Archive for July, 2010

Children Are A Blessing

Posted on July 31, 2010. Filed under: Children, Creation, God, VISION AFRICA-2010 JULY MISSION TRIP | Tags: , , , |

Children having fun today on jungle gym and swings.7-13-2010 (Tuesday)

Last night, we moved to where we will be living for the next 12 days.  We are staying at the Children of the Nation facility, which is outside Lilongwe.  Children of the Nations assists disadvantaged teenage children and young adults, giving them an education and an opportunity to better their situation in life.  The most important aspect of their teaching is to raise these young people as believers in Jesus Christ.

I woke up around 4:30 this morning.  It is cold here compared to the 115-degree days back in Phoenix, as it is probably around 40 degrees here.  I don’t want to wake up Tyler, my roommate, so I am using the flashlight App on my iPhone.  As I depart the room to go and brush my teeth in the bathroom, I attempt to shut off the flashlight App on my phone.  In doing so, I am looking down, not forward, and walk directly into a tree with my forehead.  To my defense, the tree was directly in the middle of the sidewalk, so I am not completely at fault.

Today was a fantastic day in the village of Chikudzulire.  Started the day at the Somebody Cares office this morning at 7:30 for God calisthenics, which included prayer, singing, prayer, and more singing.  I believe the Holy Spirit of God enjoys dwelling at the offices of Somebody Cares, for the level of faith of the staff and attending missionaries is high.

It’s time to leave, so we need to go and get into the vans.  One of my fellow team members just asked me what happened to my head.  They said I have a large bump on my head and it is bleeding.  So, I looked into the mirror, oops they are correct.  I guess this is my first battle wound in Africa.  Hopefully nobody will laugh at me today, as it is a little embarrassing.

The medical team (Robin, Stephanie, Lynn and Rachel) is going to Ngona to provide checkups and administer medicine to sick people in the village.  As they arrive in Ngona and set up for the clinic, they are overwhelmed by the people lining up to see the doctors.  By the end of the afternoon, they have given medical assistance to 40 people.  The doctors also took the time to listen to the devastating personal life stories of some of the adults they had treated.  I believe these doctors will never forget many of those whom they gave aid too today.  The experience has given them a sense of accomplishment and a sense of despair, as there are too many sick people for them to care for.  Now we are blessed by the doctors’ return, as the entire medical team shares with us some of the stories of the day.

I am still amazed at the number of people who ride their bikes everywhere.  They ride them not just to get themselves around, but also to carry goods and supplies for sale to other villages and the market place.  Some of the riders have attached wood sticks to their bikes in order to stack up large quantities of wood, sugar cane, and other goods to sell at the market place.  I am amazed as I just saw a guy with a stack of wood on a bike that looks to be 6 or 7 feet high.  I question how they even balance themselves while driving down the road.  Vehicles fly by the bicyclists so fast and within inches of the rider’s; I am amazed at how they don’t even flinch.  Apparently, this is just a normal occurrence in their lives, so, no big deal!  A staff member told me that when a car hits a bicyclist or pedestrian along the roadside, the person driving the car is responsible for the medical bills of the injured person.  I hope we don’t hit anyone, because our driver is flying down the road.  I am not even sure if the wheels are on the ground.

This is so cool, we are in a remote area, and the little children are so excited to see us driving by.  Apparently they do not see people driving by very often, especially “azungus” (white people).  They are coming out running, waving, and screaming things out loud as we speed through their neighborhood.  The children seem to be amused by anything they would not normally see or experience in their lives.  This is one of my favorite things I have seen so far.  I love these kids.  Most of these children have so little; I guess any little change or something new or different can have a huge impact on their lives.

We are now arriving at the Somebody Cares Community Center in Chikudzulire.  Children come to the Center from many of the surrounding 46 villages that make up the Chikudzulire zone.  They gather for instruction, fun, porridge, and hope.  Basically, the community center is a daycare for the parents to send the children.  Most importantly, the Community Center provides one meal for the children Monday through Friday, so they at least receive one meal everyday.  About 50 children are in a classroom now, and are reciting the Alphabet Song.  It is joyful to watch these children, who are probably between the ages of 2-6, learning the alphabet among their peers.  As a means of encouragement, when one of the students completes the Alphabet Song, the others clap for their fellow classmate.

