As we come to the end of another year, we at HHI would like to say a heart-felt “thank you” to you all on behalf of our partners in India and Zambia and all the people that you have helped through them.
At the start of the pandemic, the experts predicted that charities would see their income drop substantially – by a quarter or even a third. You have proved the experts wrong. In 2000 you gave us more than in 1999, and in 2021 you gave us even more. Indeed, in 2021 our income was the highest since 2011.
And it has been a year of great need. Lockdowns, Covid-related deaths, job losses and climate change have added to the usual litany of personal and societal needs. Your generosity has enabled us to help in unprecedented ways. We have been able to expand our work: last year we sent more money to Zambia and India than any year since 2012 (when we were using the money given in 2011).
At times we wondered how we would cope. At one point earlier this year we realised that our money had run out, and we wondered what we should do. The next day we had a telephone call: a significant bequest was on its way. God has been faithful. You have been faithful.
May God bless you all in 2022.
This has recently arrived in my Facebook feed. It is a moving tribute to a great man.
Eighty-three-year-old Tom Sutherland lives in an old house in the beautiful coastal village of Portfair, Victoria, on the south coast of Australia. He is not bothered by his own old age, illness or fear of death. On the contrary, the grief of that man is only for the helpless children, the orphans, the sick and the helpless old people who are waiting in the southernmost Malayalam country of India, across this ocean and the other ocean! Forty years ago, as an assignment, Tom Sutherland, an Australian, lit himself up as a beacon to alleviate the suffering and hunger of the poor in the hilly region of south Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. Finally last year, the philanthropist returned to his homeland suddenly, unable to untie the knot of the changed visa rules and in the throes of old age and disease.
Saip who loved India
Tom Brother, who firmly believed that words could not replace action, was too stingy to speak. Those silent actions that did not fade away were far more valuable and weighty than sound. He tried to recall some memories in a soft voice to the repeated inquiries of the day:
“Don’t be afraid! I am here with good news for you, which will bring great joy to all of the people” Luke Ch1, 10
Infant holy, infant lowly,
For His bed a cattle stall;
Oxen lowing, little knowing
Christ, the babe, is Lord of all.
Swift are winging, angels singing,
Noels ringing, tidings bringing:
Christ the babe is Lord of all.
Flocks were sleeping, shepherds keeping
Vigil till the morning new
Saw the glory, heard the story,
Tidings of a gospel true.
Thus rejoicing, free from sorrow,
Praises voicing greet the morrow:
Christ the babe was born for you.
From the Polish, E M G Reed (1885-1933)
For many people, Christmas is now done and dusted… all bar the clearing up! For Christians, however, the Good News of the birth of our Lord and Saviour continues to give joy; a great joy which we are eager to share with others. And what is more, Advent continues for every Christian, regardless of our race, culture and Christmas traditions because we await the return of Jesus.
The Advent messages that have been shared this season have offered us the opportunity to glimpse the developments of some ongoing projects, celebrate noteworthy successes and pray together that we might meet those new needs that now challenge us. Our HHI family has a new togetherness and we have been truly blessed.
May we, just as Mary did, ‘ponder these things’ in our hearts. (Luke 2:19)
A final prayer from Ron
“We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and the love you have for all the saints.” (Col. 1:3,4)
Ron Prosser, our patron, writes
Tom Sutherland writes
Over the years during the time of advent I would be asked to speak at a church or a function and as I dreaded speaking publicly in Malayalam such talks were always the same short memorised message. Here it is, slightly changed
Isaiah 9 :6 ' for unto us a child is born'.
When nations want to change things they plan and organise, they spend trillions, they send ships and bombs and troops. When God wants to change things He sends a baby -- a baby named Gandhi to liberate India, a baby named Mandella to end apartheid, a baby named Ron to start Health Help International and babies like the rest of us to work for The Kingdom. And God, at the first Christmas, being confronted with the misery of His children, sent himself as a baby -- helpless, powerless, vulnerable -- to overcome the power of cruelty and greed and injustice with the power of suffering love.
I'm sending Mother Teresa's prayer as I feel it sums up what HHI is all about.
O God, we pray for all those in our world
who are suffering from injustice.
For those who are discriminated against
because of their race, colour or religion;
For those imprisoned
for working for the relief of oppression;
For those who are hounded for speaking the inconvenient truth;
For those tempted to violence
as a cry against overwhelming hardship;
For those deprived of reasonable health and education;
For those suffering from hunger and famine;
For those too weak to help themselves
‘Lord give us your spirit, your Spirit that is love,
Lord, fill us with your life, freely given for the world.
Where children cry, let us wipe their tears away,
And where children fall, let us raise them to their feet.
Where there is pain, let us be your healing hands,
And where there is grief, let us comfort with your love.’
Sandy Hardiman - Hymns and Psalms 319 (MHB)
As the Health Help Zambia staff approach the Christmas holy days we ask God’s blessing on them and their families.
It has been a very challenging few months for them all. They have dealt with successive waves of Covid variants, heavy rains and the very tragic and unexpected loss of their lovely friend and colleague Carole Nzila. Definitely unprecedented times for the HHZ family.
We give thanks for the guidance and leadership shown by the trustees and for the support given by the staff to the new administrator, Brenda, who is going forward in Carole’s role. May all the HHZ team enjoy their break, feel God’s spirit in their lives and return restored in the New Year.
Love is patient and kind (1 Corinthians chapter 13 verse 4)
Ian Gow writes from Scotland
I have been amazed this last year that when lives in this country have been restricted, reduced and affected by Covid, many supporters have increased their help for the Banyan Tree tuition groups. Kindness is not easy to define it can be a mixture of many things: thoughtfulness, generosity and helping others, but often kindness is not spectacular. We believe that education for the less fortunate will profit all. On day one Ron talked about planting a tree and watching it grow – we believe education will help a person grow, a community grow and in turn a nation to grow.
Our heavenly Father, thank you for the opportunity to help a nation grow. Bless those who receive this help and give them strength to achieve their potential.
[Our thanks to Ian who raises money in Scotland to fund three of these tuition groups.]
Pastor Fundi writes again
Deuteronomy 15:11 – “For the poor will never cease from the land; therefore, I command you, saying, you shall open your hand wide to your brother, to your poor, and your needy in your land.”
CHONGO SPECIAL SCHOOL – MONZE DISTRICT
Chongo Special School is in the outskirts of Monze District of Southern Province of Zambia and goes up to grade twelve (12). The school which is an inclusive education has a total number of 760 learners of which 39 learners are physically challenged and are in boarding due to the distance. The school also enrolls learners who attain grade 8 from other special schools like Nanga Special School. [In the past HHI has helped these disabled children in various ways.]
Chongo Special School is faced with a lot of challenges to mention a few among them:
Lack of proper kitchen