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May 23, 2024

We’ve all read the report on the sudden descent of a Singapore Airlines flight from London to Singapore with one person dead and scores injured in the sudden fall. Apparently it hit turbulence and fell 6000 feet in a matter of minutes. People who were not wearing seatbelts were thrown all over the interior with many hitting the ceiling with their heads. Some of the most seriously injured were attendants standing in the aisles serving breakfast to the passengers. Fortunately the pilots were able to make an emergency landing in Bangkok.

For those who fly, this event is disturbing to say the least. Indeed it’s a cautionary tale about our universal vulnerability. Whether an air disaster, a sudden traffic accident, or a report from the doctor that a test has revealed a fatal disease, we are all subject to the seeming randomness of tragedy.

Nevertheless we still fly, drive, and live our lives with the belief that “it won’t happen to me”. The alternative, of course, is the “Henny Penny” view (Google it) that “the sky is falling” with its concomitant daily anxiety.

I think Jesus’ words from the Sermon on the Mount should be not only considered but adopted: “Think not what the morrow bringeth. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof”. Worry is counterproductive. Why borrow trouble from the future?

I often think of the old man lying in his death bed who told his pastor “90 percent of everything I worried about never happened”. So true.

Burying one’s head in the sand, like the proverbial ostrich, is to be avoided as is staying indoors for the rest of our lives. Fear paralyzes. We’ve got to live. And living means risk taking. So get on that plane, drive that car, get out into our world. And wherever you find yourself “be there”.

May 13, 2024

I was a guest speaker at a church recently where the setting was inner city and the congregants bore the signs of “living rough”- some living on the street, others on welfare, and many the “working poor”. Compared to the poor that we minister to in Africa, they had/have much more in terms of a social safety net, but with economies of scale are just as vulnerable. Yet, in terms of spiritual sensitivity and love for God, they are on a parallel track.

The service was sweet. The atmosphere was gentle and worshipful. The singing was soft but sincere. I felt the presence of the holy.

Once again, I was reminded that the Lord, unlike us, is “no respecter of persons”. His values transcend ours. Where we look “on the outward appearance” He “looks on the heart”. There are no socio-economic judgements from Heaven. Rather, there is divine resonance with the humble souls who love their Maker.

Jesus set the bar when in his hometown synagogue in Nazareth he read from Isaiah 61, “The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor, to bind up the brokenhearted…to provide the oil of gladness for the spirit of heaviness…”. His first priority was the poor. Indeed, in his famous “sermon on the mount” he began with “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven…”.

So I have found myself preaching mainly to the poor these past 25 years. Maybe that’s exactly what I should be doing.

April 24, 2024

One would think that after 25 years of working with orphans and widows in Sub-Saharan Africa my wife Kathy and I would be somewhat acclimatized to the suffering of “the least of these”, but we’re not.


Recently we visited our champion partners in South Africa, Zambia, and Malawi. We were very impressed with the growth in their ministries to orphans and widows in distress- impressed and moved with compassion.

Thanks to the availability of antiretroviral medicines the impact of HIV and AIDS has been mitigated but the impact of opportunistic diseases remains.

On this visit we met and prayed with several patients suffering from tuberculosis of both lung and bone. The bone tuberculosis is very painful. Sitting on the ground with these precious souls as they lay on their mats our hearts were broken. I wept as I prayed, their suffering was so intense. We felt both sorrow and frustration with their agony and the distance between our western world and theirs, wishing we could just summon an ambulance and wisk them away to first world medical care. But instead of an ambulance the critically ill have to be strapped to a bicycle or laid in an ox cart and transported to rudimentary rural clinics.  It’s hard to believe sometimes that we share the same planet.

Nevertheless our valiant volunteers continue providing weekly Home Based Care to these dear ones. And everything is done with kindness, gentleness, faithfulness and love- in the name of Jesus.

As we pray with each one we remind them that the Lord knows their name and their need. But our souls ache. Our only comfort is that these dear ones are being gently cared for and we are able to faithfully pray for them every day wherever we are in the world.

Bottom line is our trust in the Lord who “sees the sparrow fall” and holds these fragile patients in his hands.

April 10, 2024

Were you “eclipsed” by the recent solar eclipse in North America? Millions were. The massive crowds with their eclipse glasses lined the route of the eclipse as it moved diagonally from southwest to northeast. It was a once in a lifetime phenomenon. The enthusiasm was huge. Loud cheering, like that at big sports events, ricocheted from sea to sea.  People were kids again.

It struck me that we’re all kids at heart. Little things can thrill us and big things can overwhelm us, especially when the stimulus is the natural world. Vast mountain ranges, roaring rivers, endless forests, deep blue lakes, soaring birds, and so much more, enfold us in wonder. Indeed that wonder sometimes borders on worship. There’s something childlike in us that wants to look up, to exalt the Designer of the great design.

