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Issue 11-7

Wouldn't You Like to Do Something Good for the Women of the World?
(with "Voluntourism Journey to Kenya" letter)

The moment I write the title “Wouldn’t You Like to Do Something Good for the Women of the World,” I am afraid I will lose my male readers. So before continuing, let me make the point that in all of history one of the greatest advocates for the empowerment and the advancement of women was our Lord, Jesus Christ. Read Luke, the whole book, and ask why the beloved physician included so many stories of Christ’s interaction with old women, young women, healthy and unhealthy women. I have concluded and have often taught that Jesus was the Healer of Women. He believed in them, sustained them, often commended them, traveled with them, looked on them as among His chief boosters.

So when I ask the question, “Wouldn’t you like to do something good for the women of the world?”, I am extremely conscious of the fact that Christian men (as well as Christian women) must become active advocates for helping to improve the appalling conditions that entrap and degrade a good 80% of the women of the world.

I often wake up thinking, Oh thank God that I get to do what I do. For some reason I have been positioned to be in a place where I can influence the betterment of women in over 100 countries in the world. The men on the Board of Directors of Medical Ambassadors International have allowed me to be champion of the Women’s Cycle of Life training, a unique, learner-centered, highly participatory teaching methodology that seamlessly integrates Scripture with practical lessons on women’s health.

In fact, David and I leave on April 11 to take Women’s Cycle of Life training with African counterparts. As a member of the Board of Directors, I have taken the weeklong training TOT1 (Training of Trainers One); now I am credentialed to take the training for WCL. This means I will be able to train Women’s Cycle of Life trainers as well. So hats off to the men on the Medical Ambassadors International board who are some of the greatest advocates of doing something good for the women of the world that I know. They have found funding for us, pushed us to become better organized and are highly interested in encouraging the growth of this division of the Medical Ambassadors ministry.

So I honor the men of the church who have become champions for the underprivileged, under-resourced women of the world, for those women who live in an atmosphere of oppression and abuse.

Will you pray for us as we are in Africa?
•  Pray for travel mercies—that is a phrase that has poignant meaning as David and I age.
•  Pray that the filming we will be doing for Medical Ambassadors International will go well; it is extremely difficult to capture the footage necessary with some of the travel and communication differences that occur in cross-cultural environments.
•  Pray that our work with the team of Global Bag Project colleagues will go well and that we will move quickly to self-sufficiency for the Kenya GBP Project.


We would love to get to know you better…

Won’t you join us on a Voluntourism Journey to Kenya !
September 29 – October 9, 2012

David and I will leave from Chicago on Friday, September 28 and land in Nairobi on Saturday, the 29th. The 10-day experience will end on October 9 when many of us will fly back to the States.

Will you prayerfully consider whether this opportunity is God’s idea for you?

The voluntourism program, a careful balance of focused tourism and hands-on interaction with our African friends, is open for registration. We are looking for men and women who can contribute their skills to the on-going growth of Global Bag Project Kenya. If you have any of the below skills, we would welcome your help.

• Experience with the tourism industry
• Sewing expertise
• Marketing ideas
• Fundraising experience
• A background in business; entrepreneurial instincts; marketing ideas
• Simple construction abilities
• Love of shopping (particularly in tourist markets!)
• Previous exposure in developing countries
• Pragmatic problem-solving capabilities
• Relational gifts
• Joy about cross-cultural diversity
• Writing, social networking, and/or photography skill-sets

The Global Bag Project workers in Kenya are widows with HIV/AIDS or single mothers without husbands to help them raise their children. We cannot emphasize how important it is for compassionate men to come alongside our friends and demonstrate concern and support in tangible ways.

GBP seamstresses in Kibera
Global Bag Project seamstresses in Kibera slums

GBP seamstresses at Africa Int'l
Global Bag Project seamstresses at Africa Int'l University

We will be housed in the beautiful Kijiji guest houses at Africa International University (in the suburb of Karen outside Nairobi) where GBP Kenya has friends, an office and a sewing room. We’ll take most of our meals on campus in the Kijiji dining room. This will allow us optimum time to meet and get to know our African colleagues on the campus grounds and in the nearby Kibera Slums and to do volunteer work at this site.

Kijiji guest house
Kijiji Guest House

The tourism part of our journey will include:
Visiting long-established development projects such as Amani Ya Juu (the mother of all sewing centers starting with a handful of refugees now employing over 80 workers). Kazuri Beads, begun by Englishwoman Susan Woods over 30 years ago, which now employs over 300 workers and ships products all over the world. We will visit the artist colony at Kitengela Glass where the motto is “Nothing Is Wasted” (it certainly isn’t). This is a visually stunning experience. Trust us!

Kitengela Glass Artist Colony Art
Kitengela Glass Artist Colony Art

Imaginative building on Kitengela compound
Imaginative building on Kitengela compound

We’ll toss in some history—tea at Lake Naivasha Country Club in the Rift Valley for a taste of British Colonialism, lunch at a working tea farm beneath the Ngong Hills, and end with a two-day, two-night safari in the Maasai Mara during the remarkable migration season as thousands of zebra and wildebeests migrate back to the Serengeti in Tanzania. Believe us, this is a sight to behold, and for some, a once-in-a-lifetime adventure.

