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."

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Shalom & Brendon

Yesterday, we posted an interview with Agnus, the grandmother to Shalom & Brendon. Today, we invite you to watch the interview with Shalom & Brendon. :)

I hope you enjoy meeting these kids. Thanks for investing in our work and allowing The Rock Church and Pastor James to continue ministering -- meeting the physical & spiritual needs of children orphaned by AIDS in their communities.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Interview with Agnus - Story from Yesterday

Friends, yesterday, I shared the story of a beautiful woman -- a woman named Agnus. Agnus is the grandmother to Shalom and Brendon.

Watch this powerful interview with Agnus. The translator is Agnus' pastor James, the pastor of The Rock Church, a partner to Forgotten Voices.

Come back tomorrow to see an interview with the 2 children, Shalom and Brendon.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Amazing Woman!

Meet Joyce Mudenda, a widow and one of the many widows that the ministry of Forgotten Voices through, local churches in Ndola, has tremendously impacted when it comes to sustainable income generating activities; especially for those infected and or affected by HIV.

Joyce has never let life's circumstances weigh her down even after the death of her husband. Naturally it wasn't easy to lose the bread winner in the home; but regardless of the physical and emotional trauma that she had to undergo after his death, she believed in herself and stood for the survival of her family. Thanks to FVI coming on board to lend a hand.

Joyce is very enterprising, she has maximized the little bare land at her home with every activity that she envisioned would help sustain her family and thus help her come out of poverty. She grows vegetables through out the year for sale and is currently growing some cabbages that she supplies to the hospital which is just less than a kilometer from her home. Some of the produce from her garden is sold to marketeers on wholesale. She is also running a poultry business with about 100 chickens which will be ready in eight weeks time. During this time of the year she grows enough maize to eat and sell to neighbours and marketeers. All these activities are happening withing the surroundings of her home, which is less than 70 square meters. On another space of this same plot, she has dug a well to provide water for her vegetables and has built a beautiful three bedroomed house in which she has put people for rent, giving her some extra income. She has also rented another small space on the same plot to a carpenter for his carpentry workshop. This too adds to her income. Quite an amazing lady!

Joyce is a retired nurse, who was actually retired on medical grounds, but when her health improved she was engaged on part time contract at the hospital next to her home. She could definitely maximize her opportunities and make use of a little extra income as she looks after over eight orphans in school. Her activity filled life has helped her to deal with issues that matter most in her life; seeing the children finish school. "I thank my God for letting me live a little longer" she said.

This is one of the many success stories the ministry of Forgotten Voices through local churches in Africa has helped; and all this because you chose to say "yes" to helping orphans and widows affected by HIV/AIDS. If you are inspired, please make your donations to and help create another amazing woman!

Your fellow servant in God's ministry


Meet Agnus Nube - Grandmother to Shalom & Brendon

When you first meet Agnus, she comes across as shy, as is true for many Ndebele (the 2nd largest tribe in Zimbabwe - generally concentrated in the southern part of the country). But, also like most Ndebele, her quick whit and deep love for laughter begins to shine through.

To get to her house, we walked about 10 min uphill along the dirt road from James' house, crossed the main road, and went up another steep incline. Agnus was doing some laundry in a giant yellow bucket, then hanging the clothes along a string. Her humble home was so inviting, as she warmly guided us into a dark, yet soothing room - just warm enough so you didn't get cold, but cool enough so you didn't get hot.

Forgotten Voices is partnering with the The Rock Church, Agnus' local church. James and the Rock are working to help Agnus care for her 2 grand-children, Shalom (on left) and Brendon (on right). The church is paying school fees for Shalom & Brendon, assisting with some food at times, and preparing a community garden near James' house that will supply Agnus and her grandchildren with fresh, clean water close-by and crops that will, Lord willing, supply Agnus with an on-going income within the 2 years.

As you can see from the pictures, the house is unfinished. THey are working hard on the roof. Agnus complained several times that the roof needs to be fixed as it "is like sleeping outside when it rains." But the love inside this home runs deep. Agnus lost her kids to AIDS. Agnus' daughter, mother to Shalom & Brendon, died 5 years ago. Their father just 2. Thankfully the kids had lived with their grandmother since birth. Agnus couldn't imagine the kids living anywhere else, though she gets tired a lot and feels old.

Agnus says, "my life is hard because I have to a father and mother at the same time. It becomes difficult with a house that's not good. It becomes difficult."

When I asked her "what's your favorite thing about raising these children?", she said,
"Now, these kids are going to school. And if they weren't here, I'd be all alone, so it's nice they are here so I'm not alone. They are not alone. It's good to not be alone. I'm always asking God to protect them, take care of them, so they can grow up. That's what I hope for - for these kids."

