Margo Malone: Missionary Calls for Kenya
By Dianne Anderson
Leave the cell phones, iPads, luggage sized makeup kits, flat irons and other impressive bling accessories at home.
There won’t be much need for such creature comforts where ten fortunate women are getting ready to go for an experience more gratifying than any selfie could offer.
Margo Malone has led many missions to remote villages, but for those living in the lap of Orange County luxury, it can require a cultural shift to make the leap.
“If you’re used to having hot water when you turn on the faucet, and no plug-ins, it could be serious for some people,” she laughs. “If you have to use an outhouse, can you do that?”
Malone, a missionary with Second Baptist Church of Santa Ana, has been to Kenya a few times before, but not this particular village where they’re headed this summer. Some concerns include access to clean water, being able to grow food because of the lack of water, and sanitation.
Parts of Kenya are very metropolitan, such as Mombasa seaport and Nairobi, which is similar to Los Angeles. However, the village they will visit is drastically different than what most Americans are accustomed to.
Once outside the city, transportation is still pushcarts and a horse.
“You’ve got huts and ground for a living room floor, outhouses and no running water. When the sun goes down, your day is done,” she said.
They are interviewing and vetting individuals for the self-funded trip. There is a lot of interest, and the church is hosting meetings, educating people on the culture, and expectations for what they will do when they arrive.
For all the lack of amenities, she believes everyone should go to Africa at least once, especially the younger set.
“[It’s] so they can see that everything is not all Orange County, everything is not Apple phones, Air Jordan tennis shoes – just to get some realism,” she said.
Not everyone has the right temperament to withstand a long stretch in tight quarters with limited resources. She said they want to keep the group relatively small, and are getting pricing together.
Cohesion and making sure that everyone is a good fit is one goal. Ultimately, the mission team and pastor decide who goes. The trip takes 16 to 20 hours one way, which is a long time to sit, and the team is also vetting for health concerns.
Once at the rural village, missionaries must mentally adjust to some sad realities. Women they’ll meet have gone through horrendous experiences, including Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). The mission keeps women and children that have escaped dangerous circumstances.
Victims of the widespread FGM range from girls as young as two years old to womanhood.
Missionaries will host vacation Bible school for the kids and conduct workshops and clinics about hygiene. Through it all, she said it’s important to stay humble and try not to slam down Western values.
In the past, Malone has joined several missions, including Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Haiti, the Philippines, and parts of Mexico.
“We’re still on the battlefield. We’re still in the missionary field, honing our skills as short term missionaries,” she said.
Wherever they go, they minister with different organizations. This time, they are partnering Icanflyinternational, founded by Sha’ Givens from the Los Angeles area, who has set up a Kenya rescue, orphanage, and school.
Malone said she is addressing policy change, making the government aware, and housing the women that are possibly in danger. FGM is still prevalent there, and considered torture and a crime against humanity in many places of the world.
“She’s in the process of helping save women from mutilation and trafficking. We are partnering with her when we go. We will address whatever needs that she has,” Malone said.
Women come from miles around just to get to the site, some risk being raped en route. Many come, but the organization is overwhelmed and they don’t have the means to help everyone.
“They’re trying to help as many as they can, but it’s such a big problem,” she said. “It’s so hard to quell all of the things that are going on.”
Malone hasn’t been back to Rwanda since 2009, but she said it was astounding to see how that region has emerged from one of the most horrific genocides of all time.
Today, it is a different place under new leadership. After a million people were killed, a generation remained as orphans without relatives.
“That place has come a long way, they have almost mended the Hutu and Tutsi [relations].”
But Burundi still suffers. They had to leave their homes.
“The fighting spilled over into Burundi, it’s one of the poorest countries in the world, and they were already sitting ducks,” she said.
With so many politically tumultuous areas, she said it is important that their missionaries get prayed up before they go.
They know how to navigate tough territory, and she said it’s a blessing to help. After having gone about 15-20 missions, she is still is on fire whenever she gets ready to go.
“I’ve been one to be interested in different cultures, and sharing my love of Christ,” she said. “Any effort you can make to make someone’s life better, that’s what we’re here on earth to do. It grounds me.”
For those that want to find out more about the Kenya trip, email email@example.com
For more information, see http://icanflyinternational.org/leadership/