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Sunday, January 01, 2006

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When one looks at the countries of Central Africa, sometimes all that is seen is starvation, poverty, the absolute and extreme suffering that occurs here. It is not hard to identify the suffering of people in Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi with that of the biblical character of Job and say, “Where then is my hope? And, if I have hope, who will see [its fulfillment]? [My hope] shall go down to the bars of Sheol (the unseen state) when once there is rest in the dust (Job 17:15-16).” AIDS is rampant, governments corrupt, and nutrition at its minimum and, many who help often find themselves asking, “Why work here in a place with so much need that the only word to describe it is hopeless?” New York Times article by Celia W. Dugger talks about African nurses, specifically in Malawi, who are overworked and underpaid to the point that their ranks are dwindling severely. In the article, one nurse says, “My friends are telling me there’s work [in Britain], there’s money there. They’re telling me I’m wasting my time here.” Many nurses are packing up and shipping out, leaving the few remaining in a situation where one nurse looks after fifty people, one nurse to 26 six babies, 183 nurses to 830 beds. The issue? Hopelessness in Africa and hope in the “West.” A constant issue with education is that the quality education either is not available or it prompts a migration outside of the one place where it is needed most. Many who come to the U.S.A for their education may never return to their homeland. One goal of the Africa Central Partnership is to feed the field—nutritionally, emotionally, medically, and spiritually. In this aching and seemingly hopeless world, it’s hard to know exactly what to do. And when the question is asked, “Where can I help,” one needs only to look upward and inward. What gifts has God given you? What blessings overflowing do you have to offer? Are you gifted in teaching? Finances? Traveling? Construction? Where is your heart? It is there where you can help. Where is the hope for Africa? The hope is found in every small or large gift, every heart that is opened with the courage to care, every individual who is willing to say, “I will not turn my back just because the situation seems hopeless, but will follow to that place to which God calls me.” Does He call you to go? Perhaps. But perhaps He calls you to simply care, to share, or to open your home and heart. Wherever and to whatever He calls, however, it is important to remember that the situation is never hopeless with those who walk in the footsteps of the Father. Do not be discouraged, but “wait and hope for and expect the Lord; be brave and of good courage and let your heart be stout and enduring. Yes, wait for and hope for and expect the Lord. (Psalm 27:14).”At this point, I was struck by some quotes sent along with an e-mail from the Tedders. As you go through the website and consider life in general, it is our wish that you would find hope in faith-- that which is eternal and beyond circumstance." In his mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope." ~ First Peter Chapter One, Verse Three."Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope." ~ Helen Keller.

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/07/12/international/africa/12MALA.html?ex=1247371200&en=3f4ae56d7869d18e&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland

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