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."

Friday, August 29, 2008

8/29: Push pins and prayer

So - I am a push pin guy. I tack up things on the cork board next to my desk. I partly do it to remind myself of things, but I also think I really do it because I enjoy tacking things up for the pure joy of it. It's just like some people like to pop the bubble wrap that comes in packages sent through the mail.

One item that does actually get use is the prayer card to the right. It's a famous prayer credited to lots of people, including a young pastor in Zimbabwe. I welcome any insights on where it actually, factually came from. I take it off when I need a reminder to offer up my life to God, in service to Him and our world.

This is the other side of the word of commitment that I wrote about yesterday. Generally speaking, this prayer side is not the one I see. But I've put it back on with the prayer side up.

It's obvious to me that the push-pins on my cork board DO have the possibility to improve my recollection of important things AND give me joy when I push pin things into the cork board.

You all are becoming an important part of my day, so I thought I'd share what's around me when I write to you. Be well, friends. I am, in fact, praying for you daily, as you each do your thing for the Lord and for our world. Keep it going,


Thursday, August 28, 2008

8/28: Commitment from a young pastor

Friends - 4 years ago, I ventured to Zimbabwe on a trip to see how my church home, WSEFC, could get involved in responding to the AIDS crises in Zimbabwe in partnership with local leaders.

That trip involved 12 others, who were also committed to seeing how God was using the local people already and how we could help come alongside those efforts.

Shortly after returning, the mother of a high school classmate of mine sent me a letter of encouragement that I pursue this new found passion - that I not let the trip fade away into a memory, but instead focus on doing what I can to help answer the prayers of our brothers & sisters in Christ in Zimbabwe, Africa. Mrs. Rose has the gift of encouragement!

In her letter, Mrs. Rose also included this powerful piece of a commitment that has become famous over the years.... a commitment uttered by a young pastor in Zimbabwe, Africa long ago.

As you go about your day, think about these words and dwell on the idea that these lives that we lead do not belong to us, but belong to our God for service to Him, our families, and our neighbor.

I have this very statement of commitment just to the left of where I sit everyday. I look at it every so often, when I need a good kick in the pants... a reminder that it's not about me and it's all about God - that the going will get rough, but we must press on. So - today - after 4 years of looking at this - I thought I should share it with you all.

Tomorrow, I'll share the backside of it - another prayer from Africa.

I'm thankful for Mrs. Rose, this pastor's commitment, and for you.


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

8/27: Victor Nakah's Coming to the USA!

Friends -

Victor Nakah has become one of my closest friends. He's a man that is leading a family, a seminary, and a church in Zimbabwe - one of the world's most challenging places to live. And he's doing it with joy.

Victor Nakah serves as the President of the Theological College of Zimbabwe. He is coming to the USA for about 3 weeks to speak at various conferences and churches to share the story of TCZ and the role it is playing in shaping the African church. Victor is one of the finest leaders I have ever met and I've learned a TON about the ways people, the church, and the local communities can come together. There is perhaps no greater influence on how I dream about Forgotten Voices' future than the lessons I've learned from Victor Nakah.

One of the most significant ways Vic has shaped my thinking about Africa is his constant emphasis on JOY and what is working well. Vic is always quick to add things that are going well throughout the African continent,
including pointing out some of the many ways the local church is getting opportunities to share the love of God with people in Zimbabwe.

Vic, the very 1st time I met him, shared that it is important to frame the successes of people facing tough challenges - so we don't overlook all the ways God is providing. It is easy to see need in the midst of trial and much tougher to see w
hat God is doing.

I'm SOOOOO excited that Vic is coming to the USA. Vic will be speaking specifically on TCZ's relationship with Forgotten Voices on 2 different occasions:
If you are able, PLEASE try to come out and see him. You won't regret it! You'll walk away inspired, challenged and stretched in new ways.

