Tag: wow mission

Wrap up a Bicycle

 

Recently, I asked our champion partner Theresa Malila of “Somebody Cares” Malawi (SCM) about the importance of bicycles in our ministry to critically ill orphans and widows. This is her answer:

The volunteers most times travel the long distances to bring much needed supplies and meds to the critically ill patients on the bikes. The priority is to be able to get to the patients quickly and provide immediate care and support. The bicycle is key!

If the patient needs urgent care, the bike becomes the ambulance. Usually, they have someone sit behind the patient to hold them. Two are able to sit behind sometimes. Others even tie the patient to their backs — like we do to carry babies — and ride at a slow pace. If they find the patient is unable to sit on the bike, they then pay for the oxcart to transport them as they cycle ahead to the hospital with the caregiver.

The volunteer can go to clinics to get the patient’s meds and,if possible, transport the clinician back to the patient. “Our doctor” at St. Gabriel’s, Dr. Elizabeth, is usually collected on a bike by a volunteer and taken “side-saddle” on the rear carrier to visit critical patients.

Last Christmas, we gave you the opportunity to Wrap Up a Bicycle as a gift to our dedicated and vital Home Based Care (HBC) volunteers. Your response was “over-the-top” and the relief it brought the volunteers was/is palpable. When Kathy and I were in Africa in September, we witnessed bicycles in action and were humbled by the gratitude expressed for them. They are a prized possession! We were reminded that a bike not only can carry a patient to the hospital (or a doctor to the patient) but it also can reduce a volunteer’s travel time by two thirds – in some cases cutting a round trip from nine hours to three.Our champion partner Eric Mwambelo of “Impact Community Outreach” (ICO) in Kabwe, Zambia said this about the bicycles WOW provided this year:

Bicycles are a blessing in several ways: A bicycle reduces the time volunteers spend walking to visit just one client. They can now visit more patients in a single day, increasing outreach and impact!

A bicycle also serves as a means to carry clients to medical centres, giving rapid access to healthcare for the patient and, in turn, for the entire community.

WOW has grown significantly this year. Our partners have requested EIGHTY (!) bicycles for 2024 in order to meet the greater HBC transportation needs. What’s more, they’ve asked if we can provide bicycles that are tougher and stronger and longer lasting. (These ‘heavy duty’ bikes, of course, are at higher cost.)

So you can see why we’re asking you to Wrap Up a Bicycle again this Christmas. What an amazing gift!

With your generous support, WE CAN DO IT.

Everything we do we do in the Name of Jesus whose birth we celebrate this Christmas season. Our champions and volunteers give Him joyous praise.

And so do we.

Let there be peace on earth, and Merry Christmas!

 

 

 

 

 

One Hand Up. One Hand Down.

One Hand Up. One Hand Down.

Kathy and I will be in Africa as you read this letter.

We try to be there at least twice each year in compliance with government “monitoring & evaluation” requirements. But we find it’s so very important to be there to meet with our champion ministries and their orphans and widows both to inspire and to be updated in person. Every visit, however, we wonder who’s inspiring whom.

The widows inspire us with their child-like trust in God even as they live in abject poverty and disease.

 

 

They love Kathy especially. Whenever we enter a dusty rural village the children gather about her and follow wherever she goes. Sometimes a group of them will reach up and take her hands as she walks. One time I saw four children on each hand!

This total trust in “Momma Kattie”, as they call her, has often reminded me of a little song we used to sing as children in Sunday School:

And the picture of their hands reaching up and Kathy’s reaching down captures it.

We are just like them in so many ways. We may not be impoverished or diseased but we ARE ultimately  totally dependant on the Lord. This may be why Jesus said we’re to be like “little children” in our trust and obedience. We reach up even as our Father reaches down.

This hand-in-hand relationship is what the Father seeks.  He has taken the initiative. He has reached down. And his love captures our heart – so we reach up.

You need to know that our entire ministry with WOW is predicated on this truth. The orphans and widows in their desperate plight are reaching up to the Lord by reaching up for our hands. We too reach up to the Lord and down to them. As we do so we see ourselves as your hands extended to them in the name of Jesus. This truly is a partnership between heaven and earth.

So it’s one hand up and one hand down. Our faithful offerings  of our time, talent, and treasure are the evidence  of our trust and obedience as we humbly seek to do His will.

We truly value you! You are proven friends of “the least of these”. We’re so grateful for your support.

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.

Blessings,

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”

 

 

 

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