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, October 30, 2009

Stop 2 of 25: Walking the streets & seeing the need

Many of you have met my friend Fibion through our blogs, videos, etc. He's an incredible man. If you haven't heard from him, take a minute to hear his vision for his church's ministry.

Every time I travel to see Fibion and the Free Methodist Church he leads, I'm struck by how far and wide the reach of the church is and how many people know & trust Fibion. My own father is a minister and a pretty good one, though I'm biased. :) But my dad doesn't know most people in our town, let alone just the people that live on the street I grew up on. So, how do Fibion and his church do it? THEY WALK & SEE.

They go door to door. Place to place. Seeing and experiencing the physical & spiritual needs of children orphaned by AIDS in their communities. They demonstrate the love of Jesus Christ by responding to those needs...taking action...immediately, if possible. They KNOW the needs because they are walking and seeing the needs.

Already this year, we have helped this church send over 100 children to school. Now, this term, we are helping send nearly 140 kids to school. Incredible! Praise God for His provisions and your gifts. Now, we are helping the church build a preschool, which will help create income for the church for its use to help children in the best way church leaders see fit. The preschool will really help equip the church to meet the needs on its own.

Pray for:
- Peace and security for the community, as political tensions in Zimbabwe continue
- Tension among community leaders, amidst this financial crises
- Pray for wisdom for Fibion and other community leaders to stand up against oppresive environments.
- Pray for erratically rising school fees
- Pray for anxiety of kids as their families try to make it
- Pray for the families of these kids

On-going needs: Prices are an estimated 3-5 times more than they were last year. Pray for God to provide funds for Forgotten Voices to meet these rising costs due to the erratic value of the USD. To give, visit us online at

Please pray and walk around those in need all around you. I'm praying that God use you for his glory, honor, and praise.

Next steps: Given my travel schedule and demands, as well as lack of internet this weekend, I'll hold off on Stop #3 until Monday. Tune in to find out where we are going next.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Stop 1 of 25: Equipping Leaders to Care for Kids

Ryan talks with CLRC's Director, Douglas.

Our mission is to "demonstrate the love of Jesus Christ by equipping local churches to meet the physical & spiritual needs of children orphaned by AIDS in their communities."

While many of you know about the direct ways we help churches meet the physical & spiritual needs (school fees, farming, counseling, etc), you may not know about our commitment to equipping pastors, churches, and denominations with the how-to knowledge of building orphan care programs.

Forgotten Voices is proud to be associated with the Christian Leadership Resource Centre in Zimbabwe, an organization that is providing a gathering place for pastors. Pastors become members of the organization voluntarily, paying a small members fee. With their fee, they get to take part in CLRC's main mission: "equipping and strengthening church leadership."

How? By providing:
• a Theological library members can use
• Leadership training on topics such as program management & development
• HIV and Aids awareness raising initiative
• Home Based Care (HBC) – care giver’s training to equip volunteers
• Conference facilities provision-CLRC already owns a building which provides conferencing facilities as well as houses their offices.

Over the past 5 years, through your support and the support of other donors to the CLRC, an estimated 300 pastors have benefited from the services of the CLRC. By partnering with a gathering place like CLRC, we are helping equip the church for the future. In partnership with the Theological College of Zimbabwe and pastors leading church projects we support at Forgotten Voices, we hope our investment in CLRC will equip local churches long-term.

Here's what they need moving forward:
We need to raise about $5,000/year to support CLRC and efforts like it. If you are interested in giving to this effort, please donate at and write CLRC in the memo line or just give to the general account by living this blank.

Please pray for:
- the Board of Directors as they begin implementing their new strategic plan
- for Douglas (pictured with Ryan), as he directs the CLRC
- for the local churches, as they continue sending their pastors to learn and grow
- for the church denominations, as they encourage pastors to become members
- for the trainers, as they bring lessons for equipping the church
- for the partnering organizations, as they share & work together

Tomorrow's Stop: We will be down the road at the Free Methodist Church, as I show you the streets of Bulawayo. Join us. See you tomorrow!

-Ryan Keith

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Another countdown begins: 25 Stories from the Ground

Friends - We are all crazy busy. VERY VERY busy. So busy, in fact, that we often fail to stop and share how God has provided for us in our lives.

At Forgotten Voices, our team is often racing on to the next thing, tremendously thankful for the work that we've just achieved, but feel soooooo pressured by the urgency of now. As our leader, it's important for me to stop occasionally and walk you through the places we work because of your gifts. Introduce you to the people along the way and help you see & understand what's happening because of you.

This next series of posts will take us on a journey together:
1) I'll be tracking and presenting each project (not daily due to travel & school, but close), what it is, a brief story, and what has been accomplished because of your gifts.
2) I'll ask you to join us in equipping this local church project further through giving your money, time, and prayers.

Overwhelmingly, my birthday countdown exceeded my expectations for response. While it didn't generate much money for us (that wasn't the intent), I was showered with voicemails, cards, emails and letters from you all telling me how you related or connected to different parts of the journey. How you committed your lives to Christ or rededicated yourself to things you had forgotten from your own journeys.

