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, April 7, 2010

Pressing on

How should we respond when God doesn't answer our prayers the way we expect?

For the past 6+ months, we have been planning and anticipating a wonderful opportunity to connect the two "sides" of Forgotten Voices International. Pastor Fibion Ndhlovu, our Zimbabwe Program Director, was invited to be a featured speaker at the Christian Alliance for Orphans annual conference - Summit VI. This invitation not only created an amazing opportunity to share the ministry of Forgotten Voices with churches and orphan-advocates from across the country - coming straight from one of our Zimbabwean leaders. It also meant a chance for us to introduce Pastor Fibion to many of our partner churches, donors and volunteers who have committed themselves to supporting children orphanned by AIDS and the churches who care for them, but have never traveled to southern Africa themselves.

This past week, less than a month before Fibion was to arrive in the United States, we learned that he has been denied a visa for the third, and apparently, final time. All avenues and options have been exhausted, after tireless effort by both Fibion and our US staff. More important than all of our efforts, countless people have been praying for Fibion's visa to be granted so that he can come as planned to speak, share and fellowship with us. And yet what seemed to be an opportunity straight from heaven has now become a closed door. We are left feeling disappointed and, frankly confused.

So how do we respond to our differently answered prayers? I can tell you that Fibion's response was this:

"Thousands of people here and there were praying that this would work out. It did not, so we just rejoice at the Lord's will and press on."

I'm inclined to follow his lead. I have a lot to learn from our Zimbabwean and Zambian brothers and sisters whose faith has been tested far more often than mine by situations of wondering why.

So join me, will you, in rejoicing that God wills that His people care for widows and orphans in their distress. Join me in rejoicing for the many who prayed over this situation. Rejoice over the many who had already agreed to welcome Pastor Fibion into their churches, their classrooms and even their homes.

And join me in pressing on in the work of protecting vulnerable children. Today I finished canceling all of Fibion's speaking engagements, but I will press on - turning my attention to preparation for the Summi VI conference, which several of us will still be attending. Will we see you there??

How will you press on today to support pastors like Fibion and the children they serve?

Ellen Shaffer - Director of Church Relations


Anonymous said...

So sorry to hear that Pastor Fibion was denied his visa, I too was excited for his participation in the Summit VI, a fantastic event for orphan advocates all over the world. I know God has a plan in all this so I'll continue to support Fibion and others like him by sharing his story with people I know.

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