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."

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Ryan Addresses Tailoring Graduates

During my last trip, I had the good fortune of addressing graduates of the New Life Christian Church's Widow Tailoring School. It was impromptu, but a special time indeed.



Friday, January 21, 2011

Greetings from South Africa

Greetings from South Africa from the flight lounge, as I await boarding to begin. Just connected with Michelle Lockwood, a missionary who hosted us on night 1 almost 2 weeks ago. We met to exchange things for her to bring home and for me to bring to the USA. :) International next day delivery at its best... :)

James is off to Washington Dulles as I type this. Rob & Remmy just wrapped up a game drive to see animals in Zambia's National Park in Livingston and I'm connecting here with you before going to JFK in NYC shortly, arriving tomorrow (Saturday) morning. Pray for safety & sleep for all of us as we travel.

We had WAY less internet time or access than planned. The days were too long and full and the places we were visiting were often too remote to justify special trips into town to wait for a working computer. but I do hope you were able to enjoy the posts from our team in the USA and the tweets.

There are so many amazing stories to share, as there always are. I could tell you about the 2 hr gathering we had in rural Solwezi, where over 200 people came 3-4 hrs walking away to greet us, pray with us, and share a meal --- even though they only heard we were visiting. They didn't know who we were, but wanted us to feel welcome.

I could tell you about our conversation with a pastor, who painfully shared about someone who had prostituted herself for the equivalent of $6, but was bringing charges to the police because she had only been paid $3.

I could tell you about some of the 300 kids who the Zambian Baptist Association helps to assist in 2011, believing God has called them to do so, yet they have little resources to provide tangible change for these vulnerable children orphaned by AIDS. Most of the pastors did not know why we were there, except to greet them and see how God was using them so we could share their prayers with others.

I could tell you more about the dozens of remote and urban churches we visited with over 10 days on the ground.

I could tell you about the 15 widows and 2 other women who expressed joy that I have rarely seen as they graduated from a Forgotten Voices supported tailoring program, receiving a machine, fabric and capital to provide for their children on their own.

I could tell you about the long 17 hr days we had some days, resulting in a need to support & encourage each other when very tired.

I could tell you about the late night PHASE 10 tournaments we had almost daily, with James winning "COPPERBELT PHASE 10 CHIEF" title on our last night together in Zambia. It was awesome to kick back, debrief the day, discern together, and enjoy some cards.

There are so many stories I could share and I will. Please look forward to my reflections and some from Rob & James in the days to come. Realistically, I'll be off most of this week to rest, then returning to the office on Friday - a week from today.

If you are local to Central PA, please consider coming to WEST SHORE E FREE CHURCH in Mechanicsburg, PA this SUNDAY. I arrive back into JFK Saturday, then will be speaking in both the 9am and 10:45am services on Sunday at WSEFC. I'm excited to see how God equips me to share, despite jet lag, emotional exhaustion, and being physically sore. But God is using us to bring hope. I look forward to being there with you.

See you then or see you here very soon. Lots of love!

-Ryan Keith, President, Forgotten Voices International

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Journey updates from Solwezi, Zambia

If you aren't already aware, Ryan is currently leading a team in Zambia, Africa. While they are meeting with various pastors in the rural areas of Solwezi identifying community needs and possible partners to provide for local orphans, here are a few updates they've posted via twitter:

"Many of our friends here daily work their tails off to survive. What an honor to learn from them & serve with them."

"Amazing 12 hr day for us. 5 Baptist churches who have identified 300 kids orphaned. No one but church would find these kids."

"After typing up notes off to bed after 17 Hr day. So beat. Please pray for strength tomorrow. Leaving at 8 for Kitwe"

"Visited with a friend to Remmy, wife to chief who lost sister. Always tough to be around death. After 16 trips still new."

You can tell that this journey so far has been both productive and extremely demanding in many ways. Please keep the team in prayer as they journey from Solwezi back to Ndola, then catch a flight to Lusaka tomorrow to meet with local pastors there.

