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, December 18, 2010

Christmas in Zambia

Typical Zambian child’s Christmas: Celebrating Christ’s birth, a gift of life to mankind!

It is Christmas time again! This period always reminds me of the days when, as a young boy in my father’s home in Livingstone, Zambia, my siblings and I would be so excited and expectant of what our father had for us. We would be playing with friends in the mud, but eagerly waiting for that moment when he would stand on our house veranda and call us inside so that we would try on the clothes and/or shoes that he had bought us sometime back, but kept from us for this special day of Christmas. This would be one of those days when being told to take a bath was a joy instead of a hassle. Bathing would be done from a huge basin placed in the shower room; and together we would scoop the waters and splash them on our soiled bodies with zeal knowing what is motivating us. Thereafter, each one would try on their new pants and/or shoes to see if they fit. Then we would all go to church for the usual Christmas service even though only mom would take us there. In the afternoon back home, as we wait for a meal that consisted of rice and chicken for the first time in many months, we would wander around so that friends would see the new clothes our parents bought us. This tradition showed how much our parents loved and cared for us.

Unfortunately, though this may still be a typical child’s way of celebrating Christmas across some families in our country, it is no longer like this in many homes. HIV/AIDS has decimated many families leaving children with no parents from whom they would expect new clothes; expect a heavy meal of rice, chicken, bread and sweets; and above all, expect this sincere love and care from a parent. Orphans have no one to look to for a gift of love like this. Christmas at church was normally celebrated as a service early in the morning, and later in the day families would gather in their homes and enjoy meal fellowships. As years went by, it was observed that many children being orphaned had nowhere to go for a feast after church. It was then when my church began to have not only a service, but also a meal fellowship together with the orphans at church.

Thank God, for through Jesus Christ, he has showed how much he loved and cared for us. As a child, I am sure Jesus grew to desire children’s play just like my siblings and I did; he yearned for His father, Joseph, to give special treats during special days for him and his siblings and therefore he knew what childhood life is like. Christ once said “I will not leave you orphans…” John 14: 18; meaning he understood how tough a life an orphan underwent. He now dwells in the Church, and through it he has championed the love and care for the many orphaned children. They find refuge; they find compassion, care and love in the church. This is why the ministry of Forgotten Voices International has identified partnership with local churches as the ultimate solution to the plight of the orphan. The Bible continues to remind us that; “Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble and to keep oneself unspotted from the world” James 1:27. These things are closest to the Father’s heart as He commands us to respond with love, John 15: 12.

Therefore, as we celebrate Christ’s birth, a gift of life to mankind, let’s remember the many orphans that have nothing or little to eat. We can do this by donating to the ministry of Forgotten Voices in its partnership with local churches in Southern Africa; we will make one more child’s Christmas life forever blessed and meaningful.

Remmy Hamapande - Zambian Program Director

1 comment:

brian said...

Thanks for sharing about your childhood memories, the situation in Zambia is a reminder to me of how blessed I truly am. Thanks for all you do!