Doing ministry with Forgotten Voices International here in Zambia has given me confidence that the Church still carries the LIGHT OF HOPE to a poverty ravaged and HIV/AIDS exasperated continent of Africa. FVI, through its demonstration of the love of Jesus Christ to fellow man is giving hope to orphaned children and widows in Zimbabwe and Zambia; The Bible says, “The Lord watches over the alien and sustains the fatherless and the widow…” (Psalm 146: 9). I see the Lord, indeed, watching over these orphans and widows through the ministries of Forgotten Voices as its focus is on strengthening the church’s capacity to reach out to those that are, otherwise, slowly being forgotten because of their poverty and HIV/AIDS situation. The Church represents the life of Jesus Christ here on earth. We are the Church; we are the light of hope for the vulnerable!
I know America and the world over, economies are not doing fine. Here in Zambia, the mining industry has had a fair share of good times the last couple of months when copper was fetching more than $8000 a tone on the International Market. The government had barely finalized negotiating for a better deal in royalties when things started nose diving due to the global recession. The current copper price is no more than $3000 a tone on the London Metal Exchange. This has virtually rendered mining the copper quite unprofitable.
Some mines have started closing and laying off their employees. It is for this reason why poverty is not far from the homes of over 300 workers who suddenly lost their jobs last week at Bwana Mkubwa Copper mines in Ndola and the further 1,500 who lost theirs this week at Luanshya Copper mines (ZNBC News). This situation will definitely affect other industries related to mining in this part of Zambia.
Exacerbating the situation is the increase in the price of maize meal used to prepare our staple food, nshima (a thick porridge), from $8 to over $14 a 25kg bag and the situation shows that the price is still likely to go up. Most families can no longer manage to have three meals a day. Those that are lucky can manage to have two at most; otherwise one meal a day is what most of these families are now surviving on. And the trend is having that meal in the afternoons and hoping to stay strong till the following day. Our partners have introduced feeding programs for children in their churches. Ryan, Fibion and I hope to visit one of these feeding programs in January.
Through the ministry of Forgotten Voices, pastors have brought hope to the vulnerable members of their communities. Orphans, whose hopes of continuing with their education had been lost, are being revived. I have personally seen faces brighten up just by talking about what we do in this ministry. There is no better way to serve God than this very way that is making people’s future hopes be ignited again. Please! Please! Please! Do not grow weary in doing right. Continue the good works. Many lives are being changed by your help through the ministries of FVI here in Africa. The love being demonstrated by the church through your help is doing wonders words can never express. Even though you may not be here in person, but am assuring you that your love is being felt among many.
Finally brethren, how do we show the light of hope to these 1,800 mining industry job losses that translate to over 10,800 family members being affected and left in the cold to fend for themselves? It is sad to think of what most of these parents’ children will be subjected to. I know one thing for sure; they will stop school; they will probably start selling vegetables along streets and eventually become susceptible to abuse. With the myths of HIV/AIDS being cured through sexual intercourse with young girls still rampant, I can’t imagine the horrors of abuse these young girls may have to undergo on these streets.
As we celebrate Christmas, let us remember these children; whose hopes of celebrating it the usual way have been thwarted: As is always the tradition, most of these kids were promised goodies on Christmas day. They won’t receive the promised toys; they won’t wear that new pair of shorts, or shoes or dress or even share in eating rice with chicken which they always long for during Christmas, simply because it will not be served.
We are indeed the LIGHT OF HOPE to the world’s ills even though the world sometimes does not seem to notice this. Therefore, let’s give to the ministry of Forgotten Voices International, through their works here in Africa; someone’s difficulty situation somewhere will be given a solution because of your help.
Have a blessed and very Merry Christmas!
Your fellow servant in Christ,