Monday, July 27, 2015

{Guest Blogger} Introducing Moyo
By Ben Rawlins, Moyo Staff 

When it comes to spirituality and justice, many Christians view these two parts of life and faith as opposed. I’m a contemplative, one person claims. Another says, I’m an activist. But why must we view these two beautiful and necessary aspects of the Christian life as antithetical?

At Moyo, we’re trying to re-imagine the Christian call to spirituality and justice, following in the footsteps of organizations like UMVIM that believe in strong theological thinking as the cornerstone of mission work. Moyo is an interactive website that provides experiences for visitors to confront issues of global importance, engage these issues spiritually, and discover ways to act on them in the world. Through the experience on the website, visitors can begin to integrate the “being” and “doing” of life.

On the website, a visitor engages with the issues through a Guided Path. The Guided Path starts with an Encounter, allowing the visitor to learn more about the issue. Then, the visitor moves to a Reflection, which provides a reflective type of experience. Lastly, the visitor moves to an Action. The Action shows different ways of engaging the issue in the world. The Guided Path offers experiences with a variety of creative content – videos, photographs, prose, and poetry. The website also has The Feed, which is a blog-like feature. On The Feed, we’ll offer diverse perspectives on current events and global issues. All together, these experiences are a tool for visitors to see contemplation and action in new ways and engage in the world with spiritually infused, justice-oriented action.

Without a doubt, UMVIM’s mission aligns with the experiences that Moyo provides. Like UMVIM, we want to see “Christian love in action” and start conversations that move people of faith to combine their spirituality with justice action. 

Our website has just recently become live, and we’re launching our first two topics: Water &Restoration of Life and Disaster & Human Dignity. Both of these topics reflect work that UMVIM does all over the world. On Moyo, we feature UMVIM on an Action as a suggested way to volunteer for disaster relief.

How can you become involved? First, we would love for you to visit the website – feel free to send feedback to us or share with people who you believe might be interested in the mission of Moyo. We’re also looking for contributors to submit creative content to the website! Please share your voice and experiences to Moyo. You can check out our Submission Website for more information on how to do so or you can email the Moyo Team.

As stated above, Moyo is a tool that can provide new ways of thinking about spirituality and justice. We are so grateful that we can partner with groups like UMVIM who complement our mission in such important ways. Moyo is a community – we’re glad you can be a part of it. 

Questions? Contact Jenn Bryant ( or Ben Rawlins (

Monday, July 13, 2015

{Guest Blogger} Michael Franklin of AHMEN

Michael Franklin is one of the driving forces behind the Alabama-Honduran Medical Educational Network (AHMEN), a ministry that partners with volunteers and organizations to share the love of Christ in Honduras through medical relief and educational development. Michael and the Rio de Agua Viva (River of Living Water) team just returned from their most recent journey to Honduras; we love the community empowerment model of AHMEN and we invited him to share a little more about the the types of unique, sustainable service that they were part of while there. AHMEN also benefits from strong team leaders and volunteers, and Michael is one of the best UMVIM trainers out there. Read on to learn more about some of the exciting projects AHMEN is a part of in Honduras, and how to join one of their upcoming teams!
Teachers use homework as a teaching tool, a way for young minds to hash out any questions they have about what they are learning and why they are learning it. AHMEN's Río de Agua Viva team sent home assignments with our "students" for the very same reason. The Río team had a jam-packed schedule this year, and we did our best to follow it. Of the many different activities we planned, the following three took precedence:
Review Marketing and Pricing Techniques at Los Laureles Jewelry School
Los Laureles is the city dump community in La Ceiba, Atlántida, Honduras where the De La Montaña Al Mar Team Mothers of Limited Means started a jewelry school in 2012. The Río team works there by helping the students develop their artistry and business skills. This year's team specifically taught pricing and marketing. The first day’s lesson ended with us giving them a little bit of homework: we asked the students to bring back examples of names for their school/business reflecting why they are making jewelry. Would you believe they came back with four names that they then merged into one?! Now, the jewelry students are calling themselves “Pequeñas Bisuteras Alcansando Un Sueño , which means “Small Beads Realizing A Dream.”

Facilitate Follow-Up Interviews with the ASI-Cusuna Graduates

After completing the 3-year training, ASI graduates take an aspect of their training and replicated a training program on that subject in their home towns. So last December we asked ASI-Cusuna's local coordinator, Pastor Nahun Flores, if he would gather the graduates so they could tell us about their project ideas. Not only did they arrive ready to tell us about their project ideas, they were ready to tell us about the project they were already implementing in clean water, First Aid, HIV/AIDS, human rights, environmental preservation, and more. What's even more interesting is that each of the agents asked that we connect them with the resources they need to build a sustainable network of success for their projects!

Initiate Exploratory ASI-Raistá Workshops
An ASI-Cusuna graduate from La Moskitia approached the Río team last year with a request to replicate his entire 3-year training from Cusuna in La Moskitia. Pastor Willington Tejada said that the several communities where he is a preacher are far too remote, with too many people interested in the workshops to replicate just a single aspect of his training. With the help of Willington, Nahun, and Byron Morales, the Río team taught a 2-day lesson on Communications, Pediatric Care, “Worms & Germs” and First Aid. We also collaborated with Agua con Bendiciones (Water with Blessings) to provide a complete training whereby each agent was awarded with, and trained to use, their own Sawyer water filter. Two members of the Río team also invited the potential community agents to bring a sample from their local source to be tested. Guess who did their homework?

A completed homework assignment is a sign that a student considers education important.  More importantly, however, that the Río team's students returned to class with their homework means they want to be a part of the conversation.

Río de Agua Viva is not the answer to any Honduran community's problems. We merely share information.  AHMEN Community Empowerment Program leader Byron Morales provides motivation and examples of solutions similar groups have used to solve similar problems. Local communities provide the social capital. Separately, we can all make a dent, but together we are the difference.

We invite you to learn more about these initiatives or join our team in any capacity. Visit our site or contact me here to learn more today!