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 11, 2010

Two Million Voices

Just about three weeks ago, my friend and colleague, Ryan Keith left for Africa to continue his work as CEO of Forgotten Voices International. He is returning with Remmy Hamapande, the FVI staff member from Zambia who has been visiting the US for the first time over the several weeks before Ryan left. Spending time with Remmy continues the education begun with my first trip to Africa last January. His visit is a powerful reminder of the profound difference between being a Christian in Zambia compared to the life of a Christian in the United States.

For many of us, going to church on Sunday must meet a number of important criteria - parking must be convenient, the seating comfortable, the music energetic and flawless, sermons inspiring (but not too long), and a quick exit from the church to get on with the rest of the day. In Zambia it is possible that orphaned children may arrive at the church on Sunday morning, requiring the cancellation of services. Congregation members may be asked to take responsibility for children who are without parents, helping them to find distant relatives or to take them home to meet their needs. Looking at the two experiences, one wonders what would be the effect on attendance at church in the US on Sunday if there was a possibility that you could return home with an orphan.

This contrast is one of the many reasons why I am drawn to the work of Forgotten Voices. My human nature acknowledges the attractiveness of being comfortable and inspired, but the plight of over two million orphaned children in Zimbabwe and Zambia calls out to me. Even though their voices seem weak and distant to those of us who live in the bubble of western society, something must be done. As Christians we are the hands and feet of Christ, in our own neighborhood and around the world. Next Sunday we may not be asked to take an orphan home from church, but we can support those who do – Forgotten Voices International.

Steve Proctor - Forgotten Voices Board Chair and President & CEO, Presbyterian Senior Living

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