Tag Archives: South Africa

it’s now about us

Actually, nothing has changed, has it? The truth is it has always been about us. What are we willing to ignore? How much are we willing to put up with? How low are we willing to go?

Peter Story, a Methodist Bishop from South Africa once remarked that during the apartheid years, he was always deeply ashamed of his nation for the immorality of such an unjust system. Every day of this presidency and this administration I am identifying  more deeply with the pain he felt and what he was saying.

Where is our basic decency? When will we say enough is enough, and begin to reclaim the standard human decency that has always created hope around the world?

#DayOfTheGirl

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This is a powerful statement by our good friend Graca Machel. Graca is the widow of Nelson Mandela, and is a true leader in the fight against poverty, hunger and oppression in Southern Africa.

Educating girls and young women is a critical component in breaking the cycle of poverty. Graca is a strong supporter of Stop Hunger Now South Africa, and has organized and participated in several meal packaging events in South Africa and Mozambique.

Well Done SHN SA!

The end of my trip is at hand. Early this evening I am scheduled to leave from Johannesburg and fly to Atlanta and then on to Raleigh. There I will pick up a rental car, go to the Stop Hunger Now office for a couple hours to debrief and catch up on some back administrative chores. After that, I have a 3 hour drive back home to Lynchburg.

It’s going to be a rather long trip, but what makes it worthwhile is all the good work that has been accomplished during my brief time here in Mozambique and South Africa. In Maputo, Mozambique I helped celebrate Ma Machel’s 70th birthday as we packaged 70,000 meals for malnourished school children.

That event was also a milestone for Stop Hunger Now South Africa. It was the first meal packaging event they organized outside of their own country. And the Minister of Education  for Mozambique, who attended and spoke at the event, has already requested that more meal packaging events be scheduled.

Here in Johannesburg I have had a delightful time meeting new staff and new board members. I have also been able to help with some fundraising and to give an official thanks to some of SHN South Africa biggest corporate and faith-based partners.

It’s been a whirlwind of events, meetings and dinners, but I will head for home more proud than ever of the great work being accomplished here on behalf of the hungry. Stop Hunger Now South Africa is our first international affiliate, and it is leading by example. Saira Khan, our Executive Director, and her entire board and staff are demonstrating that we can end hunger in our lifetime. Kudos and “Well Done!” to all of them.

Happy Birthday, Ma Machel!

I am truly sorry I wasn’t able to post yesterday as it was World Food Day. I didn’t get an internet connection until earlier this morning.

However, we did have a wonderful celebration yesterday. In honor of Graca Machel’s birthday Stop Hunger Now South Africa partnered with her foundation, Barlowworld and the Church of the Latter Day Saints in Maputo to package over 70,000 meals in the first meal packaging event ever held in Mozambique. It was quite a wonderful day.

Ma Machel spoke, she shared birthday cake with dozens of children, and she inspired all those gathered as she joined in to help package meals for hungry children here in Mozambique.

She clearly demonstrated why she is so beloved as she tirelessly works to keep the spirit of her late husband, Nelson Mandela, alive. She is a beautiful lady and a true leader in the fight to end hunger in our lifetime. It was a true honor to meet her and work along side her to help change our world.

Happy 70th Birthday, Ma Machel. May God richly bless you, and may you have 70 x 70 more!

heading to a birthday celebration

It’s Thursday. That must mean I am heading back to good ol’ RDU, my second home.

This morning I will grab a rental car and drive down to Raleigh for a flight to Maputo, the capital of Mozambique. My first stop is Atlanta. Then it’s about 15 hours to Johannesburg, South Africa. The final leg  from Joburg to Maputo is only about an hour and a half, but by that point, who cares?

Although getting there is supposed to be half the fun, I think that’s the half I would love to skip. But once there, I know I will be glad I made the trip.

I have been asked to attend the birthday celebration of Nelson Mandela’s widow. It’s a long way to travel for a birthday party, but this is a most special lady, a good friend and a strong supporter of Stop Hunger Now in South Africa and Mozambique. She is a true champion of ending hunger in our lifetime.

So, it’s back on the road again. Stay tuned. There will be plenty more to come as the adventure unfolds.

