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 5th Update From Zimbabwe

Today was marked by a visit to 4 homes focused on orphan care, three run by Jenny, a woman from England. Jenny is one of the Forgotten Voices partners in Zimbabwe. Each home was in a wonderful neighborhood, housing 10 children. The homes were clean, with plenty of interior and outside space, all provided in a great neighborhood. The children were incredibly energetic, jumping all over us, laughing and hugging our legs. It was great fun. The other facility was one that worked with Jenny, and specialized in rescuing infants and young children abandoned on the street or on the hospital doorstep. This home was much more heavily staffed with nurses and social workers, and was a temporary place where children are stabilized and adopted out or placed in foster care. Those who cannot be placed go to one of Jenny’s facilities, that she calls a “home for life”. The first impression is that these children are luckier than those we have visited yesterday, living in a safe, secure, and loving environment. However, we were reminded that in a society where family is all important and the key to marriage and acceptance in the community, these children will struggle all their lives for not having a family to call their own. Some wounds are more visible than others.

The most sobering moments of the day were spent visiting cemetery number 6, one of the smallest in the Bulawayo area. I wanted to visit a grave yard after I had read an article that cited casket making as one of the few healthy business in Zimbabwe. The number of fresh graves was overwhelming, with the dates on the headstones a reminder of the young age of people taken by AIDS. The headstone that hit me the hardest had an inscription taken from the book of Ecclesiastes. What struck me was the way the verse was paraphrased.

“Everything that happens in this world happens at the time God chooses.”

In light of the suffering that these people endure on a daily basis, this was a remarkable expression of faith. I am humbled and ashamed of the shallowness of my own faith in the presence of these remarkable people.

Steve Proctor

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