Monday, July 18, 2011

the blessing to give

I was working on the report for Somebody Cares for this quarter when I stopped at the story of four little girls that has truly changed my life. No, they are not from Malawi. These girls come from Arizona. They are Adoniah(9), Eliana(7), Samara(6) and Tzuiyah(4). These little girls gave their savings for Disneyland and through their generosity we were able to buy shoes for 224 children who had never worn shoes before. I wish I had been there when the shoes were given but I was stuck behind a computer. But I heard the stories; Charmaine said kids peed in her hands, scared because of the shoes. Some cried and some laughed while others tried walking in shoes. I have so many shoes that it is hard to imagine never having worn shoes or even having one pair of shoes. But I heard the stories and I saw the pictures! And they lifted my heart to a place I cannot explain. 
More than the day and more that the pictures what truly changed me though is the story... the story of these little girls. They touched me. I cannot believe what they did right until today. It is still hard to comprehend. It is not hard to imagine but to reconcile, well, that is another affair altogether. Thin about this- saving money for a car, saving thousands and thousands and then one day giving it all people you have never and may never meet. This is what they did. They just responded to a call to help and made a decision. It was all their savings, these little girls and they gave it all. Could you do that? I can honestly say, I probably wouldn’t be able to. 
There is a lot of support that comes to aid our communities and the story of these little sisters has made me so much more appreciative of that support. I know theirs is not the only inspiring story but it is the one that never leaves me. Every friend I have has heard this story because it talks about the childlike heart Jesus wanted and still wants us to have. The one that says, “Yes, we can give all we have because God will take care of us.” That takes trust in God, a trust that growing up ruins, what with its bills and fears and plans. I ask myself, “when was the last time you gave with such reckless abandonment?” I can’t remember...too long. What a blessing it has been to hear and experienced Jesus through these precious little souls. 
I pray that they never lose that in them...that life and people do not rob them of that precious heart of obedience to God and I pray more earnestly that I am changed and that you are touched. 

Monday, February 14, 2011


May God bless you with discomfort at easy answers, half truths,
and superficial relationships, so that you may live deep within your heart.
May God bless you with anger at injustice, oppression,
and exploitation of people, so that you may work for justice, freedom and peace.
May God bless you with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation, and war,
so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and to turn their pain in to joy.
And may God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in this world, so that you can do what others claim cannot be done.
To bring justice and kindness to all our children and the poor. Amen."

— Craig Groeschel (It: How Churches and Leaders Can Get It and Keep It)

Thursday 10th February, 2011. A ten tonne truck makes its way into area 47 destined for SC. it was meant to be here a few weeks earlier but the fuel crisis in the country has affected a few things. There are 10,544 packets of fortified porridge on it, beans for alternate feeding and bicycles for teachers and patients. It is a very VERY different scene from the earlier days.

Moses and Theresa reminisce as everyone sits and listens. It is a few hours after the staff has toiled and taken every last packet off of the truck into storage, preparing for the following day’s distribution. Arms and legs are weary but hearts are full and expectant. Theresa has a glow... joy that comes from knowing that it was not all a crazy plan, that God had spoken and slowly and surely the vision is coming to pass. She and Moses laugh. They recall the early days when an ox-cart would come down the road and deliver cabbages for the ministry and the neighbours would laugh, “they say it is a ministry they are doing.” But cabbages were the only affordable way to reach out to the hurting, with love and something for the hungry bellies. People everywhere were dying, infected and affected and they did what they could to help.

There were days of walking 7 kilometres to town to meet to talk to NGOs, to try and get anyone to listen and care for the lives that were being wasted away in Tambala, Matanda, Mgona and other communities. As we listen, they bring up a Mr Mkandawire (God bless his soul), who would let them visit his home and make phone calls because they had access to none. And there was that other lady that would allow them to send emails for free so they could let friends and partners know what was happening. It has been a long road but the journey continues. From two people walking and working together to the unit that is the family of SC, to the extended family that is across the oceans; yes, it has been a long road but the journey does continue. That long road, of lives lost and trust gained, the death of lives and yet the birth of hope. It has been a long road of partnership, linking the communities with friends and partners who CARE.

And having seen the truck pull up, it took everyone a moment to regain composure of what God has done because the truck represents lives ... over 6,000 children are being fed, touched with kindness and care. If nothing else let us say that...over 6,000 children don’t have to worry about a meal at such a young age. In a small way we can say together, that we have helped give back to them their childhood, for poverty does not only rob stomachs but dreams and without a dream everything stands still.

Thank you all for the partnership that is established and rooted in love. Thank you for all the years of support where as Moses’ arms were held up, we too have been held up by your love and support. Together we have victory over the one who comes to steal, kill and destroy dreams and through dreams...lives.

And thank you to our Master, Father, Friend and Lover who cares. The plight of the hurting touches His heart and His heart touches ours...then we touch theirs.

Monday, January 31, 2011

raising the bar - a renewed passion

2010 was a year filled with awe. We had a slogan...”WOZA 2010”. Woza, it is a south African term loosely meaning “come forward” or “advance”. And we did see GOD advance and the ministry advance and more than anything, the lives of the people we love in community advance; not advance in our direction but in that of their dreams. More children were fed, more lives saved and more care given to those who would otherwise be a statistic. We ended the year filled with purpose for the next. There was work to be done and we were the labourers. 

2011...the start of this year has already told us what to expect. “Raise the bar – a renewed passion...God is doing a new thing, can you not perceive it?” these are Theresa’s words. God has truly blessed us, confirming to us yet again that HE is the SOMEBODY that CARES. With 10 new feeding centres that have opened up, it means we now have 25 feeding centres, giving a nutritious meal to over 5,000 children! It is a new year and God is doing a new thing!

The energy around the office is one of excitement. There is so much that is “new”. We have new staff this year. Nicole Bunderson has joined us and lends her expertise as a photographer and writer to reporting and helping to keep all our partners and friends up to speed because there is much to be done and we are in this together. Yes...Moses, Edward, Singano, Fatimata, Katherine, Charmaine, Phiri, Steve, Theresa (and the other Theresa), Chipi, Nicole, Mary and me....Together , WE are DOING that new thing that God is doing...we - as in you over the oceans and we in the warm heart of Africa.

With a ‘new thing’ comes progress...change. For one thing, the style of partnership in community has grown. We now have core groups made up of leading members of different ministry components of SC. Support Group, Widows, Youth, Chiefs all make up a part of the group that will speak for their community. This way, they can have ‘more’ of a say in what takes place in their communities. It is EMPOWERING. It means OWNERSHIP. It means RESPONSIBILITY. These are not words easily learnt and it has taken years for communities to begin to take the wheel and steering their way forward. 

This year you will find many voices coming through on this blog. Through it I hope you hear of all that is happening, experience the wonderful works that God prepared beforehand that we should walk in. I pray you join us on this journey.