Saturday, May 26, 2007

True Religion is Love in Action



This child is just one of a million orphans in Malawi!

I'm a man on a mission to help save 1,000 AIDS orphans and widows in Africa, and I need help. As Bono says: “Africa is ablaze. We are called to put out the fire!”

“True religion pleasing to God is this," according to the brother of Jesus: "caring for orphans and widows in their distress, and keeping oneself from being contaminated by the values of the world.” (James 1:27)

My particular involvement over the past 25 years has been with CitiHope International—a non-sectarian, Christian, humanitarian relief and development agency working in Eastern Europe, Central Asia, the Caribbean, and Africa.

Malawi, Africa, is a small, land-locked, Pennsylvania-size country of 13 million bordering Zambia, Tanzania and Mozambique. Malawi is particularly vulnerable to famine and disease, and suffers disproportionately from extreme poverty and AIDS. Currently, AIDS infects 15% of the population and accounts for over 85,000 deaths per year, leaving 950,000 AIDS –affected orphans.

CitiHope’s mission in Malawi is to bring help and raise hope by supplying nutritional meals to orphaned, abandoned and vulnerable children and their extended families; delivering life-saving medicine to hospitals and rural clinics; and providing Pastoral and Congregational Care Training (PACCT) in AIDS prevention and compassionate care in communities and congregations suffering from AIDS.

In 2006, CitiHope International and its ministry partners
• provided over a million nutritional meals to 3,000 orphans in 9 orphan care centers
• delivered $2 million dollars of medicine and medical supplies to 17 hospitals, 7 schools, and 5 prisons
• supported 38 community-based organizations who feed and care for over 12,000 persons at least one meal a day for the year
• trained and equipped 60 pastors and community leaders (20 men and 40 women) in dealing with the social and spiritual issues surrounding HIV/AIDS in their churches
• Identified and funded our first HopeHome in Malawi

So far this year, CitiHope ...


This week, we were offered 2,200 metric tons of rice for Malawi orphans and school children by the Government of Taiwan! If accepted, the donation will flow through Feed the Children (a Christian NGO) who contacted us to see if could effectively use it. We know how and where to distribute the rice, but we lack the fund to transport it to northern Malawi.

CitiHope has an unfunded but well-documented Plan that targets 88 primary schools and 40 community-based social agencies assisting families, including 7 Orphan Care Centers. Total recipients for all this rice will be 35,000 primary school age children and family members and their teachers over a two-year program.

We discussed with Feed the Children how we could accept the donation only if they or another organization would pay for the shipping costs from Taiwan to our
warehouse in Mzuzu, Malawi(a $300,000 expense!) And they are prayerfully considering it.

If a funder can be found to pay the shipping bill, we will joyfully accept the generous donation and distribute the rice as a "Rice for Education' program aimed at keeping children in school by providing hot meals during school and take home
rations each month.

This opportunity is very timely and providential, for we have run out of food to distribute to the orphans. Please pray with us about this critical need and opportunity. I will let you know how it turns out.

I'm a man on a mission in Malawi, and I need help. Join me and the team at CitiHope as we seek to save 35,000 kids from malnutrition and help them stay in school.

As John Wesley said: “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.”