This is an essential spiritual quality common to us all. We have an intuitive knowledge of God. All it takes is a moment of wonder to bring it out. We are born to worship.

March 27, 2024

WOW (Working for Orphans and Widows) is 25 years old, founded by my wife and I in January 1999.


We did so in response to the devastating HIV and AIDS pandemic that swept through Sub-Saharan Africa in the last two decades of the twentieth century, creating the biggest orphan and widow crisis in history. Our response was directly informed by the scripture stating that “God is a father to the fatherless and defender of widows” (Psalm 68:5). Our call to the African churches was “Every church a Mother Theresa”. If that little Albanian nun could challenge the world by her ministry to the dying in India what might the impact of thousands of churches be if they committed to doing the same in Africa? We resigned our great church in Vancouver and began from scratch, living out of suit cases for the first eight months as we ground it out pursuing a vision to mobilize the churches of Africa to become active in the rescue and care of “the least of these” as Jesus put it. Needless to say our humble efforts have seen us immersed in sorrow on sorrow as WOW has engaged some of the poorest and beleaguered people on earth. And, even though we have seen thousands cared for in the name of Jesus, the relentless impact of disease, poverty, and weather disasters continues.


A case in point is the massive drought in two nations where we work, Zambia and Malawi. Both countries have declared national emergencies and have appealed for emergency aid from the European Union, United Nations, and the West. And, on a much smaller scale our ministry partners have appealed to us as well.


We respond not only out of compassion but of duty. The Lord has called us to do what we can and our faithful supporters here in North America have risen to the challenge. We’re doing our best to light a candle of hope. I’m very grateful for all who have and will continue to “hold up our arms” at this difficult time.

March 13, 2024

I just received a report on the drought and consequent pending famine that Zambia is now facing. This on the heels of a cholera pandemic. Sorrow on sorrow.

Our partner ministries there, CHRESO in Lusaka and Impact Community Outreach (ICO) in Kabwe, are in the midst of all this and by extension so is WOW (Working for Orphans and Widows). We’ve been helping fund their desperate struggle against cholera, now this.

We’re assessing the need and will respond with the compassionate support of WOW’s faithful supporters. The world is in trouble on several fronts but it’s a great privilege and responsibility for us to step into Zambia’s crisis with our care.

I need make no remark on the geopolitical challenges of our suffering planet other than thank the Lord that we can be a small player in easing the travails of the suffering. I want to ask you to pray and do what you can to help us in the struggle. May the Lord continue to supply the need.

February 28, 2024

Recently as I was driving to the television studio to record “Jim Cantelon Today”( JCT TV) the black clouds and driving rain made visibility almost impossible. Along with all the other drivers I had to reduce speed to a crawl. I say “all” but there were, as you would expect, a few cars and a truck or two that rushed past at a reckless rate, spewing swathes of standing water onto our already overwhelmed windshields. At any moment I expected the worst. For sure there would be a pileup of crashed vehicles. As it turned out I made it through unscathed but it took an hour or so when I reached the studio for the adrenaline to subside.

It struck me as I drove that this was an instance of driving “by faith and not by sight”. I had to have faith in the other drivers with no guarantee that they would keep to their lanes and not race through the storm like those few irresponsible speeders.
Indeed, even in the best driving conditions we drive by faith in other drivers that they will obey the rules of the road and not careen through the traffic like they’re in a car race. And, to change analogies, we eat the food we’ve purchased, we sleep in our beds at night, and live our daily lives trusting the integrity of those who supply our needs.

From time to time our faith in others is tested. A case in point would be scores of drivers who are facing huge repair costs because a local gas station last week in Ontario served gasoline that was mixed with windshield washer fluid. They filled their tanks in faith albeit without any sense that faith was involved. Good gasoline is a given no?

The Bible states that we “walk by faith and not by sight”. We put our trust in the Lord even though He is unseen. We hope for a home after death in an as yet unseen heaven. We order our core values and day to day lives with a sense of accountability even though “no one  has seen God at any time”. Little wonder that those who don’t believe see us as offside with the general culture of the world. St. Paul captured it when he said, ”We see through a glass darkly”. We’re more blind than sighted, but we put our trust in our Heavenly Father, holding his hand as a little child, believing “He knows the way that we take”.

February 14, 2024

We recently received a report from our WOW partner in Zambia,ICO (Impact Community Outreach). They  have been engaged in a cholera mitigation project in the Kabwe region in response to the spread of this extremely virulent disease. Thousands of Zambians have been infected with hundreds of deaths.

