Consider a Trip to Southern Malawi

To register, simply download the application form below, fill it out and return it to Linda Gebhard at the address below. Applications must be submitted by February 15, 2019.

$3800* covers international airfare from Houston or Austin, accommodation, entrance fees and most meals.

This pilgrimage is limited to 20 people and a minimum of 8 is required for the trip to occur.

*Costs subject to change until airfare is purchased.

For more information contact:

Mark Mitchell at 512-695-4132 or

301 E. 8th St.
Austin, TX 78701
Attn: Linda Gebhard
512-217-1992 (Evenings and weekends)

WHI 2007 Pilgrims Engage
MDGs Firsthand!

AUSTIN, TEXAS (8/11/07) by Amy Case and Tom Gebhard - Thevalley approaching the village of Mindanti certainly seems desolate, especially in the dry season when the van of St. David's pilgrims approached it on May 31, 2007. And certainly these pilgrims are happy people, fascinated by the sights outside the van and enjoying the humor and support of fellow travelers within. Still, nothing in cross-cultural experience is ever as straightforward as it seems, and this trip was no exception: the parched landscape has much potential to provide for its people, and their optimism and energy defy all expectations. Nor is the pilgrims' experience uncomplicated; their joyous, carefree demeanor has not been achieved at a carefree spa vacation, rather through days of travel in hot, crowded van traversing dusty and bone-jarring roads flanked by extreme poverty.

Mindanti is one of the poorest of the many villages visited by the group of 11 during their pilgrimage. It is, however, the site of great hope for both pilgrim and the villager, because this is where the St. David's parish has been called to engage the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) firsthand, through the nonprofit organization established by parish members, Warm Heart International (WHI). During the 2005 pilgrimage to Malawi, James Tengatenga, Bishop of Southern Malawi, had some pilgrims visit Mindanti to see that the village suffered from a lack of water, and WHI set a goal to raise money to pay for a windmill powered water well that is being completed. In the meantime, another Episcopal congregation began the construction of a health clinic, primarily maternal, in Mindanti. Besides serving the village with water, the well will be connected directly to the health clinic. St. David's and WHI were challenged by Bishop Tengatenga, during the recent 2007 pilgrimage, to furnish the clinic upon its completion. With the assistance of Medical Bridges, this will be done.

By committing to help in Mindanti, WHI, St. David's and other diocesan churches are taking on the challenge of meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The well at Mindanti is part of MDG Goal No. 7 (Ensure Environmental Sustainability) and Target 10 (Halve the Proportion of People without Sustainable Access to Safe Drinking Water and Basic Sanitation). In helping to supply the clinic, the MDGs directly met are Goal 5 (Reduce Child Mortality) and Goal 6 (Improve Maternal Health), especially as Mindanti has a high birth rate among 12 and 13 year old females. Without access to sufficient safe drinking water, women must gather unsafe water, stand in long lines and walk long distances. When family illnesses or other conflicts prevent women from standing in line for water, the older girls in the family retrieve water instead of attending school. Therefore Millennium Development Goals 2 and 3 (Achieving Universal Primary Education and Promoting Gender Equality and Empower Women) are indirectly met by the existence of a local source of safe drinking water nearby. With a safe nearby well, girls can stay in school instead of covering for Mom, and women have more time to perform other family chores or outside work. Thus, many of the Millennium Development Goals are addressed by providing water wells.

In supporting a Simple Gifts program during the Christmas season, WHI has collected more than $5,000 to support a vocational education program at Lisule Orphanage in a rural area of Southern Malawi. Lisule Orphanage is a ministry of the Diocese of Southern Malawi to serve AIDS orphans in a remote area with a high incidence of AIDS. The money is used to raise chickens and teach carpentry, tin smithing, and tailoring. Graduates are provided with tools-of-the-trade to begin a career. This vocational support in the Diocese of Southern Malawi is directly supportive of Goal 8 (Development of a Global Partnership for Development) and Target 16 (Develop and Implement Strategies for Decent and Productive Work for Youth).

WHI has grown its active partnerships with several parishes including St. Luke's (Belton), St. Joseph's Chapel (Salado), St. Andrew's (Pearland), St. Thomas (College Station), and St. James (Conroe) in addition to our home base at St. David's (Austin). WHI project offerings have been added to the Missionary Funding Catalog of the Diocese of Texas. Anyone interested in learning more about WHI projects or future Malawi Pilgrimages can down load Pilgrimage application forms at the top of this Web page or or contact Mark Mitchell at 512-476-1027.

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