Thursday, December 31, 2009

Year End Appeal


Friends of Mzuzu:


This is a simple, straight-forward, no-fluff, and no apologies appeal for funds to help save the lives of 100 orphaned and vulnerable children in Mzuzu, Malawi, in 2010. 


We are suggesting an individual donation of $100 or an organizational contribution of $500 or more at this time. Your response within the next few days, as well as what you may have already given to date in 2009, will determine what we budget for this new year. 


Please read the posts below for descriptions and updates on WorldHope Corps three core programs in Malawi:


HOPE HOMES for 60 children


HOPE SCHOLARSHIPS for 20 youth


HOPE TAILORING Training for 12 women

Plus our Community Development Projects:   20 Village Wells in rural northern Malawi 




You can view a new video clip on WorldHope Corps at this link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MI6TvVGf_xM


Charitable donations can be made online at our website:

Or a check can be sent directly 
WorldHope Corps, Inc.


11 Ardsleigh Drive
Madison, NJ 07940
info@worldhopecorps.com


Thank you for caring and supporting our work,

Michael J. Christensen, Founder
WorldHope Corps, Inc.


Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Hope Homes Report 2009
















Mike Bond of Basking Ridge, NJ. showing Hope Home children in Mzuzu their imags during WorldHope Corps Mission Trip to Malawi in May 2009.

Hope Home Report

We are now caring for over 100 OVC even though only 60 children are registered in the program.  Food provisions were spread over the months since you had graciously warned me to prepare for a hard dry patch.  We, however, made efforts to raise an addtional $158 to suppliment your efforts among us, and we still were able to have three church picnics.


The goal of Hope Hope Program is to help Orphan and Vulnerable Children and Youth survive and realize at least 5 hopes of every child for:

nutrition
health
safety
security
education






Hope Home Children receive new clothes made by women 
enrolled in Hope Tailoring School which started this year.


Hope Scholarship Report:

All our children and youth year for aid toward school fees, though it will not be easy for us to provide for everyone at once.  We hope to continue supporting 19 students next year, as we did this year.


The Hope Scholarship Program is a noble gateway to
  • Higher learning
  • Good employment
  • Leadership development
  • Encountering God and walking in His company


Hope Tailoring School:

The 9 women in the program have made very attractive progress.  The skirts they are holding in the photo is the third round of skirt making.  Their skills are increasingly getting better at every hairpin turn.  They have grasped the opportunity with soncsuming enthusiasm ready to make the best of it.  Next on the list is making blouses and shirts so that evenutally they are able to sew complete outfits.

Hope Tailoring Program is a good tool to
  • Relieve their broken hopes of illiterate women
  • revitalize and empower the lives of young women
  • Energize them to generate some income 
  • Empower them for productive social and spiritual life
  • Support the Hope Home food program


The challenges of the Hope Tailoring School are as follows:

1. Need for industrial quality sewing machines.  We are forced to make due with 3 inadequate machines for ann incresing number of students.   The type of sewing machines we need are particularly good and unique. They are both manual and electric Singer machines available only in Blantyre--Malawi's commercial and industrial city where we have a major sewing industry in the South.   They are not available here in the North.  They are so durable and best suited to our vision to train hundreds of women including those in rural areas. They are the kind of machines that can be used with or without electricity.  They are so durable that there is very little danger of regular repairs as long as they are properly checked on a regular business. Hence the high cost.  Approximately US $500 each.

2.  Suitable fabric for skirts and blouses is very costly and hard for the school to supply.  We need about US $750 for the next few months.   However, we managed to raise US $285 from the local church to pay for buttons, zippers, pins, stiffeners, elastic, oil, needles and binding. 

3.  Instructor's allowances is very exepensive.  We pray that you may assist us in finding US $1.000 to pay for the instruction between now and May.