For now - while you wait for the real deal - I invite you to review his bio to learn more about the father, leader, pastor and my friend. Victor Nakah Profile


8/27: This is serious - Zimbabwe

Friends - I've talked to many of you this summer about the situation in Zimbabwe. We've prayed, we've cried, we've called out to God and leaders of states around the world to intervene. We've discussed what can be done and what cannot. Over this summer, I've spent SOOO many hours working with our partners in Africa to keep Forgotten Voices moving forward in the midst of this tragic economy. The challenges are great, but the choice to stop is not possible - we must keep going!

We have methods to deliver to people in remote, suburban, and urban areas... we are working through the church to deliver care to AIDS orphans lost in the shuffle of these tragic economic times.

For the 1st time in over a year, we may not have the funds needed to meet September needs for the organization. We need to raise at least $30,000 over the next 30 days to meet the needs for church run orphan care in Zimbabwe and Zambia. We are entering into one of our busiest seasons of the year for budgeted projects, following one of the more severe slowdowns in the US economy.

God has always delivered for our young organization. You all have helped deliver that response.

I invite you to pray personally about what you can do to help us close this gap. To make a gift, you can always visit us online and give directly at You are always welcome to also send checks written to Forgotten Voices; PO Box 1368; Mechanicsburg, PA 17055-1368.

Letters to all donors are going out this week, explaining the need and the opportunities, as well as our results so far. Few organizations offer a better return on your investment. Thanks for your continued support, prayers, and concern for our efforts in southern Africa.

Ryan Keith

Monday, August 25, 2008

8/25: Triumph for MDC in Parliament

Friends - Please take a moment to read this article and watch the video included.

Thanks for your continued prayers. They are needed, as negotiations continue regarding power-sharing in Zimbabwe.

I'll be on the phone with leaders in Zimbabwe all week, trying to keep our projects going. We REALLY need your help. These next 2 weeks will be critical for our projects and we need your support. To give, visit

Friday, August 22, 2008



A couple of Sundays ago, to be specific on the 10th August 2008, I was invited to witness some of the fundraising activities Mercy Ministry of New Life Church, once in a while, does to gather funds for their orphan care ministry and for the widows in the church. New Life Church is one of the potential partners of FVI in Zambia.

It was a wonderful moment to witness this “jumbo sale” as they call it. The sale is made up of various items contributed by members and well wishers to this ministry of the church. Clothes, shoes, food stuffs and some bags of 50kg maize corn (Zambia’s staple food) go on sale. Members of the surrounding community came in large numbers to buy what they could from the sale.

It was not long before I noticed a long queue forming at the maize corn point of sale. The three bags of corn had to be measured into smaller tins in order to try and sale it to as many people as possible; Even then, it were not enough to satisfy the demand.

The reality of poverty could easily be seen at this sale. Clothes and shoes were not priorities for most people who came to buy; it was the food staffs and, especially, the corn. The corn is grinded into maize meal for nshima or tsaza. It is not an exaggeration when one says most of those families that queued for corn hardly ever manages three meals a day! And this could have just been their lucky day.

I later had an opportunity to hear stories from some of the beneficiaries of this Mercy Ministry program. Please, allow me to share with you their moving stories:

Meet Ackim Chanda; a ten year old young boy standing in front of the boy and girl in this picture. Ackim lost his father from HIV/AIDS related complications when he was still a little baby and does not even know him. He is the youngest in a family of three children. Both his siblings, thank God, are still in school. However, he can vividly narrate how difficult it has become for his mother to take them to school from the time his father died. He says sometimes he has no choice but, after school is over, help sale vegetables; carrying a heavy basket on his head along the streets and shouting “tomatoe!” to attract customers. The church has been of help, but the growing number of double orphans is causing a shift in their focus, and its boys like Ackim who may not be considered for future help. Ackim hopes to become a pastor when he completes school. Pray for his ambitions in life. He is such an innocent little boy with hopes, but not too sure how such may be achieved.

