And so it began

Side note: This magazine interviewed me and it complements the update well, please read.

People often ask me, “How did you chose Malawi?” I’m always tempted and if it weren’t so cheesy I would respond with, “no, no, no, Malawi… it chose me.” This is a part of the story behind how When the Saints got to the point where everything, apart from funds, is in place to be able to build a rehabilitation center for young girls who are forced into prostitution.

It all began my senior year in high school almost 6 years ago. I started learning all kinds of stuff about poverty and the condition of the world as well as a few solutions. It led me to buy an animal for someone in poverty. So, through World Vision, I bought a goat. I mean, how cool is it to be able to say, “Hey, I bought a goat”. Anyway, as I was going through the long list of countries I could donate my recently purchase to I came across Malawi. Had no idea where it was, but thought it sounded cool and it begins.

Over the next couple years this abstract and seemingly random place would continue to pop up.  I had a long talk with a man in Kansas City who was a former professor at the College I went to who had a ministry in Malawi. Later I was doing research for the documentary Give a Damn? and Malawi showed up number 4 on the list of poorest country is in the world. I was intrigued by the fact that this small country was in South Eastern Africa, despite it’s extreme poverty, and was labeled “The Warm Heart of Africa”.  In fact the “Lonely Planet” travel guide had it named the 3rd friendliest country in the world. It is affectionately known as the “Warm heart of Africa”. I also would soon learn about a philosophy they live by called, “Umunthu”. This means that humanity is a unified entity that and we are all simultaneously creating each other.  I remember thinking at that point years ago; “It would be so cool if one day I got to do some kind of missions work in a sweet country like that”.

All the pieces didn’t come together right away. I remember standing in the hallway of St. Louis Christian College about a year and a half ago. As I stared at the map of the globe hanging on the wall I prayed, “God I will go anywhere. Any country, any continent, wherever it is that you would like me to go. Just tell me and I’m there.” Shortly after that the dots began to come together. In looking back over my life it is now cool to see all the small ways Malawi was being fused to my heart. It came together like the stars of a constellation.

Logically it wouldn’t seem like the 3rdfriendliest country in the world, which is 79% Christian, would have a problem with trafficking and sexual exploitation. By no means is Malawi a global hot spot for this issue, but I believe that one of the reasons God placed this calling on my life was to show that world that sex trafficking happens everywhere in the world even the places you wouldn’t expect it. So, my pastor, father and I planned a weeklong trip to find out if there was a need. The day we left was possibly the scariest day of my life. The outcome of that trip would, in some ways, determine the rest of my life.

And so it began.

David Peterka
When the Saints

Colossians 3:14= And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Marianne WilliamsonOur deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

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