SHN International Summit update

After just completing the first day of the 4 day international summit of Stop Hunger Now affiliates all I can say is I am too humbled for words. The commitment, the dedication, the passion, and the resourcefulness of our international folks has just blown me away. Stop Hunger Now is demonstrating that the global movement to end hunger is not only a reality, but it’s growing.

From the first SHN affiliate in South Africa to our newest in Peru, every director has shared their stories, and all of us here have been inspired, challenged and moved to tears hearing the struggles and successes that make up the work of ending hunger around the world. There are a lot of commonalities in the stories, and it has been a time rich in learning and sharing.

This afternoon we took time to relax a little and take it easy as we are all somewhat jet-lagged. We visited the Royal Selangor Petwer Factory, the Batu Caves , a Hindu Temple, and then had dinner at Malaysian Cultural Theater.

Tomorrow we will begin with a breakfast presentation on monitoring and assessment, then tour several distribution centers where Stop Hunger now meals are used to feed hungry children. We will end the day with a dinner in my honor.

It will be another full day, but one rich in learning and full of joyful celebration and fellowship. Tomorrow, I will try to share in more detail.

KL Malaysia

After leaving my hotel room in Raleigh at 0430 Saturday, Allen Renquist and I finally arrived at the Berjaya Times Square Hotel here in the center of Kuala Lumpur only 31 and a half uneventful hours later. Needless to say, I am ready to stretch out and get some solid rest. And that will happen, but not before a nice hot shower.

I am thoroughly excited to be here. Tomorrow morning we start this year’s International Affiliate Summit, where we gather all the directors of our Stop Hunger Now international affiliates for 5 days of celebration, training, networking and fellowship. Even though I can only be here for the first 3 days of the event I know it is going to be a great experience reconnecting with all our affiliate leaders.

There will be folks from South Africa, Italy, India, Peru, the Philippines and of course, our Malaysia Stop Hunger Now office who is our host for this year’s summit. Stop Hunger Now has grown into a true international hunger relief organization, and that is part of what we will be celebrating over the next few days. We are helping lead a global movement that will eradicate hunger in our lifetime.

More to come, but now a shower and bed. Tomorrow is another day.

nothing Christian in Xenophobia

Normally, I do not think too highly of resolutions and statements issued by boards and other legislative bodies. Words are cheap. I am much more impressed with action.  However,I applaud this statement by the World Methodist Council.

I have been in South Africa numerous times and have seen firsthand the violence brought about by irrational xenophobia. I also know and am proud to call Ivan Abrahams, and my friend. I have seen him struggle with this issue when he was Bishop of the Methodist Church of South Africa. He has a true heart for the oppressed, the refugee and the stranger in our midst. He is a man of faith and action.

I have also visited with refugees camped in Methodist Church sanctuaries in the heart of Johannesburg. I have heard their stories and felt their fear.

I have seen the anger and rage directed at these refugees. It is too often incited by those with hidden agendas and those whose motives should be held up for closer inspection. It is manufactured on fear and an appeal to nationalism.

Xenophobia is the fear of the stranger. There’s nothing Christian in such a response. Perfect love casts out fear.

World Methodist Council Issues Statement Against Attacks on Foreigners in South Africa

17 April 2015

 

Peace March in Durban, South Africa on 16 April 2016.
Photo Credit: KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Government

In the wake of escalating violence against foreign nationals, refugees and asylum seekers in the Republic of South Africa, World Methodist Council representatives express concern and disappointment at these clear violations of human rights. General Secretary Ivan Abrahams and the Social Justice Committee of the World Methodist Council issued this joint statement today condemning the violence and attacks:The World Methodist Council condemns these attacks which so clearly undermine human rights and dignity. We applaud the actions of Methodist family members within the Republic of South Africa who have stood up against these human rights violations.  We also welcome the recent statements of President Zuma and senior government officials. We further support the marches and events held to bring awareness to take a stance against such atrocities. We pray that they are successful in continuing to promote initiatives toward peaceful coexistence. We implore the South African government to protect the rights of all people as enshrined in its Constitution. We further call on Methodists and Wesleyans within the neighboring countries of South Africa to stand in solidarity with and aid all those affected by these attacks. We are one human race. Let us all continue to pray and speak out against the injustices throughout our world.