Meet Alexander Lubasi; standing in the picture with Naomi, behind Ackim. Alex is a talented young boy who has been affected by HIV/AIDS in his family, in the most unfortunate way. He has lost seven of his siblings. They were twelve children in the family, but now, only five are surviving. Most of the deaths happened in quick succession, one after another. Because of these misfortunes, the funeral expenses crippled the financial capacity of the family to the extent that Alex had to stop going to school for over two years. Fortunately, the church, through their orphan care program of Mercy Ministry stepped in and took him back to school. He is currently still in grade six even though he is fifteen years and should have been in grade eight or nine at his age. The boy is talented in drumming and he is actually the main “drums man” in the church choir. Pray for Alex’s perseverance in school as he is sometimes subjected to stigmatization owing to his age in relation to his classmates’ average age. However, he is a determined boy with full of life in his eyes.

Finally, meet Elizabeth Mulenga; another orphan aged fifteen years and is currently in grade eight. She is the fourth child in a family of five children. Two of her elder siblings have completed grade twelve but there is no money to fund their tertiary education and one was married off when she got pregnant before she could complete her grade twelve. The fears Naomi has are that she may be made to stop school as it is becoming more and more expensive for her mother, who works at an orphanage, to support her schooling. The church is at the moment doing all it can to keep her continue with school.

It is stories like these that compel us to share with you and ask for help so that children who might not otherwise have an opportunity to fulfill their dreams in life can achieve their God given potential. At this stage, the church in Zambia is doing what it can to help them grow in the fear of the Lord, but without resources to meet their real needs, the world out there will take advantage of their vulnerability. We can see how much pressure these children are being subjected to. Most of these will not experience the normal growth of a child because they have not known their mother or father in their lives.

As I take time to listen and talk to these children and widows alike; and also as I share about FVI, I can’t help but see their eyes full of expectations and hope for the future. The coming of FVI has brought hope among orphan care ministries in churches. Pastor Victor Mokola, from Evangelical Church in Zambia (ECZ) was just confessing to me that, for a long time, they have been praying for such a partnership. To many other pastors like him, partnering with FVI will surely make the burden, which is so fast becoming overwhelming in the church ministry in Zambia, less heavy.

If I may end with a quote from Erwin W. Lutzer’s words: “Regardless of how we define Christ’s separation from the world, one fact is clear, he did not separate himself from human beings and their needs. Nor did he limit his concern to the spiritual part of man’s personality”. Help FVI to help orphans in Africa; your contribution will be a blessing words cannot express.

I remain your fellow servant in Christ,

Remmy Hamapande.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

8/21: Out in the Open - Scientific research

In today's (8/21/08) Boston Globe, there is an interesting piece called "Out in the Open: Some scientists sharing results" by Carolyn Johnson. It's worth a read to you geeks like me.

It's relevant to our work because SOOOO much research is being done on HIV/AIDS, yet so much of it is being done in secret labs around the world.

There are some nasty rumors floating around some parts of Africa that all of this "AIDS stuff" is a myth, enabling people to be tested, poked and prodded to benefit science. While unfounded, for sure, these research teams that come and go - spending years in the labs away from their "test subjects" in Africa - do breed controversy. Whatever happened to those guys? is a question I have received quite a few times when I meet with local leaders in Zimbabwe & Zambia after they've been research subjects for various aid agencies or academic institutions.

While this article doesn't explore all of these things, you can see how the benefits could outweigh the traditions of science to bring about change. In our open-source internet days that most of us experience daily (with our Google widgets, blogs, customizable templates on websites, ANNOYING Facebook applications, etc), I see promise in Canton's example.

Give it a read.


8/21: GoGo and the Forgotten Voices dream

Friends - Here's a story I shared with an organization this week about a GoGo, or grandmother, that I know. It's all true and an incredible story of how far money goes when you give to Forgotten Voices and our local church partnerships, delivering care to local people caring for AIDS orphans.

Our dream is to help thousands of GoGos around Africa! By working through seminaries in Africa and developing a network that now reaches over 130 churches, our opportunity and capacity to help people has grown! You can help be part of that dream and the dreams of GoGos around Africa....who want their grandkids and neighbor's kids to grow up to be the future moms, dads, lawyers, doctors, farmers, artists, and sportsstars of their communities in Africa.