Our Annual Budget (and Need) for  Hope Scholorships and Tailoring School for 2010  is as follows:

School Fees for 19 students:    $9,400
Tailoring School for 9 women    6,750
Transport                                     500
Local admin costs                         300

TOTAL:                         US $16,950





Three New Village Wells Completed in 2009



Three New Village Wells Completed in 2009

Summary: Three new village wells were installed in 2009 for a total of ten deep water wells in Malawi since 2007.  These were funded and facilitated by WorldHope Corps in collaboration with Central Church of Africa, Presbyterian, United Methodist Church Mzuzu Circuit, and CitiHope International. Two additional wells have been sponsored for installation in Spring 2010. The next WorldHope Corps assessment trip is scheduled for July 2010 to monitor all sponsored wells and implement a maintenance program for sustainability.  Village wells now in operation and in need of maintenance are listed as follows:

1.      Zowe (3 hours outside of Mzuzu) is a remote preaching point of the Mzuzu United Methodist
Church Circuit, requested by Pastor Copeland Nkhata, senior pastor. Number of users: 1,000.  Project sponsored and funded by Mike Rose, Barry Emen and Chris Grant in July, 2007.  Additionally, one broken down well near Zowe was repaired and restored to full operation.

2.  Mosanto (1 hour outside Mzuzu) is a preaching point of St Andrews Presbyterian Church of Mzuzu, requested by Rev. Levi Nyondo, senior pastor. Number of users:  1,000   Project funded and implemented directly by mission team from Westside Presbyterian Church in Washington State in August, 2007. In Geisha Village, a few miles from Monsanto and near a school, a second well--a ‘merry-go-round’ model--was sponsored by the Westside mission team in September 2007.  Upon inspection by WorldHope Corps in March 2009, it was not in operation due to a breakdown and absence of spare parts.   WorldHope Corps paid for its repair in May 2009 and it is now back in operation. Number of users:  500  

3. Kamphenda I  (Sinjiliheni borehole) After doing the necessary need assessment and documentation, the Church and Society program of the Presbyterian Synod of Livingstonia requested help to provide at least two deep water wells for the neediest of 200 villages in the rural area of Kamphenda.    Number of users:  5,000 (only well in large cluster of villages). Installed in March 2008.  Sponsored by Bob and Diane Noelke of Chatham, NJ,

4. Kamphenda II (Chisungula borehole)  A second village well in Kampenda catchment was installed in March 2008. Number of users:  3,000 (only well in large cluster of villages). Sponsored by Bob and Diane Noelke of Chatham, NJ

5.  Kamphenda III  A third village well in Kampenda was selected and contracted for installation in June 2008.  The borehole was installed in June 2008.   Number of users: 1500.  Sponsored by Mike and Bonnie Rose of Summit, New Jersey.

6.  Kanyama Village  where there had only been a shallow well with unsafe and periodic water. The deep water borehole was installed during the summer of 2008.  Number of users: 1000. Sponsored by Mike and Bonnie Rose of Summit, New Jersey.

7. Euthin is another remote preaching point in the growing Methodist circuit served by Rev. Copeland Nkhata that is so disparately in need of a village well.  Installed in September 2009. Number of users: 2,000.  Sponsored by Mike Bond, Basking Ridge, NJ.

8. Kaviyombo is a Methodist preaching point in the Mzima District of northern Malaw, approximately 3 hours south of Mzuzu.  Requested by Rev. Copeland Nkatha, Senior Pastor. Installed in September 2009. Number of users: 1000.  Sponsored by Avv. Salvatore Talia, Medical Mission International, Rotkreuz, Switzerland.


















 9. Kamthuleni  is a small village with a primary school near Chataloma, Kasungu District, in Malawi.  Rev. L.A. Tembo, a retired Presbyterian pastor, is the Village Headman who requested a deep water well near the school.  Installed in September 2009.  Number of users: 700.  Sponsored by John Conroy, Sr., Medical Missions International, Kent, United Kingdom.


Background:  In March 2007, I met 20 village chiefs without a source of fresh water in their villages in the Kamphenda area of northern Malawi.  I promised to do what I could to find sponsors and facilitate the installation of 20 wells.  A total of seven village wells were funded and sponsored in 2007-08.  Three additional wells were installed in 2009.  If 10 more wells are sponsored in 2010, I will have fulfilled my commitment to 20 village chiefs who do not have fresh water in their villages in Malawi.  If interested in how to sponsor the next village well, please contact:

Michael J. Christensen, CEO
WorldHope Corps, Inc.
11 Ardsleigh Drive
Madison, NJ 07940
info@worldhopecorps.com



Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Well Worth the Wait


 Photo of Well at Zowe village by Robert Schwaneberg


 Here's what one newspaper reporter had to say about WorldHope Corps village well project in Malawi:

http://www.healthreformwatch.com/2009/06/12/new-jersey-based-group-digs-wells-to-fight-disease-and-malnutrition-in-malawi/



 Photo of Well at Kanyama village by Robert Schwaneberg

Monday, December 07, 2009

Orphanages Help but the Answer


A few of the 60+ HopeHome Program recipients of food aid and educational scholarships sponored by WorldHopeCorps.    Program operated by Mzuzu United Methodist Church and Mzuzu ShalomZone.


