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."

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Jan 4th Update from Zimbabwe

The burden carried by the church here is unbelievable. In both of the churches I have visited so far between 25 and 35% of the congregation is comprised of orphans – children in desperate straits.

Today we spent most of the day visiting families who were being supported by Forgotten Voices. I am not exactly a novice when it comes to seeing poverty and foreign mission, spending over 6 weeks in Honduras over the past several years. Even with this prior experience, the visits were hard emotionally. Each of the 5 stories were similar, with some variations. All had felt the impact of AIDS, losing a parent, son or daughter.

These are people of great composure and dignity, especially given the circumstances they are facing. Occasionally the despair and grief punches through and they are overwhelmed. There were several moments that will stick in my mind forever. One was with the first visit, where a mother her two sons were living in s 10x10 space. During the visit the son we were supporting in school spoke of his father’s death - tears welling up in his eyes. The mother seemed to be like all mom’s I have known - just hoping that her children would have a better chance in life.

The most difficult moment in the day was on another visit when Ryan asked one of the young boys being cared for by his aging grandmother what he liked about living there. He got very quiet and tearful. After about a minute of silence he said quietly, “I have no where else to go”. I found it hard to keep from weeping and hugging this precious child of God, clinging to his grandmother as the last person who wanted him or would provide for his needs. No 10 year old child should be reduced to such an edge of despair. Having a soft spot for older people my favorite photo so far is of his aged grandmother. It appears that for many of these vulnerable children, a grandparent is the last line of defense and the only stability they have in life.

I was also struck by the fact that no white person has visited these homes before. One of the grandmothers remarked, “We have seen you on TV and now you are here!”

-Steve Proctor

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