Monday, May 24, 2010

A Seed Sown to Grow in Africa...

"I have come to realize that we all sow seeds everyday. By our actions we sow both good and bad seeds, we then live in the landscape we have created" Dr. Jim Hake shared this reflection on Sunday, at St. John the Evangelist Church in Los Angeles.

Dr. Jim and Mrs. Terry Hake were commissioned, blessed and sent forth this weekend for a three year assignment to Cameroon in West Africa. I wanted to take this blog post and share with you their words of wisdom.

Terry spoke of a faith journey that brought them to this day. She noted that God had sent her three messages that helped her realize that she too was being called to serve as a lay missionary, to teach in the Diocese of Bemenda. Jim shared that he had wanted to be a medical missionary since he first heard a priest from Africa on Mission Sunday 35 years ago while still in medical school.

The seed planted, had been kept buried until 2003 when he and Terry attended the annual Retreat / Seminar offered for doctors who are considering serving short-term. Subsequently, Jim and Terry did serve short-term assignments in both Cameroon and Zimbabwe. Retiring from his Family Practice in Moses Lake, WA, last year, Jim was ready to take the next step, and he and Terry came to Los Angeles in January 2010 and joined the formation program.

Jim completed his reflection by saying, “As we head out we ask for your prayers.”

I would like to ask that you remember Jim, Terry and all of our Mission Doctors serving in Africa and Latin America in your prayers tonight, sowing a seed of mission in your own heart.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Mother's Day Around the World

Mother's Day in the US is this Sunday, May 9, an opportunity for children of all ages to appreciate their own mothers and celebrate the role of mothers around the world. And while my own Mother's Day will be filled with a few of my favorite things; family, good food and just a little time to relax, my thoughts will inevitably travel not only to my own mother but to all mothers. 

The State of the World's Mother's
report recently came out reporting the best and worse places in the world to be a mother. The report ranks 160 countries based on health, nutrition, education and political data. Our own country, the US, ranked 14 in the developed world, while 8 of the lowest ranking are Countries in Sub Saharan Africa.
  • A women giving birth in Cameroon has a 1 in 100 chance of dying in childbirth, a number 100 times greater than the US.
  • The life expectancy of a women in Zimbabwe is now 44 years, up from a previous record shattering 35 years just a few years ago.
  • A mother in Uganda faces an infant mortality rate 10 times greater than a child born in the US, and a risk that her child will die before their 5th birthday is 131 in 1000, vs. 8 in 1000 in our country. *
Mission Doctor, Brent Burket, M.D., now working in Guatemala wrote recently in his blog about the lives of the mothers he has observed there. The pace of their day from the moment that they awake to the time they go to bed, their tasks to collecting water, moving to the water’s edge to wash clothes, collecting wood for a cooking fire, preparing meals – every moment of every day part of their efforts to provide for their families and this is where he notes there exists the similarity between his own mother, sisters and wife, their care for the family.

Mothers everywhere are striving to provide for their children. Most mothers around the world however are not as fortunate as I am, having four healthy married adult children.
As I reflect on this time with my children and their spouses this Sunday, my heart is overflowing with gratitude for what I have, and I feel the need to raise a prayer for mothers everywhere.

Those who struggle today to bring life into an uncertain world, those who sit at the bedside of a sick child, and those who are facing - what in our hearts we know to be the most unnatural order - laying a child to rest.
May we find ways to support women around the world through our prayers and actions to make the world a safer and healthier place for all mothers and their children.