malcolm marler

on a mission to embody grace and compassion in all relationships

Month: April 2012

The Ten Dollar Difference

This is a guest post by my wife, Mary Bea Sullivan who is a seminarian at Virginia Theological Seminary, Alexandria, VA.

“I have a direct influence on the world around me, and I choose whether that influence is positive or negative.” 

My then 15 year-old daughter Kiki wrote upon returning from a mission trip to Kenya.

Kiki has inspired me to give back to the country that influenced her so greatly.

My friend and classmate, Father Joel Atong is from the village of Ngunya, Kenya.  Because of the cruel confluence of:  abject poverty, lack of medical care, and HIV/AIDS and malaria epidemics in Kenya, people in Joel’s village are dying unnecessarily. 

For $15,000 a simple medical facility can be built to provide basic medical care for 10,000 people.  Joel has a vision, support, and the experience to build this clinic on his church‘s property–saving villagers the 14-mile round trip walk to the doctor.

IMAGINE, 1,500 people giving $10 each, and the clinic is built.  

You and me and our friends, we can do this.

Will you help make this vision a reality?

There are 3 ways you can help:

  • PRAY.  Please say a prayer for the Ngunya Health Clinic project.
  • DONATE.  Please click on donate now, then choose “Ngunya Kenya Health Clinic” from the drop down box and make your contribution.  A huge thank you to the Episcopal Diocese of Alabama for helping us to receive your donations securely.
  • SHARE.  Click on the share button below and post this on Facebook and Twitter with your own comments.

I will update our progress periodically.  THANK YOU for your support and your prayers.  Blessings!


Joel is coming to Alabama in April:

1.  Joel Atong will be at Grace Episcopal Church in Cullman, Alabama on Friday, April 27th at 5:30 p.m.

2.  He will also be in Birmingham, AL at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church’s “Thinking Anglican” Sunday School on April 29th at 9:30 am.

All are welcome, no reservations necessary.

Life is More than Work

As I write this post on my iPad before going to bed, I hear the words I have been saying to our chaplains on my team at the hospital.

(By the way, my paragraph formatting is a bit off in this blog post at the end regardless how many times I hit the Return key, because paragraphs and new lines do not translate in WordPress when written on an iPad, which is a good metaphor for where I am as well tonight.)

“Life is more than work,” “We are not robots,” “Don’t forget to have fun,” I preach convincingly.  “Spend time with a person(s) whose relationship matters to you.”  I said these things this week.
In the last week, I am one for four of the above.  Not good.

Our Staff Chaplains, Chaplain Residents and Interns are incredible people.  They carry the burdens, griefs, and anxieties of dozens of patients and families every day who are going through the hardest times.  They also pastor our 8,000+ employees through teaching seminars, grand rounds, pausing for hallway conversations, writing personal notes, and making followup phone calls.  They remind persons they are not alone, and that they are loved.  And our team is there 24/7 because a level one trauma center with a thousand patients, a dozen ICUs, never closes.

But back to me, which I often forget and put on the back burner.  Which is the problem.
I know better.
It’s time to remember to actually have fun outside work.  It’s time to remember I can only care for others as well as I care for myself.  It’s time to remember that life is precious.
How about you?  Do you forget to remember these things too?
What do you do to embrace life?
How do you discover your passion especially as we walk through this week of Passion and Passover?
We are not robots.  I heard my own vocal chords say those words.
Quick, help me remember, because my “life formatting” is a bit off.

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