Stay tuned for more updates ..


Images of Solwezi

As you continue to pray for Ryan, James and Rob's travels through Zambia, here are a few images of the region they have been visiting. As you can see it's quite rural. Many resources, including church ministries, are stretched thin. But the strengths and needs that have inspired and moved us to action among our current projects in Zimbabwe and Zambia ring true in remote Solwezi as well.

The church is still alive and sharing the love of Christ in the community.

Mothers still have dreams for their children and long to see them grow up to succeed.

We still find many households devastated by HIV, where the oldest and youngest family members are left to care for each other.

Church leaders still meet - often under trees - to make a plan for the orphaned and vulnerable children needing their care

Resources like food, clean water, education, and skills training are still often out of reach, but vitally important, especially for orphaned and widowed community members.

Families still pray for rain so that their crops will grow and their family will have sufficient water.

God still promises to be with us always, no matter where His calling to serve may lead us.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Finding the Forgotten

Off the map, out of range, and just plain out there are a few ways to describe the location of our team currently on the ground in Zambia. In actuality we don't know EXACTLY where Ryan, James, and Rob are, but from the itinerary they've left us as well as their occasional tweets we know they are moving through the rural areas of Solwezi.

It may seem strange for our team to be so far outside the normal thoroughfares and busy cities of Zambia, but their mission is to go beyond areas that may already have aid organizations to find those desperate communities that have been forgotten. You can hear directly from Ryan about the mission of this particular trip, about how through partnering with local churches in rural villages Forgotten Voices hopes to provide sustainable care to nearly 5,500 vulnerable and orphaned children this year. Just today, the team has already visited with 12 churches, seeking to identify potential partners that can provide holistic care to orphaned children around their communities.

Many experts estimate more than 700,000 AIDS orphans are currently living in Zambia, and with your help we have plans to continue building a strong network of sustainable partnerships with local churches to provide for as many vulnerable children as we can.

Check out TenTogether, our campaign to reach 10,000 orphans by the end of 2012 to see what you can do to help. It's easier than you think to make a real difference in the lives of others, and you can expect this movement to bring change to your own life as well.

Brian - Forgotten Voices {{{Volunteer}}}

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Graduation Day

As Ryan, James and Rob continue to travel through Zambia, they'll have limited access to internet over the next few days. In the meantime, we'll provide some additional insight and photos introducing you to some of the church leaders, families and children they are meeting.

On Thursday, the three travelers spent their first day in Zambia attending a graduation ceremony at New Life Christian Centre. Since beginning partnership with Forgotten Voices International, New Life Christian Centre has seen 60 women from the community - most of them widows - graduate from its Tailoring Program. This program gives women in extremely vulnerable situations skills training to financially support themselves and restore dignity to their family. Upon graduation, each woman receives a sewing machine, start-up fabric and capital to begin their own small business.

Enjoy these photos of just two of Thursday's 15 graduates, taken in November. Pray for them and the 13 other women now stepping out in faith to use their new skills to support their families.

More updates soon!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Greetings from airport - again

After a wonderful meatball sub & avacados & salad meal with sugar mango pudding for dessert, we couldn't sleep with excitemtn - though we all tried. We were all too excited to sleep. Excited to finally be in Africa and pumped to continue getting to know one another. Already the conversation has started about how we can use our collected gifts to help tell the stories of people we've met already.

Stories of kids here always amaze me. About 150 kids were there for the first day at Aurora Primary School yesterday. Aurora is a K-7 school about 30 min from the airport, set on a beautiful farm. It will be two weeks until they have a better understanding of the count. Kids come from 30 kilometers away, some by foot or bus. We got to meet all the kids informally, in a mass setting while they were playing a game. The energy of screaming kids is always reenergizing. Many don't have parents, or have parents absent or abusive. It was clear that Aurora was a place of healing for some and will be for those that arrived yesterday for the first time.

