Mission in Malawi

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 18, 2007

The Selma Times-Journal

Seven Selmians exchanged goodbyes with family and friends in the First Baptist Church parking lot on Friday; the beginning of an eight-day mission trip to the African Republic of Malawi.

“I got my passport and I got Jesus,” said Karl Lewis as he exited his vehicle. “And that’s all I need.”

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The seven are among 28 people from Georgia and Mississippi to share the word of God and provide general medical care to the Malawi people, said Dr. Park Chittom, one of three physicians on the mission.

“We’ll be there doing whatever the Lord tells us to do,” Chittom said.

Chittom added that AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis are common diseases in Malawi, where the average age of a citizen is 16 due to lack of healthcare.

Selma City Councilwoman Dr. Geraldine Allen, who is a family nurse practictioner, said the group will care for minor scrapes and cuts as well as administer malaria medicine to fend off infections

This isn’t Allen’s first medical mission excursion, having traveled to Belarus, Russia, to care for children.

“I like to give back. I’m all about service,” Allen said. “So many people have been good to me and God has been good to me, so we have to help others.

“We’re just doing the mission for the Lord.”

It will take three days for the missionaries to reach their destination.

Packing their belongings in two sports utility vehicles, the group drove from Selma to Jackson, Miss., where they will catch a flight to Detroit, Mich.

From Detroit they will fly to London, then to Zimbabwe and finally Malawi.

The Southern Baptist Convention International Mission Board coordinated the trip.

Before departing, the group formed a circle and joined hands in prayer; asking God to open the hearts of the Malawi people to His word, and asking for a safe return home.