Archive for June, 2009

Florida’s own Eden

Let me tell you about a little place called Educational Concerns for Hunger Organization, or more casually known as ECHO.   This is one of those ‘best kept secret’ type of places that we are blessed to stumble upon, and once found, end up changing our lives for the better. I was introduced to this organization during my COAT training with NMSI and was blessed with the opportunity to sit in on a couple of their seminars regarding herbal medicine, healthcare and nutrition in impoverished countries.

I was later introduced to some other educational opportunities that would benefit me in preparation for my time in Kenya. ECHO holds two different medical conferences throughout the year, one entitled Agriculture and Nutrition for People Living with HIV/AIDS and the other Health, Agriculture, Culture, and Community.  From May 4th-8th, Katie (the beautiful nurse practitioner I will be working with in Kenya) and I participated in the first conference I mentioned and it was not only informative, but also encouraging to my soul. It ignited a deeper passion and intrigue into using natural resources for bringing healing to our bodies.

Me and Katie at ECHO

Me and Katie at ECHO

There were so many new ideas and options that were brought to my attention that it would take days to write about, so I am choosing a couple to give you an idea of the options we have for natural medicine.

The first delightful gem I will educate you with is a little something scientists like to call Artemisia annua. This plant has been used for 2000 years to reduce fever and has now been found to CURE MALARIA. Artemisinin, a compound found in the artemisia plant, rapidly lowers blood-parasite levels. You can take it in pill form (which is not always available) or use the leaves steeped in hot water and drink as tea, which actually has more anti-malarial compounds than the pill form.

This is significant for every individual in a high risk area for malaria, but it is even more significant in the fight against HIV/AIDS. How? Malaria greatly boosts the viral load (the amount of virus in the blood) for six to eight weeks in HIV/AIDS infected people. This makes it more likely to infect a sex partner with HIV.  At the same time, HIV fuels malaria’s spread because HIV-infected people are more susceptible to malaria as a result of a weakened immune system.

Drinking the tea decreases the parasites in the blood to a level that is considered CURED and it has been found to have no significant side effects.


Baby Artemisia Plants

Baby Artemisia Plants

Treasure #2:  Amaranth (hypochondriacus, cruentus)…also known as pigweed.

Amaranth is a highly nutritious plant that yields edible leaves and tiny seeds that can be used as a grain to make flour, porridge and other foods. The grain contains 16% protein, compared to around 10% in most cereals. When amaranth is combined with another grain it forms a complete protein diet (all 9 essential amino acids). It is also high in lysine, which is particularly helpful to HIV/AIDS patients because it inhibits the growth and multiplication of the herpes virus (herpes weakens the immune system and is an opportunistic infection that is an issue for many HIV-infected individuals).

Hope for individuals with HIV/AIDS is growing through plants like amaranth because of their high levels of nutrients. When taking a diet of amaranth in combination with Moringa leaf powder (that will be treasure #3) the signs and symptoms of HIV will essentially disappear. Individuals living symptom free with HIV!!!! This happens through the nutrients strengthening the immune system and fighting disease.


Treasure #3: (Last but the farthest from least) Moringa, aka, The Miracle Tree.

Gram for gram, dried Moringa leaf powder contains:

  • 10 times the vitamin A of carrots
  • 1/2 the vitamin C of oranges
  • 17 times the calcium of milk
  • 9 times the protein of milk (also contains all 9 essential amino acids: complete protein)
  • 15 times the potassium of bananas
  • 25 times the iron of spinach (eat that Popeye!)

In southern Senegal a doctor noticed a high percentage of malnourished children and began treating them with 1-2 tablespoons of moringa powder a day, and at 38 days the children were found to have complete recovery of malnourishment.

If this doesn’t quite blow your mind, listen to what else this tree can do. Hold on to your pants….

It purifies water (seeds act as a coagulant and an antimicrobial agent removing 90-99.9% of impurities),

is used for biogas, dyes, live fencing, decreases blood sugar in diabetics, prevents polio, epilepsy, stomachaches, etc., is used for livestock feed (increases milk production and weight gain/body mass), and so much more!!!


Freshly Ground Moringa Powder

Freshly Ground Moringa Powder

This just gets me all giddy inside! I could keep going, but I know this doesn’t trip everyones trigger.

There is so much hope and opportunity for healing in things as simple and attainable as plants. (Ha, I’ve always had a secret desire to be a hippy)God has blessed us with His creation and given us resources that can be used in the harshest of climates, the poorest of communities and the areas of deepest devastation.

Please check out the link on the right to ECHO’s website. They are in the process of putting all the information they have on the web for everyones use. They long to bring healing around the world and are making glorious strides in research that are benefiting people worldwide.

Clap your hands, all peoples! Shout to God with loud songs of joy!


I’m going to Narok, Kenya!

Dear Friends and Loved Ones (or is that all the same?…yes, yes it is),

I have been blessed with the opportunity to move to Kenya for three years and invest in the lives of the Maasai people. I have joined in partnership with AfricaHope, a ministry of New Mission Systems International the believes Christ’s truth speaks to poverty, social justice, HIV/AIDS and other vital issues.

What is AfricaHope?

AfricaHope is an integrated program working with church, government and civic institutions. It incorporates community development, discipleship programs, HIV/AIDS and health education, school adoption programs, children’s camps and a community center to minister to the spiritual, emotional and physical needs of HIV/AIDS orphans. It also works to provide relief aid during times of emergency and devastation,  water through implementation of wells within villages, and food security through gardens and agroforestry.

I will be working in the health development program within AfricaHope, as a nurse, to develop programs that integrate community health education, clinic work, and village work through mobile clinics.  I will also be incorporating medicinal herb gardening to naturally treat illness and disease in order to further minister to the needs of the Maasai people.

How did I get to this place in my life?

I was blessed with the opportunity to travel to Haiti and Kenya during my time in college and saw first hand, how illness can affect every aspect of a person’s life. This spurred me on to become a nurse and fight for individuals in a holistic way that not only takes care of their physical needs, but also digs deeper to the emotional and spiritual components of our lives. Complete healing is done not only by curing immediate physical needs, but also through educating and working with families and communities to decrease the spread of disease. Education is key in promoting health and healing.

What are my next steps?

I have completed one of the two training programs I need in order to head overseas. The first was the COAT (Community, Orientation, Assessment, and Training) program given by New Mission Systems International (NMSI). The second training will be done through Missionary Training International (MTI) a few months before I leave.

I have also taken a continued education conference called Agriculture and Nutrition for Individuals Living with HIV/AIDS through an organization called ECHO (Educational Concerns for Hunger Organization), along with a study on herbal medicine to prepare me for my time in Kenya.

I am now working to raise both financial and prayer support. I am in need of $4250 a month for three years and am partnering with churches, individuals and organizations to reach my goal….ok, now take a breath, lift your chin off the floor, and rest assured that I know its a lot of money, but I also know God is bigger than the dollar sign. I am on board with what AfricaHope is doing and I know that we are joining God in His love and care of these people.

I encourage you to take a peak at the video attached (the Hope of a Well) and see, first hand, the lives that are being blessed, the justice that is being brought and the hope that is encompassing this community. It is more than beautiful and a true testament to love.

How can you help?

I would love for you to join with me in bringing hope, love and healing.  This can be done through one time donations, monthly, quarterly, or annually giving and if you click on the NMSI link to the right there is a section designated for donating to programs and individuals.

Thank you for all your support!