As African Orphanages Spread,
Advocates Propose a Better Way the front page of yesterday’s the New York Times, the headline read. The article made a comparison between institutional orphanages, like the one where Madonna adopted a boy, and the extended family approach to orphan care, like the Mzuzu HopeHome orphan care project in Malawi. Researchers reviewing hundreds of studies concluded that “orphanages are not the best solution but are needed when families could not or would not care for children.”  Strongly endorsed were community centers that provide cash and food aid to the poorest families caring for orphaned and vulnerable children who are not their own.  See the online version of the article here:

 INTERNATIONAL / AFRICA   | December 06, 2009
Aid for Relatives Offers Alternative to African Orphanages
By CELIA W. DUGGER


Madonna now sponsors the operational budget of the orphanage in Malawi where she adopted her first child.  From all reports, it is doing good work.   WorldHope Corps HopeHome program in Malawi is not an orphanage.   It is a community-based initiative of the Mzuzu Methodist Church, funded in part by the United Methodist Global AIDS Fund, to care for at least 60 orphaned and vulnerable children (OVC) through an extended family network of informal foster care.  At least 60 out of the 100 OVC in the immediate neighborhood in need of basic care.

Often these children, many orphaned from AIDS, have a surviving parent or siblings or a nearby relative that could take them in and provide basic care if they had a subsidy to buy more food, shoes, and  school fees.  Since 2006, the church has purchased food in bulk and distributed to needy families who are caring for up to a dozen orphans in their households.  But every year, the cost is greater, and additional grants and sponsors are needed to sustain the work,

According to the New York Times article, it costs at least $1500/year for an orphanage to provide nutritious meals, new school uniforms, decent shoes, and an education to one orphan.  “Experts and child advocates maintain that orphanages are expensive and often harm children’s development by separating them from their (extended) families.”  A more cost effective way is with simple allocations of cash through a reliable community center “where orphans who remain with their families can go for food and services.”  This approach enables a family to feed, clothe and educate the additional children in their care.

WorldHope Corps budgets $600/year per child for the basics (food, shelter, shoes, clothes and a blanket) for 60 OVC plus an additional $400/year for secondary school fees when individual sponsors can be found.  This year (2009) we were able to find sponsors for 19 youth—a solid investment in the lives of those who represent the future prosperity of Malawi.

Thus, for $1000/year (less than $100/month) an orphaned or vulnerable child can survive and thrive and get the education he or she needs in order to succeed through the extended family approach to orphan care.  And now, with an increasing number of sponsors and a new economic venture, the work has the potential of becoming sustainable over the long run. 

Watch the YouTube video on this important ministry:   

Next year we hope to care for all 100 OVC who show up at the monthly church ‘picnic’ or feeding program.

Next year (2010), through a $20,000 sustainability grant from United Methodist Committee on Relief, we are committed to starting 3-4 small business intended to generate revenue to help support the Hope Home program.  The first of these economic ventures is a women’s sewing center to making quality dresses, shirts and school uniforms in the city of Mzuzu.  Hope Tailoring School and Center currently has 12 female students in training who will graduate in May.  Proceeds from the sale of items will be donated to the orphan care program they support.

We are still in need of small grants and sponsors for HopeHomes, Hope Scholarships and the new Hope Tailoring School.  In behalf of Rev. Copeland (pastor of Mzuzu UMC and member of the Mzuzu ShalomZone Committee that operates the programs), I urge you during this season of sharing to contribute to the good work.

You can either send check made payable to
WorldHope Corps
11 Ardsleigh Drive
Madison, NJ 07940

Or donate online at  www.worldhopecorps.com
For further information, contact:
Dr. Michael J. Christensen
WorldHope Corps, Inc.
info@worldhopecorps.com

Monday, November 30, 2009

Stuck in Paris


Roissy en France is a pretty and prosperous traditional French village 13 miles from the center of Paris and 3 miles or so from Charles de Gaulle Airport.  What are we doing here tonight at Hotel  Campanile  in Roissy?


