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 16, 2007

When you go...what can I do?

I regularly get asked, "what can I do to help you when you are gone?" Well, my answer has grown since the last time I went to Africa. Typically, I simply ask for prayer. This is still the case. Prayer covers me when I'm there. As I see what I see and as I go where I need to go. Pain and challenges are EVERYWHERE. Divine intervention is a staple activity of my days. From just the right conversation or connection to just the right canceled appointment, prayer provides answers or silence at just the right moment. So, please pray!

Also - PLEASE GIVE! You can look at our financials and every time I go to Africa, giving goes way down. That's in large part due to our small size as an organization. If I'm not out there raising money, it often doesn't happen. And that is the change that I'd like to see this time compared to past trips. In my mind, giving should increase while I'm away as people hear what is happening. This time, I'm going to try even harder to bring you the stories of why we do what we do through local church leaders in southern Africa. I'll try to bring you specific stories that you can share with those you meet each day.

I find it ironic that God has so clearly asked me to return to Africa when our budget needs are the greatest this quarter. As we look to expand into Zambia to provide more funding & resources to our new friends there, there is a scary feeling when I travel that no one is reading what I'm writing and these promises I'm making in Africa are going to be left unfulfilled when I get back. This hasn't proven to the case yet. When I am in the USA, you all continue to respond and share and give. I pray that this continues, even while I'm away.

I'll never forget the time I led a commitment meeting in Zimbabwe, where we promised a group of pastors that we would join them in their work. That overwhelming burden that was on my back. That feeling wasn't about Ryan Keith delivering the goods and being the hero. It was about Ryan Keith feeling the weight of widows and orphans that I now knew, who were looking to me to make sure they ate & had an education. These stats I read about had faces and stories...and names.

I realize now that those feelings were wrong...misguided for sure. God knew their names & their need before I did. Well before. Since then, God hasn't just provided for these people in Africa that I love...He has provided for me and for Forgotten Voices. He's used each of you. It's not just me anymore ranting on and on about Africa. :) It's a legion of voices that grows by the day. I pray that continues while I'm away and these voices continue responding in new ways as they hear of God's work in Africa.

Just now, as I was preparing to pour into the next 10 hrs of preparation for our trip (a LOT of paperwork & emailing that needs to be completed) I came across a quote from someone writing about their reflections in Zimbabwe. When asked what others can do to help their efforts with another organization, she wrote, "Live more simply so that others may simply live."

As you go about this next month until I return on Nov 8, I challenge you to look for ways to live more simply and then set aside those funds for Forgotten Voices. It is rare for me to ask for such a direct action. But I know 2 things: 1) I am about to see more pain that I ever thought imaginable in my 7 previous trips to Africa, as the situation has led people to begin eating pets and other horrible actions that come from desperate people; and 2) I am totally committed to making sure that your gift ...every penny... is used to the best of my abilities to empower the lives of orphans & widows in southern Africa.

I thank each of you for reading this blog and sharing it w/ your friends! This is by far the most personal posting I've had thus far, as I share my heart with you. This is life together, friends. And I'm thankful that God is allowing me to go and see so that we may respond in love.

Today, I ask you to join me in thanking God for his provision that I can go to Africa! It is not just me that should give thanks. It's all of us! God has given all of us this opportunity to see Africa and respond in love. Again, I look to His command to Gideon: "Go with the faith you have and the knowledge I am the one that sent you!"

Travel with me, friends! 2 days to go! Are you excited???? I AM!

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