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Ukraine Orphan Rescue

The world is in uproar since I last wrote to you. The conflict in Ukraine is dominating our lives, easily eclipsing the ongoing Covid crisis. While we watch in horror, “Putin’s war” as it’s called, continues to decimate cities and human lives. Every day brings new destruction. Indeed by the time this letter reaches you there will be, no doubt, much more sorrow than I can refer to as I write.

At this point over 3 million refugees have fled, mostly women and children, including many orphans. As a ministry that has focused on African and Indian orphans and widows for 22 years there is no way that we can ignore this painful new horizon of orphan care.

As you know WOW is committed to working through the agency of local church pastors and volunteers in the care of these desperately vulnerable and precious souls. We also hold as a core value that our “champions” be relationally known to and trusted by us. Love and accountability must be in the partnering equation. So it’s vital that if we’re to work in Ukraine and Poland there must be a pastoral/relational base.

Thankfully that base exists. A pastor whom I’ve known and trusted for over 40 years has been overseeing a network of Ukrainian and Polish churches for several years from Slovakia. He’s a proven champion, especially now as those very churches have become refugee centers, opening their buildings for desperate women and children. These local church “safe havens” have also become rescuers of orphans. Just a few days ago (as I write) 60 orphans were bused through the night to safety in Poland. As you can expect they need funding to continue for hundreds of orphans yet to come. This, of course, is a no-brainer for us.

So I’m appealing to you to help us help these helpless souls fleeing the pounding destruction of Russian bombs. We’ve already sent our first tranche of funds but there’s so much more that we must provide to these heroic churches. This will not be at the expense of our Africa/India work but will be above and beyond. We may be only small players but we must do our part in the rescue of Ukrainian orphans.

We’ll continue to be your arm extended to a world of hurt.



Fatherlessness – The Pivot Point of Poverty


We’ve read the reports and have seen the videos of countless migrants desperately trying to reach Europe from Africa on leaky inflatables. Some make it but many perish.The look of fear and panic on the faces of those pulled from the Mediterranean is soul crushing.

Many of these migrants are young men, some of them orphans. At the root of their distress is systemic fatherlessness. They grew up without a dad to nurture and defend them. Their abandoned and/or widowed mothers did their best but were overwhelmed by poverty.

I call Fatherlessness the Pivot Point of Poverty.

Psalm 68:5 says, “A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling”. He loves “the least of these”. And so He calls his Church to become his hands and feet in their care.

WOW has responded to that call. We’re only one player in a large cast of Christian NGO’s but we’re unique in our partnership with African and Indian church-based ministries. I call them our “Champions”.


21 years ago, when WOW was still an infant ministry, we began partnering with Theresa Malila in Malawi as she walked the dusty paths from village to village armed with a Bible and a bottle of anointing
oil. The Gospel of Jesus and his healing touch were all she had to offer.Today her ministry,“Somebody Cares” is reaching into 30,000 humble mud huts with Home Based Care that has become a nationally recognized standard. Food security, medical attention, blankets and clothing are administered by over 1,000 volunteers with gentleness, compassion, and constant prayer. Those who are dying are prioritized, and when they die they die in the Lord.


CHRESO began with The Reutters, two of the most productive missionaries I have ever known. (One needs to Google “CHRESO” to get an overview.) WOW plays a critical role in their expansive rural mobile medical clinics for orphans and widows, and also by providing crucial medications at their Lusaka clinic with its client base of over 50,000 people living with HIV & AIDS. The Reutters are nationally known, respected and loved.


ICO (Impact Community Outreach) in Kabwe cares for 5,000 orphans and widows with a large volunteer base. It
is unique in its food production at “Rob’s Farm” a remarkable agricultural enterprise founded in memory of our daughter’s husband who died doing missionary work in Zambia 10 years ago. Pastor Eric is spiritual father and defender to so many more than those in his vital church congregation.

CROSS CONNECT COMMUNITY OUTREACH, a young ministry recently begun in a vast slum area of Krugersdorp South Africa, was established by Kyle and Nicole Tolman.WOW is a found- ing funder of their work. In just 3 years they are caring for over 3,000 households headed by impoverished widows.The prevalence of sexual violence against these vulnerable young women and their little girls is so great that CCCO recently opened a house of refuge called “House Nehemiah” that can provide safety for up to 40. WOW, with the support of a compassionate and generous church in Canada, has covered the cost of defending these vulnerable young women.

