In1999 Jim Cantelon stood on the shores of the Indian Ocean. Here he felt called to minister to Orphans & Widows impacted by HIV and AIDS. Fast forward to 2019 and he was once again able to stand in the same spot.
It started with what/who he knew: African pastors and churches who had brought him from Jerusalem to guest speak in the 1980’s. The relationships established in those years gave the ministry an access point for our first few years of WOW’s engagement with thousands victimized by the HIV and AIDS pandemic. And those pastors and churches became our first frontline “champions” in our Home Based Care (HBC) ministry to affected orphans and widows in desperately impoverished regions.
Indeed our “first responders” and ongoing angels of mercy were/are all local church based volunteers. This is vital because a core value of sustainable ministry must be the “hands and feet of Jesus” from the community reaching out to the perishing.
A big part of founding WOW was casting vision to African pastors to engage their congregants in a vast coordinated commitment to HBC in their towns and villages. So we convened, sponsored, and spoke at several pastors’ conferences with anywhere from 20 to 4000 in attendance. The vision caught on and we were able to identify and engage with small (now large) ministries who have become a significant inter-country network. Hundreds of thousands of man hours have been expended in ministry to “the least of these”(Matthew 25:40-45) by these faithful partners. It’s truly humbling to see Jesus at work through these servants of God.
WOW just keeps on growing. That’s because the Lord is “a father to the fatherless and a defender of widows “(Psalm 68:5). That day the Lord gave him 2 words: “Catalyst” and “Every Church a Mother Teresa”. And for 20 years we have been faithful to that call!