God Plans Ahead
by Kalie Saunders
he International Rescue and Relief students were hard at work again at an Adventist Health System’s (AHS) clinic at the Matandani Mission in Malawi. This particular SDA mission was established in 1908. While the church and clinic buildings have been rebuilt since then, the Matandani legacy is well known in Malawi. Matandani has an SDA elementary school, middle school, high school, and technical college. It also has one of the few medical clinics in this region of Malawi. That's why we, a group of adventurous Union College students, found ourselves there.
When we started clinic duty on Monday morning, we found that the pharmacy, meant to supply a catchment area of thousands of patients, was almost completely empty. Due to the absence of government health care in Matandani, the SDA mission has special arrangements for a shipment of free, government supplied medications and equipment once a month. However, the shipment hadn’t come this month. So there we were, a group of doctors, nurses, paramedics and EMTs, with no way to help our patients.
We did the best we could with what we had, but we found that we were referring critical patients to the district hospital over 10 kilometers away. This is a long trek when your only method of transport is walking and your six year old child is having an asthma attack. We knew this just wouldn't do.
After some prayer and a generous monetary donation, we were able to put in an order for medications to the AHS headquarters in Blantyre, a city four hours away, reachable only with a vehicle capable of four-wheel drive. Great, we had the money for these life saving medications and supplies, but no way to get them! However, as God had preordained, one of the non-medical missionaries from Matandani was in Blantyre that day! A quick phone call and a short explanation later, the missionary agreed to go and pick up the medications for us.
Literally only 12 hours after starting clinic duty, we had a fully stocked pharmacy filled with life saving medications and equipment. God is good! It is true that God knows what we need even before we ask and is ready and happy to give His good gifts to His children.
– Joshua Project
Growing Gardens, Growing His Future
by Kuda Vana Partnership
While attending the 2019 ASI International Convention in Louisville, Kentucky, the Board Chair of FARM STEW approached us to seek ways we might collaborate. Kuda Vana learned that FARM STEW was working to improve the health and well-being of poor families and vulnerable people by sharing the recipe of abundant life throughout the world.
Kuda Vana (which means “loving children” in Shona) is an orphanage that works to empower the most vulnerable children of Zimbabwe to not just survive, but thrive. A natural partnership was born, and one young man’s dreams for a self-sufficient future were stirred.
Kuda Vana is not your typical orphanage. Our staff provide holistic care to each orphaned or abandoned child brought to us by Social Services. Children are raised in a group home setting and given love, nutrition, security, healthcare, education, life skills, and spiritual and emotional guidance—enabling them to live more independent, dignified, and enriched lives. When the children in our care turn 18, Kuda Vana’s Youth Transition Program offers transitional housing and tuition support for trade school or university.
Each child in Kuda Vana’s care is treated like family and, where possible, supported in their individual hopes and dreams. This is why we were concerned about the future of young Tendai, a 16-year-old who has been at Kuda Vana since he was a child. Tendai suffers from a severe learning disability, and as a youngster was often bullied by teachers. At 15, he was unable to read or write his name and despaired at ever achieving his dream of becoming an Agronomist or being independent.
With time and care from our staff, Tendai recently learned to read. He is a remarkably intelligent young man who excels at inventing things and tending the gardens at Kuda Vana. He can make anything grow and takes great pride in his work. However, our staff were anxious about what would happen to Tendai when he turns 18 and is legally required to leave Kuda Vana’s campus.
Thankfully, Dr. Rick Westermeyer, Volunteer Country Director of FARM STEW Zimbabwe, and his wife visited Kuda Vana Children’s Home last fall. They walked through our gardens and learned about Kuda Vana’s ambitious vision to launch the Thrive Farming Program, an initiative to enhance the organization’s food security and foster essential life skills. Just a few short months after this program was launched, Kuda Vana was able to increase their farmable land by 500%! We also told Dr. Rick and his wife about Tendai and his affinity for agriculture, along with his struggles in traditional school.
FARM STEW Zimbabwe and Africa Orphan Care generously offered to provide Tendai with a scholarship to attend a Foundation for Farming Training in Harare along with a FARM STEW volunteer. This opportunity proved to be the perfect recipe for Tendai’s confidence and his future prospects as an Agronomist.
After two weeks of learning about building compost, mulching, and creating high yields from small pieces of land, Tendai earned a certificate in Foundations for Farming. As the youngest student there, he says he felt accommodated and included by everyone, and that FARM STEW’s volunteer, Khan Ellmers, was especially patient and helpful in ensuring he understood each concept. Tendai says of his experience:
“I would want to express my gratitude and give thanks to the people who funded me to have the opportunity to attend this life-changing training. I have always had dreams of getting the chance to have such training to master my skills since I have great passion in farming. Now I have something I can do when I age out of Kuda Vana. I would like to be a big farmer and supply food to larger grocery chains. Right now, I am tending Kuda Vana’s Thrive Farming Program, and it’s not trial and error: I`m now doing the correct things when farming. This certificate means a lot to me. No one can take away the knowledge that I have, and I will explore the world. Once again, thank you very much for the support.”
Kuda Vana is grateful for our partnership with FARM STEW and looks forward to collaborating in more ways to ensure the most vulnerable children of Zimbabwe not just survive, but thrive.
If you would like to learn more about Kuda Vana’s work with orphaned children in Zimbabwe, please visit www.kudavana.org!
New Normal Opens New Doors
by Albert Dittes
hen the Coronavirus pandemic set in, Kristina’s Kitchen, a vegetarian restaurant in the Appalachian foothills in Whitley City, KY, and an ASI member, changed from indoor dining to carry-out and delivery service.
But a drop in traffic due to the shutdown of many businesses on main street (the courthouse, library, bank, clothing and furniture stores, etc.) turned out to uncover previously untapped witnessing opportunities.
“With social distancing, we are continuing our cooking classes the third Tuesday of the month at 6 p.m. on YouTube and Facebook live,” says owner Kristina McFeeters. “Customers know to tune in and share it with their friends. We are reaching out more by Facebook and YouTube than before and believe it will continue once we can resume in-person classes.”
She cites the “most amazing” new development as being the response to a “sermon in the woods” her pastor husband, Daniel McFeeters, preaches via Facebook and YouTube. “Because everyone’s churches have been canceled or closed, he goes into the woods every week and records sermons with beautiful scenery as a backdrop. I have been sharing those links with my restaurant customers, and many of them follow us.”
This ministry started as a result of the March shutdown. Advertising a special Easter sermon by texting delivery route customers brought in more requests for weekly sermon links.
“I send out promotional text messages each week and get regular feedback from customers,” Kristina says. “Some say, ‘There are so many doomsday preachers out there. Thank you for sharing messages of hope!’ Others mention, ‘I love seeing the nature scenery while you are preaching—it’s like going outside for a walk!’ Some share Daniel’s sermons on their own Facebook pages. None of this would have happened if not for Coronavirus. Church would have gone on as usual.”
Kristina’s Kitchen lost nearly half of its customers when businesses closed and people began to work from home. But other customers have stayed faithful, ordering every week, with some even increasing their orders. Operating capital comes mostly from carryout meals, baked goods, and delivering vegetarian foods to business customers in Somerset, a city 35 miles away. Additionally, partnership with a local Christian school selling strawberries has resulted in many new customers.
Enough business has come in so far for the restaurant to stay afloat so they can continue sharing God's love!