MIZPAH Ministries in Chennai India is our newest champion. Working with local church pastors Vincent and Premnath Samuel, WOW is now engaged in caring for orphans and widows in that massive city’s biggest slum. Declared a COVID hotspot, Chennai is in great need.Their newly-elected city and state government recently reached out to MIZPAH for help in providing their frontline workers with COVID prevention kits.This engage- ment by government with a Christian ministry was/is unprecedented. WOW dug deep and came through with the added cost.

I want you to know that WOW
is addressing the Pivot Point of Poverty.


Together with You, our faithful friends, we truly are “fathers to the fatherless and defenders of widows”. Size is not the issue. Faithfulness is.

As the year draws to a close we can look back on God’s faithfulness in our lives and in the lives of “the least of these”. As you consider your year-end giving I want to thank you for your support in the past and in the days ahead.

I can’t thank you enough!

Founder & President
Working for Orphans & WIdows


The Cost of Survival


As I sat down to write this letter to you my WhatsApp pinged with a message from Pastor Kyle Tolman,
our partner champion in South Africa. Read it and weep…


The United Nations designates orphaned children raising children as “Child Headed Households”(CHH). We care for scores of these children in South Africa, Zambia, Malawi, and India. They are “at risk” in every conceivable way. They break your heart. Truly they need “a Father to the fatherless and defender of widows” (Ps. 68:5). And the Lord calls his children to take up this challenge in his name.

WOW has been faithfully doing so for 21 years. Literally tens of thousands of orphans and widows have been cared for in our Home Based Care programs administered and championed by our vast network of pastor/champions and their local church volunteers. It’s a great story of God’s love shining through his servants to those lost in desperate need.

The Covid-19 pandemic has added more than an edge of urgency to this ministry, not only in terms of added sickness and death, but also in terms of the cost of providing basic commodities (cornmeal, cooking oil, sugar, blankets, medications, etc). The rise in prices for these basics is in the range of 300%. Needless to say this puts our partners under enormous financial stress.

“Cost of Living” is now “Cost of Survival”.


This is not a gimmick. This is brutal reality for our thousands of orphans and widows, especially for those humble mud hut households where children are raising themselves. Their “cost of survival” is now 300% higher than it was before Covid-19 began ravaging our world.

We are more than able to reach into our abundant resources and reach out to a world of suffering. WOW is one of many ministries doing a great job. But we are in relationship with you. You trust us and we trust you. This is strength. Strength to meet the challenge of the “cost of survival” for our vulnerable little brothers and sisters in need.


June 2021 Update

I answered a WhatsApp call in the early hours of the morning. It was Prem, our church partner in Chennai, India. He confirmed my worst fears: “The pandemic is ravaging the city. The infection rates are soaring and people are dying. But, a wonderful thing has happened, Pastor! The state government has reached out to us as a trusted Charity and have urged us to provide “COVID Kits” and “Medical Kits” for those under our care. Can you help us?” What could I say? “Of course we will help!”

We’re all too aware that the COVID-19 pandemic is proving relentless. Here in the West, with the rollout of vaccines, there is incremental traction against it but in most of the developing world the crisis is growing exponentially. WOW’s fields of ministry are right in the middle of it, especially India.


We’re a small but trusted and effective player on the world scene with a footprint that includes South Africa, Zambia, Malawi, and South India. Our focus, as you know, is providing and equipping local church-based volunteers in an effective Home Based Care ministry. The “clients” are at-risk orphans and widows, all vulnerable to what is now a double pandemic of HIV&AIDS and COVID-19.


We have for several years been providing medications (non-prescriptive – painkillers, ointments, cough syrups and cold and flu relief) sourced through our terrific partnership with Health Partners International.

Once a year we do a 7 – 1 match, one dollar providing seven dollars worth of meds

What your gift funds, of course, is symptomatic relief (we cannot provide vaccines or anti-retroviral drugs), but it makes a huge difference for the afflicted!

We are again sending a shipment to our partners in Africa. Indian law makes it near impossible to ship meds, so we’re sending funds for our church partner in Chennai to purchase locally sourced supply.

I know you are motivated to give when your gift is multiplied Seven Times!

All this is done in the name of Jesus. It’s humbling and gratifying to hear “the least of these” not only rejoice but thank God for WOW’s medical intervention.

I thank you for your prayerful and generous involvement in this vital work.


Jim Cantelon – Founder/President
WOW – “Working for Orphans & Widows”






Pandemic Relief – Update from Malawi

As I write we’re into Year Two of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic. We all feel the impact. And we’re ready for it to end. We’re tired. 


But, ironically, we’re also renewed in the sense that we’ve been forced to re-examine our lives, our values, our relationships, and our spirits. We’ve been “orphaned” from loved ones and from church community. We’ve been forced to go it alone.

