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, November 16, 2009

Stop 9 of 25: Equipping generations of church leaders

Since the beginning, our vision was built around the Theological College of Zimbabwe. One of the pastors that led our first trip is Dale Brantner, the past president of TCZ, and now serves with a partner of ours, CURE International.
The front of TCZ, one of the best Christian seminaries in all of southern Africa

Forgotten Voices emerged from a church, West Shore EFC, that had been a supporter of Dale's when he was the President of TCZ and the church came to support TCZ, too. When Dale finished up at TCZ and returned to be the Young Adult Pastor at West Shore EFC, the church continued its support of TCZ. Several years later after Dale had joined the staff, Pastor Phil, the Senior Pastor at West Shore EFC, felt called by God that the church should become involved in responding to the AIDS crises in Africa. Phil and Dale believed that West Shore should look to TCZ as a starting place.

In 2004 Dale and Phil invited 10 other people, including me, to join them on a 14 day vision trip to dream about West Shore's involvement. There, our group of 12 met pastor after pastor that had 2 things in common: 1) they were graduates of TCZ or had attended training from TCZ and 2) they were helping lead small ministries in thier churches to respond to the AIDS crises in their communities, but all of them needed help.

As we prayed and considered West Shore's involvement, the vision for what would become Forgotten Voices was birthed. We should do everything we can to help these local churches realize the visions God has given them to meet the physical & spiritual needs of children orphaned by AIDS in their communities. But how?

Well - we first started by partnering with Graduates in identifying reliable, trustworthy pastors leading projects. But, then, the longer we were in partnership with TCZ, the more we heard a broader need --- to connect graduates from years past, no spread all over the region, so they could help each other learn & grow in ministry for those effected & affected by AIDS. We LOVED the idea because we want to equip local churches! What better way than to invest in the leading seminary and training ground for churches in all of Zimbabwe!

Standing with Victor Nakah, the President of TCZ and former student of Dale's, we began dreaming dreams together. We have launched a short-term partnership to help TCZ build a graduate network, which will eventually help us invest in the development of an HIV/AIDS orphan care institute for graduates and students -- to provide training, mentoring, and spiritual formation training for pastors, their churches, and the children they serve.

It's a big vision that is just beginning to play out. But, as we look over the horizon toward the future, we are confident that God wants His Church --- His Plan A -- to thrive and stand at the forefront. As Church donors from the West, it's our joy to do all we can to equip the Church in Africa.
Ryan, Trevor (FV Board Member), and John (a VP at TCZ) look at a field, where students are beginning to plant crops to provide food for their families.

The stone marking TCZ's move into the old Hilltop Motel, a strategic location that has allowed TCZ to better serve the needs of more Christian leaders.

Forgotten Voices Project -- Impact: Fund Alumni Development position for 3 years, a staff person that will help build connections with 168 TCZ alumni to determine needs in ministry, with special emphasis on HIV/AIDS program development within the ministry in 2008 and 2009. Through this research and connections, Forgotten Voices is working to help form an HIV/AIDS Institute, with training for HIV/AIDS program development for all alumni and students.

The financial need is $5,000/year for 3 years. To make a gift to support this effort, visit us online at OR mail a check made out to Forgotten Voices; PO Box 1368; Mechanicsburg, PA 17055-1368.

PRAY: Please pray for the seminary, as they continue serving the Church in the midst of such economic and political strife. Pray for Victor Nakah, TCZ's President, and the entire staff and Board of Directors. Pray for their graduates and students, as well as the families of these individuals. Pray for wisdom and faithfulness for the denominations and sending churches that commit to supporting students and placing graduates.

NEXT STOP: Tomorrow, we stay in Zimbabwe to see the work that God is doing through a national church project to serve a rural village that has become a 2nd home to me. You won't want to miss it. The family even named me a member of the family. :)

Come back and join me as we continue our journey. Thanks for reading. Friends, we are rejoicing with you at the faithfulness of our God and the opportunity we have to help equip His church. Thanks for investing in our mission and sharing our story with others.


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