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Showing posts from July, 2010

Ethiopian Cusine for Joy

Ethiopian Coffee Beans for Peace

Ethiopian coffee may be the best in the world.  As least this is what I thought last week in Addis Ababa during our 5-day stop over in Ethiopia on the way back from our mission in Malawi.   Here's a family photo (minus Rachel who stayed home to work) at a traditional Ethiopian resturant in the capital city.  We were fascinated by an ancient culture and religious dynasty where many streams converge: Jews, Christians and Muslims seem to get along and share daily life and commerce; the Ethiopian (Coptic) Orthodox Church claims to have (and guard) the Lost Ark of the Covenant and a piece of the True Cross of Christ; the Cradle of Civilization (we saw where 'Lucy' and other remains of homo sapiens live in the national museum); the organic and roasted coffee bean product was first produced; and where Rasta Ferians claim to follow the Royal Line of Judah in their loyalty to the line of Rulers of Ethiopia extending back to the marriage of Solomon and the Queen of Sheba.  

The Fa…

Mission Accomplished in Malawi

I just returned from 3 weeks in Malawi and Ethiopia—my 6th trip to Mother Africa since 2005.   

Each year I take a ‘vision team’ with me to witness what the Spirit is doing in another place, usually a place with obvious needs and hidden resources.  Sometimes our mission team makes a contribution through our gifts and graces, and volunteer service; most of the time it’s not about ‘giving back’ but about what Henri Nouwen calls “reverse mission”—having our social consciousness raised by those we seek to help, gaining so much more than we were ever able to give, and experiencing the joys of cross-cultural friendship.  

I tend to be critical of church mission groups that spend too much money on themselves in order to travel to a foreign country to serve the ‘poorest of the poor’, and end up viewing them as they would poor animals in a zoo.   If relational objectives, mutual ministry, and cross-cultural friendships are not the purpose of a mission trip, then it’s just volunteer tourism. 


Kamuli Village Well is in

Today I am in Sioux Falls, South Dakota (enroute to Rosebud Reservation), to give a report to Wesley United Methodist Church about the deep water well they sponsored in the Kamphenda area of Northern Malawi. This year's confirmants--youth joining the church--took on a village well project they called "Well Well Well"  and raised $5,000 in six months to sponsor a WorldHope Corps well.   We were able to match that amount from the Well Fund to pay for a new well in Kamuli village in July...and I am delighted to share photos and a report of how over 1000 villagers now have clean, potable water that will save lives.

"I was thirsty and you gave me a drink..." Jesus said in Matthew 25.   The "Well Well Well"  youth presented me with one of their fund-raising T-shirts with this scripture on the back.  I responded by saying:

"Jesus also said, 'whosoever offers a cup of cold water in my name shall not lose their reward.'  Sometimes we are called to…

Malawi Mission Trip 2010

Ministry Partners:  United Methodist Global AIDS Fund, United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), Medical Missions International, and CitiHope Malawi
Team Leader:Michael J. Christensen, Ph.D.
Michael Christensen teaches practical theology at Drew University where he directs a training institute and community development network known as Communities of Shalom.  Dr. Christensen founded WorldHope Corps in 2007 in partnership with CitiHope International and the United Methodist Global AIDS Fund.  This will be his sixth mission trip to Malawi since 2005.  He plans to post daily travel blogs about the mission trip on his blog site at
Team Members:
Mary Johnson, from Madison, NJ, will be a senior in High School next Fall, and has been actively involved in a number of civic engagement projects, including: Habitat for Humanity, volunteer at the Special Olympics, Princeton Downs Syndrome Awareness campaign, the environmental club at school, and church miss…

Departure day

We’re going to Malawi together!

Travel Plan: We plan to depart Laguardia Airport, NYC, on Monday, July 5, at 6am, first to Dullus, and then on to Lilongwe via Addis Ababa Ethiopia. We will arrive in Lilongwe, Malawi, on July 6 at 12:20pm (with no overnight layover stop). Most plan to return to Laguardia on Friday, July 16, at 1:48PM. Some (including the Christensens) will continue to travel in Africa.

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 July 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 Tailoring School 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-cultur…

"Save the World One Young Woman at a Time"

The Hope Tailoring School (HTS) focused on economic empowerment of young women who live in the community that supports over 100 orphaned and vulnerable children (OVC) through HopeHomes of the Mzuzu United Methodist Church,  is a joint venture of WorldHope Corps and the Mzuzu United Methodist Church, funded by a Sustainability grant from the United Methodist Committee on Relief UMCOR). 
The Hope Tailoring School in Mzuzu, Malawi, saw its first class of 10 young women graduate from the program in May 2010, and a second class begin the same month.  Both classes are well on their way to economic sustainability as the tailoring skills they gained will enable them to be more productive citizens of Malawi and better able to care for OVC in their community.
The second class of students, like the first, is made up of people who have always been on the peripherals of society; they come to this class to gain skills that…