We got up early this morning to catch our flight from Madrid to Newark via Paris.  You can imagine how sad it was for Rebecca, Rachel and I to leave Megan by herself in the hotel room in Madrid to find her way back to her host family home in Tres Cantos today, but we did, grateful for the four days we got to spend together in the city. (Thank goodness for global phones these days to stay in touch).


After boarding the plane, the the flight was delayed, and we missed our connection in Paris by 10 minutes.   AirFrance put us up overnight at a nearby hotel with meal vouchers for dinner and tomorrow's breakfast.  So here we are at an airport hotel discussing whether to take a metro into the city to dine on the Left Bank, or stay in our relatively warm rooms.  We decided to enjoy a surprisingly delicious French meal in the Hotel  Restaurant and walk into the small village of Roissy.



Though cold and dark, we enjoyed our walk through the village. Almost everything was closed, but we noted that Roissy has an old church and cemetary, town square, mini casino, lovely park with lots of rabbits running around, 13 resturants, an essential French Bakery, and even a cultural center with fabulous outdoor aireo photographs capturing French scenic beauty.











If international travel requires occasional overnight delays, its not that bad to be stuck near Paris.


Saturday, November 28, 2009

Experiencing Madrid

Two days in the city that never sleeps.   Here are some some sights we visited from 10am to late in the night on Friday and Saturday:  Royal Palace, tour of old city, downtown Madrid at midnight, Hotel on Puerto del Sol, visiting Tres Cantos, outside of Madrid, where Megan is living for the year.


















From our hotel balony





Friday, November 27, 2009

Puerto del Sol, Madrid

We are now staying at the Europa Hotel at Puerto del Sol, downtown Madrid.  The view from our balacony is splendid, and we love it here.  Toured the immediate neighborhood and enjoyed he market.  Planning to see a the Flamenco Show tonight at Torres Bermejas, and a walking tour of the old city tomorrow morning  with a knowledegable guide. Here are some photos (not all my own) but will post more later:









Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Tres Cantos Thanksgivng


After 5 days in Holland, we are spending Thanksgiving weekend in Tres Canto, Spain—about 20 minutes outside of Madrid.  Our daughter, Megan, is here for 10 months on a High School Rotary Exchange Program, and we are glad to see her after four months away from home.   Rachel was able to join us from San Diego, and we had a wonderful dinner with Megan´s host family tonight.   Tomorrow we will have Thanksgiving with other American Rotary students in Spain, and are indeed thankful for our good life.  We wish everyone a fabulous Day of Gratitude for all God´s blessings...



Megan´s host parents: Pelar and Migel



Thanksgiving in Tres Cantos



Tres Cantos Water Tower




Sierras at Tres Cantos



The view from Tres Cantos

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Alkmaar--Cheese Capital of Holland

Traveled by train friom Rotterdam to Alkmaar to have lunch with Jim and Nancy Forest



What fun it was to visit our friend Jim Forrest in Alkmaar--an wonderfully old city known for making cheese, about an hour from Amsterdam.  Both Jim and  his wife are  American journalists who have lived in the Netherlands for over 25 years.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Living Your Mission

Rebecca and I (along with our daughter Rachel from San Diego who was able to join us for Thankgiving break from college) are in Holland for five days.  Invited and hosted by Laurent Nouwwen (Henri´s brother) to give the address at the Henri Nouwen Stichting (Foundation) annual event in Utrecht, we are enjoying our time in old Europe. About  250 people attended the event which included a reception, vesper service and classical concert pieces on piano and trumphet. We were asked to speak about our personal mission in the world, and how to live it from the heart, as Henri Nouwen inspired us to do. What follows are my notes for the evening, which may be helpful to others who are tying to discern their mission in this season of life.


Notes for Annual Henri Nouwen Stichting Talk, Utrecht  21 November 2009
By  Michael  J. Christensen

Vocation: that unique mission in the world each believer is called to live and fulfill.

