"I've always loved kids and consider it the responsibility of all of us to defend them and provide for them, regardless of culture, country, or income level. Now, as an expectant father, even more so. I'm glad to be here with you today to talk about kids.
In 2004, I was living in Pennsylvania and just a couple weeks before coming to Harvard for grad school, I was asked to not to and instead travel with my church to Zimbabwe to see how we could get involved in the AIDS crises as a church. I went to Zimbabwe, unsure of when I'd go to Harvard - if at all.
I went to Zim and then went again. In January 2005, I met a woman named Mrs. Mpofu sitting under tree, watching her 2 children (Peterson & Prudence) watch her die. Who would take care of them? Provide for them? Sitting under the tree with me was Obert - a Pastor.
Over and over, Obert and people in his church were saying, I don't know how God's going to provide, but we will care for these children. Obert still helps look out for Peterson and many more, like Neatness, who you will meet on video soon.
There, I felt God calling me to start the ministry of Forgotten Voices, where we would demonstrate the love of Jesus Christ by equipping local churches in Zimbabwe (and now Zambia) to meet the physical and spiritual needs of children orphaned by AIDS in their communities.
We are now equipping about 160 churches to meet the needs of about 5,000 kids in 3 specific ways:
1) Unique Needs: Local churches, like Hope, know the needs of its neighbors. Some of our projects involve paying school fees, food, seed, or medicine. Each is different, meeting unique needs.
2) Credit to Local church in Africa: The people who receive support from the local church do not know anything about Forgotten Voices, limiting dependency and creating a genuine opportunity for the church to create income overtime to support the project on an on-going basis.
3) Seminaries in Africa: We work through graduates of accredited seminaries in Africa, so denominations and graduates can share lessons with each other and build a more equipped church for the long-term.
I finally came to Harvard in 2008 to see how we could grow to help thousands of churches. Now, after graduating this past Thursday, I'm returning to Pennsylvania to lead the ministry of Forgotten Voices full-time. As a missionary, in part supported by Hope, I want to invite you to join me in 3 three ways:
1) Pray: Wisdom for how we are going to equip these churches and join them in what God is calling them to do. Wisdom for me to apply the lessons I've learned.
- Immediate: We have an immediate need of almost $50,000 due before the end of July, to help us keep kids in school. Prayerfully consider giving toward that goal.
- TenTogether.org: Join or start a TenTogether Team. Ten Together is a new initiative where we are asking you to gather 10 people in your community friends, family, coworkers or neighbors. Each person gives $10/month to Forgotten Voices and each team gives at least 10 hrs of service to a local project in the USA to model the African church responding to the needs of people. Find out more today at TenTogether.org. Our goal is to start 1,000 teams of 10 by the end of 2010. $10 + 10 hrs = Massive Impact for kids!
- Missionary Support: As a missionary, partly supported by Hope Fellowship, I need to raise $2,500/month to care for myself, my wife and our daughter. Prayerfully consider supporting me. You can give at ForgottenVoices.org.
3) Volunteering: As I'm leaving Boston now, we need help in 2 areas. a) Church Relations - people to connect area churches in Boston with the ministry of Forgotten Voices -- you can contact Nate & Ellen Shaffer, volunteer Directors of Church Relations, if interested; b) TenTogether - people to champion this inititative throughout the community - to kids, high schools, colleges, Sunday school classes, coffee houses, etc. Contact me at TenTogether@ForgottenVoices.org if interested.
Thanks for listening. You can give at www.ForgottenVoices.org and find out more about TenTogether at TenTogether.org.
In conclusion, Curtis and friends of Hope, every night pastors, like Obert, are crying out to God to provide resources to fulfill the "YES, we will care for your kids" that they spoke earlier that day to a dying woman. Today, here in this place, through the ministries of Forgotten Voices, we know who they area in Zimbabwe and Zambia and they know who the kids are and what they need. I invite you to join us in equipping them to do what God has called them to do.
Now - I invite you to meet one of my friends by video. Her name is Neatness, a young 14 year old girl in Zimbabwe.
Thanks for having me.
Member, Hope Fellowship Church
President, Forgotten Voices International