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."

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Year of Harvest

Adventures from Monday, June 22, 2009
Year of Harvest: Luke 10:1-2

Before getting to Tuesday’s adventure with Harry, I wanted to follow up about people that I spent significant time with on Monday… the people at New Life Christian Center/Church.

This is the 2009 theme for this church I visited on Monday afternoon with Remmy, after departing Pastor Peter & Sarah, as well as Doris...all folks I wrote about yesterday. When you are able, check out Luke 10:1-2. Think about all the progress the Lord is helping this church in over the past year as they minister to those in need within their community.

Meet Christian:
Christian is the pastor, married with 2 children. Katie and I wrote about our time with him last June. The New Life Christian Center is running 2 programs, in partnership with Forgotten Voices.

The first program is sending 20 children to school that are orphaned because of AIDS, like this young boy with a name I can't pronounce, though I tried hard. :) I believe he settled on Peter. What a joy it was to meet some of these kids and hear how their school is going, which just resumed yesterday (Monday) because the teachers had been on strike, along with the nurses. Katie and I met a bunch of the kids last June before Forgotten Voices started assisting New Life Christian Center/Church. They were not going to school, so it was good to see them again, but this time in classes, meeting new friends, etc.

The second program is a bit more unique: a tailoring class for widows and older orphans that are child head of household, meaning that they care for brothers and sisters and lead the household. 15 women are in the program to begin, which started on Tuesday of last week, just 1 day after we began our funding to the church. They move fast!

You may remember Katie & I writing about broken sewing machines they wanted to fix. Well, someone from town heard about their program and fixed them for a VERY fair rate, thereby allowing more of the Forgotten Voices funds to go to the school.

You should’ve been there to meet these women! Wow! What stories! 9 children, 7 children, 8 children, 2 babies, etc. All widows. Some had just lost their husbands, others lost them 13+ years ago. Either way, you could hear the pain still in their voices, as they told me how they were struggling. I got to talk to every one of the women and 2 voluntary professional coordinators/facilitators that are teaching the school that also attend the church.

The church charges the women 20,000 Kwacha (about $4) per month to attend the class, which is far less expensive than the courses in town. Each woman receives a training book, some material and access to the machines. They come on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 9am-12pm. They eat breakfast together, and then have mealie meal (corn mixture/porridge) for lunch. Every class starts with a brief worship service at 9am.

The hope for the 6 month program is that each woman receives a used sewing machine and some capital ($75/person) when they finish the course and receive their certificate. The plan is for each woman to pay a small amount back each month over the first 6 months out to cover the machine cost, thereby allowing the church to buy used machines for the next round of classes, which will begin in January and are already predicted to be full.

For just about $8,000 USD, we are equipping Pastor Christian and New Life Christian Center/Church to send 20 vulnerable kids to school and equip 15 widows (caring for over 50 kids in total) with a new career that will reasonably cover their day to day expenses. And this program plans to run itself in 3 yrs if all goes well and they are continually able to access affordable used machines (seems likely after I asked around).

I cannot WAIT for you to hear each woman give a brief summary of her life, how many kids she has, and what she does in her spare time. The audio recording I made came out beautifully, but the internet and software are not cooperating. I’ll post it when I get back home.

But I’m pumped! In Zambia, we can work to help make these kinds of programs work with the local church in a way that doesn’t work with hyper inflation, erratic economic pricing in Zimbabwe. But we are learning a lot and watching the churches lead the way.

Without your gifts, none of this would be possible. On behalf of the continued hopes and dreams of the 20 kids now returning to school and the 15 widows that I was privileged to meet on Monday, THANK YOU!

To give, visit Any gift, regardless of the amount, will go a long, long way to helping us equip local churches to care for AIDS orphans and those that care for them.

Make today count,
All the best,

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

this is why we are HUGE fans of micro loans/micro enterprise! So exciting! Go Ryan!