But what is my personal mission?  And how do I live it in the world?   Is my calling once and for all, specific to time and place, or does my vocation change with the seasons of life, and with different geographies of where I find myself in the world? [1]

I.                  What I learned from Henri (my teacher at Yale): I am sent.

Henri Nouwen was my teacher at Yale during a time when I was trying to discern my vocation in life, especially what next to do in ministry.  So I took a course from him each semester as was there.  More than the subjects he taught, the way he prayed and sought to discern the will of God impressed me, and I learned from his spiritual life.  He believed strongly, and so do I, that each of us are sent into the world to fulfill our mission.  This is what Henri Nouwen writes in one of the last books he wrote:

“We seldom realize fully that we are sent to fulfill God-given tasks.  We act as if we have to choose how, where, and with whom to live.  We act as if we were simply dropped down in creation and have to decide how to entertain ourselves until we die.  But we were sent into the world by God, just as Jesus was.  Once we start living our lives with that conviction, we will soon know what we were sent to do.” (Nouwen, Bread for the Journey, April 23)

A.   I am sent into the world , just as Jesus was sent, as God’s beloved child; 
·        that God has a plan and purpose for my life;
·        that I have been gifted and equipped to fulfill my mission;
·        and that I will have general and specific tasks to accomplish, people to meet and work with, things to do together….

B.    Out of the conviction that I am called and sent, my mission assignment will be revealed in God’s good time and way. In the meantime, I will make myself ready, open, and available to do God’s work.

·        Spirituality is the practice and process of discerning God’s will, knowing God’s time (kairos), being available, and preparing for and doing  the work God has for me to do in this present moment and season of life.

·        Ministry is not something we have to make happen or try to do.  Mission simply happens when we are faithful in prayer, meditation, friendship, family life, intentionally living the spiritual life.

·        Mission is the fruit of finding your gifts and making them available to others; To quote Elizabeth O’Conner:  ministry is “…dipping into our own life and offering what we find there.”  (Letters to Scattered Pilgrims)

C.   I will be supported by companions in the community of faith to fulfill my mission.  

·        We are sent out two by two, or in mission groups (Luke 9 – 10)
[We are not sent out alone.  Nor with adequate provisions.  Jesus said don’t take your staff, cloak, or bag of money, but make yourself dependent on the hospitality of those you seek to help.  So that there can be mutuality in ministry.]

·        Mutuality in Mission:   we don’t minister to the poor but with the poor, and among God’s poor.

·        Reverse Mission:    I gain much more than I give.  I go to serve but find that I am served…

Image of communion with God and ministry with others:   “Ministry is the overflow of your love for God and others.  Ministry is when two people, whose cups are filled with God’s love, toast each other in community, and their glasses of wine spill over.   Ministry is the extra, the splash over… (Spiritual Direction, p.131)

All these things I learned from my teacher, Henri Nouwen.  But what I will say next what I discovered on my own over 27 years of ordained ministry.

II.  What I learned from life:   “You did not choose me, but I chose you…” 

What I learned about living my mission over the past 27 years of full-time Christian ministry (as pastor, teacher) is that I don’t choose my missions, they choose me.    Children of Chernobyl, People with AIDS in Malawi, Shalom work in the world—these are mission projects that somehow captivated my attention and chose to engage me in action.  As Henri says, “a calling is something that you have to do, that you cannot not do.”   I have to teach and train others, I have to do what I can to save the life of 1000 AIDS orphans, I have to respond with compassion to the person or group of people God puts in my path.

A.   Children of Chernobyl in Belarus and Ukraine (1990):

After the Berlin wall came down, the door opened for ministry in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union.   I was invited by CitiHope International to go to Minsk and assess the needs of children with cancer, a generation at risk for radiation-induced cancers—a group that became known as the ‘Children of Chernobyl.’   When my friend, Rev. Paul Moore, and I met Dr. Olga Alenikova, and her patients at the pediatric hematological center, I found it hard to believe that she lacked the medicine needed to save lives.   She showed us her patients—all children with cancers—who were dying without medicines.  Her cupboards were bare.  They needed the miracle oncological drug— Methotrexate— available in the West, but not in the USSR.  Dr. Olga said she was an atheist because she could not believe in a God who would allow her children to die when there was a way to save them.  Paul Moore, my more evangelical friend, asked her:  “Olga, how many vials of methotrexate would it take for you to believe in a God of miracles?”  “What do you mean,” she asked. “Well, would it take 100 vials,  200 vials?  How many to believe that God really cares about your children?”    She then shouted out:  “One thousand vials.”    That was all Paul Moore needed to challenge our constituency to sponsor medicine for the children of Chernobyl, and by Thanksgiving time, 1990, CitiHope delivered not 1000 but 2000 vials of methotrexate to Dr. Olga in her hospital.  And do you know what she said?   “It’s a miracle!”    She came to believe in a God of miracles who could assign someone the mission task of connecting resources with needs.  

