Who knew one small click of the mouse could change so many lives.
Emily Fox, like her mother and her mother's mother, grew up with big plans for Easter each year. Extensive planning to coordinate Easter wardrobes for the entire family was an ingrained part of each Spring's festivities.
It was when she walked alongside some friends who were adopting a child from Africa that Emily was first introduced to the plight of many in third-world countries. She witnessed first-hand the struggle and horrors many face when survival is an everyday challenge.
"For us, when Natalie and JT brought Tedi home, suddenly the plight of the orphan was in our living room for a sleep over and EVERYTHING CHANGED."
Natalie and JT are dear friends who adopted from Ethiopia and entrusted Emily and her husband to be Tedi's Godparents. This adoption, just like the quote from Platt, is what opened their eyes to the hurt in the world, and changed everything for their family.
Emily shares that "stuff" was all over her life. Comparing the shade of daddy's tie with the color of her daughter's dress was a normal part of her Easter plans. Spending a considerable amount of money to ensure everyone was dressed to the tee for Easter Sunday was not uncommon.
One day, she heard about a woman with whom she'd grown up. They were from the same town. This woman had a ten-year-old daughter who was designing t-shirts to benefit orphans in Africa. Emily tucked this information away until one night when she was shopping online for her family's Easter outfits. As she browsed page after page of beautiful dresses, she felt a nudge to click open a new window and type in the URL of her friend's website: FeedingTheOrphans.org. She remembers it like it was yesterday...the image is forever etched in her memory. There was a green t-shirt on the site that said. "I fed a hungry child".
'I can lay down our dresses and pick up a t-shirt." -Emily Fox, Forget the frock
It was at that moment that Emily picked up the phone and made a call she won't soon forget. She phoned her husband, who is also a pastor. She explained to him that this year, Easter would be different. They would not be buying the usual pretty, matching outfits, but instead would be purchasing t-shirts. As Emily puts it, she was nervous because "Easter is a pastor's 'Superbowl Sunday'"
While she never felt God calling her to create a movement, she clearly felt Him calling her to obey. And obey she did! She is quick to admit that even though she was obedient, her vanity was still something she struggled with. She was embarrassed as she explained to her friends--who were also engrained in the Easter dress-up culture--that she and her family would not be participating that year, but would instead be wearing t-shirts on Easter Sunday.
Emily likens her own situation to that of Esther in the scriptures. Like Esther, Emily found herself submerged in cultural tradition. She was called to step forward in obedience and she was uneasy in doing so.
The spring of 2011 when Emily purchased t-shirts from Feeding The Orphans for her family, she also wrote on her friend's blog. This blog was her friend's story of navigating the tricky and often arduous road of adoption. After Emily's post went live, Emily received an email from the friend she'd grown up with, the friend whose daughter was designing t-shirts for Feeding the Orphans. The friend thanked Emily for sharing her heart and as a result, Feeding the Orphans brought in over $4,000 in t-shirt sales.
Emily looks back today and sees how amazing God's plan is and how He connected this amazing little girl (whose heart was burdened to care for the least of these from the tender age of seven) to Emily. Emily remembers being 18 years old and holding this little girl when she was a baby, and now this little girl was designing t-shirts that were literally changing children's lives. Emily's heart was moved and she continued sharing the mission and vision of Feeding the Orphans with a movement of her own called Forget the Frock.
As Emily shared her family's conviction to forego Easter dresses and suits in favor of feeding children by purchasing t-shirts from Feeding the Orphans, others caught the vison and joined in. It was amazing! And then God called Emily and her family out of the south in Kentucky to Arizona...
The mission was clearer to her there and easier to explain. Emily was confused how she was to share this same mission with those on the West coast who did not share the same culture and tradition. Now looking back, Emily sees clearly that had God not moved them to the West coast, Forget the Frock wouldn't have also made a cross-country move, and brought in that many more people buying into the vision.
Since that fateful day when Emily clicked open another window in her computer browser, Forget the Frock has brought in over $500,000 to feed the orphans. She and her husband Jason haven't looked back and instead share their passion and convictions for dressing for a purpose.
When asked if Emily ever envisioned the amazing dedication to the mission she and her husband spear-headed and how to encourage other women who HEAR the Lord calling them to obedience, Emily points out that as women, we battle the beast of comparison. We look at other women's 'obedience' and it looks better or bigger than ours. Some will have "burning bush" experiences and others--like Emily--will be called to simple steps that lead to something monumental.
Others can take up the banner for orphan care by joining Forget the Frock as Ambassadors. Ambassadors, like Emily, simply gather people who also want to raise awareness about feeding orphans and rescuing those who are victims of human trafficking. To find out more about being an Ambassador, click HERE.