Thursday, May 29, 2008

Let's "Raise the Roof" for the Orphan Church



We're trying to raise $1500 for Rev. Copeland and his congregation in Mzuzu, Malawi, to replace the canvass roof of their church that serves as a sanctuary of safety, help and hope for 80 orphans and abandoned children affected by AIDS. Can you help?

Sarah Harrington, one of our mission trip volunteers who attended the Mzuzu church in March, put out this appeal:

Dear friends,

According to Copeland, a new tent to keep sun and rain out of the "tower of hope in a cornfield" also known as Mzuzu UMC has been estimated at $1,500USD. Michael is challenging those of us who have attended church there to raise these funds!

Please talk to those with whom you have shared your stories of Malawi and any others who might have a heart for Pastor Copeland's community and let's see if we can pull together enough funds to replace what was so wrongfully taken from them.

All donations should be made to WorldHope Corps in care of Michael Christensen, 11 Ardsleigh Dr., Madison, NJ. 07940.

For more info, see Michael's blog @ http://michael-christensen.blogspot.com

Blessings to each of you,
Sarah


Sunday, May 25, 2008

Robbers Removed the Roof of the Church!



Dear friends of Malawi:

Please read the following emails from our friend, Rev. Copeland Nkhata, pastor of Mzuzu United Methodist Church and director of the HopeHome program for AIDS orphans in Malawi. Unbelievable! Robbers raided a thatched roof church and stole the roof!

Dear Rev. Michael,

It is sad to report that armed robbers came and vandalised the church and carried away the tent with which we had roofed the sanctuary of our small church structure. The roof is now bare. This has caused great disorder in our Sunday services and mid week services. The church floor has been messed up with rains and also services get disrupted because of rains or heavy sun shine. We use the same sanctuary to feed the children in our Hope homes for orphans and vulnerable children.

The matter is now with the police. Please pray that God would bail us out of this mess. We need urgent help to put things back to order. If the Lord would enable you to raise funds for another tent on our behalf it would be wonderful. The sanctuary size is 12 x 9 metres.

Copeland


Rev. Michael,

I am sorry for the delay in submitting the quotation for the tent. This is due to the fact that only one company situated in Blantyre almost 700km away is major supplier of tents and I have battled hard to get hold of them but to no avail since the day you asked me about the price of the tent. I am still trying and will soon succeed and then can furnish you with accurate information.

However, the stolen tent cost us MK139000.00 (US$1000.00). We had to get a bank loan to purchase it and we only fully paid back the in Nov 2007. I know that this time it might be around US$1500.00 as Malawi economy is still weak and prices tend to rise too fast.

Thanks for many valuable prayers. We are still holding together though a few
members were excessively shocked. Our services are badly affected with drizzles as the cold season is drawing in but we hope God will always protect His work.

Keep us in your hearts and prayers. Greet all the saints.

Copeland

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Annual Report from HopeChurch, Malawi





HOPE HOMES AND HOPE SCHOLARSHIP ANNUAL REPORT 2007

The Hope Homes and Hope Scholarship program is a twin initiative that was birthed in 2006 September as Rev. Copeland Nkhata (Mzuzu Circuit UMC) and Rev Michael Christensen (Prof Drew University) shared their dreams and visions in the area of Social Service Ministry. The issues that touch our hearts pertain to the Healing of many young souls that are socially wounded due to painful experiences such as loss of parents chiefly due to the HIV/AIDS scourge and other causes. HIV/AIDS has created a horrendous situation that has left many children vulnerable. They lack food, clothing, shelter, school fees, social security, medicine and other sundry needs. Other children are also infected with HIV/AIDS. While others are unable to go to school due to lack of parental care or lack of school fees. On the same vein others who were already in school drop out since the school fees provider has suddenly died. In more serious circumstances other children are even forced to relocate from urban areas or cities to rural areas usually far away from school so as to find shelter with their old grandparents who have too little to offer.



