It has now been THREE years since I first left for Malawi. Three!! It’s remarkable for me to look back at each individual year and see how I’ve personally grown along with the work I am doing over there. Here’s a brief recap:
Year 1: Taught high school math and fundraised for a few houses.
Now it’s time for Year 4 and I couldn’t be more excited about what God has in store. Looking back on the past three years, it would seem that each individual year has culminated in what I hope to accomplish during this next year. But, I need your help!
First, let me explain that I am 100% dependent on your support. This means I don’t take ANY salary from HOWMs, Village Fridays, the World Race, or ANYTHING else with which I am involved. I am entirely dependent on your help to do the things that I do.
With that qualification, let me explain that I have plans for this year that literally involve changing the world. I’ve been working hard on a project (behind the scenes) that I believe will revolutionize online giving. You’ll be hearing more about this exciting new project in September, after the school year at Girls Shine Academy begins!
Will you prayerfully consider financially partnering with me to help me continue the work that I am doing? I need to raise $25,000 for my personal expenses. I will eagerly accept both one-time and monthly donations.
Give here: https://www.abcsupportsite.net/onlinegifts/?65 (all donations are tax-deductible)
P.S. As always, please reach out to me with ANY questions you may have: email@example.com.
I know, I know. You’re exhausted. Everywhere you look there’s a new cause asking for your time, money and attention. There are definitely some messed up things in this world. And getting involved in any of them is a tough leap to make. Once you get involved in one cause, you’ve then crossed some chasm where you might feel responsible to start caring about all the other causes. And then you won’t be able to enjoy any of your wealth because money spent on yourself is money not spent on relieving the suffering that millions are enduring around the world.
But, listen. This is important. You have a limited time on this earth and you will be held accountable for your actions. Those actions include how you spend your time, money and attention.
I’m not going say that Malaria is THE ULTIMATE MOST IMPORTANT cause you can get involved in. But it is a supremely important one. Here’s why:
1. It’s preventable.
Can you believe that a disease that takes so many lives, is actually preventable? I’ve lived in Sub-saharan Africa for 2.5 years and never gotten Malaria. I take a pill daily, I apply bug spray at night time, and I sleep under a mosquito net.
People who are currently contracting Malaria could live a life where they don’t have to worry about it. But there’s a massive shortage of education and resources. How do we overcome this?
2. We could see it end in our lifetime. Keyword: could.
Remember AIDS? Remember how it was the number one global killer a short 10 years ago? It’s not anymore. We have medicine that’s cheap and when people take it, they keep living. AIDS related deaths are dropping DRAMATICALLY.
A big reason this happened was because AIDS was a scary thing to the Western world. And when things scare the Western world, they do something about it until it’s no longer a problem (exhibit B: Ebola. It’s gone).
Certain people in certain corners of the Western World seem to care about Malaria. But it’s definitely not a prominent concern. If it becomes one, we could see this horrific disease end in our lifetime. But it starts with YOU. YOU have to confidently stand on the front lines and wait for others to join you. Following the crowd means things will stay the same.
3. The numbers.
One million die from Malaria every year. 300–600 million contract Malaria every year. And 40% of the world lives in an area that’s at-risk for Malaria. These are just numbers that will wash over your head because they’re incomprehensible. But caring about Malaria (and proving that care by doing something about it) is showing sympathy to a huge number of people.
I don’t want to go too far with this. But you could almost make the case thatnot caring about Malaria is equivalent to not caring about 40% of the people on this planet. The same planet that you live on!
4. It MOST lethal to kids under 5 years old.
AIDS had a bad reputation for a long time because it was often associated with irresponsible behavior. That’s not the case with Malaria. 90% of the people who die from Malaria are children under 5 years old. They’re innocent and have done nothing to deserve that fate. It’s not fair.
5. It’s really painful.
I’ve been fortunate enough never to contract Malaria. But I’ve had several friends get it and it’s excruciating. 100% of the time people describe it as the worst disease they’ve every gotten. You might think, “Oh well, at least you can just sleep through the pain, right?” Nope. You try and rest but wake up shortly afterwards because of your body’s incessant aching.
That sounds awful enough for us Westerners who get to take sicks days and have access to hospitals with morphine. But what if you lived in a world where your very livelihood depended on manual labor? If you don’t get up and farm, you could lose your crops and have zero income for the year. The stakes are higher for the people who are most affected by this disease.
6. Those affected by Malaria care about you.
This is a softer point, but an important one. When the attacks happened in Paris this year, I got sympathy texts from friends in Malawi. They were upset that the Western world was under attack.
They don’t spend time worrying that Westerners “are more privileged.” They see them the same way they see everyone else: as people. And my guess is that if they could do something to help you, they would.
7. You can do something about it right now.
A lot of times the suffering of this world can be paralyzing. When you hear about government corruption, sex slavery or ISIS you might despair because you have no idea what can be done.
That’s not the case with Malaria. You can donate a mosquito net RIGHT NOW and watch me hand out the nets to a rural Malawian village in January.
2015 has been one of my favorite years. I’ll list some highlights:
- Started a YouTube series called Village Fridays and got to personally be a part of changing lives in Malawi with the help of hundreds of other generous people in the States. So far the series has raised nearly $8,000and I expect even more before we land in 2016.
- Started working with the World Race as their Creative Director of Video. This includes pioneering World Race Films and directing a gritty Christmas drama.