When I asked her, how has this church program assisted you, she said, "if it wasn't for the local church these children would not be going to school."

And before you go, I have something REALLY important for you to know -- Shalom and Brendon wanted to share their favorite colors with you so you know. :) Shalom likes red and Brendon likes green. :)

If you come back to our blog tomorrow, you can see a full interview with these 2 kids AND an interview with their grandmother, Agnus.

We are thankful for The Rock Church and the way it makes sure these families know they are not alone, they are loved by God, and things will work out.

Enjoy some other photos below from our time with them.

Thanks for reading and investing in


(From left to right) Shalom, Brendon, Agnus, and Pastor James

A wider view of the house. Look at that green grass! Beautiful!

Their beautiful house, set up on a hill - about 10 min walk from Pastor James' place and about 10 min from the Rock Church.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

A Red Bike will take you here and there -- everywhere. Meet James

Friends - What a crazy past week it's been. A dear friend in Zimbabwe lost his wife this past weekend due to illness. Teachers went on strike in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. Water rushed from the heavens covering the fields, in some places just the right amount and in others --- WAY too much. In Zambia, things continue to churn along. Our new project partners are doing well, sharing the love of Christ with hundreds of kids as they continue on with their schooling.

As we work with you to fulfill our mission, it's important to couple the challenging with the hopeful. This week, I'll be sharing 3 stories from The Rock Church in Zimbabwe. Stories from my last trip in January. You'll be challenged and inspired. As a preface to this stories, enjoy three short videos of our friend James Moyo, the pastor of The Rock Church.

Thanks for investing in our work. You can make a gift at to help James and pastors like him, as they meet the physical & spiritual needs of children orphaned by AIDS in their communities. THANKS!


Monday, February 15, 2010

Story of farms that will show you God at work

Forgotten Voices is proud to partner with an organization called Foundations for Farming, formerly called Farming God's Way. God has been working miracles for a really long time through this program. On my latest trip to Zimbabwe and Zambia, I got to meet up with our good friend, Pierre, who leads Foundations for Farming in southcentral Zimbabwe. You can read more about our partnership with this group on our website.

In this video, we asked Pierre to tell us what's been happening in our southern Zimbabwe partnership (we also have some in other parts of Zimbabwe and Zambia), as well as share the incredible story of what led us to meet for the very first time a few years ago. Both are great lessons in God's provision and perfect timing. Two quick notes - first, we shot this at a friend's house after my dad, Steve, and I actually went and saw some of the farms as we came into the property. Second, when Pierre talks about 500 families, we estimate that at least 10 people are living in each family, so 500 10x10 meter farms would feed about 5,000 people. The bigger ones can serve up to 25, plus have LOTS extra to sell in the market. Incredible!

In total, last year, Forgotten Voices invested a little less than $5,000 in this project. Hear what happened! Enjoy! -Ryan

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Eddie, age 14, the Future Pilot


An important update from Remmy, our program director in Zambia: 

Eddie has qualified to senior high with very good grades and the government has taken to a school where those who get good grades go. Thanks for writing about him on the blog.

I met Eddie, age 14 - grade 10, over a year ago. It was a hot summer day and sun was beating down on us. I had come to see a land sharing project that Eddie's church ran. The Free Methodist Church in Ndola had purchased some land, where Eddie's family participates in land sharing initiative to help people with limited means grow crops to sell in the market and help one another by looking out for weeds, crop failures, etc. You can read more about the project and the church here.

But from that first trip a year ago to the outskirts of Ndola and the many people I met, I distinctly remember Eddie standing in the middle of the field with his backhoe in hand - working up a sweat. I wondered then why he wasn't in school and we tried to have a nice chat. You should've heard Eddie then. He was excited, as he was on this most recent trip --- ready to share and speak to a camera. But, the challenge Eddie had a year ago is that he struggled to communicate effectively and I honestly understood only some of what he was trying to say to me in English.

Now - a year later and back in school - I was overwhelmed with joy to hear him share his dreams.

Eddie handsomly explained his current life situation, in almost perfect English and his confidence would make any teacher smile. Since the last time I saw him, he was back in school after the Free Methodist Church paid for his school fees, in partnership with Forgotten Voices. But, Eddie didn't know who I was or about Forgotten Voices, which is the same for virtually everyone that receives support from Forgotten Voices. Eddie just knew he was back in school and the Lord had provided for his family through his local church.

He told me that he likes math, science, english, and geography. He dislikes history. "My brain is not a computer for all these dates about who did what when. It's too much." he said, while smiling. :) His dreams were clearer now and this smile he was giving me told me that now, things were going to be ok.