Outside children are running around the complex, and playing on the swings and monkey bars.  Up until a year ago, when the playground was built, the children had never seen a swing or monkey bar.  But, now a year later, many of the children have become quite proficient at using the playground apparatus, but not all.  I am going to teach some of the children that don’t know how to swing to use their legs, and how to swing back and forth, so they too can have some fun.  There are many of these children helping other children to play and learn.  I am surprised how the children share; how the older children help the younger ones enjoy playing, and how they want others to enjoy what they are enjoying.  Seeing this makes me feel good.

It is now the end of the afternoon.  I have played with the kids for hours, and I am worn out.  I am not sure if playing with them on the swings and monkey bars was the most fun, or teaching them stories about God with Joe as my interpreter.  I know this for sure; these kids have touched my heart today.  What a joy it is to see their beautiful smiles beaming for all to see.  These innocent children just need an opportunity, an opportunity to live life, an opportunity to learn, an opportunity to have food and water, and an opportunity to know true joy from our creator.  I am beginning to understand how the ministry of Somebody Cares is giving them an opportunity to live longer and with hope.  What a HUGE BLESSING today was for me.  Thank you God!!

See you tomorrow as I continue in my journal of our mission trip to Malawi.

Amen

Look for an opportunity to share your life with someone else today.

Daryl Dho

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A Contrast of Joy and Sadness

Posted on July 30, 2010. Filed under: Children, God, VISION AFRICA-2010 JULY MISSION TRIP | Tags: , , |

Here is my account of our first full day in Malawi.

7-12-2010 (Monday)

5AM and the Muslim Synagogue nearby loudly plays the morning “Call to Prayer”.  Voices echo throughout the surrounding neighborhood for miles.  Hearing the prayer call for those who believe in the Muslim faith gives me a stronger conviction of why we are here in the first place.  We are here to share the gospel of Jesus Christ, who takes away the sins of the world.  I pray for our mission, I pray for those we will encounter today, and I pray that God will use us in a mighty way for the fulfillment of His will and purpose.

Later birds sing through my bedroom window. The echo from the song of the birds on this crisp morning gives glorious evidence of God’s masterful creation.  The marvelous sounds coming from the birds become louder and more pleasing to my ear as I go outside to listen.  It is like a concert of creation as the birds fill many large trees in the compound with their song.

I notice a man who guards the gate of the compound where we stay.  I walk over to talk with him about how great it is for us to experience God’s creation.  He is not able to understand very much English, but can still comprehend some of what I say as I point to the birds in the trees above.  I establish through my conversation we have a mutual appreciation for the bird’s song.

As is typical in Malawi, the power goes off without any notice and for unknown reasons.  Today, the power turns off during the morning hours while many take showers, and the cooks prepare breakfast.  The facility has some backup generators and is able to make a wonderful meal of potatoes, Malawian sausage, bread, eggs, pineapple, bananas, papaya, and oranges.  This would be our last meal with this much fruit for a while.  It is a tasty way to start the day, although I do not have any eggs or sausage.

After breakfast we drive in vans to the office of Somebody Cares for prayer and orientation.  People are everywhere, walking and riding their bicycles up the hill and down, to the left and to the right they go, hurrying to begin their daily routines.  Most of the Malawian people do not have cars for transportation, so the alternative are either walking or riding bikes, and they do it constantly.

We arrive and the staff of Somebody Cares is engaging in an outcry of prayer to the Lord.  Scripture tells us in Philippians 4:6 “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”  In the world of darkness whereby the staff at Somebody Cares does God’s work, it is important they go to God almighty with all of their prayers and petitions, as only He will hear all our prayers.  The seriousness and conviction concerning the ability of God to hear our prayers is not something the staff takes lightly as they continue for a long periods.  After prayer a man leads us in song, giving glory to God in the highest.  Singing and dancing with faces smiling wide, sharing the love they have for the Lord with us.

Half of the team spends the rest of morning separating the medicine for distribution, which will happen sometime later this week, while the rest of us relax at the Somebody Cares offices.  We enjoy conversation and get to know each other a little better. We play guitar and sing worship songs. I slowly let the experience absorb into my soul, overwhelming though it may be. We are adjusting to the Malawian way of doing things, which is a little slower and not always in a hurry to get to the next task.  This is a little challenging for me, but I am adjusting.

