I'm emotionally exhausted. I have spent the week in prayer, on the phone, and emailing trying to make sense of what is happening in my 2nd home...Zimbabwe. It is a land I have now traveled to 7 times as you all have worked with me to grow Forgotten Voices. Today (Friday), people will be forced to go to the polls to vote for Robert Mugabe, even though he is the only candidate. His opposition pulled out because his party called a free & fair election "impossible."
I don't know what will happen over the next 24 hours in a land that has brought me the greatest of joys and the darkest of days. It is a land that has taught me how to live, love, and experience all of the marrow in life. It has showed me God.
One thing I have come to realize over this week is that it doesn't matter what governments do to intervene or what happens with this unfair election. People in Zim have such little faith in politicians right now and I can see why.
Without question, people are turning to their local churches for help. They are turning to their pastors, who know their pain and their promise. They are turning to local leaders that know their individual families' rich histories and pride in what Zimbabwe was and will be again, by God's grace and provisioin.
As I've cried this week and prayed to God for what could be in Zimbabwe, I have been humbled by the realization that God is taking great joy in some small miracles going on around the country already...some in partnership with Forgotten Voices.
In 2007 and in early 2008, despite the severe economic conditions, you helped locally developed, church run orphan care projects send 2,400 kids to school. Future moms, dads, teachers, doctors, farmers, accountants, engineers, judges, pastors...and politicians. You have helped keep hope alive, when all around these kids darkness seems to reign...and win.
Today, as you consider what will happen to Zimbabwe, I invite you to also praise God for what has been done through God's grace to Forgotten Voices and for what Zim will be again. I invite you to join us and tell your friends to get involved, as well.
Today, Zim will be all over news medias around the world. It will consume casual conversations this weekend among people that may not know where it is at all on a map. But they are human and will see the pain, the tears, and the glimmer of hope that is found in the eye of every Zimbo.
Today, right now, I invite you to give to Forgotten Voices. Not out of guilt, but to help us be an answer to prayers being shouted out by my dear friends in some of the most remote church prayer meetings and in the crammed, nameless streets in Zim's high-density areas.
People all over the country are calling out to God for a miracle. I cannot and will not promise that Forgotten Voices will be the solution to all of Zim's woes, but I pledge my whole self to the belief that we can be, should be, must be part of Zimbabwe's future. Whether it is becomes easier or gets much harder, Forgotten Voices will stand with the local people of ZImbabwe and say: I WILL BE A VOICE FOR THE FORGOTTEN, THE OPPRESSED, THE DOWN-TRODDEN, AND I WILL SAY YES WHEN GOVERNMENTS AND OTHERS CHOOSE TO SAY NO.
Today, I invite you to join me in this great adventure of trusting God, when all the odds say nothing good can come out of this.
Specifically, Forgotten Voices has active arrangements with churches in Zimbabwe that hope to send nearly 3,000 AIDS orphans to school in the 2nd half of 2008. We are in active dialogue with leaders representing nearly 140 local church run orphan care efforts and their needs for care are growing daily. We also are actively looking at emergency food support, as soon as we are able to get food in, as well as seeking opportunities to provide sustainable farming for a longer term solution to food needs.
To do all of this, we need you. Pray about it, but then act. If not by giving, please consider passing this along to your friends that are saying, "what can we do to help Zimbabwe?"
Thanks for living, learning & loving with me.
~Ryan Keith, President, Forgotten Voices