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, June 22, 2009

Meet Doris: Small things lead to big dreams - we need you

Good evening from Ndola, Zambia. As your day approaches mid-way, my day is wrapping up. What a day. Today was the kind of day, like virtually every day here, when I am at awe by the fact that you and I get to do what we are doing...come alongside churches that are caring for vulnerable kids and those that care for them. WOW!

I want to share 2 stories with you before I head to bed. The first is about a woman named Doris and the 2nd is about a Pastor named Christian. I'll write this 2nd story after having dinner. They are merely a glimpse of the good work you are doing here, by God's grace. Thanks for allowing me to witness on your behalf. Today was a good day.

First off before I begin, we need money. It struck me today that I really haven't asked for money since coming here and we need it. No way around it. We need lots of it, but we are spending it VERY wisely and I'm working hard with our team to make your dollars go a VERY LONG way. To give, visit

Mother of 4 children (Patrick, Jr., 19; Modesta, Cynthia, and Matthew).

Doris and her 4 children live with 2 other families in this small house in Mushili, just east of Ndola. Combined, the 3 families have 13 children and 3 adults. Doris and her 4 children live in 1 room, where she asked me to take her picture. All the families share just 1 toilet and take turns weekly paying different bills and cleaning the house.

There is no running water in their house. They pay about $0.50/month to a neighbor for access to the communal water source, carrying them in the buckets pictured here. That's what Doris was doing when we arrived and she had to hurry back for more as we were leaving.

While that $0.50/month may seem small to you, Doris is not making enough to live & meet her family's expenses. She earns just $40/month working as a maid. After failing out of grade 7, then losing her beloved husband Patrick in 2005 to AIDS, she is doing what she can to keep hope alive for her children.

Patrick was a mechanic with a good source of income. He loved music and that connected he and Doris. They enjoyed dancing together and laughing. After one of the kids broke the family radio, Doris told me that she misses music being in the house...helping her remember the fond memories with her husband.

One of the needs that was evident to her Pastor Peter and her denomination's orphan care coordinator, Sarah Fundulu, was the need for Doris' children to go to school. Modesta, Cynthia, and Matthew are school aged, but couldn't manage the levies and fees required of all Zambian children to attend "public" schools.

In partnership with Forgotten Voices, just last week, her 3 school aged kids were able to return to school. I'm not living in a dream land. I know that school fees alone won't meet all of this woman's needs. But the local church is coming alongside her and doing what it can to provide counseling, helping hands, and support to Doris and her children. Her Pastor Peter and Sarah know Doris very well and felt school fees were most needed to keep Doris' spirits up and the hopes of her children alive.

That's what Forgotten Voices is trying to do. We are not transforming communities with massive relief coming in from trucks with Forgotten Voices logo stamped on them. Instead, we are trying to subtly come alongside pastors and churches working to rescue children vulnerable to the AIDS epidemic and those that care for them.

I NEED you to know that the gap between what they need for hope to live on and the possibilities for Doris' kids to slip away as forgotten voices is small. VERY SMALL. A few bucks a week for you and me. A cup of coffee here and there.

I walked away inspired by Doris' HOPE to carry on, her thanksgiving to God for providing her good health (she is negative, as best she knows), and for meeting her needs, as they arise, by the grace of God and the gifts from her local church.

But I also walked away inspiried by Pastor Peter and Sarah, as well as our Program Director, Remmy. All were so gracious and loving toward Doris. Such compassion and love. One of the beautiful things about Forgotten Voices is that nearly all of the people that receive love injections from us have no idea it came from you or me. Instead, they give all the glory, honor and praise to God...and thanks to their local church for seeing and responding to their needs.

It was a great joy to sit with Doris and share time hearing her tell happy memories of life with her late husband, well as listen to her rave about her children: "I have no favorites", she said, despite my jokingly pressuring her to pick one.

Doris is a woman with a simple dream for her kids: that they have a better life than she has now. And we have a simple mission: "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."

Don't get lost in excuses or the busyness of life. PLEASE and thanks. If we are honest, we can't walk away & forget women like Doris when it is within our capacity to do something. We really can't.

Join us and help people like Pastor Peter and Sarah care for women like Doris, who are dreaming big dreams for their kids, but need a little help to get there.

To give, visit us online or send checks written to Forgotten Voices; PO Box 1368; Mechanicsburg, PA 17055-1368 USA. All gifts are tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law.

Thanks for reading, dreaming, and helping us equip these champions for vulnerable kids.

Lots of love,

PS More later -- on the life of Beatrice and Christian --- two incredible and compassionate people that you'll want to meet as they minister to widows and orphans in their community. Title: "A Year of Harvest Indeed"

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