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 arrived 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.
On July 15 Somebody Cares 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.
Monday, July 6, 2009
Jim Cantelon, the founder of Visionledd has called for "every church to be a Mother Teresa". Visionledd, who Debbie and I are working with, believes in a world where local churches are the hands and feet of Jesus in their communities, ministering to orphans, widows and those infected and affected by HIV/AIDS.
Earlier this week, Theresa Malila, the founder of Somebody Cares, our primary ministry partner in Malawi sent me this story, and asked me to pass it on to others. The story is sad, yet filled with hope. Please read it, and then pray for Roseta, her children and the millions of others who Roseta and her family represent. Roseta's story is repeated everyday in tens of thousands of villages and communities in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Pray also for African churches to be the hands and feet of Jesus in their communities -- and for North American churches willing to walk alongside their African brothers and sisters in the battle against HIV/AIDS and for transformed communities.
Please click HERE to read Roseta's story.
Debbie Leaves for Malawi
Debbie leaves for Malawi tomorrow (July 7) for 4 weeks. For two of those weeks she will be joined by a small team of women who will be going to Mgona (where Roseta lives) and other peri-urban and rural communities around the capital city of Lilongwe. Debbie and her team will be spending time encouraging the staff and volunteers of Somebody Cares and ministering to women and children. Pray for their safety, health and effectiveness in ministry.
Karl Stays At Home!
While Debbie is in Malawi Karl will continue to work with churches across the US, encouraging them to walk alongside Africans on the frontlines of ministry. He will also be working on a 30 Days Global AIDS Prayer Guide which we trust will become an important tool in mobilizing individuals, small groups, churches and business to pray for and get involved in HIV/AIDS ministry. Our desire is to have it published in time for World AIDS Day on December 1. Karl will also spend a week up in Edmonton, Canada to visit my parents and some friends.
Thank you for your prayer and support. If you would like to know how to support the ministry of Home-Based Care workers in Africa, or want to support us in our work, email Karl.
Grace and Peace
Karl and Debbie Mueller