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, November 25, 2009

Stop 12 of 25: Half way home -- Choma

We are now half way through our Journey Across Africa, which is looking at 20 projects we fund and 5 we would like to if funds became available by you. Half way is a perfect time to talk about Choma.

There are days when I wonder if we are making progress. When I want to throw my hands in the air and say, "I'm done." I don't really mean it in my heart, but that's how my mind and body feel. But time after time, the same thing happens.

I remember the children I've met along the way, the times I've sat around camp fires with pastors from Africa listening to the deepest corners of their souls -- longing for God to hear their cries and equip them with what they need to forever change the direction of a child's life. I remember moments where 5 year olds in the USA interrupt me when talking to their Sunday School classes or schools so they can tell me they are praying for our young friends in Africa. Or when a 3 year old pulled on my pant leg to give me her $0.50 to give to the children I was telling her church about. Or the painter, who runs his own company here in the USA, who faithfully gives a share of his earnings to help Forgotten Voices do its work.

Or I remember the old woman in Zimbabwe now caring for her 24 grandchildren because her 6 kids have since passed away from AIDS related illnesses. With no where else to go and with no other options, she cries out to God and keeps going.

Or I remember my "half way" when I go to Africa -- Choma, Zambia.
I call it "half way" because it's become a special place to me -- marking the half way point usually between my time in Ndola, Zambia with Remmy (our Program Director for Zambia) and my time in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe with Fibion (our Program Director in Zimbabwe). Choma is also the place where I was first exposed to Zambia and the pastors working there. It was among the first places that helped us clarify our vision of working thorugh local churches. It was a place where I saw the church engaging in community development, driven by the church -- not non-profits or the government. It was the place where I saw God at work and sacrifices all around, in the name of Christ.

I keep going when I realize that God has called me to this and He has now called many of you. We must keep going because ultimately it is God that keeps score not us. Even when we think we are losing, we MUST keep going because God has called us to do this work --- and doing so is the most liberating decision we can make.

Forgotten Voices is proud to partner with the BICC Compassionate Ministries - Zambia, Stop 12 on our Journey Across Africa. This ministry is a regional ministry within Zambia that helps equip churches within the Brethren in Christ denomination to identify and respond to the unique needs the churches face. Reaching over 56 churches across the region, as of the last time I was there, the Compassionate Ministries programme is modeling partnership, innovation, and effectiveness in a way that teaches churches, non-profits, and communities.

WHAT ARE WE DOING WITH THE CHURCH: School fees, uniforms, and supplies for 100 kids to primary school, 25 kids to high school (all HIV/AIDS orphans or about to be orphans); Monthly food supplements for babies and families of 4 pregnant women with HIV to avoid mother to child HIV transfer; 10% administration cost to distribute resources to schools and families
# Impact: 100 children, 25 high school students, 4 pregnant women & families
Partners: Mennonite Central Committee, TEAR FUND UK, BIC World Missions

PRAY: The program's reach is wide and they are constantly stretched. Pray for wisdom and peace for them as they pursue what God has called them to do, while still dreaming about new places to go, as God provides. Pray for rain. The ministry's water programs and food security programs face critical days waiting for more rain and the success of the ministry is often tied to this period of rainfall.

To give, visit OR you can mail a check to Forgotten Voices; PO Box 1368; Mechanicsburg, PA 17055-1368.

NEXT STOP: We take a rest stop for THANKSGIVING! Join us to read about what I'm thankful for and for you to share what you are thankful for.

Lots of love,


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