Author: Karen deBlieck

November 30, 2022

We had a VERY unusual experience last September in a village called Kapanula,Malawi. Over 600 orphans and widows, Home Based Care volunteers, chiefs, and pastors met us there for an all day event celebrating our 22 year ministry with them. Much dancing, singing, and speech making creating a minor dust storm! The main speech was from Chief Kapanula (after whom the village is named). He declared that he and his council had decided that we were no longer “Pastor Jim” and “Mama Kattie”, but we were now “King Ahasuaros” and “Queen Estherie”. “Just as they saved Israel from annihilation so too you...

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November 23, 2022

I’m no alarmist but the news lately re: the drying up of major rivers, is more than a touch concerning. The Rhine, Colorado, and Mississippi rivers have been at risk for a year or so, but recent news re: the historic Jordan and Tigris-Euphrates is troubling. These two rivers play a huge role in Iraq, Turkey, Jordan, and Israel. They are shared rivers forcing geo-political cooperation and compromise that is forcing these countries to grit their teeth in negotiations. But from a historico/biblical perspective these water crises are truly alarming. Not only is the story of ancient civilizations...

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November 9, 2022

There have been reports lately on the trend to “de-socialize” in terms of opting out of social media. The pressure to produce posts, tweets, and pics is getting too much for many, to say nothing of the compulsion to conform to social expectations. Social correctness has become the high maintenance twin of political correctness. One tires of appearing to be successful, happy, and healthy. The Bible says that we tend to “look on the outward appearance” whereas God “looks on the heart”.  We know intuitively that this is true. Social media is all about appearances, and as we “gild the lily” in...

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October 19, 2022

I’ve just received a report from our pastor/partner in Ukraine. He tells of the remarkable response of scores of churches to the flood of refugees from the war. They’ve been transformed into refugee centres where the fleeing women and children can find safety and care. This was/is something WOW committed to supporting even as we continue to see amazing growth in our work in sub-Saharan Africa and India. And there’s been a powerful after-effect to this justice seeking ministry. When these Ukrainian and Polish churches opened their hearts and facilities, they were mostly small with average attendance...

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October 5, 2022

My wife Kathy and I have just returned from Africa where we met with our champion ministries in South Africa, Zambia, and Malawi. It was good to connect after the 3 year Covid hiatus. We discovered, to our great surprise, that the pandemic has all but been forgotten in that vast continent. Yes, the vestiges of Covid still persist, especially in terms of the increase in daily living costs. Food prices, medical services, transportation and general expenses are all up, in some cases 100-200%, but morale is much higher than one might expect. Over half of Africa’s population is under the age of 25....

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September 7, 2022

The mind boggles at the environmental disasters that are dominating the news, the worst of all, at present, the flooding in Pakistan. It’s hard to comprehend the desperation of hundreds of thousands of mainly rural farmers, workers, and young families living on ribbons of roads, surrounded by brown water that continues to rise, without food, shelter, or anyone to help. They are already sick, tortured by exposure to the elements, and hopeless as they try to imagine a future when the waters finally recede. Their mud homes are gone, their fields ruined, and all infrastructure, as basic as it was,...

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August 24, 2022

A news headline caught my attention recently: “We are waiting for rain, for winter, and for God-Fighting a megafire in France”. It’s always the case that when we’re desperate we find ourselves, whether true believer, casual believer, or non-religious, intuitively reaching up for help. I came across a car accident one time and the injured man was limping around his damaged car, his wife groaning on the side of the road, both calling out “Oh my God, oh my God…help us! This is our default as humans. We’ve been made for God, we’re dependants, we are frail and vulnerable, and sudden adversity...

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August 10, 2022

I was reading Jesus’ response to his disciples’ question, “What will be the sign of your coming and the end of the age?” in Matthew 24. Jesus said,”You will hear of wars and rumors of wars; see that you are not alarmed; for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places: all this is but the beginning of birth pangs”. Then, after warning about the persecution that will fall on believers and the resulting apostasy of believers he goes on to say,” And this good news...

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July 20, 2022

I’ve been rereading “The Secret History of the IRA”. I first read it several years ago when I interviewed the author, Ed Maloney, former Northern Editor of the Irish Times and The Sunday Tribune. It’s a stunning work of investigative journalism. Much of the focus is on Gerry Adams a young man who rose from obscurity to become the dominant leader of the IRA. It’s a study on how a moment in history can reveal the inner strength and leadership capacities of formerly unknown people. As I read I think of Volodymyr Zelensky, the president of beleaguered Ukraine. This former comedian, due to the Russian...

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July 6, 2022

I think most of us have been blindsided by the importance of Ukraine. As Putin’s war continues to commit atrocities the entire world is feeling the consequences of the incremental unravelling of Ukraine’s place in the world. Everything from wiring harnesses for the auto industry to fuel costs to grain supplies has been disrupted. Africa especially is feeling the impact of the shutdown in wheat shipments from Ukraine, and the world food experts are issuing dire warnings about present and future food shortages and disturbing price hikes. We’re very aware of the early rumblings of future economic...

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