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."

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Finding Hope in the Face of Hopelessness

Editor's Note: If you get the chance, pick up the Dec 10, 2007 issue of Ebony. It has a special on the Africa you don't know. In the article, they unpack so many of the economic benefits of trade with Africa and Africa's sizable impact on the global economy. Michael Jackson is on the cover to help you find it. Enjoy! -RK

Lately, I've seen a lot of stuff on the situation in Zimbabwe. Predominately, the messages that people take away is a message of hopelessness. I, for one, can validate that this isn't true. We must be careful to find hope in the midst of a challenging circumstance, especially when we talk about Africa. I believe Christ calls us to see hope in the midst of what the world calls hopeless.

I'm concerned that the continent of Africa is increasingly becoming the victim of completely negative portrayals - an indictment against the continent that isn't fair. When I talk to people in the USA about Africa, most automatically associate the continent with starving people, kids that aren't going to school, diseases killing the innocent, and inept governments.

While there is obvious truth in these assumptions, they don't adequately portray the Africa I know. There are a great number of things going well within Africa, particularly in southern Africa. There is reason to hope. From HIV/AIDS numbers coming DOWN in Uganda to booming minerals throughout the southern part of the continent, to progress in economic development in Ghana... a great number of arguments can be made that the continent has a lot going for it!

Did you know that between 80% and 90% of Zimbabweans can read and write in English, a common Western literacy benchmark? Did you know that 50% of the people are considered HIGHLY skilled in farming or 86% of orphans in Zimbabwe live with grandparents? Or that the African Christian church is exploding in size and depth of care for their communities in a way that I'm insanely jealous of for our country in the USA and hopeful we'll be able to glean lessons from them.

When we look for pain, we'll see pain. Our job is not just to tell the bad things, but tell the stories of good people, doing remarkable things in the face of the bad things...and invite people like you to be part of it. Then, we wait and pray and pray some more that hearts will be opened here and there ...and orphans will be empowered with the gift of hope.

Next time you hear something bad about Africa, remind people of the work our local African partners are doing everyday in the face of these great that is something to be hopeful about!


PS All the photos listed here were taken by the Mtshabezi AIDS Project, one of Forgotten Voices partners that are reaching over 1,700 with school fees through funds that you help provide. While there is much to be done, that staff of 7 people should be VERY proud and hopeful in a new generation of Zimbabwean leaders! THANKS, MTSHABEZI MISSION!

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