THE NEED OBSERVED IN MZUZU

1. Many orphans and vulnerable children often have no food, no clothes, no shoes, no school fees, no shelter.

2. Many orphans and vulnerable children have limited chances of education either because no one is available to pay their school fees or because hey have been thrown back home to live with old grandparents who are far away from school in the rural areas. Usually rural areas in Malawi are terribly under-privileged on matter of education. There are no schools nearby or the schools have neither school infrastructures nor teaching and learning materials such as books etc.

3. The orphans and vulnerable children suffer from stigma and marginalization from the mainstream of society as the society often stigmatize those that are infected or affected by HIV/AIDS. But they need protection and recognition like any other human being. Stigma causes excessive mental stress, frustration and withdrawal. The orphan and vulnerable children feel unprotected.

4. The youth among the orphan and vulnerable children tend to turn to delinquent behaviour such as alcoholism, drug abuse, violence, sexual perversion, abortions, rebellion etc. And the church ought to intervene to protect them from the bummer of becoming social misfits.

5. The orphans and vulnerable children are also subjected to child trafficking and child labour where brutal business men tend to take advantage of these orphans and employ them in their farms or homes for little or no pay. Other children are even subjected to objects of sexual pleasure for the rich. Sometimes the girl child is employed in pubs to entertain men sexually.



WHAT WE HAVE DONE

Between 2006 September and December 2007 we have done a lot of work in the Hope Homes and Hope Scholarship programs.

HOME HOMES

We started this program with 9 children who were on the feeding program where we provide corn and groundnuts to foster parents who could provide porridge every morning and evening to their children.

Once a month we also organized picnics for the orphans and vulnerable children to create an opportunity for recreation, learning and social conglomeration with other children. We also provided a chance for the orphan and vulnerable children to listen to biblical stories so as to draw them to the Lord Jesus who is the chief architect of healing and rehabilitation.

The good news is that the number of children in the feeding program has been growing at an alarming rate. It rose from 9 to 13 then to 22, then to 35.

When we made our budget last June 2007, we had 35 children. But from September 2007 to date we are feeding nearly 100 children – a figure too high for our budget.

In our budget we calculated to provide 50kg corn and 10kg groundnuts for every child every month. But the sky-rocketing numbers obviate the plan. We have since scrapped off the provision of groundnut in order to accommodate many victims. Therefore we need more funds to bear the whole burden well.

HOPE SCHOLARSHIP

The Hope Scholarship started in September 2006 with 2 students in Form 3. The program has flourished over the past 16 months to more than 10 students.

Edson Msutu, Ribia Banda, Chimwemwe Mhone, Dyton Phiri, Ellen Mhone, Isabel Abigail, Mababazo are among those that have either finished their Diploma programs or still doing them.

Gift Chipeta, Chippo Selewa, Geoffrey, Jeremiah, Cecillia, Elton, Hastings, Osman, Tiwonge, and others are among those we are sponsoring for secondary school education.

The Hope Scholarship has bought 2 bicycles for some students who travel long distances to school. But we need more bicycles as we still have more students with that need.

The Hope Scholarship has also endeavoured to purchase books and stationery. Text books are very expensive but we need them at all cost so as to make the scholarship fruitful and this calls for a decent upward adjustment on our budget in order to realise the dream of intellectual development among our youth – the orphan and vulnerable children especially.

The program of intellectual empowerment is exceedingly important because it enables us as a church to whet mental faculties of the orphan and vulnerable children, actualize their talent potential and prepare them for active participation in the community and professional life of the nation – besides the church. This program is meant to combat illiteracy and make people mentally and spiritually free. It is clear that illiteracy is another form of bondage and slavery. Therefore education can undo this evil.

COMMENTS

It is important at this juncture for the Mzuzu Circuit to say thank you Michael and all the stakeholders that have lovingly contributed to the success of this program. It has been of tremendous value for us as a church to receive so much financial support to bring healing and hope to the vulnerable and afflicted children.

Our projection is that in the near future many of these children who benefit from this program will live a fuller life than what they go through now. It is a program well calculated to change the complexion of things around many destitute souls.

It is also within the framework of our projection that we construct a Hope Homes Skills Centre where these children can be accorded an opportunity for skills in various areas such as Tailoring, Computer Skills and Carpentry. Such skills would enable some of these children to engage in some form of self-employment and be able to earn a living without having to sit in some clerical office. This idea can provide practical solutions to the problem of growing unemployment. I therefore court your attention, my dear friends to begin to look at this item as suggested above more closely and critically.

