Saturday, March 01, 2008

Malawi Mission Trip 2008

Mission Trip to Malawi, Africa
March 4-14, 2008

Sponsored by: CitiHope International

Led by: Dr. Michael J. Christensen, Director of Shalom Initiatives , Drew University

DATES: March 4-14, 2008

Travel Plan: Depart JFK on Tuesday, March 4 for Johannesburg to arrive in Lilongwe, Malawi, on March 6; Return on Friday, March 14, and arrive JFK on Friday, March 14 (10 days).

Destination: Malawi, a small land-locked, developing country of 12 million people bordering Zambia, Tanzania and Mozambique, is particularly vulnerable to famine and disease, and suffers from extreme poverty and AIDS. The March Mission Trip will carry out its mission in and around Mzuzu City in Northern Malawi where CitiHope Malawi operates relief and development programs from its mission center located in the heart of Mzuzu City.

Mission: To raise hope in vulnerable communities through cross-cultural relationships, “reverse mission” and the ministry of presence. The mission team will engage in relational and supportive activities with vulnerable children, youth and families in need in some of the 40+ schools, hospitals, social service agencies, and village community development projects supported by CitiHope International.

Reverse Mission: Our service team will focus its activities on being present in communities need and to vulnerable persons, who have their gifts to share. By focusing our mission of help and hope on relational support and being with those who are economically poor, we hope to fulfill a ministry of presence (God’s presence through us) which may result in our own spiritual transformation. Henri Nouwen calls this “reverse mission.” In encountering the rich spirit of Christ in those whom we would serve, we ourselves are transformed in the process. A good way to prepare for the trip is to read Henri Nouwen’s book Gracias to deepen your understanding of “reverse mission.” Other reading material will be recommended to team members preparing for the trip.

Projects and Objectives: Conduct PACCT IV HIV/AIDS training program, participate in RICE food aid program, perform site visit of HopeHome program, implement village well project, organize new “shalom zone” initiative and facilitate volunteers in mission.

Specific Activities: The delegation will engage in daily mission activities with CitiHope staff and ministry partners, visit selected ministry sites, and explore with local experts some social justice issues affecting Malawians, including the AIDS pandemic, extreme poverty and tropical disease, and globalization. Specifically, we will undertake the following activities:

1. Visit at least one Orphan Care Center and help feed 300+ Malawian orphans (toddlers thru teenagers) and abandoned children their daily meal, joining them in recreational and educational activities
2. Deliver nutritional food products as part of CitiHope’s R.I.C.E. food aid program in the hospitals, schools, churches, and social service agencies
3. Visit one of the HopeHomes caring for AIDS orphans sponsored by CitiHope
4. Visit patients in rural clinics and others prisoners in Mzuzu Central Prison, delivering food, medicine and hygiene supplies
5. Help dig a village well and dedicate other village wells recently installed by CitiHope as part of community development projects
6. Help organize a new ‘shalom zone” for relief and development
7. Worship with our Malawian brothers and sisters on Sunday in church

Local Ministry Partners: CitiHope International, Mzuzu United Methodist Church, Presbyterian Synod of Livingstonia, Malawi

Accommodations: In Johannesburg, en route to Malawi, we will stay overnight in a hotel near the airport. In Malawi, we will stay together in a Guest House near the CitiHope Mission Center in Mzuzu. Most rooms are double rooms, simple and clean, with shared bathrooms. Single supplements are available if needed.

Meals: Group meals and accommodations in transit and in Malawi are included in the price of the trip.

Cost: For international travel, hotel and guest house accommodations, in-country travel, group meals, and hospitality expense, the total budget for this 10 day trip to Africa is $3,000 per person , payable to CitiHope International as a tax-deductible donation.

Funding: Although no scholarships are available from CitiHope International, team members are encouraged to request mission funds from their local church which can be channeled through CitiHope International. CitiHope also has offered to support individual or group fund-raising efforts by receiving designated mission trip contributions and issuing tax-deductible receipts for donations. A sample “appeal letter” is available by request that can be adapted and sent to family members and friends.

Availability: Limited to 12 mission-minded people who have previously donated to CitiHope International, with priority given to official representatives of local churches and organizations that help sponsor CitiHope programs in Malawi.

Who Should Participate? Service-minded people of good faith and good will who share a concern for orphans and widows in Africa and who want to do their part to help end extreme poverty and AIDS in the world in our lifetime. To get a sense of the mission at hand, visit Dr. Christensen’s mission blog: http://michael-christensen.blogspot.com
Those who cannot go on this particular trip but want to participate through financial support are invited to donate to CitiHope International www.citihope.org

Deposit Required: A $250 deposit with application is required by December 31, 2007 to reserve a space, with the total amount due before February 1, 2008.

Disclaimers: CitiHope International is prepared to receive and host visiting groups to Malawi, but accepts no corporate liability for mission team organization, travel or activities.

Next Step: Request an application/information form (available via email) which must be completed and returned before January 1, 2008, with the $250 deposit payable to CitiHope International and sent directly to Dr. Michael Christensen at
11 Ardsleigh Dr. Madison, NJ 07940.

The team will remain in touch by email and meet once (by phone or face to face) in February to discuss final trip preparations and assess team dynamics before departing for Africa on March 4. For further information, contact Dr. Christensen at mchriste@citihope.org or 973-408-3738.

Background: CitiHope International began medical aid and food security programs in Malawi in 2003, in partnership with the Presbyterian Synod of the Livingstonia—the spiritual legacy of David Livingstone. By supplying protein-fortified nutrition and food security for vulnerable and orphaned children, delivering life-saving medicine to hospitals and rural clinics, and providing Pastoral and Congregational Care Training (PACCT) in AIDS prevention and care in congregations and communities suffering from AIDS, CitiHope staff and volunteers are able to provide help and hope in Malawi.