Now is our first chance to venture out into the local villages.  First, we go to the village of Ngona, about 30 minutes outside of Lilongwe.  They call this area a slum, and for good reason, as the level of poverty among the villages was unlike any I have seen in my entire life.  But in poverty, there can still be joy.  We arrive in town, and about 40 women we singing, dancing, and praying to the Lord God Almighty.  It is exciting to experience their joy in the moment as they all bustle with excitement for the Lord.  We all disembark from our vans and the women dance in a circle, coming to each of us while they danced to shake our hands.  The sincerity of their joy is evident in their simultaneous singing, laughter, and love on display.  We participate with them in dance and song, as the sound echoes through the fields and into the village below.

Next, we divide into groups to venture out into the village to visit sick women and children.  We go to the homes of mothers and their children who had been struck with AIDS and TB.  Although it is difficult to see them in their suffering conditions, prayers for healing and the peace of Jesus is brought to them.  I ask one of the Somebody Cares staff members if those we encounter are believers in Jesus, and the answer is yes.

The devastation and suffering these women and families experience in their lives is overwhelming to see.   Their physical well-being and condition is so terrible due to illness and poverty, it is nearly unbearable to be witness to. Although my heart is tearing inside from seeing the devastation that disease and poverty create, I am blessed with the joy of watching the smiles on the young children’s faces.  When I compare this world to the living standards I have grown accustom to for nearly 50 years in America, it seems desolate and unbearable.  Even so, the children seem as happy as any I can recall seeing throughout my life.  Maybe they see hope in potential change, giving them a source of pleasure?  The children smile, laugh, and run around in and out of the village, playing with each other, caring for each other, and sharing their lives together.  For some, they have nothing else but the joy they have in their hearts.  For many today, there is a sense of unknown; a wonder whether or not they will have a next meal, or whether today will be their last.

We play with the children, teach them about things Jesus said, and raise them up into the air, optimistically giving them hope for a brighter tomorrow.  Although I am sure we bring joy to them amongst their sadness in life, these young beautiful creations of God give me something I will never ever forget; they share absolute genuine joy to us who encounter them.  They give me a gift I will never lose; they give me a glimpse of God, an understanding who God is in a little person of His creation.  God loves each and every one of us, including these little Malawian children.

What I see this first day in Malawi will change my perspective on life and the world forever, and I shall never be the same.

In the evening at night I cry.

May God bless your day,

Daryl Dho

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Arriving in Malawi

Posted on July 29, 2010. Filed under: Glory, God, VISION AFRICA-2010 JULY MISSION TRIP | Tags: , , |

The following is my journal of our July 2010 Mission trip to Malawi.  There were 19 willing servants of our mighty God who went to bring medicine, counsel, teachings, comfort, friendship, love, and compassion to the women, children and men we met in the villages we visited.  To God be the glory.

7-11-2010 (Sunday)

It has been an exciting, exhausting, breathtaking, and sleepless last 48 hours, as we have finally completed our journey to Malawi.  Now we must rest for the evening in order to be properly prepared for tomorrows first day as God’s hands and feet and ministers of encouragement and hope.

It seems as if the evil one is always attempting to sidetrack God’s work, and our adventure to Malawi was no exception.  Today was especially crazy because of how our expedition took a left turn and near miss in Johannesburg.  Upon our arrival in South Africa, it was necessary for us to get all of our checked luggage from the baggage claim carousel, plus our carryon luggage prior to checking in and boarding our flight on South Africa Airlines to Malawi.  It was part of our agreement with the airlines that each person would be able to check in 3 pieces of luggage plus have 2 carryon bags.  Those in charge the boarding and checking area of South African Airlines told us we could only have 2 pieces plus 1 carryon, charging us additional fees and nearly preventing us enough time to make our connecting flight.  It seems as if the airline can change their mind if they choose to, of course without any notice.  But in the end, God wins and we make our connection.

When we arrived in Lilongwe, Keta from Somebody Cares, the mission organization we are working with, met us with several drivers to take us to the location where we would be staying for one evening.  Our driver navigated through the streets of Lilongwe a little fast for my taste, as we nearly hit several individuals who were walking, on a bicycle, or driving down the road in a different vehicle.  It was a little unnerving, but I was in his country now, and I’m sure this won’t be the only thing that is different.

