Forgotten Voices' Mission:

"Demonstrating the love of Jesus Christ by equipping local churches in southern Africa to meet the physical & spiritual needs of children orphaned by AIDS in their communities."

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Some Reflections on Zambia & Zimbabwe

Ryan and I logged over 1600 kilometers (by car, I haven’t figured our air miles yet) in less than a week in Zambia and Zimbabwe.  In those travels, we saw elements of hope amidst the devastation that HIV/AIDS has brought to the two countries.


In Zambia, we had the opportunity to spend a day and half talking with students of the Theological College of Central Africa (TCCA).  Many of the students spoke how their home communities, current congregations and future assignments are tackling the issues related to their orphan and widow care.  It was extremely encouraging to hear them speak of a community approach, where all of the local evangelical churches (BIC, Baptist and EFZ) were pooling resources and sharing the mission.  Even though most TCCA grads are heavily involved in orphan care, it was remarkable to hear that HIV/AIDS remains a taboo subject within the church: suggesting that someone should go for testing is often equated with accusing them of promiscuous behavior.  There are several educational barriers yet to overcome – praise God for willing voices to break the silence.  We will share more about upcoming partnerships after our next board meeting.


In Zimbabwe, the most common response to “How are you doing?” is “We’re surviving.”  Life is hard.  Grocery stores are empty; drought has led to water shortages; Money is nearly worthless (now 850,000 ZD to 1 USD) with 7900% inflation rate (which has stabilized since there is nothing left to buy).  Electricity is dodgy at best (though blackouts are getting more predictable).  Despite all of this, the norm is patient queues and not violence, which is fairly atypical in this part of the world (an observation from a couple I met for the first time who have recently moved to Zim from Congo).  While I’m thankful the country has not been reduced to a succession of violent coups, there is still a part of my heart that cries “How much longer must they suffer.”


We were able to spend two days in a high density township with one of our partner churches: the time was really refreshing.  We were able to meet some of the children that Forgotten Voices is helping with school fees and uniforms (hopefully you can see the image of Adam videoing some children).  The kids are dreaming about being nurses, engineers and police. Their grandparents or surviving parent are very appreciative of the church’s work and implored us not to forget them, and to tell their story.  With the economics being what they are, the need has become even greater – within the single township there are an estimated 500 kids that currently still not attending primary school.


In many ways, I’m very jealous of the rest of the team: I arrived back to the US on Monday as they were headed to the Matopos for a leadership summit.  All of the leaders from our current partnerships (many I now count as friends) in Zimbabwe are meeting for the next 3 days to discuss their projects and to assist Forgotten Voices in developing a number of different strategies.  Please keep them all in your prayers as they will be in a rural area for this week, before returning to town for another week of documenting and strengthening relationships.



1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Trevor, It's great to have you safely back in the states. Thanks for the extensive update. I understand your reluctance to leave. Every time I go I feel like I leave apart of me behind and I want to remain.
Denis Keith