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Wrap up a Bicycle

In September Kathy and I flew to Africa to visit our champion partners in South Africa, Zambia and Malawi. It had been Three Long Years since our last visit. So good to connect in person rather than the stopgap ZOOM meetings we’d conducted during the Covid pandemic. We were grateful and humbled to see that our ministry to at-risk orphans and widows has grown and is thriving.Kathy called it “The Fruit of our Labor” trip

It was especially gratifying to see that the workforce of local church-based volunteers continues to grow as well with the involvement of a whole new group of fresh young twenty-somethings! Many were vulnerable orphans when we first met twenty years ago. Now they’re “giving back” in Jesus’ name.

As we accompanied the volunteers we discovered that many of these “angels of mercy” walk an average of 20 miles a day (!), to provide Home Based Care (HBC) to the many suffering souls in very remote areas. That’s 20 miles over rutted, almost impassable roads in relentless heat.
20 miles of blowing dust and exposure to the elements… 20 miles of thirst…

Women walking alone can be especially vulnerable to the risk of sexual assault.

I stopped and “Did the Math”. At an average walking speed of 2.5 miles an hour that’s 8 hours per day! At an average speed of 10 miles per hour on a bike their travel time would be reduced from 8 hours to 2 hours. Can you imagine their relief?

It was clear to us that they needed bicycles. A bicycle for them is like giving a car to someone in North America. It’s HUGE.

The last time we gave bicycles to our volunteers was 10 years ago. We saw many of those 10-year-old “work-horses” at a recent gathering of over 600 people at Kapunula Village in rural Malawi. Parked under the trees, row upon row of well-used (& well-loved) bicycles. We were pleased to see them in good working order and highly valued!

Bicycles are needed! The number of new volunteers requires a new infusion of these two-wheeled wonders. We need to provide scores more.

With a bulk order we can purchase them for about $100 per bicycle. And another $10 will provide a repair kit. For such a small amount we can literally liberate a godly volunteer.

And what joy to celebrate Jesus’ birth by the gift of a bicycle to dedicated volunteers working as his hands and feet providing vital life giving ministry to “the least of these”.

So I’m inviting you to “Wrap Up a Bicycle” this Christmas! Let’s do it for love’s sake!
And Merry Christmas!

Jim Cantelon – President
WOW – Working for Orphans & Widows