Poverty, dirty water, and poor sanitation all contribute to Cholera’s spread. These factors are rife in the villages where ICO works. So they made an urgent appeal to WOW for emergency funding in order to purchase soap, chlorine, and disinfectants. We responded and ICO set out to train their volunteers in hand washing and disinfecting methods who then went into the villages to teach our orphans and widows how to combat this wasting affliction.

 You would think that basic sanitation is a given, but it’s not. These impoverished dear ones have no money to buy soap, and rarely have access to clean water. So the rules of sanitation which we here in the West take for granted are like a foreign language to rural Zambians. The idea, for instance , of adding chlorine to their water is beyond their grasp.

Nevertheless our champion volunteers went to work and in the past few weeks the spread of this nasty disease has lessened. Amazing that just soap and clean water can make such a difference no? It’s a matter of life and death.

This is a powerful reminder to us that what we take for granted should be reason for gratitude. Grateful for soap? for clean water? Yes. Grateful.

January 31, 2024

I read something on the internet recently that astonished me. It was a story about Elmo, the cuddly character on Sesame Street TV, and his question to his social media followers about how they were doing:” Elmo is just checking in. How is everybody doing?” he asked on X. The response was huge. Thousands of people including celebrities (even President Biden!) responded. The general message : “We’re sad. Our world is on fire. We’re having trouble sleeping at night. Where is this world heading?”

Isn’t it sad in itself that the outreach to our suffering world is from a puppet? And even sadder is that people are moved by this fuzzy compassion to open their hearts?

Perhaps this unprecedented relational interaction between real people and a Sesame Street “personality” is evidence of our isolation. We’re connected like never before (due to social media) and marginalized like never before. We are silos desperately in need of someone who truly cares. We are spiritual and emotional orphans. Little wonder there seems to be an epidemic of mental health issues.

We need to rediscover the promise that our Creator cares “He will never leave us nor forsake us…He is a friend who sticks closer than a brother”. Indeed, “for God so loved the world…”.

You and I are that “world”. It’s time to reconnect lovingly with both Him and our neighbor. We need it.


January 17, 2024

Every New Year the number one resolution by us westerners is to lose weight. We seem to be chronically over-fed and under- exercised. In light of the World Food Program’s reports we might consider being ashamed of ourselves.

The WFP reports that 783 million people in our world live with chronic hunger and 300-350 are food insecure (meaning they don’t know if there will be food tomorrow). The main cause is war. Indeed 70% of hunger is conflict based while the remaining 30% is caused by climate crises and operational underfunding. Apparently international donations to the WFP are down by 50%. The greatest hunger emergencies are reported to be in 14 areas: Afghanistan, Central Sahel, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Haiti, Myanmar, N.E. Nigeria, Somalia, S. Madagascar, S. Sudan, Gaza, Syria, Ukraine, and Yemen. There would be few in these regions, if any, resolving to lose weight in 2024.

Contrast these devastating realities to a headline I just read on the BBC news website: “Weight-loss Surgeon Told Patient to ‘eat, eat, eat’ in Order to Qualify for his Gastric Sleeve Surgery”. He owns and operates a weight-loss “holiday” business that provides cut rate surgeries in Turkey. But to qualify a patient must meet a minimum weight. So, if one is on the cusp of that weight minimum one must eat copiously to gain the needed pounds.
There’s no need to moralize here. We all can see the gross inequities that plague our world. Yet we live in a parallel universe of entitlement and complacency. Nevertheless there are millions of compassionate souls who care and act. Multitudes of charities raise millions of dollars in mitigating the hunger gap. These are thoughtful, loving people who look at our suffering world and say,” There but for the grace of God go I”.

These are the ones who choose every day of the year to change the world by ministering to “the least of these” one hungry soul at a time. Let’s resolve to be among them.


March 8, 2021

I’ve been thinking of the impact of the home on a child’s life. Rather than my thoughts here’s something from a late 19th century theologian:


       “ The father and mother of an unnoticed family, who, in their seclusion awaken the mind of one child to the idea and love of perfect goodness, who awaken in him a strength of will to repel all temptation, and who send him out prepared to profit by the conflicts of life, surpass in influence a Napoleon breaking the world to his sway.”


Parents have a “captive audience” of their children during Covid. Now’s the time to change the world.

February 22, 2021

Photo by Doğukan Şahin on Unsplash


We’ve passed the one year mark in the Covid era. Vaccinations and variants are vying for victory. Who will win?

Seems that both may prevail. The experts are predicting that Covid is here to stay but vaccination will see a plague becoming some sort of ever present flu. Who knows? One thing we know is that predictions are just that.

Our sense of vulnerability has not only been heightened but burned into our social, familial, and spiritual lives. We suffer and remember how it used to be. But that “new normal” we lightly referred to a year ago has become a burden that refuses to disappear. From now on we’re walking with a limp.

Jesus said,” Come unto me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest”. This would be a good time to take him at his word.