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."

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

7/29: "I have a dream - new dreams for you and me"

Without question, one of the biggest influences on my life has been Martin Luther King, Jr. I had an incredible 2nd grade teacher named Ms. Peaco that introduced me to this incredible orator that gave his life to a dream that at the time seemed impossible. Ms. Peaco and I are pictured right, at her retirement party to celebrate 40+ years of teaching - I was fortunate to be the student speaker to help celebrate her life.

My parents like to say that my love for people started when Ms. Peaco gave me a biography of MLK, Jr. They say I poured over it and talked about it for years, memorizing the speech and sharing it with everyone that would listen (and most likely, people who were just kind to listen to my squeaky & persistent voice). I confess I only know a few lines now.

When I get distracted and confused about the purpose of my mission and the leadership I believe God has called me to in this moment...leading Forgotten Voices...I often return to the dreams of Martin Luther King, Jr and his dreams that seemed daring, impossible, yet hopeful.

So - I've been "away" for a couple weeks dreaming with our friends in Africa. After an incredible season of learning from our partnerships, I'm back to dreaming about what's next. Dreams I have for you and me. Dreams for Forgotten Voices and for our partnerships in Africa, as well as how you can join us.

I haven't stopped dreaming all week, especially today...dreaming about how we can help our brothers and sisters in Africa better accomplish what they want to do.

So - some updates for you all since I last wrote a couple weeks ago:
1) Forgotten Voices has now hired 3 people in Africa to help achieve our objectives of funding locally developed, local church run orphan care plans.
Our model will develop like this:

In Ndola, Zambia: Remmy Hamapande (who recently blogged on this page) is right now focusing on finding and helping develop church run orphan care projects around the Ndola area. We have a goal of identifying 25 projects by Fall 2008 that we will fund (Lord willing) over the next year, as pastors are able to do the necessary steps to put leaders in position to implement their locally designed plans. Begin praying about giving to support Remmy's salary and/or our new projects in Zambia.

In Zimbabwe: Fibion (last name intentionally left out) will be working in Zimbabwe to help pastors around Bulawayo develop church run orphan care projects. He'll specifically identify 12-25 local orphan care projects led by graduates of the Theological College of Zimbabwe (TCZ), a seminary we are partnering with to help them develop a Orphan Care & HIV/AIDS Leadership Institute. Begin praying about giving to support Fibion and/or our new projects in Zimbabwe.

Another guy named Horace is helping us work with 5 churches in southcentral Zimbabwe to provide orphan care at the local level. Horace is one of hundreds of volunteers that have served over the past 3 years with churches that Forgotten Voices has partnered with. Since April 2008, Horace has been working part-time with Forgotten Voices to insure proper care and programming that impacts about 450 kids. Begin praying about giving to support Horace and/or our new projects in Bulawayo.

2) New Investments:
All of these projects are NEW and will require NEW investments into our work. We are proud to be not only talking about using local people to partner with, but truly fulfilling our mission, even in our adminstrative structure.

By hiring local church leaders in Africa to work with Forgotten Voices, we will be able to provide added accountability that will allow us to grow, access to what is happening on the ground daily (so we can share more stories with you), and have better adaptability to meet the sometimes hourly or weekly adjustments our church partners face.

Over this next week and month, you'll hear more specifics from me on each of these new steps AND very important ways you can get involved.

So - dream with me about what's next and dream with me about how you can help make the dreams of pastors & local church leaders come true.
Hebrews 13:3 says: "Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering."
Our friends are suffering as they simply fulfill the call that God has placed on all of look after widows and orphans.

James 1:27: "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."

Let's DREAM about what's next and pray about what we can do to help out. More from me tomorrow.


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