Monday, October 23, 2017

Mission 2017 Accomplished

WorldHope Corps Training Team 2017 fulfilled its intended mission earlier this month in Uganda and Malawi, assisting our ministry partners-- Communities of Shalom Uganda, Sustainable Action Uganda, and WorldHope Corps Malawi --further their projects and initiatives.

This was WorldHope Corp's 10th Annual Mission Trip since 2007!

This year's international training team was experienced, gifted and motivated: Rev. Michele Robbins (pastor of Orinda UMC, in CA), Dr. Doug Smith (retired professor of computer science and current secretary of WHC board), Dr. Caroline Njuki (former associate general secretary and head of the Africa Desk at UMC Global Ministries; and current board member of WHC), Bishop Baamu Moses (District Director/Mayor in Ssese Bugalo, Uganda),  Br. Julius Kasaji (Executive Director of Sustainable Action Uganda), Pastor Dennis Singini (Program Director of WorldHope Corps Malawi) and  Dr. Michael Christensen (Founder/Director of WorldHope Corps, Inc. and team leader).  We worked together with our partners for two weeks, supported by our sponsors, to accomplish the following outcomes:

Accomplishments in Uganda:

Strengthened international friendships and partnerships by sharing in meals, visiting projects, preaching in churches, consulting with boards and cooperatives, sharing social innovation ideas, visiting orphan care centers, and participating in other mission activities.  "Reverse mission" is what this is about. We come here to help but find we are the recipients of great gifts our friends have to offer; that we gain much more than we give.  Thank you Mayor/Pastor Baamu Moses for being our example and leader in our shared work in Uganda.
Conducted Women’s Empowerment conference for 115 female community leaders near Jinja, sponsored by WorldHope Corps and hosted by the Mayor's Office on the topic of "Domestic Abuse and Preventing HIV", especially in mother-to-child transmission. Successful training days like this remind me of why we started WorldHope Corps 10 years ago--to help transform the world one village at a time.  
Visited Women’s Jewelry Coop led by Annett (wife of Baamu) and presented gift of $1000 raised from previous jewelry sales in the USA; celebrated their success in producing fine products for an international market. Help: We need new markets to support women's empowerment. 
  • Conducted Leadership Training for 132 community leaders- local politicians, cultural and religious leaders, and community health workers--sponsored by WHC and hosted by Mayor's Office at District HQ. Focus of the day-long training was on Stigma Reduction under title "Is AIDS God's Punishment?" (You wouldn't do it this way in Dan Diego City Hall, but it worked well here near the Source of the Nile!).  
Planned with Shalom Coffee Coop board "The "Way Forward" after 3 years of draught and disease that destroyed their crops and prevented the international sale of their high quality "Robusta Natural" boutique coffee which they worked so hard to produce.  Assessed their current status and encouraged their progress toward the goal of "shared prosperity and community health for all" (shalom). Thank you Br. Julius for being our consultant. We pray to the "Lord of the Harvest" to help these good and hard-working shalom farmers to grow enough coffee beans to fill up a container next year for international markets at a fair-trade price. 

Assessed and planned with Br. Julius (Director of Sustainable Action) on the progress of the Water Store in Western Uganda, and identified "benchmarks of success" in going forward. Unfortunately, the project is stalled until we can raise another $5,000 to complete the electrical wiring for the water purification system. We continue to pray for a new sponsor.
Processed "incubation" loans and consulted with young entrepreneurs on their good ideas for social innovation, micro loan projects, and small business development. I predict good success! 

Highlight of the week: observing how well small working groups stayed engaged, processed and applied new learnings from the conference to their own leadership role in their communities. 

Accomplishments in Malawi 

Attended Shalom Training Graduation Day in Kachere for 28 new Shalomers, trained and equipped by Pastor Dennis Singini, Commencement speaker Dr. Caroline Njuiki inspired us all, and affirmed the graduates for having met twice weekly for six months of classes, completing 168 hours of training in Asset Based Community Development. Here is the way to transform the world one village at a time:  Invest in community leaders who will "seek the shalom of village where they are sent." (Jeremiah 29:7). Pray for the members of Kachere Community of Shalom as the seek health, wholeness and shared prosperity (shalom) in this otherwise impoverished community.

Met with men at risk for HIV, consulting and training in AIDS prevention, stigma reduction, available medications, and less risky behavior.  Thank you Doug Smith for sharing your story and equipping so many men and women with best practices for harm reduction.

Visited Hope Scholarship House to assess how well the house was generating funds to support the Hope Scholarship Program, currently supporting 9 students.

Visited Hope Tailoring School at Mzuzu UMC, started 8 years ago by the local church and WHC to empower young women economically by providing them a teacher and tools for a profession. It lifted our hearts to meet these young women, see their high quality products, know that our investment in sewing machines and a teacher's salary had produced such great results.  Love my shirt they made for me in three days!  Thank you Copeland Nkhata for your original vision, and for how gracefully you transferred management to new church leaders.

Dedicated new Village Well sponsored by Val and Millie Christensen (my parents) in the remote village of Kakholi near a rural school.  As Rev. Michele Robbins sprinkled consecrated 'holy water' from from living well, the kids gathered around to witness the community event. Elijah Mkwate, village teacher, and Glanson Mruncha, village chief, described how far women and children had to walk to fetch water from the nearest stream, and how over2000 people in the cluster of five village now benefit from this new deep well. I counted 85 children (first through sixth grade) attending school near the well and they were happy to see us. Thanks Mom and Dad for providing good clean water to these kids!

Consulted with new board members of WorldHope Corps Malawi, saw their vision, heard their great ideas, felt their passion, celebrated recent accomplishments, and processed new proposals for program design and organizational development for the common good. The work is in good hands:  Mrs. Marion Phiri (secretary of the board), Burton N. Kayinga (Treasurer), Reuben Kahonge (Legal Advisor), Kelvin Zulu (Program Assistant) and  Matrider Mtemangao (community workers and volunteer). 

Congratulations, Dennis, on the success of WorldHope Corps Malawi with the Anti-malaria mosquito nets distribution and your other community development projects.  We will continue to work together to raise up new friends and needed funds for the needed office space, next village well, and Hope Scholarship program. 

If you've read this far, I know you are a friend of WorldHope Corps.  I ask you simply to continue your support of our common cause.  Beyond your prayers and goodwill, the easiest way to help is to make a donation online at or mail a check to the address below.

Thank you, dear friends!

Michael J. Christensen, Director
WorldHope Corps, Inc.
PO 7688   San Diego, CA 92167