Updated: Mar 11, 2019
Growing up as the youngest of five children, I did not get my own bedroom until my junior year of high school. That's because every sibling but one had finally left the house. It was on the third floor, a converted attic space with a low ceiling and unconventional walls. I loved that room. The first thing I did was prepare it to be my own, plastering the walls with maps from the National Geographic. Every part of the globe was represented. Maybe that's where I developed a wanderlust to see the world. One thing is certain; it was a big deal. I would sit and write and dream of life. It was my sanctuary.
In today's world, especially in America with sprawling homes in gated communities, it's not a big deal to have your own room from day one. Our kids never shared a bedroom growing up. They even had their own bathrooms most of that time. We think that's important, if not essential, in how we live - almost a basic human right in the Western creed of life.
But for most of the world it's a foreign concept (reality check: this is true in many parts of non-suburban America as well). In Malawi, 80% of the people live in small huts in rural villages. Whole families live in one or maybe two rooms. Anne tells the story of sharing one 10' x 10' room with her siblings. Nothing on the walls. There were no beds; just dirt floors on which to play and sleep. It’s a common scene across MalawI. Dreams are born but don’t survive in these conditions; they too often die with the individuals inside. This is especially true with pregnant mothers. They don't get to prepare a room for their new born babies. They just hope to live through the birth and bring a healthy baby home to a crowded house. Even it they make it to the district hospital, their odds only increase slightly. The facility is overcrowded and lacks basic resources.
That's why we are opening the birthing center at Pothawira in the next few months. We're preparing rooms so mothers and babies can survive. There will be up to 20 rooms. There will be a clean bed, adequate supplies, and outstanding medical care. The women and children don't get to stay there for life. But they get to live. It will be a sanctuary.
So we invite you, as you're picking out new furniture for your study, or decorating a nursery, or replacing the stained carpet in the game room, to help us prepare another room. There are eight individuals climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro in June to support the birthing center and prepare for a surgical center. They want to raise $50,000. You can support them at www.h4h2019.com. Almost 30 individuals from Massachusetts are traveling to Pothawira in June to work in the clinic, district hospital and school. They are preparing a converted container for the pharmacy and bringing additional surgery capabilities to the region. They want to raise $30,000. We will hold an online auction in April to support their efforts. They are preparing rooms.
As I reflect back on my life, there are times I think about those maps. I know they have long since faded if they are even still there. But I am thankful that God has allowed me to visit many of those countries, especially Malawi. He brought dreams to life, just like he wants to do with the mothers and babies who will fill our birthing center in the near future.
Come join us in the journey. Together, we can impact lives who will change the world!
"My Father's house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?" John 14:2