Enjoy! Thanks to Krista Guenin for her awesome photography!

When I met the GoGo, it was July 2004 and I was halfway through my 1st trip to Africa to learn more about the AIDS crises in Zimbabwe and local responses underway. I was traveling with 11 others from my church. We spent this trip traveling around to 13 different local efforts over the course of 12 days. It was fast paced, but inspiring to see so many things going on, with so little money.

We were visiting a rural, church run AIDS clinic in southcentral Zimbabwe to learn about their orphan care programs. Obert, the Orphan Care Director, took us to visit a grandmother, or GoGo, who had lost all 6 of her children to AIDS related illnesses, leaving her to care for 24 grandkids, 15 of which were school aged. We learned that the kids had not been in school for 6 months because of their failure to pay the fees. When we asked what the fees were, we were told that about $200 would send all the 15 kids back to school for the term, including 2 to secondary school.

After saying our goodbyes and getting back in the van, we all felt like we had just seen so much and felt like we were doing so little. We each reached into our pockets and gave Obert a collective $200 that he personally took to the schools that week to pay the school fees. He commited to making sure that each of the kids would attend school, work hard, and make sure our money was not wasted.

About 6 months later, I returned to Zimbabwe with 2 other friends from the trip to begin laying out a plan for how we could get involved in these local efforts on an on-going basis. We stopped by the GoGo's house to see how she was managing. Shocked wasn't the word for it...perhaps pure joy! Because of our $200 gift to the local church run AIDS clinic, the children were not only able to go back to school, but our gift helped change the village. With the money the GoGo saved from us paying school fees for her, she paid a man to help work her field, giving this man a job and allowing him to send his daughter back to school. The crops grown in the field helped feed the family and the excess was sold to help the family make a profit for the 1st time since the GoGo's last child had worked. Our gift also allowed some of the older children to go and pursue higher education in the city, as the GoGo now had help to work the land.

Since that 1st gift, Forgotten Voices was born out of this idea that local people know best. By finding commited leaders, willing to work hard to make local dreams for orphan care come true, Forgotten Voices has grown to reach 139 churches and send over 3,200 orphans back to school, including over 100 in the community where the GoGo still lives with her grandkids.

Forgotten Voices is helping local churches meet the physical & spiritual needs of AIDS orpahns in their communities, one village at a time. Through listening to the voices of local people in some of the most forgotten places on earth (such as Zimbabwe), our mission is being realized as we equip communities, empower orphans, and raise sustainable hope for these future moms, dads, lawyers, farmers, doctors, accountants in their communities.

All the best,

To give to Forgotten Voices - check out and help make the dreams of GoGos like this come true through locally developed, locally run AIDS orphan care programs in Africa.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

8/20: My Grandma, Alzheimer's & Africa

Last week, I went and visited my grandmother, who lives about 20 min from me in a special assisted living facility for adults with Alzheimer's. I went with my parents and Aunt.

When we visit her, we can never anticipate what the visit will be like.... will she be happy? angry? scared? elated? With Alzheimer's you just never know.

On this particular visit, she was awesome! It was the best one I've had with her since she was diagnosed about 3 years ago. While her condition has worsened and her mood swings are severe, she was in rare form that visit - even if she didn't know who I was at all.

We spoke of rowing around the peak on Cape Breton, Nova Scotia (where she is from) and clam digging by her family farm. We spoke of my new 1st anniversary. With great joy, she expressed how thankful she was that I had met someone who loves the Lord and me. We spoke about what we could do if only she could escape this "hotel" and check out. We decided we would dance the night away and enjoy life together. We discussed old friends and relatives, most of whom I have never heard of. We can never be sure, as many of her memories she is able to recall now come from before any of us were born.

My grandmother, despite this state, taught me something really important on that visit. No matter whether my grandmother is angry or elated, she always references the Lord and what He has done in her life. Medical people that I talk to about Alzheimer's tell me that the tank of memories she draws from help determine the things she talks about...therefore, how she spent her time and the values she placed on various seasons of her life have created the memories she now reflects on in these tough years of Alzheimer's.