And yet…

many of us have been surprised by the nearness of God in our isolation. It’s like we’re back to square one in our walk with Him and it feels good. Faith has been purged of much of the religious trappings that had attached themselves to the simplicity of the Gospel and we’re back to James’ clarion words:

“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” (James 1:27)

Your partnership with us has enabled WOW to continue to grow in these troubled times.

As you know we work in South Africa, Zambia, Malawi, and Southern India. Our focus is Home Based Care, through local church volunteers, for at risk orphans and widows in their thousands. Amazing work in the name of Jesus is being done.

I’d like to highlight our partnership in Malawi.

Here’s a bullet point summary of just some of our ministry there in the past few months:

And this is just Malawi! WOW’s ministry in our other countries is thriving as well. God truly is “a Father to the fatherless and Defender of widows” (Psalm 68:5).

Because our champion ministries buy supplies locally we are faced with the COVID reality of doubled costs. We’re doing our best to adapt. So we’ve decided to provide our beleaguered partners with a COVID supplement. To do this we’ll need our support base (that would be you!) to add a little extra to your funding this quarter.

What a joy and privilege it is to link arms with you in loving these dear ones!

Thank you for your sensitivity to the heart of God.

Many blessings,

Jim Cantelon – Founder/President
WOW – “Working for Orphans & Widows”




2020 Update from Somebody Cares Ministries

2020 Update from Somebody Cares Ministries

by Rita | Mar 4, 2021

Here’s an update from one of our partners, Somebody Cares Ministry, on the wonderful work that they’ve done in Malawi.

In 2020 SCM was able to provide 450 blankets and 100 bed mats to 350 Home Based patients. They were also able to provide medication for community run ‘pharmacies’ reaching an average number 1,700 people each month.There was also a monthly restock of off-the-counter medication to volunteer medical kits for Home Based Care volunteers reaching out to over 4,000 patients. The life giving supplement, selenium was also distributed to 11,000 beneficiaries!
1,100 Critical patient support packs were distributed benefiting 3,670 Home Based Care patients and their dependents. Patient transport comprised of 200 trips monthly for 12 months to 2,014 Home Based Care patients and their primary caregivers.1,900 blankets were distributed to the elderly (originally, we intended to distribute 2 per home but the need was bigger and so reverted to giving one per home).

2,400 Volunteers Appreciation packs were distributed to help support volunteers working with critical patients and orphaned children. The packs benefitted 1,480 community volunteers and their dependents (some volunteers receive monthly while others occasionally) reaching over 7,400 beneficiaries.

They were also able to distribute monthly child headed homes support packs that include maize and food supplies to 20 child headed homes supporting 74 children. Construction on the House of Mercy was completed and monthly support was given to orphaned rescued families that include maize, food and toiletries, school fees and supplies, including support to house mothers.

Fortified porridge was provided 5 days a week to 1500 vulnerable children (this number grew to 2,800 in the month of May to August due to COVID19 effects including closures of schools).

The Berean Biblical training provided to 70 pastors and church leaders responsible for over 13,736 people affecting the church’s response to injustice as well as providing sound biblical teaching in villages. Support was also given to counsellors working with over 100 child survivors of sexual assault. Crisis packs, that are given to immediately support victims of sexual abuse, were also provided to the counsellors.As well Gender Based Awareness campaigns conducted in villages sensitizing communities on various gender-based violence, working with chiefs and community leaders reaching over 1,500 people.

600 masks were made and distributed to volunteers that continued to work within community during COVID19.Covid-19 response with distribution of 500 water buckets and 31,000 bars of soap reaching 19 marketplaces and 31,000 households to help curb the spread of COVID19.

All of this possible because of your generous donations. Thank you!

Update and Prayer request from SCM in Malawi

Update and Prayer request from SCM in Malawi

by Rita | Mar 15, 2020

During the Covid 19 pandemic our partners (Somebody Cares Ministries) in Malawi are doing their best to keep their volunteers and those they serve safe.

Key volunteer leaders are explaining the importance of hand washing. Tablets of soap given to all of them to take back their communities to use and instruct others.
Key volunteer leaders are explaining the importance of hand washing. Tablets of soap given to all of them to take back their communities to use and instruct others.

Chief Theresa shared with Focal Area Heads and Community Heads on the current Covid-19 pandemic, how it is effecting the world, and the importance of proper CDC guidelines being used. Also encouraging them to rely on our Father for strength and wisdom.

