction of their countries.

One of those future leaders, Madison, broke free from a cycle of physical and spiritual poverty when she entered into the Hope Program at Back2Back.

We asked her how life changed after entering Madisonthe program, and this is what she said: “My life changed in a really radical way. Probably the coolest that has happened to me since I’ve been here is that I began a real relationship with Jesus Christ.”

The Hope Program is about more than just providing young people with an education. Loving house parents nurture and care for each student, and most important, introduce them to the hope found in Jesus.

We asked Madison what she hopes for now that she’s been through the program, and her answer brilliantly captures the mission behind the Hope Program:

“My only hope is Jesus. My dream isn’t in a family or a job. It’s only in what He’s going to do in my life.”

Yes, we are aiming to provide children throughout the world with hope through education, water, and food, but our ultimate hope is rooted in Jesus.

This is because hope in Jesus is eternal, while other “hopes” fade away. That’s why Peter calls it a living hope.

“The only imperishable hope is that which climbs above the stars, and fixes itself upon the throne of God and the person of Jesus Christ.” – Charles Spurgeon

The Hope Program opened doors for Madison that previously didn’t exist. She now plans to serve one year in a mission school, and then go on to study dentistry. Even with all the new opportunities popping up in her life, her zeal for Christ has not taken a back seat.

“I think my greatest desire is to share my testimony with many students, that they would understand the hand of God and the glory of God exists in our lives, and that He can change the bad to good and restore hearts,” Madison said.

If you would like to join us in giving hope to students like Madison, please visit our Give Hope: Education page, or text FAMILY to 91011.

Spread the Warmth of God’s Love with Barnabas Bear

Family Christian introduced Barnabas Bear in 2003 to raise money for and show love to children in need throughout the world. With your help, we’ve donated over 800,000 bears in the twelve years since. Barnabas Bear has had many different looks, but the message has always remained the same:

“This bear is named Barnabas, which means comfort and encouragement. Barnabas is here to remind you every day that someone cares about you and wants you to know that God loves you. To become a child of God and know that you will someday live in Heaven with Him and His Son, Jesus, all you have to do is ask Him to come and live in your heart.

Just say this simple prayer: Dear God, thank you for loving me. I know that I have done things that make your heart sad. Please forgive me and come and live in my heart forever. Help me to do what’s right. I love you. In the name of your Son, Jesus, Amen!”

Offering a tangible expression of Christ’s love, Barnabas Bear provides a wonderful way to share a big hug with the kids in your community and around the world.

One of our employees from an Ohio store, Melissa, witnessed firsthand the comfort Barnabas Bear brings. In 2012 her nephew and his family were in a bad car accident. While her nephew and his 11-month-old daughter did not survive the wreck, her niece and their 2-year-old son did.

Melissa shared that her great nephew was conscious at the scene of the accident, but was very traumatized by the machinery, sirens, and other loud noises.

When a first responder found the young boy in a responsive state, he provided him with Barnabas Bear to help keep him calm.

“It brings me comfort, knowing that he had this little bear with him to help provide the love and comfort that he needed in that very terrible situation,” she said.

This is one of many stories that show the impact Barnabas Bear can have in a child’s life, and the reason that Family Christian created it years ago.

Many children do not know Jesus, but Barnabas Bear gives a child the introduction, or reminder, that God loves and wants to have a relationship with them.

Barnabas Bear with Kids

Purchase Barnabas for only $6.99, and share God’s love by:

Donating Him: When you buy at your local store, we give him to a ministry in your own community. When you buy online, your bear will be donated to and distributed through Back2Back Ministries, a non-profit organization who strives to provide spiritual, physical, emotional, educational, and social needs to orphans and other vulnerable children around the world.

Taking Him Home: Give him to a child you know who needs to feel the warmth of God’s love.

We look forward to teaming up with you once again to spread love to children in our own communities and to the ends of the earth.

Have you or anyone else that you know had an experience with Barnabas Bear? Let us know in the comments below!

