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Showing posts from May, 2007

True Religion is Love-in-Action

This child is just one of a million orphans in Malawi!

For over a year now, I'm been a 'man on a mission' to help save the lives of 1,000 AIDS orphans and widows in Africa, and many of you have helped me. Thank you! As Bono says: “Africa is ablaze. We are called to put out the fire!” Helping a thousand orphans affected by AIDS is a modest goal in relation to a million orphans who need help.

My particular involvement has been with CitiHope International—a non-sectarian, Christian, humanitarian relief and development agency working in Eastern Europe, Central Asia, the Caribbean, and Africa. CitiHope Malawi is an indigenously run relief mission in Mzuzu as an extension of CitiHope International.

Malawi, Africa, is a small, land-locked, Pennsylvania-size country of 13 million bordering Zambia, Tanzania and Mozambique. Malawi is particularly vulnerable to famine and disease, and suffers disproportionately from extreme poverty and AIDS. Currently, AIDS infects 15% of the p…

Rice for Education

This week, CitiHope was offered a huge donation--2,200 metric tons of rice for Malawi orphans and school children by the Government of Taiwan. That's 135 twenty-foot containers that would arrive by ship!

If accepted, the donation will flow through Feed the Children (a Christian NGO) who contacted us to see if could effectively use it. We know where and how to distribute the rice, but we lack the funds to transport it to northern Malawi.

CitiHope has an unfunded but well-documented Plan that targets 88 primary schools and 40 community-based social agencies assisting families, including 7 Orphan Care Centers. Total recipients for all this rice will be 35,000 primary school age children, family members and their teachers over a two-year period.



We could accept the donation if Feed the Children or another charitable organization would pay for the shipping costs from Taiwan to our warehouse in Mzuzu, Malawi(a $400,000 expense!) We submitted a proposal and are awaiting a response.

If a fu…

A Village Well for Mosanto?

A village well in Mosanto in return for a large chicken?

On Monday, March 12, 2007, CitiHope volunteers, Don Wahlig and Dennis McQuerry, were invited by Rev. Levi Nyondo, pastor of St. Andrews Church, to drive out to the small village of Mosanto (pop. 1,000) in the bush outside of Mzuzu City. There St Andrew's Church has a satellite prayer hut, and this village also needs a well.

Upon arrival, Dennis and Don were treated as honored guests (rumored to have international contacts and access to resources). The Village Chief, who was also the headmaster at the school, presented them with large chicken--a customary gift for a special guest.

Don and Dennis sat with the leadership to discuss their need for a Village Well. They asked all the right questions about how a possible village well project would be a mutual undertaking, maintainable and sustainable for the long run. Satisfied with their need and resource assessment, Don and Dennis returned to CitiHope's mission center to make …

Samaritan Wells

Needed: A Village Well for KAMPHENDA

Kamphenda is a small trading center for 200 villages, located near Rumphi and the Game Reserve in northern Malawi. A dilapidated and poorly furnished primary school and a few grocery kiosks are what qualify this place as a business hub. Kamphenda and all its surrounding villages are served by the Mwazisi congregation of the Rumphi Presbytery of the Synod of Livingstonia. The Synod’s Church and Society program has trained a number of volunteers to work in the villages on community development projects, and made an appeal to CitiHope to help dig wells if we could.

Typically, each of the 200 villages surrounding Kamphenda is comprised of 35 to 40 households. There are about 6 people in each household. This translates to about 240 people in a village. Therefore, the total population for Kamphenda area is estimated to be 48,000 people.



After preaching in two churches in Mzuzu on Sunday morning, March 10, 2007, I drove out with Jacob Nkambule, a represe…

American Churches Sponsor PACCT

Increasingly, the church leadership in Malawi are reaching out to people with AIDS, both in their congregations and in the community at large, including prisons and orphan care centers--thanks in part of our Pastoral and Congregational Care Training (PACCT) program.



In the photo above, a prisoner with AIDS is segregated from the other 150 inmates in a local Malawian prison I visited in March 2007.

AIDS orphans and neglected prisoners with AIDS are two of the most vulnerable and needy groups of people with the virus in Malawi. When they are able to access ARV medical treatment, they can live with AIDS as a chronic disease. When they are prevented from receiving treatment, they die, sometimes alone.