That’s how God works in the world.  {BTW, methotrexate was the same drug our family needed 7 years later to save our own daughters life that had leukemia.  Amazing connection between the miracle drug needed to save the lives of children of Chernobyl and our own daughter Megan.  But that’s another story.)  [Note:  The story of this mission is told in my book, Children of Chernobyl.   Which led to WV mental health promotion project in Belarus and USAID mental health project in Ukraine, 17 mission trips, etc]

B.    Malawi MissionHope Home Orphan Care

In 2005, another invitation from CitiHope International was issued to do an assessment of need of AIDS orphans in Malawi. I took Rachel with me, who was then 15 years old.  Together we visited several orphan care projects, including FOMCO.  There we met over 200 kids who had been affected by AIDS and needed basic nutrition, safety, education, a home.    I was inspired by the model of foster care in Malawi in the wake of the AIDS pandemic.   Extended families were organized to include a number of orphans in need.  Guardians were either grandmothers or aunts or neighbors or often older siblings.   They had love in abundance.  They needed hope.   We helped raise hope by offering food aid and support for these extended family units, often with 15 kids.  While Rachel volunteered at the center, I helped organize a system and put practical provisions in place to feed and care for AIDS orphans in Malawi. Practical vision is one of my gifts, and I felt God called me to use it to help save the lives of 1000 AIDS orphans.  

WorldHope Corps, an organization I started, is now caring for 100 orphaned and vulnerable children in our Hope Home program.  And we provided “Hope Scholarships” to send 19 youth to secondary school or college.  Since that first mission trip, I have taken groups on 5 other mission trips, and will return to Malawi again in January to dig our 10th village well, and start an economic venture to help sustain the work.  Again, I did not choose this mission project, it chose me, and keeps me engaged.

C.   Communities of Shalom

After 10 years of teaching theology and directing the Doctor of Ministry program at Drew University, God called again with a new mission assignment.  My Dean suggested that a good way to utilize my gifts and mission experience at Drew would be to develop a training institute for students called to do community work and ministry.   The National Shalom Resource Center at Drew, which I direct, equips ministry teams in over 100 sites in the USA and Africa to do what is called Asset Based Community Development. (ABCD).   It’s a particular approach to ministry that focuses on the strengths of a community rather than its deficiencies, assesses its resources rather than needs, and mobilizes its assets to build community from the inside out, so that it doesn’t have to depend on external resources.    I find it deeply fulfilling and am able to integrate my various academic interests and mission callings under the banner of Shalom.   The movement’s theme verse of scripture has become my own personal leit motif:   “Seek the shalom of the community where I have sent you, says the Lord. for in it’s shalom you will find your shalom.”  (Jeremiah 29:7)

Conclusion: Where will we find Messiah?

If it’s true that we do not choose our mission, but our mission chooses us, then how do we prepare for our assignment?  What do we do with our life?  Where do we go to be found and called upon when needed?

I like the old rabbinic tale called “Where to find Messiah?”    A younger Rabbi asked the older Rabbi, where will we find Messiah when he comes?  The older Rabbi said, “We will find Messiah when he comes outside the gates of the city changing the bandages of the lepers.”   Quote parable from Spiritual Direction, p. l28.  

We make ourselves available to God and wait to be called, by tending to our own wounds as well as the wounds of others…outside the gates of the city where the poor are found.




For information on the Henri Nouwen Foundation in the  Netherands, contact:
http://www.nouwen.org/nl/lezing.php3 






Lauren Nouwen

[1] What is my mission in life?  How do I discover my purpose and calling?  What are my gifts and graces for ministry?  What is the relation of my talents and skills, my strengths and experience, my motives and abilities, to God’s mission for me?  What part does choice, chance and circumstances play in discerning my vocation?  How is God’s will for me made known?  These are questions of spiritual discernment—listening to the voice of God in our hearts in deciding what best to do…given my personal and family constraints, current circumstances and present opportunities.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Downtown Utrecht before Event


Henri Nouwen Foundation Annual Event


















Uterecht flower market outside church where Nouwen Event Takes Place.