It is always good to see my friends, the Walkers, who lead Aurora, but especially good. There is so much going on in their lives. Please join me in praying for a house closer to the school, building construction & adjustments underway, and plans to floor classrooms and pay more teachers. Some of ths they don't have funds for, but the are faithful people. We look forward to being ambassadors for them as we return to share their stories.

James rose early this morning to the sounds of birds outside. Rob managed to go back to sleep after awaking. I slept soundly until 15 min before we left for the airport. :) Oops. Just picked up some muffins and OJ at the airport lounge so, Katie, you don't need to worry. We will also eat on the plane. We leave in 50 min for Zambia. Excited to see Remmy again.

Thanks to the Lockwood family for picking us up, feeding us, and housing us. We are so thankful for your love and support. Without your assistance and encouragement - "a welcoming place" - we would not enter Zambia as refreshed as we are this morning.

Lots of love to you all. Thanks for joining us on the journey.

Until Zambia,
Ryan (for James & Rob)

PS if you follow our tweets - but especially for our wives - we wisely decided not to buy Ferraris at the Ferrari store. In fact, we managed to tick off the woman mopping the store. She scowled us out before we could even seriously consider it. :) Alas, another day without ferraris. :)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Safely here in South Africa

Greetings from Johannesburg, South Africa. We arrived safely after 19 hrs on the plane. It was a long way, the longest north to south trip I've ever taken. For whatever reason the currents aren't as strong this month so it took us longer than my January trips usually take.

We are all in good spirits, but anxious for rest in a bed. Lockwoods are picking us up in the airport. I'm sending this as we await their arrival in the lobby. The beauty of WIFI in Johannesburg - the New York City of Africa.

James & Rob both went to Deer Foot, a boys' camp in upstate New York, so they bonded instantly sharing names and experiences. It was nice to see such a deep connection so early on. We have al ong road ahead and will need to be supportive of each other.

After being picked up by the Lockwoods, we will drive immediately to Aurora Primary School,  a school where the Lockwoods volunteer their enormous talents as a family. We will be there for about an hour or two, then head home. Too quick, but it's going to be dark. Please join me in praying for our time at Aurora Primary School. I have met with the leaders of the school over dinner, but this will be the first time. We are going to see, learn and encourage those serving in the school. While this is not a project supported directly by Forgotten Voices, it has become a project near to my heart. It is not uncommon to encounter incredible work being done that falls outside of our mission. So, I'm grateful to share one of these projects with Rob & James.

Until later when we arrive home at the Lockwoods,
Ryan (for James & Rob)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Ryan Returning to Africa TODAY

Friends - I begin my return journey to Africa in less than 12 hrs. Amazing that it is time again.I can't tell you how excited I am to return for this special trip. I just sense that the timing is right for the journey. The purpose of the trip is described in this brief video. Thanks for watching. You can read more below. We now know of over 10,000 kids who need a champion. This trip is for me to go meet more of them so I can share their stories with you. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter as we go. 

Enjoy the ride! -Ryan Keith, President, Forgotten Voices International.

On the map below, you'll see the 5 new growth areas where we hope to reach in 2011 with the launch of, a campaign that asks you to join with 10 friends, each giving $10/month to Forgotten Voices and your team of 10 serving 10 hrs a year to a cause local to you in the USA.

Potential growth areas within Zambia, as TEN TOGETHER teams start, are numbered by order. Across the 5 cities, we know about 75 pastors who have about 18,000 kids within their communities. Each child is orphaned by AIDS and has unique needs that their local church is willing to help meet, but needs some support. We've spent the last 2 years identifying and networking these trustworthy graduates of TCCA, our seminary partner in Zambia. We praise God for the opportunity to meet so many and pray expectantly for God to use you and me to respond to this need through TENTOGETHER and supporting Forgotten Voices.