- Added a fundraising platform to HOWMs so that people could use their personal creativity to build houses in Malawi. My favorite example is a 7-year old boy named Curtis who gave up his birthday and asked for donations instead.
- Added an Adopt-a-widow program so that donors can continue to support widows even after they have a new house. So far we have 4 widows who are under our care.
- Started the Bad Missionary Podcast which has amassed 3,500+ total downloads. Some of my favorite episodes were the interviews I did withSeth Barnes about comfort, Meghan Tschanz about sex trafficking andPaul Mphwiyo about being shot in the face.
- HOWMs became registered as a 501(c)3 and has built 53 houses for incredibly needy families with the help of hundreds of amazing donors. To thank those donors, we’ve made 25 videos and will continue to do that for every single house built.
- Started a secret Facebook group accessible only to people who have donated to one of the Village Fridays campaigns. Make a donation and you’ll get an invite which will allow you to see exclusive pictures and videos.
- I met my hero, Scott Harrison, and had lunch on his apartment roof.
Here are some dreams I have for 2016.
- Have you seen The Social Network? It’s directed by David Fincher, my favorite director. In it, Mark Zuckerberg and his co-founders all move into a house in Palo Alto to work on growing Facebook. Here’s my idea: what if we got a bunch of guys together to do a similar thing in Malawi? A bunch of creative/ambitious guys, living under one roof, who are all committed to bringing “start-up culture” to third world development issues. If you’re a motivated, intelligent, college-graduate male who wants to be a part of this, reach out to me. Very limited availability.
- Start a Poverty Touring Company. People often cite “gaining a more global perspective” as the main reason for wanting to travel. They then hop on a plane and visit the world’s wealthiest countries. If you want to get genuine global perspective, schedule a 10 day trip to Malawi and I’ll show you how HALF of the world actually lives. Prisons, market places, villages, etc. Reach out to me if you’re interested. I’m accepting groups of 4–12 people.
- Build a school or clinic by putting the Village Fridays model on steroids. What if we worked together to build an all girls school over 12 weeks? Week 1 I make a video to fundraise for excavating the grounds. Week 2 the grounds are excavated and I make a video to fundraise laying the foundation. We do this every week until there’s a school standing after 12 weeks of videos. What if I told you ALL of the building plans and teachers already exist and all we need are church sponsors who want to help make this happen? Talk to your church and see if they’re interested.
- Release a YouTube series called “A Month in Africa.” The concept is I take a camera with me everywhere I go and record my life for a month. I’ll release produced videos once a day for 30 days.
Thank you for the role that you have played in my life. I am very grateful to be doing the work that I am in Malawi. It would not be possible without the tremendous amount of love and support you have showed me over my lifetime.
After spending two years working at African Bible Colleges, I am pleased to announce that I will be making a strategic transition this year. I will continue to live on the ABC campus, and foster the relationships I have there. But, I will no longer be teaching, and instead, will be committing myself to full time ministry over this next year.
My focus, and my passion, is to help the poorest people in that community: the orphans and widows. I first fell in love with this work when I met Emily (https://vimeo.com/100076291) and from then on decided that I wanted to do everything in my power to help these people. This past year, that “help” included building 30 houses, installing 1 well, running 2 malaria clinics, and handing out micro-loans.
This next year, I will have four workers who are ready to help me in my various ministries: Blessings, Prince, Tushia, and Innocent. They all either grew up in a village or orphanage and they all are graduates of ABC. In order to use these strong men of faith most effectively, I will need to raise money for a second vehicle. They will have 24/7 access to this vehicle and will use it under my guidance for helping the poorest people of this area.
In addition to these funds, I will also need to fundraise enough money to cover my personal expenses. The amount of money that I hope to raise is $45,000. This includes $30,000 for the vehicle, fuel, mechanical, airfare, medical, web, legal, accounting and some medical expenses plus an additional $1,500/month for 10 months for my personal expenses.
God has given me a calling to help the people of Malawi. He has also given me a wealth of tools to do that over the past two years. The relationships, knowledge, manpower, and need are all there. The only thing left remaining are the resources.
Will you please join me in what I see as a calling that God has placed on my life: to help the poorest people in the world. The link to make a one time or recurring tax-deductible donations is: https://www.africanbiblecolleges.net/onlinegifts/?65
P.S. Please reach out to me with any questions you might have via firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m happy to answer any and all of them!
If you’re reading this, it’s probably because you took the time to sign up for my email updates and you’re interested in what I’m doing. So, thank you for that!
Here’s the latest:
- On July 19th, I’ll be giving a super interesting talk at Holy Trinity Church in Fairfax, VA. The service starts at 9:30 and I’m presenting afterwards at 11. Please come!
- I’m writing a book. Kickstarter campaign is in the works!
- A good friend of mine is trying to fundraise for a plane ticket so he can see his best friend get married. I think it’s a great idea!: http://www.gofundme.com/xarm9g
- I’m starting a podcast where me and a friend answer questions about Africa. Please send me your questions and you’ll be featured on our show!
- I wrote a blog post about same-sex marriage that’s received 3,200+ hits since I posted it: https://medium.com/@gretglyer/all-this-same-sex-marriage-talk-is-driving-me-insane-a1224484b220
- Lastly, I’m doing some serious fundraising this summer. If you can help with that, please contact me or just use this link: https://www.africanbiblecolleges.net/onlinegifts/?65
Thanks for reading! You can contact me via email@example.com or leave a comment.