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."

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

My Thanksgiving List

I'm thankful for a lot of things this Thanksgiving and not all of them have to do with Africa, but many of them do. This year, I've learned a lot about God, His Church, and those the Church cares about and does not.

I'm thankful for the fact that the Red Sox won a World Series while I was in Africa (as if they needed me around). I'm thankful that it rained in Zimbabwe this week. I'm thankful it rained in Zambia.

I'm thankful for a man named Gordin that is leading the Mtshabezi AIDS Project that cares for over 1,700 orphans in partnership with Forgotten Voices. I'm thankful for James and the 23 orphans his church looks out for at The Rock Church. I'm thankful for Fibion and the 43 kids there. I'm thankful for Pierre and his 700 farms, as well as all the miracles that occurred this year to make that possible. I'm thankful for Hazel and the Christian Leadership Resource Centre. I'm thankful for TCZ, Victor Nakah, and all those students that are being groomed to lead the African church forward.

videoI'm thankful for my good friend named Peterson, age 10, who is moving to be with his grandparents in January after a long time living by himself. I'm thankful he has been living with his sister for a few months and his main job has been being a kid. I'm thankful that he got to play the keyboard and show me his natural talent. I'm thankful he is doing well in school and I'm thankful he can run VERY fast.

I'm thankful for my new wife. Katie is the focus of my horizon. She makes the darkest days bright and gives life to the most mundane activities. She brings joy to all that know her and is the greatest gift from God that I could ever hope and wish for on earth. I am thankful that she inspires me, while also keeping me grounded.

I'm thankful for the over 300 individuals & families that have given to Forgotten Voices and I'm thankful for the 3 foundations that have also invested in our work. I'm thankful for the jobs they have and the way that their work allows them to provide for those in need on the other side of the world.

Today, I'm mostly thankful for our God, who has given us so many reasons to smile, to be thankful, and to rejoice. In Philippians 4, God tells us: "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything with prayer and petition, with THANKSGIVING, present your requests to God and let the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, guide your heart and mind in Christ Jesus." I am thankful for that verse, as it has sustained me through dark hours this year and has kept me calm on the raging seas.

I'm thankful that we are just beginning our journey together. I'm thankful for the patience God has with all of us on this road of life. I am SOOO excited to share this holiday with each and every one of you!

I'm thankful for the 50 volunteers that make Forgotten Voices run. They know who they are and I'm thankful for them. I'm thankful for our Board members, who keep us moving forward and inspire me every time we meet.

I'm thankful for new projects in Zambia and Zimbabwe that we know about and plan to fund in 2008. I'm thankful for the projects that we don't know about yet, but will meet in the next few months...by God's grace.

I'm thankful for ALL THE FOOD that I'm about to receive and I cooked almost NO PART OF IT! I'm thankful for my mom, my dad, my sisters, and my family...those that could come home and those that couldn't.

Finally - I'm thankful that God is a God who sees the needs of the poor and Has given you all a heart to respond to those needs. I'm thankful for each of you and I'm thankful that I have the awesome privilege of serving you and our God in this way! I am so thankful that I have the coolest job around!

With a warm spirit of THANKSGIVING,
Ryan

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ryan-
I am thankful for you and the way that your ministry makes it possible for so many of us to feel more connected in the Body of Christ. Every Body needs connective tissue and this one is no different. Thank you. I was just praying about Zimbabwe as I was nursing my little one down for a nap and was trying to understand why I should sit at a banquet when so many have nothing to feed their children. I still don't know but I thank you for your encouragement to give thanks even as our hearts are stretched by the pain of others (and our own).

Blessings and I hope we can talk next week about some ideas for collaboration.
Joy Kauffman