This trip I'll be joined by Rob Pepper, a friend from Messiah College, and James Masterson, a friend from Indianapolis. We will travel first ot South Africa to the Aurora Primary School and visit our friends, Steve & Michelle Lockwood. We then will be in Ndola (just south of Mufulira on map below) to meet up with Remmy (right), who some of you meet when he was here in October/November. Remmy will be our guide every day in Zambia.  We will meet with about 15 pastors for a couple days in Ndola, including a graduation for a widow sewing program Forgotten Voices' supports. The ceremony will mark the 60th woman trained by New Life, a church we serve. After a Leadership Summit with all current project leaders in Ndola, we will be off to Mufulira (#1 on map below) for a meeting with about 12 pastors, then on to Solwezi (#2 on map below) to meet with 8-10 pastors over 3 days. After Solwezi, we return to Ndola before taking a 6am flight to Livingstone (southwest corner near Zimbabwe) via Lusaka. Once in Livingstone, we'll have a lunch meeting with about 10 pastors in the area before taking in the Great Victoria Falls - one of the 7 wonders of the world.

Over the past 2 years, we've been working with TCCA, our seminary partner in Zambia, to build a Graduate Network around the country. We've been finding trustworthy pastors to make sure your investments are wisely spent to make the wisest impact. During this trip, we'll be discerning where we should join with the local church first in responding to the physical & spiritual needs of children orphaned by AIDS. I'm delighted to go and meet these brave men & women serving kids who need a champion. We'll also be spending time throughout listening to what God is teaching the local church about service and how we can bring those lessons to the USA to help us love our neighbors more effectively.

All of this is for our new TENTOGETHER campaign to support our work at Forgotten Voices. In 2011, we hope to equip local churches in Zimbabwe and Zambia to reach 10,000 children orphaned by AIDS. These children will be found through this trip and others to come. Pray for wisdom for when, for whom and how we should join with the churches.

Please join me in praying every day for the trip. Particularly pray for wisdom as we meet pastors, joy with the kids we meet, and humility to learn and listen. Pray also for safety, as we will have many flights over the next 12 days. Please also pray for the role you may play in helping us reach 10,000 kids in 2011. Visit to learn more. Thanks for following our adventure, as we go for you.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

New Year's Eve Memories and Prayers

Six days ago, my husband and I were driving to spend New Year's Eve with his parents. I had one more task to complete - my weekly phone call to our Zimbabwe Director, Fibion - before I could relax and enjoy the long weekend with my family. Marveling at the technology that allows me to sit in my car in Pennsylvania and talk to a dear colleague in Zimbabwe, I gave Fibion a call. It was a short conversation, as we both had evening plans. Amidst the business items we had to discuss, I learned that his evening plans involved a 4+ hour prayer service at his church. I was challenged by his and his congregation's faithfulness to prayer, and asked Fibion how I could pray for them. He shared with me the story of Sipho, which I want to share with you. Perhaps, like me, you'll be challenged to make prayer a more intentional part of your life in 2011. And perhaps, like me, you'll start by praying for Sipho. Here is his story:

As millions of people welcomed the New Year with fireworks, we can only imagine what memories were going through this little boy’s mind. Three years ago, Sipho lost four fingers on his right hand and sustained burns to the right side of his body in a fireworks accident. He was on a holiday visit to his step mother in South Africa when this painful experience occurred. His grandmother tells us that Sipho was seriously hurt as he tried to join the celebration with a firecracker. The experience left the boy psychologically shaken to this day.

Sipho lives with his grandmother in Zimbabwe. His father has been imprisoned in South Africa on charges of theft. Sipho is one of the beneficiaries of the partnership between the local Free Methodist Church and Forgotten Voices.

In school, Sipho struggles to write with his left hand. He’s just learned that he did not do well on his grade seven exams. He used to succeed academically, but is now has learning difficulties at school.

Pray that Sipho will experience continued physical and emotional healing, as well as psychological stability. Pray for those around him who are seeking appropriate educational tools for him. Pray for his grandmother and for his father who is still in prison. Pray that the church’s involvement will bring about the total healing that is needed.

Ellen Shaffer, Director of Project Management