This week our partners in Malawi assisted 200 widows and grannies who are sick and/or live along with maize during the hunger gap and soap to use for Covid-19 prevention. “Soap is a luxury I can’t afford. I often go to bed hungry as I can’t afford maize. Praise God for sending both to me today!”

Prayer Requests

We are thankful that you keep us in prayer as we do for all of you. We are going through trying times as is everyone all over the world. It is by the Grace of God that the ministry was able to distribute Selenium in March to help build the immune systems of those in our communities. Soap was also distributed to community leaders, HBC volunteers and widows & grannies as they were informed of the importance of hand washing and social distancing in these trying times.

Please pray for the nation

1. In the past week the first 8 cases have been indentified with one death
2. Our health system is unrealistic even with some CDC recommended measures in place.
3. 85% of the population including those in peri-urban slums cannot afford soap or other basic needs and live hand to mouth daily
4. With loss of jobs in certain sectors many people will go hungry as the majority of livelihoods is on a day to day basis.
5. Pray for our Government for transparency and accountability and taking responsibility for citizens and keeping citizens abreast of current situation

Please pray for the Ministry

Divine protection, wisdom and support:
1. In ways of getting information and resources to the needy, marginalised and vulnerable
2. Our volunteers in Home Based Care to remain healthy
3. Transportation  and movement of volunteers, supplies and resources using best practices in light of the current situation
4. Support to our team and way forward for vital ministry programs
5. Protection of our team as we determine the way forward now
5. How best to reach out and remain safe
6. Strengthen our resolve to depend on God even more

And anything else the Holy Spirit brings to mind.
Thank you for your prayers. God bless!

Stories from ICO in Zambia

Stories from ICO in Zambia

by Rita | April 1, 2020

My name is Richard Sokotela and I am 56 years old. I am a former Zambia air Force civilian employee and now retired due to health challenges. I was diagnosed with HIV last year in 2019 after a series of sickness. From that time my life has never been the same, due to sickness I stayed home most of the time and could not manage going to work and so I had to resign, I was often bed ridden and I would only depend on my wife who has been on my side through these difficult times.

Since last year I have failed to provide for my family. My children have dropped out of school, I can’t afford to help them with their basic needs. My concern is that they will soon fall prey to teenage pregnancies or marriages, which are so prevalent in our community.

I thank God for the team who have helped me with a monthly food package, that way they lessen the burden of putting food on my table. May the Lord continue to bless you and provide for you as you provide for us. I also want to say thank you to the supplement Selenium that has greatly improved my appetite and my well being. I can now I can sit up and I’m seeing great improvement.

Please Pray:

  1. For God to give me total recovery so that I can get back to my feet and help my family.
  2. For the Lord to provide schooling opportunities to my Daughters so that they would be different from the girls in this community.
  3. For the Lord to protect me and my family from this new Virus that is going round. (COVID-19)
My name is Ntandiwe and I’m 15 years of age. I live in Zambia with my Aunt. I was born HIV positive, I was diagnosed at birth in 2005. My chances of survival were incredibly slim. I lived in hospitals the first several years of my life. I have been on HIV treatment ever since.

Before I came to Kabwe, I stayed in Nakonde with another Aunt of mine. Life was very difficult for me because most of the time I was sick. My Aunt was not giving me my medication because she was ignorant about the virus and the importance of ARVs.

My growing up has been surrounded by a constant negative lesson on HIV, and trying to understand what HIV is and it’s been so hard. I lost both my parents when I was eight and due to the pain of losing my loved ones I resented the doctors, HIV/AIDS and even God.

One day, some people whom I call my angels visited me with good news. They encouraged me from the word of God and spoke positively about HIV/AIDS and the importance of taking my medication on time. These people brought hope in my life and I’m now positive that one day my dream of becoming a nurse will be fulfilled. Thank you to the volunteers for their encouragement. Once I recover and have the strength, am going back to school!

Please Pray:

  1. That I could go back to school
  2. For God to heal me

Update from Rob’s Farm

Update from Rob’s Farm

by Rita | Mar 27, 2020


We continue to enjoy His divine protection from COVID-19 pandemic and we give Him all the glory.

  1. It is now four years ago since we dedicated Rob’s farm to the Lord in memory of Rob Hall; a Canadian missionary who died at Trans-africa Theological University in Kitwe. We have given a facelift to the memorial placard and the thatched hut on the hill.
  2. We have been slashing and cleaning up the surrounding and the exercise continues.
  3. Weeding, spraying and application of fertilizer continues in the vegetable gardens. This week we sold green pepper, eggplants, okra, lemons and green beans
  4. The turkey chicks are doing fine and we are grateful to God. We love you and stay blessed.