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."

Monday, December 31, 2007

Dreaming of 2008 for Forgotten Voices

What an amazing year 2007 has been for me personally and for the ministry of Forgotten Voices. As I look to 2008, there are so many unknowns and possibilities. During this time of year, I always try to take a few days and just reflect on lessons learned and what I hope for in the year to come.

This year, I have about 20 minutes. A bit shorter. :) I'm sitting in an office in upstate New York and the internet keeps going in and out. So - i'll reflect and dream quickly.

For me personally - In 2007, I married the amazingly beautiful Katie Laine. She is, by far, the greatest thing about 2007 for me personally. Without getting too mushy, I really am excited to be married to her. She is such an answer to prayer. My mom likes to talk about praying for my wife since the day I was born. When I look at Katie, I know that people have been praying and there is a God. Her eyes light up a room and she is the embodiment of a servant's heart. In just over 140 days of marriage, she has taught me so much about grace, beauty and love.

In 2007,
I learned a lot of lessons that will help Forgotten Voices in the years and decades to come. They are, in no particular order:

- Local partners in Africa do know whats best
- It is possible to continue functioning in Zimbabwe, despite the challenges
- Prayer matters! I have seen God work in ways that I didn't believe before - sure, I thought I knew the power of prayer. In 2007 - I saw it! From travel adventures in Africa to miracles God provided through some of our donors at just the right hour. Lives of people, here and in Africa, have been transformed. Every day, we pray that God uses our ministry to demonstrate the love of Jesus Christ. Those prayers matter!
- People in the USA are not ALL AND ALWAYS cynical. For a bit there, I was beginning to think that almost everyone in the USA was cynical & skeptical about Aid to Africa. Let me tell you - I AM TOO! But, I'm not just that... I'm hopeful too! God introduced me to a lot of people in 2007 that join me in hopeful optimism.
- The greatest lesson I learned again in 2007 is this: Our partners in Africa have just as much to teach us as we can imagine teaching them. I have learned more about God and the matters of life & death from our friends in Africa...and I have learned a lot about laughter, too. To learn more about one of these guys - view our post on Fibion.

There are so many to list and I feel like I am belittling the year w/ a list. So - let's move on to what I've been dreaming about for 2008!

- I dream of launching new projects in Zambia! We are in the process of finalizing funding for 2 major projects in Zambia because of your support! Look for details on
- I dream of partnering with over 150 churches in southern Africa in 2008 to send 5,000 kids back to school, after they had to leave when a parent died because their families couldn't afford the fees
- I dream of 1,000 people committing $10 or more/month to support Forgotten Voices
- I dream of meeting donors in the USA that see hope, where most see hopeless
- I dream of working with each of you to provide life-transforming love to partners in Africa and to allow our partners in Africa to provide life-transforming love to us
- I dream of having another leadership summit in southern Africa where leaders from Zambia and Zimbabwe share best practices from all they have learned in partnership with Forgotten Voices
- I dream of a reduction in HIV/AIDS infections in all 14 of the SADC countries in southern Africa.
- I dream of lots of rain and high crops for orphans and those that care for them.
- I dream of peace, stability, and healthy churches across the continent of Africa and North America.
- I dream of love. Christ-like love. Spreading across oceans and teaching us all what we need to learn.
- I dream of a revolution - where Christian means more about what Christ loves than just what Christ and there.
- I dream of hearts that yearn to be part of what Christ cares about - knee deep in the things God calls us to care about, even when it hurts.
- I dream of looking back on 2008 and seeing that Forgotten Voices led with integrity and fulfilled our mission w/ all of our hearts and minds.
- I dream of looking to 2009 and praising God for all the ways He has taught us in 2008.
- I dream of equipping churches, empowering orphans, and raising sustainable hope.
- I dream of working hand in hand with all of you to accomplish our mission of "demonstrating the love of Jesus Christ by equipping local churches in southern Africa to meet the physical & spiritual needs of AIDS orphans in their communities."
- I dream of social justice, love for the vulnerable, and hope in places where we only now see pain.

2008 promises to be a great year, full of new adventures and new lessons. I look forward to watching God move through our ministry, leading us daily in our work. Thanks for all the ways you help us fulfill our mission! Blessings to each of you and your families in this new year.

May you all know and experience the love of Christ and discover ways to share that love with all that you encounter in 2008.

All the best,
Happy New Year,

1 comment:

Jamie Sanfilippo said...

Greetings Ryan!

Thank you for your work and for your inspiring list of dreams for 2008. I look forward to seeing what God does in Zimbabwe through your partnership with local churches.

We recently travelled to Zimbabwe with Joel and Julianne Percy, and hope to be living in either Zimbabwe or Zambia later this year, working with MCC and The Meeting House. I agree with you that we have so much to learn from our family in Africa!

I look forward to meeting you, perhaps on that side of the world.

Have a great year, and keep dreaming!

Peace through Christ,