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."

Monday, April 27, 2009

4/27: Time Alive... 10,811 days

So, I have this counter tool on Google that tells me how long its been since I was born, thus how long I've been alive.

Today: 10811 days 17 hours 15 mins
Since Time Alive 20-Sep-1979 17:00

I don't look at it every day, or even every week. But occasionally, I do look at it. It reminds me that every day has a beginning and an end; everyday has successes to celebrate and missed opportunities that I didn't seize that hopefully will come my way again. I'm not anxious about it at all, but encouraged... encouraged to press on.

It's incredible what God can do in a day. This morning, I was reading Genesis 1-3 in the library. Talk about productivity, beauty, power, grace, and even a rest in there. I like reading that part of scripture because it always reminds me that I am Ryan and God is God. We can't help all the people dying, or help all the kids sick in the world.

But God does give us today. God does give us talents and wishes, longings to be used by Him...longings to love and be loved.

Today, 500 people will die from AIDS related illnesses in Zimbabwe alone, with a little less dying today in Zambia. Both of these are countries where Forgotten Voices is working with the local church to equip them with the resources they need to create local, custom responses to the physical & spiritual needs of AIDS orphans in their communities.

So, as I live out day 10,811 of my life, I'm encouraged by the unique opportunity you and I have to breath, give life to others, and make today count.

Many of you continue to give, despite the downturn in the economy. Thanks! For those of you that haven't given in awhile, please consider doing so. Either way, you can learn more about us at

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

4/15: My Tears and Their Farms

Today has been one of those days when seemingly everything makes me cry. From emails from old friends to watching something precious happen to a stranger on the sidewalk. To instantly being overwhelmed by the job I have, with the knowledge that we can't help them all. Reading about a friend letting his wife pursue God into heaven. I'm not ashamed to cry much anymore. Inconvenienced a bit, especially at the library, but not ashamed. It didn't use to be that way. I used to try to hide it (still do sometimes...). I try to be still. Confident. Resolved.

I've seen too much now. I've held too many hands of dying people. I've watched too many kids here in the USA walk gleefully up to me and hand me their change to give to kids in Africa. I've watched people like you respond in love to people you don't even know, simply because people like me have asked you to love them, as Christ loved us. I've watched my parents set an incredible example.

Today, I (re)came to a new I've certainly had before, but I one I honestly thought I had discovered myself for the 1st time...

It is ok to cry. It's ok to cry for joy and for sorrow. So, today, I cried a bit, mostly overwhelmed by how incredibly awesome it is that I get to work with each of you to help equip local churches in Africa in their daunting task of loving an ever growing number of precious children. THANK YOU.

Today, I celebrate with you this:

Five Guys (3 pastors, a hospital administrator, and the head of an AIDS clinic we help fund) all went to the Farming God's Way Conference last month in March because of your generous support. While I don't yet have pictures of the conference, I know that lives were changed. Farms, using this no-tilling/mulching method, will be planted this coming year, yielding an average of 300% above traditional farming. Tomorrow morning, Forgotten Voices will be sending money to Farming God's Way's Zimbabwe operation to help them start about 100 new farms that will feed an estimated 1,000 people this year, including orphans, widows, and those that care for them.

Pictures from some of my trips to see Farming God's Way's work and how it is helping the churches and people we (you and me) serve through Forgotten Voices.

Press on and make today count,

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

4/8: A post from a blog

Friends - When you have time, check out this blog post.

A student named Rebecca is calling me Thursday to interview me for a school assignment. Through that exchange and setting it up, I found her blog. This particular post struck me and I wanted to encourage you to read it, as well. I hope she keeps writing because I saw myself in those moments with her...standing there wondering what I would've said. That's how writers capture me - when I see myself where they are standing.

I came away this morning challenged and with perspective to begin my day. I hope you feel the same.

Make it count,

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

4/6: YEBO - 129 kids back in school

YEBO, an ndebele word, is often shouted loud in our house when I get excited. It has many meanings, but is commonly used as YES or I SEE YOU. When shouted with glee, it is loosely translated YESSSSSSSSSSSS!

I NEED for you to know...

this Monday, because of funds we sent today, an additional 129 kids (96 primary & 33 secondary kids) in Zimbabwe return to school with books, shoes, and uniforms because of your investment. We are partnering with a church to get 129 kids, many who have lost a parent or are sadly watching 1 pass away, back to school as this church works to serve the needs of these kids and those caring for them. Pictures of some of children are below from my most recent trip. THANKS!

To date - we've already helped local churches in Zimbabwe & Zambia send over 2,000 kids back to school this year!! PRAISE GOD!

This work that we do is only possible because of 3 things:
a) God's incredible grace to let us love others, as His Son loved us
b) The local, faithful, and loving work of people on the ground in Africa that are choosing to say yes to loving the most vulnerable...even though no would be more convenient. They are trustworthy, screened personally by me and our team. I know them. I've stayed in their homes and played with kids in their communities.
c) YOUR faithfulness to us and our mission - recognizing that together, by God's grace, you and churches in Africa can meet the needs of AIDS orphans and those that care for them.

Without any 1 of those parts, I'd be just a guy talking on my phone a lot with stiff knees from the back & forth travel to make sure your dollars are going where they are needed most.

You are so incredible to love like Christ loved you. Today, celebrate with me at God's unfailing love for you and me...and these kids, their families, their caretakers, and their communities that will have a brighter year because of the 3 things I've listed here.



To keep using your voice - tell a friend about us and give a gift today!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Forgotten Voices in Art

Hey strangers!

I haven't written in a bit. Sorry about that. I've been quite busy working with our partners to launch new church run orphan care projects in Zambia VERY soon...perhaps by the end of this week!!!

For now, enjoy a sweet new picture I created from the text in our About Us document we distribute to projects in Africa. If you haven't seen the free software to create these, check out

Enjoy the day and as my friends from EBI in Zimbabwe say,
Make it count,