Making our way to the location where we were lodging that first day, I observed the following:

1. Drive way too fast; and crazy.
2. Drive too close to others.
3. Women carrying huge bundles of goods on their head; which is totally amazing.
4. People walking and riding bikes everywhere, because they do not have cars.
5. People looking around and observing all that is around them while walking, ride a bike, or driving.
6. Old beautiful trees and green plants throughout the city.
7. Billboard signs either deteriorating or no longer in use.
8. Children playing outdoors; this must not be ARIZONA!

See you tomorrow for our first full day in Malawi.

May God Bless Your Day,

Daryl Dho

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Sleep Is For Wimps!!!!

Posted on July 10, 2010. Filed under: God, Personal Happiness | Tags: , |

Well, we completed the first leg of our Journey to Malawi, Africa, and are currently waiting in Hethrow Airport in London, England for our next flight to Johannesburg, South Africa.  The plane ride to London was hot, humid, and there was not any seats left on the plane.  So, sleeping was difficult as we were slammed into our seats like sardines. The floor below us was loaded with carry on luggage because the overheads were packed full preventing much moving around in the cabin.  Fortunately, I have always lived by the motto, “sleep is for wimps”. I think sleep can be overrated at times anyway as we tend to lay there in our beds wondering if we need to sleep longer, or go ahead and get up and ready for the day.

So, we stayed awake in the dark, some watching television or movies, a few were reading, a select few actually were blessed with ability to sleep, but the majority were awake for most of the night.  I was one of those who stayed awake, as I ran through the gauntlet of time wasting techniques in an attempt to pass time; I saw the sun go down then up.  I also watched as the heads of those in seats ahead of me were bobbing and weaving, continuously adjusting in an attempt to sleep.  If they only lived by my motto, ” sleep is for wimps”, then maybe all those who struggled to sleep would have just went with the flow and realized its not happening.

The best part of the flight was meeting some cool people.  I sat next to Margaret and Alan, a couple who have been married for 53 years, and had gone to the United States for 17 days in order to celebrate the 75 birthdays, (3 days apart from each other), and to explore areas such as Yellowstone, Brice Canyon, the Grand Canyon, and other beautiful areas of the U.S.

As a traveler, I am always drink a lot of water, which means one thing; what goes in must come out!  Alan remarked to me as I was needing to go past him and Margaret that we were friends, and it was okay if I they had to move for me several times during the flight.  That made me feel good. I told them about our mission to Malawi, and about how we were going there to help people and share our faith in Christ; this seem to give them some joy.

Eventually, Margaret was one of the people who decided to go to sleep, so she asked me if I needed to get up before she slept; of course I did.  She slept like a rock, eventually snuggling and leaning over towards my seat, making it even more challenging for me to sleep.  I was cool with that since both Margaret and Alan had been so friendly and generous of their time during the flight.  Although Margaret did not believe in my motto “sleep is for wimps”, fortunately for me, I do.

Until next time, sleep tight and  don’t let the bed bugs bite!

May God bless your day and your life,

Daryl Dho


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Up Up and Away

Posted on July 9, 2010. Filed under: Adversity, Children, Faith, God, Justice, Love, Mercy | Tags: , , , , , , |

Okay, so the day has finally arrived where 19 people from the Mesa and Gilbert Arizona area will be traveling around the world to a remote country called Malawi, Africa.  Why are we going to Malawi, is there a fantastic resort there?  I am not sure, but if there is, we are not going to it.  We are going to live and care for those who have not had the easiest life. We are on a mission to give assistance to some in the world who have been ravaged with AIDS/HIV, raped and beaten women, orphaned children, severe poverty and poor living conditions.

God has directed all 19 of us to go and be with the people of Chikuzulire, Africa, and to give support in many different ways.  We are bringing medical supplies, so that the children can be de-wormed, administered antibiotics, and have their hungry bellies fed.  Only God knows exactly what will happen while we are there, so we just pray for His will to be done.

I will be collecting my thoughts in an electronic journal each day we are there, for which I will publish on my blog post in successive days once we get back to an area where we have internet.  So, in the meantime, please pray for our journey, pray for safety, and that God will move in a mighty way for those we will be with for the next 2 weeks.  Pray that we can be the hands and feet for God, and pray for God’s will to be done on this earth and in the place of Malawi.

In Matthew 28:18-20, the Bible tells us this:

“18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Have a blessed day.

Daryl Dho

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