Have you ever watched a caterpillar crawl around? The other day, I was watching one inch along up a tree. As I watched it, I just kept thinking this little unassuming creature has no idea what beauty is ahead — soon it will become a butterfly. It is just being who it was made to be – then God is going to transform it into something more imaginable than it can comprehend. It just needs to be faithful at being itself. God sees the beauty on the inside and is pleased.
When I think about Remmy’s increasing role in our ministry as our Africa/Zambia Director, I am increasingly seeing him like a caterpillar. He is simply being who God made him to be and great things are happening, subtly, that will lead to even better things than we can comprehend. If you have ever been around Remmy, you know he loves deeply and smiles because God’s great love pours out of him. When he speaks, he does so thoughtfully and with great wisdom. He doesn’t do it to show off or flount, he is merely just climbing up trees before him — just being who he was made to be.
Remmy arrives today into DC from Zambia. I’m writing this as I wait for him to come through the doors at Dulles Airport. He’ll be here until Oct 25.
Join me in praying for an exceptional opportunity Remmy and I will have this coming week. The main reason Remmy is coming is that Forgotten Voices was selected to participate in the Praxis Accelerator Program. 20 fellows from 12 innovative organizations serving around the world will take part, with 17 mentors and 4 staff from PraxisLabs leading us. Remmy and I will be among the 20 Christian social entrepreneurs.
Praxis is a year long fellowship program, focused around 3 one week gatherings (October, January, and April). Remmy will be traveling to join me for each of those 3, with financial support for his travel from Praxis and generous support from some of you.
Praxis will be helping Remmy and I think through how to get over, around, and through the obstacles in our way to expanding our ministry. Focusing on 3 big issues all social enterprises like us face (lack of adequate access to mentoring, skills or capital), Praxis will take us on a journey to better articulate our story, better leverage our existing resources, and be who God made us to be.
From today through Oct 19, please be praying for Remmy and I as we prepare last minute details for the first Praxis gathering outside NYC, attend, then debrief with Nate Shaffer before Nate & Remmy travel to speak to a church in the Boston area. There is a lot to do and a lot to learn. Pray for patience & wisdom as we learn to trust in God’s provision. Pray for all the other fellows and mentors who are all leaving their busy lives to trust in God, as well.
Now, more than ever before, our ministry is needed because the number of children orphaned continues to grow and the way the American church is responding now is just not adequate enough. We have to reassess how we are engaging in this great crises and opportunity to share God’s love.
Forgotten Voices is changing the way children orphaned by AIDS are being cared for in southern Africa. In 1900 an estimated 9 million Christians were on the African continent. Today, there are over 540 million and rapidly growing. Our organization is helping Americans equip local churches in southern Africa to meet the physical & spiritual needs of children orphaned by AIDS. By focusing on local priorities of each church for orphan care and serving behind the scenes so these local churches get credit, we are helping re-imagine a more effective way to scale a big C Church response.
Just like the caterpillar, Remmy being Remmy is beginning to take us on a journey to become something more beautiful than we can even imagine now. Preparing for Praxis is already playing a role in that transformation of Forgotten Voices into something more beautiful.
You can learn more about our Praxis adventure at PraxisLabs.org. Return here next week for some post-event reflections. We will not have access to phones and internet for most of the time with Praxis. Thanks for reading and praying with us.
-Ryan, from the airport. He’ll be here any minute
Follow Ryan on Twitter: @ryanmkeith.