We also thank you for providing wells for water in our communities in our rural churches. We are very gratefully. As expected we need more boreholes in our rural communities for good health. Boreholes are essential because by them we protect our people from bad water which communicates waterborne diseases.

The church and all leader of United Methodist Church send their gratitude and joy for all your liberalities.

______

Compiled by:

Rev Copeland Nkhata, Program Director
Leaster Mhone, Church Administrator
Peter Botha, Administrative Secretary
Darlison Nyirenda, Treasurer



Saturday, May 10, 2008

New Partnership in Malawi



WorldHope Corps, Inc.
Believers without Borders

WorldHope Corps, Inc. (WHC) is a faith-motivated, non-sectarian, not-for-profit, humanitarian relief and development organization in the USA in partnership with United Methodist Church HopeHomes in Malawi.

As "believers” in God’s inclusive love and justice, we seek to cross social, economic, cultural, ethnic, and geographical boundaries to make a difference in the world through mutual ministry and partnership in connecting resources and needs.



Current projects in Malawi include:


Installing 10 village wells in remote areas


Providing nutritional food products to care for 57 AIDS orphans and abandoned children adopted by Mzuzu United Methodist Church


Providing “Hope Scholarships” to 13 students attending vocational school and 9 students attending secondary school


Housing a single mother with AIDS and her two young daughters

To participate in a particular project or mission trip, please contact Dr. Michael Christensen at mchriste@drew.edu

Charitable contributions may be sent to:

WorldHope Corps, Inc.
c/o Dr. Michael J. Christensen
11 Ardsleigh Dr.
Madison, NJ 07940

Next Mission Trip: Malawi in March 2009

For mission updates: http://michael-christensen.blogspot.com


Sunday, May 04, 2008

Jim Wallis Preaches at Marble Collegiate Church

click on image

What fun to see and hear Jim Wallis again today. Rachel and I got to church early to get a good seat. First row left. Marble Collegiate Church in New York, founded in 1628 by the Dutch Reformed. Arthur Caliandro, pastor.

Jim Wallis, founder of Sojourners and author of God’s Politics and The New Great Awakening, was the guest preacher today. His text: Jesus’s mission statement in Luke 4:18-19--

"The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to release the oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."


His sermon title: “The Great Awakening: How Social Movements Change Everything”

He was introduced as a bestselling author, evangelical minister, and frequent guest on Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show and lesser news media such as The New York Times….

His main points:

1. Surveys of young Americans (millennial generation) reveal that Jesus they like but Christians they feel fail to follow his teachings about helping the poor and working for peace and justice. (Nothing new here)

2. America’s great social change movements—abolition, women’s suffrage, child labor reform, civil rights—are sparked by religious inspiration and result in religious revival. When enough people’s personal lives are changed, the entire social order transforms. In retrospect, such a social movement is referred to as a great spiritual awakening. Great Awakenings change everything.

3. America is ripe for a new great awakening, a revival of justice borne of personal experience of a God who can transform human will and motivation, warm human hearts, and empower people to change the world.

He told lots of wonderful stories of faith and hope, offered substantive historical illustrations, and proclaimed a compelling biblical theology of peace and justice to the congregation of several hundred.

My daughter referred to Jim Wallis as a “red letter Christian” who seeks to practice as closely as possible the words of Jesus, especially the Sermon on the Mount. She likes Tony Campolo and Shane Claiborne for the same reason. Wallis’s last line of his sermon was the clincher:

“When Christians start to believe the Good News of Jesus, it’s like becoming a Christian again.”

I’m a big fan of Wallis, as one might guess, and have followed his witness since my college days when I first encountered his radical Christian witness and willingness to go to jail for his faith in the God of peace and his unwillingness to go to war. The community and magazine he founded is known as Sojourners and it has shaped much of my own social vision. I continue to be inspired by the man, and commend his books, journal and website to you in the spirit of shalom.

Sojourners: Christians for Justice and Peace
Daily updates from Jim Wallis and friends ... www.sojo.net