This time, I invite you to walk with me through southern Africa. Read the stories from Africa and allow yourselves to experience what we get to do --- what God allows us to be part of, in His name. Give glory to God for the way God has allowed you and I to be part of the Forgotten Voices mission. Join us as we celebrate how we are striving to "demonstrate the love of Jesus Christ by equipping local churches in southern Africa to meet the physical & spiritual needs of children orphaned by AIDS."

The journey begins tomorrow. 20 stories of 20 projects, reaching over 160 churches and thousands of kids. Along the way, I'll also introduce you to 5 other projects we are hoping to start next month, provided that we raise funds to do so.

So, put your shoes on and join me in walking with Jesus through the streets of Zimbabwe and Zambia.


Monday, October 26, 2009

Crises in Zimbabwe - Specific Call to Prayer

Isaiah 58:10 (New International Version)

"and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday."

Tensions mount among people. We see it all the time here in the USA. Things you would never imagine doing or saying occur when you are pushed to the brink. Parents hitting children, loved ones lashing out at one another, people killing people over bottles of water immediately after Katrina, etc.

Family dynamics suffer. Church relationships suffer. Neighborhoods and communities suffer.

In Zimbabwe, the long period of stress is beginning to take its toll on what has been the strength of the society: interpersonal relationships. Lately, I've seen a sharp uptick in the level of corrosive discourse and treatment of one another, amidst families and close personal friends. Stress is the reason.

People are tired of being beaten down by a government that isn't standing for them. Tired of paying a large sum of money for bread. Tired of walking 3-4 miles for a job or to look for one -- knowing that they likely won't find one.

I'm tired of watching it, too, let alone living it with the people daily. Please pray for healing for our friends in Zimbabwe, particularly pastors who are hearing it from all sides. Pastors are particularly vulnerable as they are often a holding pot for frustrations from all within the community. In times of great stress, a pastor is often the first people in Zimbabwe call. As I talk more and more to pastors, the level of stress they are facing causes me to burst into tears -- overwhelmed by how people can treat one another, as well as just the empathy for our friends.

Please join me in praying for peace. Pray for love. Pray for wisdom. Pray for release of stress. Pray to God for joy in the midst of affliction. Pray for a new Zimbabwe that stands for the people of Zimbabwe, not against them. And pray for yourselves, as you continue to balance whether to keep giving to a land that seemingly has little light at the end of this long-history of pain.

Pray on. As I work this morning, I'm overwhelmed by what I'm seeing our friends experience. For lots of reasons, I can't share details. But, God knows. Join me in prayer.

Happy Birthday, Katie

Friends - please join me in wishing my beautiful wife, Katie, a very happy birthday! :)



Thursday, October 22, 2009


It was a moment of sweet fellowship as Rev. Nseemani, Phyllis (the TCCA librarian), Irene and myself visited one of the Brethren in Christ Churches in rural Mpongwe (seen here behind Rev. Nseemani and myself), on the Copperbelt. Such are the local churches' orphan care ministries your donations support. The journey was long, but we were determined to visit and encourage one another in the Lord.

As we branched off the tar road, the winding dust road was long and sandy. It took us over an hour and half to finally reach our destination. We were almost getting worried thinking that we had missed the way. Our main worry, though, was not so much about whether we will reach or not, but that if we got lost, we might use all our gas and fail to get back home as there was no where we could get fuel in the middle of the bush; (Each one must have been saying a little prayer am sure).

Finally, with the help of a few people in the spaced up villages, we reached our destination. The church members were eagerly waiting for our arrival. It was such a time of sweet fellowship as they received us with jubilation and love. We were very encouraged to see that in the middle of nowhere, the Church is ticking and God's word is being preached and people are getting saved. Nothing can be more fulfilling in ministry than this fact; that God is in the business of reconciling mankind to himself. Our visit with the area overseer (a TCCA grad) was as much an encouragement to them as it was to us. We did not only have Sunday worship together, but we also had a wonderful meal fellowship; chatting about life, how great our God is and the beauty of his creation as we laughed and joked with one another. The air was fresh and the tranquility of the atmosphere was just wonderfully refreshing. A reason indeed to praise God!!

Such are the forgotten local churches that the ministry of Forgotten Voices International through local pastors from seminaries like TCCA, who are on the ground, seeks to partner with. As you give to the ministry of FVI, just know that your help ends up to children from such as these places; these are places where kids orphaned by HIV/AIDS may never see the inside of a classroom without your help. These places are so remote that very few organizations dare to venture into. Forgotten Voices has given hope to many children in this area; a number of children will not only continue school, but they will also look forward to a poverty free future. Yes, because of your help, those that are infected will receive food supplements and improve their health to enable them continue with school. Because you have chosen to say "yes" to helping orphans in Africa, this has been made possible. This also marks one of the uniqueness of FVI's ministry in Africa, its focus on empowering orphans with local churches.

Here Phyllis and Irene are seen sampling some of the wild fruits that the locals introduced them to. This was the epitome of a loving community of believers. Irene encouraged the ladies to continue the habit of meeting together.

Finally we had to say bye and our journey back to 'civilization' was tiresome, but full of wonderful memories of our fellowship.

Your fellow servant in God's ministry,