‘AIDS as we know it is 25 years old!

When I was a pastor in San Francisco in the early 1980’s, we began hearing about a strange new form of cancer among gay males in San Francisco and New York City. The medical establishment called it “GRID” (Gay-Related Immuno-Deficiency). By 1984, HIV…

The Apocalyptic Dimension of Global AIDS

The Apocalyptic Dimension of Global AIDS

People have been forced to cope with plagues and deadly disease for centuries. In every case, opportunities to respond with fear or courage were present. Apocalyptic and judgmental interpretations of plague and pandemic are prevalent in the history of disease, but within the crisis moments have been opportunities for transcendence, redemption, re-interpretation and counter-apocalyptic measures. Anti- or counter-apocalyptic ministry, rather than solidarity with the apocalyptic mindset of marginalized communities, is sometimes called for. Such is the case with the ‘plague’ of AIDS in Africa.

Plagues and Pestilence in Ancient Times

Before Pharaoh would heed the command of God through Moses to “let me people go!” the Lord had to stir up the waters of the Nile to cause a plague of frogs overtake the whole country. This was followed by other plagues and pestilence: gnats, flies, livestock disease, festering boils on humans and beasts, hailstorms…

A Faith-Based Approach to Ending of AIDS

It's a worthy goal: To end extreme poverty and AIDS in our lifetime.

I'm a practical theologian. I believe that it's more important to practice your beliefs than to believe in right doctrines for their own sake. I think that humility, compassion, and right action in the spirit of Jesus are the distinguishing marks of a true beliver; and that working for social justice and transformation in the world from a faith perspective and motivation is what matters most to God.

I’m Christian activist. I think actions speak louder than words. According to St. Francis, “the only gospel most people will ever read is the gospel written on your life.” The little man from Assisi also said: “Preach the gospel at all times. Use words if you have to.”

I use both words and actions in my teaching at Drew and ministry with CitiHope International.

Drew University is an historic Methodist institution of higher learning with a faith-based seminary committed to progressive Christianity and socia…

American Churches Sponsor PACCT

Increasingly, the church leadership in Malawi are reaching out to people with AIDS, both in their congregations and in the community at large, including prisons and orphan care centers--thanks in part of our Pastoral and Congregational Care Training (PACCT) program.



In the photo above, a prisoner with AIDS is segregated from the other 150 inmates in a local Malawian prison I visited in March 2007.

AIDS orphans and neglected prisoners with AIDS are two of the most vulnerable and needy groups of people with the virus in Malawi. When they are able to access ARV medical treatment, they can live with AIDS as a chronic disease. When they are prevented from receiving treatment, they die, sometimes alone.

‘AIDS as we know it is 25 years old!

When I was a pastor in San Francisco in the early 1980’s, we began hearing about a strange new form of cancer among gay males in San Francisco and New York City. The medical establishment called it “GRID” (Gay-Related Immuno-Deficiency). By 1984, HIV…

True Religion is Love in Action

This child is just one of a million orphans in Malawi!

I'm a man on a mission to help save 1,000 AIDS orphans and widows in Africa, and I need help. As Bono says: “Africa is ablaze. We are called to put out the fire!”

“True religion pleasing to God is this," according to the brother of Jesus: "caring for orphans and widows in their distress, and keeping oneself from being contaminated by the values of the world.” (James 1:27)

My particular involvement over the past 25 years has been with CitiHope International—a non-sectarian, Christian, humanitarian relief and development agency working in Eastern Europe, Central Asia, the Caribbean, and Africa.

Malawi, Africa, is a small, land-locked, Pennsylvania-size country of 13 million bordering Zambia, Tanzania and Mozambique. Malawi is particularly vulnerable to famine and disease, and suffers disproportionately from extreme poverty and AIDS. Currently, AIDS infects 15% of the population and accounts for over 85,000 deaths …

DaySpring Medical Aid Partnership

In partnership with DaySpring International, CitiHope procured requested medicines and medical supplies from pharmaceutical donors, and placed them directly in the hands of doctors, nurses, clinicians and pharmacists in northern Malawi.



