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, April 10, 2008

Giving to Something Meaningful

So American Idol ran their American Idol Gives Back show last night. They raised a ton of money from people simply because people were asked to give. It got me thinking that people really do want to be part of something beyond themselves. Something that makes them smile. Something that makes them feel better about themselves. I see that all the time when I talk to people about why they give.

So are we telling that story about the things we care about to our friends? Even though I do this all day, you might be surprised how many people I don't ask to give to Forgotten Voices or other causes my wife and I support.

But I also got to thinking about how Forgotten Voices operates. We sometimes tend to share too many statistics and not enough stories with you all. This past month, I've been traveling the northeast talking about Forgotten Voices. At every stop I've been using a phrase that has become important to me: "Every stat has a name and every name has a story." For me, my story and involvement with Forgotten Voices started with this young boy's family. Peterson Mpofu, his sister Prudence and their family captured my heart.

Who helped you want to join the movement? If you don't have one yet...that person you think about when you think about real stories impacted by HIV/AIDS, Meet the Voices that help make our organization move from stats to stories of real local people helping AIDS orphans in their neighborhoods.

At Forgotten Voices, the beauty in our mission is that we not only address the critical statistical needs of AIDS orphans (education, food, medicine, counseling, etc), but we actually do it through local churches in Africa....alongside them. hand in hand.

One of the things that gets me all giddy about what could be is that giving to organizations like Forgotten Voices can be about us...making ourselves feel good and being part of something bigger than ourselves....while also being about the local people. For too long, we have poured resources into "saving" Africa, when the African leaders I know have been working on empowering kids in their communities for way longer than I've been alive.

It is our great joy as Americans to be blessed by wealth. With that comes a lot of responsibility, as Topher Grace and Spiderman reminds us. But we also need to remember that it is a blessing to give to the dreams of others....local people with their own priorities. That's where the joy comes for me, at least.
If you haven't done so already - check out our 1,000 Voices Campaign. We are looking for 1,000 people to GIVE $10 or more every month online, SHARE our story with 10 friends, and PRAY for our ministry partners that they have heard about as often as they can.

I'm looking to have all of you that read this join us in this realistic cause that provides real hope for local people, each with a name and each with a story. Join us today. Thanks.

Your fellow sojourner on earth and friend, Ryan (with my own stats and story)

The picture of Peterson was taken by the very talented Krista Guenin. Check out her work here.

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