Mattresses for Mwami Service Abroad Starts at Home

March 01, 2010 | Jay Wintermeyer

Shelly Bacon is a storyteller. She stands in front of a small microphone in the center of the room and opens her heart with thoughts on the time she spent in Africa, the people she has met across the Atlantic, and the ways in which Colville, Wash., residents are connected to them. She is all energy and conviction, tearing up when she speaks of a local four-year-old who heard of the economic situation in Zambia and quickly gave a dollar and some change, everything she had.

The event, with more than 80 people in attendance, was held at the Bacon’s home. In addition to Bacon's testimony, students from Upper Columbia Academy in Spangle, Washington, sang several hymns, spirituals, and Latin pieces. Two UCA students also played piano arrangements by Chopin and Rachmaninoff.

The cause? Raising funds for mattresses desperately needed at Mwami Hospital in Chipata, a town in rural Zambia. Colville locals, through the Adventist Church, are joining White Memorial Hospital in Los Angeles, Calif., to provide 43 new mattresses to Mwami Hospital.

For the Bacons, compassion is active — and it is simple: A hospital needs mattresses that are not ripped and worn, and they are able to help meet this need. The Bacons lived and worked in Malawi from 1987 to 1990. They continue to lead a mission trip every two years, and though they have twice taken teams to Guatemala, their longstanding love affair has been with Africa.

“It is about teaching the next generation and helping to create change in the world,” she offers by way of explanation when asked why people would invest, financially or otherwise, in Zambia.

Plans for upcoming trips are ongoing, and those interested in more information or how to get involved may contact the Bacons at