Rebecca remembers Henri in the church before she lectures on "Living Your Mission"



Laurent Nouwen and son Raphael prepare arrangement of Sun Flowers for Annual Event (One of Henri's favorite paintings was Van Gogh's "Sun Flowers")


Friday, November 20, 2009

Old Europe

Rotterdam:  Here for a week in Holland, then Spain to spend Thanksgiving with our daughter Megan,  Rebecca and I along with our oldest daughter, Rachel, are being hosted by Laurent Nouwen (Henri´s brother) at his house in Rotterdam.


Laurent, who looks a lot like Henri, is a marvelous host.  He loves classical music, modern art, good wine, old cheese, a roaring fire, and honest conversation.  I find in him a compelling man of practical wisdom, with keen insight and stimulating ideas.  We certainly have gained a friend this week. Laurent, at 65, is energetic and passionate about his mission in Ukraine which his brother suggested before he died in 1996.   He retired from his 30 year law practice to run the Henri Nouwen Foundation which supports a number of projects in Ukraine and South Africa.   It also hosts an annual lecture event to which we have been invited to speak on Saturday night in Utrecht.

We also plan to visit  the church where Henri Nouwen was ordained and where his memorial service was held on Sunday.  On Monday we´ll have lunch with our journalist friend, Jim Forrest and his wife Nancy in Alkmaar.  On Tuesday we plan to see The Hague, and then fly to Spain on Wednesday for Thanksgiving weekend with our youngest daughter, Megan, who is in Madrid for 10 months as a High School Rotary exchange student.

I´ll try to post some photos and commentary along the way for family and friends.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

19 students Receive Hope Scholarships in Malawi

















With monthly support from individual sponsors, a total of 19 students (orphaned or vulnerable children and youth) received Hope Scholarships from WorldHope Corps this year, to stay in secondary school or go on to college to continue their education. 
   
Youth like Noel Daire Kumwenda, Lusayo Mhango and Johnathan Jere...
  
It cost approximately $400  per year to send a kid to secondary school (High School), or $1200/year to send a youth to college through our Hope Scholarship program, now in its third year of educational sponsorship.   

If you are interested in sponsoring a youth in 2010, please contact Dr. Michael Christensen at info@worldhopecorps.com

For additional information on WorldHope Corps, please visit our website:   www.worldhopecorps.com


What follows is Pastor Copeland's Report for November: 
 


Your Email reached us all and aroused excessive exciting and joy of immeasurable magnitude for the mind-goading good news of new funding from United Methodist AIDS Fund for 2010. Over the past few months we took time to pray and commit these projects into God’s hands.  And we consider this as God’s active response. It’s a miracle to us as He sees your good commitment to uplift the needy.  Here is our report on Hope Scholarships for November 2009.


REPORT FOR NOVEMBER 2009

HOPE SCHOLARSHIP
The Hope Scholarship is a noble gate to:
§  Higher learning
§  Good employment
§  Preparing young people for leadership
§  Encountering God and walking in His company


We are pleased to report that Noel Daire Kumwenda has emerged “Student of the Year” having scored 3 distinctions and 1 pass at certificate level of Business Management. There is more hope that more and more of our students will come out with excellent scores to qualify them for university admission in various fields of study.

LIST OF COLLEGE STUDENTS
1.       Noel Daire Kumwenda
2.       Lusayo Mhango
3.       Eunice Kachipanda
4.       Mababazo Jere
5.       Jessie Mwale
6.       Vitumbiko Lungu
7.       Ribia Phiri
8.       Elton Pwele
9.       Chimwemwe Kalua
10.   Mabuchi Mwafulirwa
11.   Alice Mkandawire
12.   Mc Donald  Kumwenda
13.   Jonathan Jere
14.   Karin  Vernon

LIST OF SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS
1.       Esau Chunda
2.       Austin Makala
3.       Malumbo Kalondola
4.       Jeremiah Kambele
5.       Kondwani  Nyoni



All these students yearn for aid towards school though it may not be easy to provide for everybody at once.

Rev Copeland Nkhata
Francis Mzumara
Leaster Mhone
Peter Botha