SOUTHBURY – They were waiting to die.
Hopelessness screamed from their frail frames and exhausted faces. Flies swirled around them, eventually settling on their young son. There was no use swatting them away. AIDS would take the boy’s parents any day now, and there was nothing Robert Zuvich could do about it.
Another orphan in Malawi.
Another broken heart.
Zuvich, Epicenter Solutions administrator, knew he couldn’t rescue them from the grave. But he hopes, that at least for a time, he rescued them from misery as he squatted next to them and, with the help of a translator, told the family about the gospel.
He went to Malawi in May with Pastor John Eastwood as part of an ongoing ministry of Calvary Chapel Church of Southbury and Epicenter Solutions, a non-profit organization operated by the small church, which has150 members.
Their hope is that by April of next year, the Malawi community which they minister to, will have its first medical clinic. Epicenter currently supports four feeding centers across Malawi and Mozambique, and provides fresh water for some of the areas.
The four feeding centers, which are located in rural areas, are run by African volunteers and serve as a central place where orphans, and some elderly, can come daily for food. The centers serve about 10 villages each. They put the orphans on a diet of sima, a corn-based porridge, beans, vegetables, meat and other protein foods.
By raising $10,000 they can build the clinic. In Malawi, a nation of 13 million people, there are only 100 doctors.
Lou Lahoud, a leader at Calvary, saw first-hand the conditions of a public hospital in Mozambique when he recently visited the country with Eastwood. Lahoud said 80 percent of the patients were laying on the floor, waiting for a doctor.
“They were literally there to die. It was a grave site. Raw. Uncensored,” he said.
By building a health center, Eastwood said, they can help ease that burden. The clinic, which will be part of Epicenter’s main feeding center, will serve orphans and their extended family members. The clinic will help treat malaria, malnourishment, broken bones, and eventually HIV and AIDS.
In Malawi there are 1 million orphans. In Mozambique, there are 1.5 million orphans and in nearby Zambia there’s another million.
Eastwood, who regularly visits the areas with missionaries from his church, said his trips are multi-purpose. They check on the feeding centers and water supplies, train pastors and fellowship with the community.
“We’re doing the ministry Jesus called us to,” he said. “We’re ministering to an entire generation. The orphans are going to be leaders (one day).”
For more information call (203)405-2223 or visit http://www.epicentersolutions.org.