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, June 5, 2008

6/3 - Complexities & Inspirations

I suppose it is my (Katie's) turn to share a little more about our time here in Zambia. This has been an incredible opportunity for me to see and learn in greater depth what it takes to get projects off the ground in Africa. While I get to hear snippets of what Ryan deals with on a daily basis - the successes, the hurdles, the process - I only had just that... the snippets. Just like Ryan does not necessarily know every moment, assignment, or piece of paperwork that went into my work day at Messiah College, I certainly did not have a FULL picture of what he does on all of those phone calls, e-mails, and trips to Africa.

As we have had the opportunity to now meet with several church and community leaders, as well as being a part of the meeting with Remmy, I have been amazed at all of the details that need to be discussed and worked out. How are the projects chosen? How is the money distributed? How exactly are the local orphan care plans developed and implemented? These projects are so dependent on the faithfulness of so many people: the church leaders, the congregation members and volunteers in Africa, Remmy (the Forgotten Voices' new Project Director for Zambia), Ryan, the Forgotten Voices volunteer team, and the donors. Without each of these specific people carrying out their role consistently, none of these projects would be successful in serving the orphans of their communitites. Despite the hurdles and challenges we have seen and anticipate here as we get started in Zambia, God has been faithful thus far, and we carry forward in prayer with the faith that God's good work will continue.

Speaking of faithfulness, we had the opportunity last night to join Phyllis Engle for dinner at her home. Phyllis has been a missionary in Zambia and Zimbabwe for the better half of 38 years! No, that is not a typo. She was called to Zimbabwe at a young age, and has served many years in the areas of librarian, teaching and tutoring. We were inspired to hear her stories of her desires to stay in Zimbabwe in the 70's when she was forced to leave during the fight for independence. She shared of her adventures travelling all over the world (quite literally - several African, Middle Eastern, and European countries) for two months when she and three other women had to leave Zim. Phyllis was actually the Sunday School leader and Good News Club leader for some of the pastors we are now looking to partner with in Africa! She has certainly played a pivotal role in the lives of these men and women that have led them to serve in the church.


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