Thursday, December 23, 2010

Annual Mission Trip to Malawi, Africa

 Annual Mission Trip to Malawi, Africa   
 May 21-31, 2011

Sponsored by:  WorldHope Corps, Inc.[1]

Led by: Dr. Michael J. Christensen, Director of the Shalom Initiative[2], Drew University

Hosted by:  CitiHope Malawi[3] and Mzuzu United Methodist Church

DATES:  May 21-31, 2011 (10 days)

Travel Plan: Depart Dulles airport (Washington DC) on Saturday, May 21 to Lilongwe via Addis Ababa (Ethiopia); Arrive in Lilongwe, Malawi, on May 22; Return on Tuesday May 31 (actual flight times not yet confirmed).

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 May Mission Trip team will carry out its mission in and around Mzuzu City in Northern Malawi where WorldHope Corps supports HopeHomes orphan care program, Hope Scholarships for youth, Hope Tailoring School for young women, and Village Well projects in partnership with Mzuzu United Methodist Church and Malawi Shalom Zone Committee. 

Reverse Mission: To raise hope in vulnerable communities through cross-cultural relationships, “reverse mission” and the ministry of presence.  Our service team will focus its activities visiting communities of great need and being present to vulnerable persons who have their own gifts to share.  By focusing our mission of help and hope on relational support and simply 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 the 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:  We will assist in food distribution, volunteer at selected mission sites, meet and encourage students receiving Hope Scholarships, assist participants in economic ventures that support the mission, and visit village well projects with the objective of mutual ministry and service. We will also explore with local experts social justice issues affecting Malawians, including the HIV/AIDS pandemic, extreme poverty, water sanitation and access, and local effects of economic globalization.

Specific Activities will include the some of the following options
  1. Visit and serve daily meals to orphaned, abandoned and vulnerable children at FOMCO (feeding center in Mzuzu)
  2. Serve food and lead recreational and educational activities at HopeHomes feeding program sponsored by Mzuzu United Methodist Church.
  3. Visit with youth recipients of Hope Scholarships and encourage their education, vocational training and professional goals.
  4. Meet and participate in graduation exercises of Hope Tailoring School
  5. Visit CitiHope Malawi projects, meet local staff, and participate in HIV/AIDS training
  6. Visit prisoners in Mzuzu Central Prison, delivering food and hygiene supplies
  7. Witness a WorldHope Corps village well being dug, dedicate and monitor other village wells recently installed as part of our community development program.
  8. Help local community members develop micro-financed small businesses
  9. Participate in training program for a new ‘shalom zone” in Mzuzu
  10. Conduct art workshops and recreational activities for vulnerable children and youth in remote rural area (possibly overnight).
  11. Worship with our Malawian brothers and sisters on Sunday in church
  12. Swim, canoe and enjoy Lake Malawi and/or drive through Game reserve.

Local Ministry Partners:  Mzuzu United Methodist Church, Presbyterian Synod of Livingstonia, Malawi, Mzuzu Shalom Zone Committee, and CitiHope Malawi

Meals and Accommodations:  In Malawi, we will stay together in a Guest House in Mzuzu near Mzuzu United Methodist Church.  Most rooms are double rooms, simple and clean, with shared bathrooms. We will stay in a hotel in Lilongwe the night before our return to the USA.  Group meals, accommodations, and in-country transportation by mini-bus are included in the base price of the trip. 

Cost:   $1,300 for all in-country expenses, local hospitality and international facilitation.   Cost for international travel is approximately $2,000 plus $30 per person departure tax (sometimes) from Lilongwe. Thus, the total budget for this 10 day trip to Africa is approximately $3,300 per person[4], payable to WorldHope Corps, Inc. as a tax-deductible donation supporting volunteer service in Malawi. 

Funding:  Although no scholarships are available from WorldHope Corps, team members are encouraged to request mission funds from their local church or association which can be channeled through WorldHope Corps.  .

Availability:  Limited to 12 mission-minded people who have previously donated to WorldHope Corps, with priority given to official representatives of local churches and organizations that help sponsor projects 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.  Those who cannot go on this particular trip but want to participate through financial support are invited to donate to WorldHope Corps, Inc. www.WorldHopeCorps.org

Deposit Required:  A non-refundable $300 deposit with application is required by February 1, 2011 to reserve a space on the trip.  $3,000 is needed by March 1 to purchase tickets and commit to local arrangements.   

Disclaimers: WorldHope Corps is prepared to facilitate the volunteer Malawi Mission Trip, but has no corporate or leadership liability for medical emergencies or logistical failures.  Mzuzu United Methodist Church is prepared to receive and host visitors and volunteers, but accepts no corporate liability for mission team organization, travel or activities. Individual travel insurance is required of all team members.

Next Step:  Request an application/information form (available via email or from website) which must be completed and returned before February 1, 2011, with the $300 deposit payable to WorldHope Corps and sent directly to 
Dr. Michael Christensen
11 Ardsleigh Dr. 
Madison, NJ 07940.  

The team will remain in touch by email to discuss trip preparations and assess team dynamics before departing for Africa.  For further information, contact Dr. Christensen at mchriste@drew.edu or 973-408-3738.  To support the mission, donate at www.WorldHopeCorps.org  For Malawi Mission updates, see blog: http://umcmzuzu.blogspot.com/    

Prayerfully count the cost and consider joining us.
It will change your life and make a difference in the world!


[1] WorldHope Corps, Inc.  is a 501(c) 3 non-for-profit public benefit corporation, registered in the State of New Jersey and recognized by the IRS for tax-deductable donations to carry out volunteer missions, humanitarian aid, and community development projects among the world’s most vulnerable areas and people.

[2] The Shalom Initiative at Drew University equips and facilitates congregations and communities working together for health, wholeness and well-being in geographically defined areas of need (called ‘shalom zones’).  Communities of Shalom is a grass-root, faith-based, international community development network initiated by the United Methodist Church and coordinated through Drew University.

[4] How total budget is calculated:  Cost of international flight (approx $2,000) plus $100/day x 10 for meals, accommodations, and in-country transportation, plus $300 for local hospitality and international facilitation.  Those who wish to make their own flight arrangements to meet us in Lilongwe owe only $1,300 for in country costs as part of the group.