Working with the government Ministry of Health, the Livingstonia Synod’s hospital at Ekwendene, Taiwan Medical Mission at Mzuzu General Hospital, and other medical program co-sponsors, CitiHope was able to select, procure, ship, safeguard, deliver and monitor [over $2 million] of essential medicines and medical supplies for the improved health of approximately [12,000] targeted beneficiaries at 17 pre-qualified hospitals and clinics, including 3 district Hospitals and 10 out-patient clinics in the rural north.



In sharing the program cost and value of this major medical assistance program, Dayspring International (as well as World Children's Fund and Hopegivers International) have provided $1,000,000 worth of medicine for 12,000 patients in Malawi.


Hopegivers HopeHome Partnership

Hopegivers International in one of three Major Ministry Partners of CitiHope International. In addition to sponsoring food and medical relief in Malawi valued at 2 million dollars a year, Hopegivers initiated a HopeHome program this year in conjunction with CitiHope.

HopeHomes are an informal foster care provision of extended family homes in villages and towns headed by guardians (grandmothers, neighbors, family members) who take in 6-12 orphans into their homes and provide them with the “seven hopes” of every child: for nutrition, health, shelter, safety, education, family and protection.

In January 2006, Dr. Samuel Thomas, President of Hopegivers International(a major ministry Partner of CitiHope International since 2005, committed to opening the first of many community-based Hope Homes for orphans and abandoned children in Malawi.

Hope Home #1 Rev. and Mrs. Maurice Munthali, Presbyterian Church

In September 2006, the first Hope Home in Malawi was funded by Hopegivers International…

World Children's Fund Food Aid Partnership

The Emergency Food Relief Program is part of CitiHope’s Cooperative Agreement with a USAID Food for Peace Program that provides food commodities for CitiHope staff and volunteers to manage, distribute, monitor, and document. The program budget is additionally funded through co-sponsors such as World Children’s Fund and Hopegivers International.

According to our staff monitors in the field, we have have exceeded the number of vulnerable women and children served in famine-affected regions of Malawi!



USAID Food for Peace provided CitiHope with 75 metric tons of food commodities, which translates into 6,249 cartons of Breedlove food product, enough to serve to serve approximately 4,000,000 lunch-sized servings of protein-fortified vegetable soup mix. An estimated 22,000 needy orphans, patients, and primary school children received at least one healthy meal a day) over the six-month period.



The high-protein vegetable soup mix, valued at $200,000, was delivered to 17 hospitals, 7 scho…

Why Malawi for me?

Why am I involved in mission in Malawi?

Among my many reasons and motives, one particular moment stands out:

1. I met a pastor from Malawi in December 2004 who inspired me to join him in his campaign to save the lives of AIDS orphans and train other pastors to deal with the issues of HIV/AIDS in the churches.

The Reverend Maurice Munthali, Deputy General Secretary, Church of Central Africa, Presbyterian Synod of Livingstonia, was invited and sponsored by CitiHope International to come to America and tell the story of what was happening in the churches of Malawi related to AIDS. I hosted him at Drew for a lecture for World AIDS Day, and introduced him to some folks at Central Presbyterian Church.

Over dinner at my home in Madison, my family and I got to know Maurice and his wife, Thandi, and heard their story of how their family of five grew to 15. After losing three of his own brothers and their wives to the AIDS pandemic, Maurice and Thandie, with three of their own children, adopte…

Y-Malawi

Why Malawi? Here’s why:

• It’s one of the poorest countries in the world in need of food, medicine, education and economic development. Approximately 60% of Malawi’s population lives below the UN measured ‘extreme poverty’ line: less than one dollar a day!

• It’s the heart of sub-Saharan Africa where there is on-going famine and food security crises.

• The HIV/AIDS pandemic is raging and ravishing families and communities. At least 15% of the population in Malawi is infected. Many medical practitioners estimate the infection rate at 33%.

• Malaria, TB and other health-related challenges are equal to that of AIDS.

• Half of Malawi’s school-age children do not currently attend school, and the adult literacy rate is over 60%.

Although chronic disease and extreme poverty have taken their toll on this former British colony, the warm-hearted people of Malawi are amazingly resilient and receptive, inspiring others in how well they care for orphans and widows in their distress. In this Lake…