At the end of every night, no matter her mood, my grandmother ALWAYS reads her Bible. Despite the fact that we had just conversed for nearly an hour, we had really only had covered 5 topics and had those conversations over and over. Her memory was weak, but get this...

When it came time to say goodbye and for her to sleep, we got out her Bible. I was asked to read her favorite Psalm: Psalm 121. Without pause, my grandmother recited word for word every line in the Psalm. I read it through once and it calmed her down. I read it through again and it seemed to give her added peace. Over her lifetime, she had clearly drawn upon that Psalm and it filled her tank, now allowing her to draw on peace.

It struck me how many similarities there are for my grandmother and our friends in Africa, as well as for you and me. I'm often amazed how our friends in Africa are able to exemplify faith in God when all around them they seem to face so many more challenges than we do - I mean the real challenges - like whether their kid will live or die. Whether they will be able to eat. Whether they have or will ever have clean water again.

But then I see their Bibles - nearly torn apart by all the wear and use. Then I open up mine that I've had for some time and see how new it is compared to theirs. Then... I cease wondering where their faith comes from.

My grandmother, Florence, is so special to me, as was my grandfather, Roy, who passed away a few years ago. Nearly every time I saw them, our time would close something like this - "Ryan, God has given you so many gifts and I'm thankful you follow the Lord. But remember how much there is to learn about the Lord and learn to follow Him more and more each day."

Those words were lived out by my grandma and are still today, just like our friends in Africa. My challenge to you and myself today is to ask what we will draw from the tanks of memories - what comes naturally to us when our minds begin to fail. Will it be the peace of scripture or the things that I feel often distract me from the important matters of life?

I too often forget to follow my grandparents' advice and I forget where my strength should come from. I forget to love the Lord with all my heart and allow God to transform and renew my soul...filling my tank...with His awesome truths of peace, love and faith.

Today - I was thinking about my grandma and I wanted you to meet her too.

With love and praying that your souls would be filled with the peace of God,
Remembering you and the love our Lord has for you,

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

8/19: Mourning the loss of life - Zambia

Quick word from me - if you haven't heard the news....

The President of Zambia died earlier today. There is a 7 day mourning period in Zambia. While the President had his critics, he was also heralded by many in Africa for speaking the truth against Mugabe. After 2 months of battling the effects of a stroke, the President passed away.

Please be in prayer as the Zambian mourn this loss to their country.

All the best,

Thursday, August 14, 2008

8/14: My beloved Katie

On Monday, August 11th, Katie and I celebrated our first year of marriage together. I'm so thankful for her. When we got married, I gained a ministry partner and the opportunity to spend the rest of my life with my best friend.

Words cannot express how much she has meant to me and the ministry of Forgotten Voices. Our ministry partners in Africa ask about her more than me. :) And those that have met her confirm over and over how fortunate I am to be hanging out with her.

So I love her for LOTS of reasons. Here are just some of the reasons why:
  1. I love her eyes
  2. I love her family
  3. I love the way she blows her hair out of her mouth
  4. I love the way she squishes her nose
  5. I love that she'll listen to me tell the same story (again & again) cause I forget that I already told her
  6. I love the way she (sometimes) avoids making left turns
  7. I love the way she reads so intently and then shares what she learns
  8. I love that she loves to run even though I hate it way more than she loves it
  9. I love the way she makes mashed potatoes
  10. I love that she loves God and helps me learn to love God more
  11. I love finding her hair in my car, my books, etc
  12. I love that she loves kids
  13. I love that she loves to learn
  14. I love the way she sings AND how she lets me blow my "trumpet" for as long as I want even though she doesn't like how loud I get
  15. I love that she lets me dance in such a way that may sometimes embarrass her
  16. I love the way I find her hair clips everywhere, but she never can find 1
  17. I love that she loves me
  18. I like (and am learning to love) the way she prepares more vegetables for me than I can possibly eat in one sitting
  19. I love how she is so patient with me
  20. I love that she makes me want to be a better husband, man, and child of God
  21. I love that she likes ice in her water, but no ice in everything else
  22. I love that she is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO patient with me (again)
  23. I love that she loves board games
  24. And I LOVE that we have just begun another year together!