On safari in Nairobi, Kenya -- spotting lions
On safari in Nairobi, Kenya—spotting lions

The Serena Safari Lodge
The Serena Safari Lodge

The volunteer part of the journey will include:
- “Flipping” houses for a couple of seamstresses who need a little neighborly help; this will entail simple improvements to make a few homes more habitable for these families.
- Making décor improvements in some of the guest rooms in Kijiji. This will entail hands-on work, shopping in the roadside markets for furniture upgrades and decorations, and paying to have the rooms repainted. Year-round guests who stay at Kijiji often buy bag products from the curio shop or sewing room.
- Working in the sewing rooms to create new bag product prototypes and teaching additional sewing skills that need to be learned.
- Attending church at Nairobi Chapel.
- Shopping for fabrics in the Somali fabric market or in the tourist markets for sewing projects.

The sewing room in Amani Ya Juu
The sewing room in Amani Ya Juu

Tent Church at Nairobi Chapel
Tent Church at Nairobi Chapel

The Somali fabric market
The Somali fabric market

Cost of the trip:
$3500 land fee, not including airfare. This is a high-end fee, including costs for the safari, and a stipend (which you will be receipted for as a donation) to capitalize buying fabrics, contributing to emergency funds, purchasing sewing machines, and purchasing décor for the Kijii guest-house rooms. We are negotiating an alternate safari event, hoping to reduce the fee by around $1000.

Registering for the trip:
If you wish to join us, we need you to inform us by April. This intent requires a $500 down-payment. If you choose to cancel, the $500 can only be returned if you cancel by August 15. After that date, down-payments will have been made to venders, and refunds will unfortunately not be possible. After April, we will make air-travel plans in case there is a group that wants to leave and return to Chicago together.

Our voluntourism journey will actually begin in May with twice-monthly conference training calls.
This way you will be acquainted and informed before landing in Kenya.

When you register, we will send detailed information, a firm list of recommended reading, further explanation about the donation stipend included in your fee, alternate safari event to cut costs, Web links for doing your own research (all the necessary travel information that comes with a journey of this kind—vaccinations, visas, etc.).

Contact Karen Mains via e-mail at or our Mainstay Ministries office phone (for further questions and a live voice) at 630-293-4500. Checks can be made payable to Global Bag Project and mailed to Box 30, Wheaton, IL 60187.

I can’t think of anything more wonderful than including people we love in this exciting, high-impact growth event.

David and Karen Mains


Karen's Blogs for This Coming Week

Link is Titles for this coming week are: "Reading Chagall’s Stained-Glass Windows"; "Finding the New Power Saw"; "Prayer Is Not What You Think It Is"; "How to Keep Alive the Interior Life"; "Slings and Arrows." Karen is capturing finding God in her everyday life. If you check out the blogs and think they would help others, will you please use the link to send them on to your Facebook friends?


The Soulish Food e-mails are being posted biweekly on the Hungry Souls Web site. Newcomers can look that over and decide if they want to register on the Web site to receive the biweekly newsletter. You might want to recommend this to friends also. They can go to

Karen Mains

Karen Mains

“I often wake up thinking, 'Oh, thank God that I get to do what I do. For some reason I have been positioned to be in a place where I can influence the betterment of women in over 100 countries in the world.'”

Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion

Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion
by Gregory Boyle

Tattoos on the Heart
by Gregory Boyle was recommended to me by three people and the book was given to us by two friends! Every one of them said, “You must read this book.” David jumped first into the pages and his response was so positive that I read the book concurrently—when he was at work or busy with other things.

All I can say is that I laughed and I cried and thanked God for writers who can make the work of God real in the world in such a way that captures the reality of grace. Brother David Boyle has run Homebody Industries, a gang-intervention program in the heart of the Boyle Heights district of Los Angeles, and tells stories both uplifting and heartbreaking of walking through these neighborhood with faith enough to believe that God would be present in the most desperate of circumstances.

All I can say is, “You must read this book.” It will renew your faith.

Some reviews from

“I heard Fr. Greg Boyle speak a few years ago at a conference in Los Angeles and he is without question the best speaker that I have ever heard. What is so impressive about his faith journey is that it is lived. The stories of human transformation described in the book are some of the most moving and inspiring spiritual narratives that I have encountered. At a time when it is so easy to become so cynical about institutional faith his writing breaks through with a spiritual force that reminds us of true meaning of faith.”

“It’s about what it means to be human, to seek the goodness within ourselves and everyone and everything around us. It is thoroughly entertaining, instructional, thought-provoking, inspirational, faith-restoring … I am halfway through the book and torn between devouring the rest in one sitting or drawing it out as long as possible. It’s one of those books that you know you will be sad when you reach the end because you loved it so much.”

Sojourners magazine writes: “Jaw-dropping. Boyle takes us through the human lifecycle of fall/grace/redemption again and again. Reading this book is a spiritually cleansing experience that won’t leave you the same. Tattoos on the Heart welcomes all of us to join in the “no matter whatness’ of God’s unconditional love.”

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