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."

Monday, December 20, 2010

Welcome to Starbucks, would you like to save a life or just coffee today?

"I’ll have a grande extra hot soy with extra foam, split shot with a half squirt of sugar-free vanilla and a half squirt of sugar-free cinnamon, a half packet of Splenda, oh and put that in a venti cup and fill up the "room" with extra whipped cream with caramel and chocolate sauce drizzled on top?"

As Americans, we want what WE want, when we want it and how we want it. It’s hard not to be surprised by the labels we receive like “selfish, egotistical, or narcissistic,” when we have so much and millions of others have so little. The saddest part about this is that as Americans, we have to make sure everyone else around us knows just how much we have, compared to others.

In contrast, Forgotten Voices International (FVI) sees the needs of those that are suffering and less fortunate and humbly works to care for them. FVI focuses its energy in Africa, specifically within Zambia and Zimbabwe, to come alongside the churches and selflessly fulfill God’s calling to help those, specifically orphans, affected by AIDS/HIV. These orphans struggle to have even just one meal a day, medications, education, or even a parent alive to show them love --- and our biggest difficulty in life is trying to decide what kind of milk we should get in our coffee?!

Psalm 119:36 says, “Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain.” The New Living Translation of this verse offers clarity, “Give me an eagerness for your laws rather than a love for money!” The selfless nature of FVI, to go follow and serve the Lord demonstrates a sharp contrast to that of many people today.

Forgotten Voices does not simply swoop into Africa like Superman with a camera crew, a bunch of McDonald’s cheeseburgers and Nike sneakers to come save the day and receive instant gratification and personal gain. Instead, in Zambia and Zimbabwe, Forgotten Voices goes into communities and partners with the local churches to holistically empower and uplift the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of the people. They do this by funding HIV/AIDS orphans’ schooling costs, hosting sewing classes for widowed women, equipping the jobless with the tools/skills needed to have their own farm for a financial/food source, and many other initiatives.

I support Forgotten Voices and work to help build and grow this organization because I see genuine needs of forgotten people in Africa who have nothing, while I have so much. I frivolously waste my money and time doing things that only serve myself. Did you know that it only costs $15 to send one child to primary school for an entire academic term (4 months)? Considering that a typical Starbucks coffee costs at least two or three dollars, it puts things in perspective. By fulfilling my own frivolous needs, I am, in essence, closing a door on the opportunity to change and perhaps save an orphan’s life.

This organization and the people that work with it are not trying to leave a personal legacy or receive praise and honor for what they do. Much of the work done through Forgotten Voices is “behind the scenes” and if you asked any of the assisted children what “Forgotten Voices” was, they probably wouldn’t even know what you were talking about. Instead, FVI is trying to demonstrate Christ’s GENUINE love and compassion through their service to those that have been forgotten or disregarded by society.

Working with Forgotten Voices is not meant to make me feel like a better person or to receive a nice pat on the back for “sacrificing so much of myself,” -- it’s about having no other option. We all cannot just sit back and go on with our lives as our brothers and sisters in Christ suffer and fall by the way side. We need to volunteer, donate (even if it is just giving up one cup of coffee for the week), pray, etc. because others’ lives depend on it.

Heather Murphy - Forgotten Voices Public Relations Intern and student at Messiah College

1 comment:

Brian said...

Great post, very thoughtful and engaging. Thanks Heather!