Happy Anniversary, Katie!


Monday, August 4, 2008

8/4: Zimbabwe Growth - Use Your Voice

Proverbs 3:27: Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, When it is in your power to do it.

Friends - This weekend and last week, I worked hard with our Program Director in Zimbabwe, as well as our network of partners across Zim to determine how we can grow in the midst of the challenges in Zimbabwe.

This blog post is a summary of that plan. It is important to understand that these plans have been in the works for a long time and are simply evolving with the increasing pressures on churches caring for orphans, as well as our changing dynamics regarding on the ground operations.

Most importantly, these dreams that we are pleased to share with you come from the dreams of local pastors in Zimbabwe, as well as leaders from the Theological College of Zimbabwe. We now invite you to dream with all of us, as we seek to "demonstrate the love of Jesus Christ by equipping local churches in southern Africa to meet the physical & spiritual needs of AIDS orphans in their communities."

Essentially - here's our plan that we are acting on right now:

1. We partner with the Theological College of Zimbabwe to build the leadership capacity of willing pastors by implementing the following:
  • Develop an Orphan Care & HIV/AIDS Leadership Institute that will help pastors learn about orphan care, grow their knowledge of HIV/AIDS, and share with each other in their respective successes & failures as church leaders
  • Identify 12 TCZ graduates each year that are doing orphan care work in their local churches, so as to help these pastors develop Local Orphan Care Plans.

2. We fund 3 new Local Orphan Care Plans every quarter; 12/year
  • By working through local churches led by TCZ graduates, we have a network of people that have solid Biblical training, as well as experience in holistic care. This allows us to provide direct care, as kids need it, by church leaders that the orphans & communities trust.
  • These Local Orphan Care Plans are locally developed, locally run plans for how the local church & community plan to continue to grow their ministries to orphans. They include what they are already doing, as well as gaps in what is happening now. They are holistic in nature, covering food, water, skills training, etc to help make sure that orphans are being cared for and communities are being equipped to meet the long term needs of these special children.
  • They will range in individual costs of between $1,000/year and $6,000/year, based on experience.

3. Surround pastors with the tools and resources they need to meet the physical & spiritual needs of AIDS orphans in their communities, without taking the wind out of their sails
  • In addition to funds for their projects, we also now connecting them with a group called Farming God's Way, connecting them to buy food in groups to reduce costs, and helping communities be involved in the long-term sustainable options (such as helping inject a small bit of capital to help a church build a preschool, one of our current projects)
  • All of the projects are truly theirs - from start to finish; even if it takes longer
  • Quote: "In 20 years of ministry and working with Americans in Zimbabwe, I have never been asked my opinion until Forgotten Voices asked me what I think should happen" ~ Local Pastor that we partner with in Zimbabwe

4. We encourage these pastors that we interface with to unite, across denominations so Forgotten Voices can help build, not divide, the local church in Zimbabwe
  • We help our leadership partners get together twice a year for a semi-annual Orphan Care Leadership Retreat. This helps them get away from the pressures of the immediate to spend time with the Lord, gain insights from other church leaders, share their failures & successes. Together, these leaders learn and walk away refreshed with new friends to learn from.
  • Forgotten Voices is also investing in a group called the Christian Leadership Resource Centre, an institution that pastors can join in Zim to borrow books, share info on orphan care, HIV/AIDS, and community based ministry. It encourages communication across denominations to address divides in the church that are sometimes plaguing success.

