Thursday, July 30, 2009

Debbie's Malawian Adventures

Visiting the sick and dying in Mgona. Interviewing literally hundreds of Home-Based Care volunteers and HIV/AIDS Support Group participants. Speaking at a Women's Conference. Networking and building relationships with other ministries. Living without electricity. Short-term missions team leader. Cross-cultural advisor, pastor, counselor, friend. Experiencing African worship in villages and churches.

These are all words and sentences that describe what Debbie has been doing and experiencing in Malawi since July 6.

Short-Term Mission Team

Debbie arriv
ed in Malawi on July 8, and a few days later a small team of women joined her for almost two weeks of ministry. The team ministered to the sick and dying in Mgona -- a large slum area in Lilongwe where 25,000 of the 50,000 residents are orphans or vulnerable children. Somebody Cares has an extensive ministry here that includes Home-Based Care, HIV/AIDS Support Groups, a feeding program for orphans and vulnerable children and some early childhood education. The team also spent a significant amount of time interviewing and praying for Home-Based Care volunteers (the people on the frontlines of the frontlines in the battle against HIV/AIDS) and members of HIV/AIDS support groups in several of the communities that Somebody Cares works in. They literally spent time with hundreds of dedicated volunteers who work alongside Somebody Cares. One of the highlights of the first couple of weeks was the first Women's Conference sponsored by Somebody Cares.

Women's Conference

On July 15 Somebody C
ares hosted their first-ever conference for women in the peri-urban and rural communities that they work in. About 300 women came to the one-day event which focused on relationship with God, marriage, the role of women in the home and community and on issues related to HIV/AIDS. Debbie was one of the speakers, along with Linda Rinzel from City of Grace Church in Mesa, AZ, and Theresa Malila of Somebody Cares. At the end of the day more than 50 women came for prayer and ministry.

The event was so successful, that this coming week another conference will be held in another community to enable more women to come. Debbie will be speaking at the event as well.

The Story of Roseta

Many of your were touched by the story of Roseta that we included in our last post. Shortly after I posted the story, Roseta passed away. You can read about Roseta's passing here. Many of you have asked about Roseta's five children now that their mother has died.

At this point
in time, Roseta's sister is caring for the children with the help of Somebody Cares. Keeping the children with family is the best option for them as they grieve the loss of their mother and begin to move forward.

Debbie was
able to see Roseta's children. Here is a picture of her holding Sherif, who is only two months old. Please continue to pray not only for Roseta's children, but the millions of other children in Sub-Saharan Africa who have lost one or both of their parents to HIV/AIDS and now face an even more difficult future. The numbers of such children are staggering -- about 1.8 million in Malawi, and over 12 million in Africa. Those of you who support a Home-Based Care worker through Visionledd are part of the solution to this challenge -- since it is your funds that are helping to provide hope to children like Roseta's. If you would like to learn more about how you can support the work of Home-Based Care click here.

Continue to pray for Debbie, that God would give her the spiritual, emotional and physical strength that she needs. Also pray that she would continue to be led by the Holy Spirit and have those Divine Appointments with the staff and volunteers of Somebody Cares, the people in the villages and others who she meets during her time there. She is in Malawi until August 6. I'm looking forward to having her home in time to celebrate our 28th wedding anniversary on August 8.

Thank you so much for your prayer and support.

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