Serving in our own backyard

As I sat by the bonfire we had on the ranch one evening of our mission trip, I was in awe of the hard yet stunning reality of life. I sat there looking into the faces of handsome young men, whose eyes reflect the pain of their pasts but also hold hope for their bright futures.

Goshen Valley Boys’ Ranch is a foster care alternative in Waleska, Georgia, that helps young men go from burden to blessing—from situations where despair, broken promises, neglect and abuse are the norm to a sanctuary where they can find healing, experience a loving home and possibly be adopted.

I was so excited to be able to serve in my own country, and see firsthand how this ministry is working to better our communities and country by investing in those who sometimes go unnoticed and slip through the cracks.

Our team helped build an extension for a pole barn, do some electrical work, paint a deck, organize a clothes closet and more.

In addition to helping build an extension on a pole barn, paint a deck and organize the clothes closet, our time with the boys blessed me and my team in more ways than we can express. Their smiles are contagious, their sports and academic successes are worthy of praise and their plans for the future are grand.

Our team was the 23rd that Family Christian has sent to Goshen Valley. On one trip, the team renovated this barn that’s now used for schooling.

Our team was the 23rd that Family Christian has sent to Goshen Valley. On one trip, the team renovated this barn that’s now used for schooling.

–Alyssa Helm, Family Christian Copywriter

Thank you so much for partnering with us and Goshen Valley to help boys in the United States grow into godly men. Just by shopping with us, you’ve helped us donate more than $270,000 so far!

Joseph’s Adoption

Buying here helps young men find forever families

Joseph was 12 years old when he first set foot on the Goshen Valley Boys’ Ranch, a foster care alternative with multiple family-style homes. He arrived from a group home where he struggled with anger and getting into fights. All that changed when Goshen Valley welcomed him in to their family.

During his time there, Joseph began going to church, school and youth group each week and became close with the eight other boys in his home and his house parents, who were devoted to helping him succeed in life. Joseph was also there during Family Christian’s first mission trip.

“The development after Family Christian came in was huge. I saw them put in roads, a learning center, and they did all kinds of stuff to better Goshen Valley,” Joseph said. “If it wasn’t for Family Christian, I feel like the development of Goshen would not be where it is today.

During that first mission trip, Joseph also met Tina, our Senior Visual Manager.

Joseph and Tina

Joseph and Tina

They spent the week together working on projects, hanging out and created a close friendship. Soon after the trip, Tina felt God tugging at her heart to adopt a child from Goshen. And a year and half later, Tina and her husband Kevin adopted Joseph, who was just shy of his 18th birthday.

Joseph with Kevin and Tina, outside Joseph’s home near Chicago

Joseph with Kevin and Tina, outside Joseph’s home near Chicago

“I always thought my husband and I would adopt,” Tina said. “After the mission trip, I kept thinking about how I wanted to do more, so I asked Kevin to pray for one week. I wanted to see if God was saying to him what he was saying to me.”

One week later, Kevin confirmed what Tina had heard from the Lord, which was that their family should share what God had given them with others by adopting a child from Goshen Valley Boys’ Ranch. And a year and half later, they adopted Joseph, who was just shy of his 18th birthday.

A year and a half after graduating high school, Joseph moved to Chicago to study in the automotive field. He’s now 22 and works as a mechanic. While he’d like to stay in the automotive industry, he sees himself eventually moving closer to his family again. He describes having Tina, Kevin and his three-year-old brother, Bear, in his life as “a life-changing experience.”

Joseph and his three-year-old brother, Bear, love hanging out together!

Joseph and his three-year-old brother, Bear, love hanging out together!

“The biggest change I saw was a young man who desperately wanted a family and didn’t know how a family works, to a young man who understands that we’ll always have his back and love him,” Tina said. “God has unconditional love for us, and I never grasped that concept until I had Joseph in my life. There is nothing he could do that could make us stop loving him.”

When you buy from Family, you are giving to ministries like Goshen Valley, helping them raise young boys into godly men and preparing them for a possible adoption.

Learn more about Goshen Valley and our other ministry partners.