MISSION STATEMENT: Recognizing that billions of people throughout the world are in need of help in all areas of life, we focus on the mind (education), the body (health and nutrition) and the heart (spiritual). We develop relationships with communities, learn the needs of the community and partner with likeminded organizations and people to help the community become self-sustaining. In all we do, we look to God to provide guidance and blessing, and give Him all the glory.
·Provide the framework for the next generation of children to be educated and to have a strong Christian foundation.
·To help people become self-sustaining and avoid the dependence on governments that does not deliver on promises and suffer from corruption.
·To ensure that the programs we operate are in agreement with each other and assimilate strengths.
Problem being solved? We have established 6 HIV/AIDS support groups and each of these groups is operating income generating businesses with the help of EV. The income has helped them with their basic needs (food and clothing) and providing the opportunity to send their children to school (ability to buy uniforms and supplies). These groups are very organized and invest part of their income back into their businesses. We have two orphan feeding programs. When we first started our work, we fed about 100 children a week, at least one meal, 5 days a week. We now feed between 200 and 400 a week. We have assisted in the completion of several churches by providing matching funds for building materials. We are now 2 years into the completion of the Sandi Horton Life Centre, a complex that now includes a conference hall, 4 lodging rooms and the EV office. The conference hall is the home of a Christian Church called Hosanna Bible Church International. This church is led by Pastor Yonas Chonzi who is also the Africa Director of Earthen Vessels. The conference hall is used by our support groups for any functions and/or meetings. We rent the hall out to outside groups for a fee (weddings, conferences, etc.). The lodging rooms were just completed in the last month. The primary purpose of these rooms is to provide lodging for family members who have loved ones in the Balaka hospital. In Malawi, when a loved one is in the hospital, the family must care for them. Care being defined as feeding, bathing, and laundry. Families who do not live nearby camp on the open hospital grounds to accomplish these responsibilities. Families associated with our ministry now have a place to stay and accomplish all the care needed, free of charge. When the rooms are not in use for the ministry, we rent them out in the same manner as a hotel would. These rooms are built to “western” standards and thus are probably the best lodging in the town of Balaka. So we rent them out at the highest rates (mostly to government travelers). All these fees and rents are put back into the ministry.
We have also purchased and rented additional land parcels for the purpose of growing alternative crops (to maize). Maize is been their traditional crop but is subject to a successful rainy season (January through March). Two years ago floods wiped out the crop and last year drought wiped out the crop. So EV has prompted efforts to have two more growing seasons May through July and September to November by using pump irrigation methods. Drought resistant and more nutritious crops are being grown like, various beans, tomatoes (these are also immediate cash crops in the market), squash, cabbage, etc. Our groups and feeding programs benefit from the availability of crops year round, and what is extra can be sold in the market.
How are you solving it? The previous section covered this in detail. We will add that EV has been fortunate to have Pastor Yonas Chonzi as the Director and one of the founders of EV. Joe & Audrey have known Pastor Yonas for more than 8 years, initially through the USA church missions program to Malawi. Once the USA church dropped Malawi from their program, we picked up the work and thus the beginning of EV. Pastor Yonas is a driven and passionate person who loves the people in his area, is very well known and respected, and most importantly loves The Lord. Three years ago, we hired Michael Kasito to be our Manager. Michael has proven to be a huge blessing to our ministry. He manages the day to day to include attendance at all the support group meetings. EV has invested in the lives of both of these men and their families by paying a salary to Michael and a stipend to Pastor Yonas. In addition, we have loaned Michael funds to build a home, secured by his long term commitment to EV. Pastor Yonas has asked permission to build another home in the Sandi Horton Life Centre complex for his family, and EV has granted that request. With these two individuals driving the day to day, EV Malawi has been able to accomplish much in just 5 years with very limited funds.
Why are you qualified? Audrey and I have been participating in overseas mission trips for almost 20 years. As high school youth leaders in our church in Connecticut, we led teams of high school youth on mission trips to Mexico, Scotland and Ireland. We started traveling to Africa in 2006 with our church in Minnesota—first to Tanzania and then to Malawi. We eventually led adult mission groups to Malawi. In all our experiences were in leadership positions that required us to plan every aspect of the trips. Our passion is focused on the African people and only restricted by the fact that we must continue to earn income here in the United States.
What is the urgency? The Malawian government is corrupt and yet millions of Malawians are looking to them to provide food, opportunity and education. In the past two years, thousands of people died from starvation due to natural disasters to their maize growing season. The government could not provide the aid to prevent these deaths, nor did they properly administer foreign aid to help their own people. In addition, people affected with HIV/AIDS are shunned by the government and by other Malawians. They have nowhere to turn for help with food, work and education. In these instances, EV must step in to help with as much as we can.
Our Challenge Because we are a working couple, the time we need to build a great website and a Facebook page has been nonexistent. In addition, we just do not have the expertise and means to share the work we do outside of our families and friends. As a result, Audrey and I fund about 85% of EV work with our personal money. We would like to turn that around and share this great work with a greater audience. We know that given the resources, we can replicate our model in Balaka anywhere in Africa, and in fact elsewhere in the world.