Posts Tagged ‘Africa’

Shadow Dancing

Sunday, July 31st, 2011

Matthew 11: 16-17 “. . . to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the market places and calling to their playmates, ‘We piped to you and you did not dance; we wailed, and you did not mourn.’”

Listen . . . Can you hear the sound of music? Can you hear the children laughing? Can you hear the cries of grief and despair?

Someone stole a necklace from our Ilula Orphan Program display at the Pike County Fair. We emphasized that the proceeds from the sale of the African handcrafted memorabilia were to benefit HIV Aids orphans. Pure religion is enacted by caring for orphans and widows. Jesus indicated that as you do not help the least of people you have no part of him. Some people dance to a different tune. The price of the necklace was made up by a volunteer.

A misguided Norwegian assailant murdered 77 men, women, and children last week because of religious differences. Deliberate acts of killing innocent children along with a seemingly lack of remorse complicates our abilities to comprehend rationality for such atrocities as a just war or capital punishment. Where are those among us who cannot weep as the world wails? As you mistreat others you mistreat the Christ.

A former missionary to New Guinea explained that part of her mission service training involved in-depth study of tradition and religious culture. The God of the indigenous people just might be your God. Why can we not dance to the sound of the pipers? Can we hear the beat of pluralism in the drums? Those to whom Jesus was speaking could not hear the music either. The ways in which we withhold love and solidarity from others, we withhold it from Christ.

Can you hear the sound of the music? Some in this global village may be on the verge of shadow dancing.

Of course this text is intended to reflect a Pharisaical comparison of the emphatic teachings of John the Baptist with the compassionate instructions of Jesus. In the larger context, Jesus noticeably emphasizes love to all peoples regardless of religion, culture, and tradition.

How are you sharing faith with persons of other cultures and traditions?

How can Christians and persons of other religions be in mission together?

Is pluralism relevant in our global village?

How can Christians practice pluralism and be faithful to the gospel?

Invest in Development

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

Invest in Development: A Practical Plan to Achieve the Millennium Development Goals

“Eradicating extreme poverty continues to be one of the main challenges of our time, and is a major concern of the international community. Ending this scourge will require the combined efforts of all, governments, civil society organizations and the private sector, in the context of a stronger and more effective global partnership for development. The Millennium Development Goals set timebound targets, by which progress in reducing income poverty, hunger, disease, lack of adequate shelter and exclusion — while promoting gender equality, health, education and environmental sustainability — can be measured. They also embody basic human rights — the rights of each person on the planet to health, education, shelter and security. The Goals are ambitious but feasible and, together with the comprehensive United Nations development agenda, set the course for the world’s efforts to alleviate extreme poverty by 2015. “                                                                                                                                              United Nations Secretary-General BAN Ki-moon

        We have developed a Pastors Seminar and Retreat Center in Ilula, Tanzania. We began the seminar at the request of Tanzanian United Methodist pastors in 2007. Many of the pastors serve churches without attaining adequate education. We have over the past three years, taught short term classes during two weeks in January in Theology, Bible, Missiology, Christian Education, Evangelism, and Stewardship. All evaluations have been excellent and we are continually challenged to offer more training opportunities. Two other pastors and a Bible professor serve as volunteer staff with me.

         The goals of the pastors seminar share ideology with the 1990 United Nations’ Eight Millennium Development Goals for which hunger and poverty are to be halved by 2015. This past January our classes included three women pastors and Lay Leaders, which embraces the Millennium Development Goal of gender equality. The Pastors Seminar is being expanded to include Vocational Training. The vocational training includes methods for increased agriculture productivity through poultry production, bee keeping, and new techniques of gardening. Another aspect of the technological training will include knowledge and training in Industrial Arts with the pastors learning techniques of carpentry.

         The churches provide basic leadership in the rural communities. With the pastors teaching the new techniques of food production and opportunities for employment as carpenters, the church community will lead villages and rural communities to attain the reduction of poverty and environmental sustainability in Africa as per the Millennium Development Goals.