5. Invest in local leadership infrastructure by hiring local staff to expand our outreach to more churches, rather than hire a missionary from states
  • Our whole mission is built around ministering to local people, local projects leading orphan care efforts through the local church in Africa. We value the talent that our seminary partners produce, as well as the voices of local people that are too often ignored.
  • Forgotten Voices has hired 2 people in Zimbabwe to help administer, evaluate, and grow our operations through the church. One is a leader of a Christian church in Zimbabwe, who has been doing orphan care for over a decade, and the other is a young leader, who has volunteered in managing orphan care for a Local Orphan Care Plan reaching 450 orphans across 5 churches.
  • By hiring local people to serve year round, Ryan and the Forgotten Voices team are able to get reliable results 24/7 across the wide-range of projects, rather than relay on quarterly trips or reports. This allows us to respond by the hour, rather than most non-profits in Zimbabwe that only are able to adjust on the local level annually.

In total - we are now ministering to 10 projects in Zimbabwe that reach 3,200 AIDS orphans across 139 churches and schools. Please join me in praising God for this growth. However, 1,000 kids become orphaned every day in Zimbabwe because of AIDS and other illnesses. We needed to work with local people in Zim to determine how to grow. This structure, as I have set out above, is a reflection of that vision.

Through these adjustments and additions, our team in Africa hopes to be able to reach over 10,000 kids by 2010. We are praising God with you for all that has been done, and the new challenges before us.

To do all these things - we need your help. Please consider giving. Most of the things we are dreaming about are new plans to help us more effectively meet the changing needs of churches in Africa.

This is where our mission of "demonstrating the love of Jesus Christ by equipping local churches in southern Africa to meet the physical & spiritual needs of AIDS orphans in their communities" hits the ground.

Consider joining us and equipping local voices working hard to meet the needs of AIDS orphans.

Above all - please continue praying with us - that we would have wisdom, faith, patience, and love for the people impacted by HIV/AIDS. This is tough work for all involved. Your prayers are both appreciated and needed as we chart new waters and continue remaining true to our calling, amidst so many challenges & doubts.

All the best,
Ryan (President)
Fibion (Program Director - Zimbabwe)
Horace (Orphan Care - Zimbabwe)

Friday, August 1, 2008

8/1: Starving for partnership - Update on Zimbabwe

Friends - I have sad reality report for you. The situation in Zimbabwe is getting worse, not better. Forgotten Voices is uniquely positioned to address the challenges in the country because we work through the largest supplier of services for ophans int he country: the local church.

The local church is the 1st responder to food, water, and education needs faced by orphans in the country. Not the government, UN, or even NGOs. Our network of churches has grown to about 150 local churches across the country, all working hard to implement their Local Orphan Care Plans in partnership with Forgotten Voices.

Meet Abigail and Happiness (pictured right). Read their story and how their local church's AIDS programme is helping meet their needs for schooling.

You can give today. I need you to seriously consider making a 1 time gift or setting up a recurring gift. We have plans in place to reach about 2,400 orphans in this next quarter and currently don't have the funds necessary to meet these goals.

One pastor wrote me this morning and said:
Forgotten Voices works with churches all over the country to develop systems of orphan care implementation, accountability, and reporting to make sure your gifts are used appropriately. But if we don't have funds, the plans designed by these local pastors cannot be funded.

If you are considering giving to a cause in Zimbabwe, please consider giving to us. The situation is getting desperate. Every morning, I rise to check in on our partnerships.

With the economy in the USA declining and gas prices rising, giving is down. Consider cutting back in some area of your life (a cup of coffee every day, a movie rental a week, or an ice cream cone) and give those funds to people who are putting their own resources to care for kids...and they are running out.

I look forward to continuing to partner with each of you that read this. I'm really not trying to guilt you here, but I spent the day on the phone with people in Africa...looking at the options...and they are few unless we get more donations.

THANKS for doing all you are doing to tell our story, helping fund the dreams of local churches caring for AIDS orphans in southern Africa.

Tomorrow - I'll write about how we hope to add 12 new church partners, helping these churches reach nearly 2,500 more AIDS orphans by the end of 2008.

with love and thanksgiving,
Mkuelko Ndlovu (praying elephant)
aka Ryan Keith