Sunday, January 25, 2009

Our Malawian Mother Passed Away

This past week while I was in Colorado Springs, Debbie received a phone call from Malawi. Theresa Malila, the Founder and Director of Somebody Cares (a Visionledd partner ministry) called to let us know that Harriet, our Malawian mother, had passed away.

I clearly remember the day I first met Harriet. We were coming back from a village we had visited and stopped on the side of the dirt road. Suddenly a short, stocky woman came running across the field towards us. She was excited to see Theresa Malila, and as we got out of the van she looked at me and said "you are my first-born son". For some reason God gave us a connection, and from that day forward, she was my Malawian mother. Debbie met her a few months later, and became her daughter-in-law.

The day Harriet died
she was working in her garden. She began to feel ill, was taken to her small home, and died there later that day. We were really sad when we heard the news, because even though we had only known Harriet for about two years, she had a special place in our heart.

Harriet was a "go-go", a grandmother who took care of 16 children. She was 70+ years old (having lived almost twice as long as the average Malawian) when she passed away. Harriet took care of her grandchildren in a small group of one room houses near a community called Mvunguti. Like the great majority of Malawians, Harriet lived on less than US$1 a day. She worked hard in her garden to grow maize and other vegetables. She raised a few chickens for food. Harriet's home had no electricity, and the nearest well was more than 1/2 mile from her home.

Harriet loved God. She believed in His faithfulness and goodness. She worshiped Him when
life was hard and when she experienced His blessing. Debbie and I last saw Harriet last October. We spent about an hour with her and it was a wonderful time. As we left, Harriet gave us a chicken to say thank you for visiting her again. We told her we would visit again the next time we were in Malawi. But now, we'll see Harriet again in heaven.

We are telling you about Harriet because her life tells the story of literally millions of "go-go's" throughout Sub-Saharan Africa. Everywhere we go we find grandmothers and widows struggling to take care of five, ten, fifteen or more children who have been orphaned by AIDS. All go-go's like Harriet need is a bit of help -- help learning a skill so they can become involved in an income-generating activity like making soap, raising chickens or pigs, or sewing school uniforms. Help with some fertilizer and seed for their gardens. Or help with some clothes or shoes for them and the children they are taking care of.

Debbie and I are committed to helping go-go's like Harriet. If you would like to join us, send us an email. We can help you make a big difference in the lives of go-go's and orphans.

Thank you so much for your prayer and support.

Karl and Debbie

Sunday, January 11, 2009

2009 Is Starting Out With A Bang


We hope you had a wonderful Christmas season. Our Christmas this year was a bit different. Our son Donovan's future in-laws from Korea started their visit with us on December 22. In the two weeks they were with us, we celebrated Christmas and logged more than 2,000 miles around Arizona and Southern California. I think we were all tired at the end of our time together. The picture to the left is the group of us at the Grand Canyon on December 27.

Despite the fact that Mr. and Mrs. Cho couldn't speak English, and we can't speak Korean, we managed to build the beginnings of a good relationship. As we dropped
the Cho's off at Los Angeles International Airport on January 3, we knew that despite our cultural and language differences we had begun the process of becoming a family. That process will deepen as Donovan and Hyesun get married in Korea in June! We are excited about what God has done! I think the picture on the left gives you an indication that Donovan and Hyesun are a happy couple!

On The Ministry Front

The first few weeks of our launch into our new ministry has been very encouraging. God has blessed in so many ways -- words of encouragement, divine appointments and financial blessing. We have been amazed by how God has brought old and new friends to us who have have already given over $30,000 to provide wells in Malawi, support the work of Home-Based care volunteers in Malawian communities and provide for the ministry needs of Visionledd and Somebody Cares in Malawi and here in the USA.

We are so very grateful for God's blessing and encouragement. But, we've only just begun!

Coming Up!

The next few weeks are busy and we need your prayer. Here are some of the things you can pray for:
  • January 13-16 Karl is in Toronto for strategic prayer and planning meetings with the leadership of Visionledd.
  • January 19-22 Karl is in Colorado Springs to meet with potential ministry partners as well as attend meetings in his role as the Chairman of the Board of Youth With A Mission's International Communications Network.
  • February 8-12 We are driving to Baylor University in Waco, Texas to participate in workshops and meetings dealing with church and ministry partnerships between North Americans and Africans and how that together we can do an increasingly effective job of caring for the more than 25 million orphans and vulnerable children in Africa.
  • Church Relationships. In the next few weeks we will be in contact with churches in California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Colorado, Maryland and North Carolina about becoming part of a movement to walk alongside African churches doing HIV/AIDS ministry. Pray for wisdom and favor.
  • Finances. Pray that God will continue to provide the financial resources for the work of Somebody Cares and Visionledd in Africa and in North America.
Thank you so very much for standing with us. We appreciate your prayer, encouragement and support. Feel free to send an email to Karl if you want more information about how to walk with us on this excellent adventure.