When he grows up, he wants to be a Zambian Air Force Pilot. If he fails, he'll be a geologist. While this may seem like common stuff for you and me, to hear Eddie explain these dreams showed me just how much a year of schooling can do for a kid's self esteem.

Life hasn't been easy for Eddie. His father passed away 9 years ago. It was too difficult to talk about, so I never learned how Eddie's dad died. Now, Eddie lives in a family of 8, led by his mom. Eddie has 2 twin sisters, who are 4 years old, and a cousin, who I wasn't able to meet. Eddie also had an older sister, who passed away recently, leaving her 3 kids to Eddie's mom, so these kids also live with Eddie.

So, why does the church support Eddie if he has a mom and family? Well, Eddie is among a very vulnerable group of kids, as his mom's limited resources are meeting the family's most basic needs, but not much more. She's extremely dedicated to doing what she can. His mom is daily collecting charcoal from the woods and selling it to support the family. She and the family, including Eddie, often travel to their fields owned by their local church, so they can work the land before school and then spend the weekends there, too. Sometimes, the family makes the long trip by foot and bus to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where their extended family has land --- it's just across the border from Ndola, but a big headache in and out.

But, these resources don't allow Eddie to make it. As a child who has lost a parent and is essentially living without a social safety net, the local church, with Forgotten Voices' support, helps his mom pay the school fees Eddie needs and she does what she can to help with school shoes, books, etc.

At Forgotten Voices, every family's story is different and we know that. We rely on the leaders within the local church and community to help us make wise decisions about the delicate balance of partnership and emergency relief --- responding with Christ's love, but limiting dependency. Eddie's story is a great example of how the church can help a kid with big dreams, but a kid that needs a champion and social safety net that the local church can supply, while also protecting Eddie's mom's dignity and desire to support her family.

Please join me in praying for Eddie. When I asked how my frineds in the USA (that's you) can pray for him, here's what he told me: "Pray that my mother can have a long-life and that I am granted power and intelligence to continue my studies." A noble prayer and one I ask you join us in.

To help us support more kids like our friend Eddie, join me in making a gift to Take a moment and consider friends that may also be enriched to meet Eddie. Thanks!

Twitter: @forgottenvoices

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

"Lord, make me an instrument of hope"

Meet Petra Chilombe, 19. This girl has made a difference against all odds and is an example to the girl child in our society. If there are any children that have lived a life of sorrow, she is one of them. Loosing both parents before she could even celebrate her tenth birthday!

Petra lost her father when she was only three years old and when she was just turning nine, her mother also died. She stayed with a number of foster parents for a while before an auntie came along and provided a much more stable home for her. Unfortunately, just when she was about to write her junior high school examinations, her auntie's husband died too, and she was left with an unemployed auntie who depended on selling vegetables at the market to make ends meet. It was a struggle for the auntie to provide food for the family, late alone provide school requirements for Petra in addition to her own children. Because of this, Petra had to be 'sacrificed' and was out of school for a while, until the ministry of Forgotten Voices came to Zambia and partnered with her local church. She was taken back to school and now is in her final year of high school. Her examination fees have now been fully paid and she is studying hard for her end of year exams.

Your choosing to say "yes" to helping orphans in Africa, has enabled this young girl's hopes of a bright future be rekindled. It is very rare for vulnerable girls like her to survive forced marriages just because of her life predicament in our society. Credit goes to the ministry of Pastor Mashonga's local church that has nurtured orphans like her and played a pivotal role in her life to even reach her final grade of high school. She has now set her goals on studying to become a nurse in one of the hospitals of Zambia when she completes school, so she says!!

This is what your donation to Forgotten Voices does to the voiceless in our society. Do not grow weary in doing good for the Lord is aware and will not forget you; Hebrews 6: 10. Donate to the ministry of Forgotten Voices now and be an instrument of hope to one more child in need.

Your fellow servant in Christ,


Voices of children always make me smile - Videos from our trip

I love listening to kids sing. I love it every time. This past January, as you all supported our work and prayed for a team I was on traveling around Zimbabwe & Zambia, I had the good fortune to meet sooooo many children.

One of the ministries we are excited to support is a ministry caring for abandoned children. You can learn more about the ministry here AND read a blog post about what inspired us to join them in this work.

Kids who were left alone or were neglected. Kids who needed a champion. They have found it through the love of this ministry we partner with in Zimbabwe.

As you watch this video, listen to the love in their voices and think about the transformation that has occurred for them, as well the steps that remain. Join me in praising God for this work. If you'd like to donate so we can continue this work, please make a donation Thanks!