         Ilula was selected as the location for the Tanzanian seminar because of its strategic location. It is the home of the Ilula Orphan Program and is located on one of Tanzania’s two improved roads nearly half the distance from Dar es Salaam to Zambia. A successful trucking industry has been established and provides employment for long distance over-the-road truck drivers from companies in Dar es Salaam and Zambia. The trucking industry has introduced long haul drivers to the area seeking food and overnight accommodations. The trucking industry has resulted in some new service opportunities for local employment. Unfortunately it has also been the cause of increase sexual activity between the drivers and local residents. The unfortunate result is the escalation of the HIV Aids virus which increases the number of orphans as parents succumb to the disease. Two of the Millennium Development Goals are to combat HIV Aids and assure that all children receive a basic education. The Pastors Seminar supports and works alongside the Ilula Orphan Program providing HIV Aids prevention and crisis counseling, and through Student Sponsor and Foster Family Programs is assisting with the education and care for more than 1200 HIV Aids orphans. We have added a medical professional on the Pastors Seminar staff to address how the pastors can effectively provide HIV Aids prevention and crisis counseling in their church communities.

         In July of 2010, after having served congregations for 37 years, I retired from parish ministry in the United Methodist Church of the Indiana Conference. I have made several volunteer-in-mission trips to Tanzania and other countries and am experiencing a strong desire to assist pastors in the Developing World to obtain the necessary education to lead their church communities. I plan to conduct two seminars in Tanzania in 2011 consisting of 2 weeks each. One in Ilula and the other in Kigoma, located in the western sector of the country. The inclusion of a seminar in Kigoma will decrease the cost of transportation for some of the pastors who travel across country to attend the seminars.

         I am extending an invitation for your corporation to invest in this International Level Training to help achieve the United Nations Millennium Development Goals.

         In order to provide one seminar we must raise the following funds: Transportation, food, books, accommodations, and supplies is $280 per student. The impoverished churches cannot provide salaries for the pastors therefore we raise funds to transport, accommodate, feed, and train pastors. The per capita income for Ilula and the Iringa Region is less than the equivalent of 50 cents per day. The transportation, accommodations, food, teaching supplies, and travel insurance for the teaching staff is $2825 each. Honorariums for interpreters is $300. Tanzanian Teaching Assistants in Agriculture, Industrial Arts, and an HIV Aids medical professional is $1200. Plans to increase the number of seminars to 2 per year and to extend some of the seminars to 4 weeks will require additional funds. To provide the funding for a 2 week seminar for 20 students, 4 teachers-professors, 1 HIV Aids medical professional, 4 interpreters, 2 Agriculture and Industrial Art instructors we must raise $20,425. This amount includes $500 per week compensation for teachers-professors. Thirty-four pastors and Lay Leaders indicated their desire to participate in the January 2010 seminar, however we could only raise funds to allow for an attendance of 20 pastors.

         Your investment is tax deductible. Please send funds to Emerging Mission Ministries, First United Methodist Church, PO Box 116, Fort Branch, Indiana 47648.

         In order to become more involved with Ilula Orphan Program, a mission ministry that is only 12 years old, includes 17 programs to help vulnerable and impoverished people, attained over 200 acres, has 49 employees, established a new church, animal husbandry, farming/gardening, sponsors over 1200 orphaned students, is building a High School, you are invited to come and visit us at Ilula, Tanzania.

         You may support the entire pastors seminar or any individual segment of the program. All responses will be itemized, recorded and posted for the benefit of the benefactor.

Pastors Seminar and Retreat program ____

Ilula Orphan Program ____     Students Tuition ____

 Instructors expenses ____      Instructors compensation ____

Construction of Pastors Seminar and Retreat Center ____


Thanks for your time and assistance.

John E. Windell


The Pastors Seminar is held on property owned by the Ilula Orphan Program. We are planning to construct a Pastors Seminar and Retreat Center in Ilula on property that has been made available. Watch for details on the web site.