Called to CARE: Africa Exchange (

Called to CARE: Africa Exchange (

Our first Called to CARE session for 2023 begins like a dinner conversation among friends. In this podcast, co-founders and co-directors, Sam and Melody Harrell, share how their Baptist American-African lives led them to become global leaders in “integrated” sustainable development... “I am blown a-Way.” (Rev. Jimi Calhoun, co-host, legendary musician, author and pastor)

Sam and Melody are saving lives and ending poverty with education and holistic, community care. Now celebrating their 25th year, AfricaExchange (AE) has built 14 “integrated child development” preschools in Kenya’s most-isolated / least-resourced regions. AE’s projects are providing and fostering nutrition, clean water, education, sanitation and infrastructure, jobs, job training, Creation care and restoration, and more, on an ongoing basis in these places to help these children and their communities defeat poverty.

Meet. Notice. Exchange. Serve. AfricaExchange’s model is rooted in the best of Christianity’s and Africa’s worldviews. As the children of Baptist missionaries in Africa, Sam and Melody’s foundational insight is that CARING FOR OTHERS means: listening, noticing, and being empathetic before acting. AfricaExchange helps communities build upward-spiraling personal and collective assets which benefit the whole community and their local biosphere. AE is exemplar in their work. This podcast is worth multiple listenings for those interested in “learning the lessons that will propel us forward.” (Sam Harrell)


About our guests
 • Melody Harrell, spiritual director,
 • Sam Harrell, executive director,
 • Rev. Jimi Calhoun, pastor,, author/musician,
 • Rev. Julaine Calhoun, pastor,
 • Chris Searles, director,, exec. editor, 

About this series
In this time of polarizations and extremes we seem to be going to our Media for answers, and yet our Media is not designed or intended to give us answers. Media is a business (not a healer). Looking honestly at today’s shared social challenges, all indicators indicate it is Care through kinship, attention, gentleness, safety, honesty, support, process, nurturing, love, detail, nutrition, structure, generosity, time, etc. — that humans today need most to overcome our current complex, human-made crises. 

What can More CARE do for modern people? Our guests are asked to share about the effectiveness of greater care for all in the living Creation through greater empathy, mutuality, relationship, conversation, listening, hearing, seeing, connecting, processing, balancing, healing, and nurturing of ourselves, each other, Earth’s biodiversity, and “the environment.” 





III. 6:30 INVOCATION, Melody Harrell
 • “I love the concept of being called to care. It feels like an invitation and it feels like something I already have tools and capacity-for."
 • RD Lang reading.
12:00 Sam, Real-life story 
 • “We were building an integrated child development center on the side of a mountain in Northwest Kenya…”
18:30 Rev. Calhoun 
 • “…Now I go out of my way to make sure they know I’m aware of them and they matter and they count.”

24:30 Values
 • S- “Melody and I are the product of missionary parents”
 • M- “God had already been there… He or She didn’t have to be brought from America”
 • S- “The example of Jesus (is) our motivating factor, but that does not mean you come into an empty slate. People already have an experience of God”

30:30 Kutana
 • “KUTANA means to meet and exchange profound mutuality... so that we can love according to the way that love should be” 
 • “You won’t discover what a need is, unless you have dialogue and interaction… And that takes time and context and interaction and mutuality."
 • Melody, “The beautiful practice of story-telling takes time and being close and the space for that to happen.”

39:30 Services
 • “We started with street children in Nairobi.” 
 • “I discovered there were a ton of children who didn’t have their needs met in the rural areas"
 • Their Integrated model: listen to the community, address food, water, health, school/center construction in participatory way. 
 • CHANGE FOR CHILDREN (program): Clean water, Nutrition, Immunity, Malaria prevention, Deworming ($1 per child), Teacher training, Help community maintain school

48:30 Connections
 • Sam, “The incarnation is Kutana. It’s not God from afar, it’s God coming close. It’s conversation and hands and flesh. Our model is Jesus” 
 • Rev. Calhoun, "What’s happening globally does have an affect on you”
 • S, African philosophy is based on this one thing, UBUNTU, “I am because we are.” “I don’t have an existence on my own, I need others.” 
 • S, UJAAMA: “Without each other the whole thing collapses.”
 • Rev. Julian Calhoun, “I think it’s important to remind us that we do need each other."

 • 58:45 Melody, “A very natural response to our upbringing in that place, our love for the place and for the people, and our calling as people of Faith to love and care for others” 
 • 1:02:00 Sam, “We came about it naturally, we had good examples in our parents... and liminal spaces and events have led me to be conformed after the way of Christ, for the good of humanity…
 • “If we can be active in trying to engage the world, but also introspective enough to actually see what it is that we’re doing and listen for direction, then some wonderful things can happen. That’s all I’m looking for”
 • 1:06:30 Rev. Jimi Calhoun, “I want to address the missionary aspect — Julaine and I have led and received teams that come to paint buildings, pass out tracks, etc. — some kind of doing and very little being. What I’m hearing tonight, and what the importance of what I understand AfricaExchange to be, is the latter. They’re asking people to come and take part and BE with the people. I can unequivocally say that’s the most important thing we can do as Westerners” 
 • 1:11:15 Melody, “The work we do is made possible by incredible partners...and I can almost see God making these connections where maybe some resources can cross our borders”
 • 1:12:45 Sam, “We have a lot of volunteers, amazing people who teach us every day.”

TREES FOR LIFE (program)
 • “In some of our work we try to help communities protect their environment, without trees and sufficient soil erosion protectant when their floods come it wipes them out
 • “Every four-year-old plants 3 trees a year, and their parents get paid $1 if that tree survives a year… from that comes clean water and soil health and all the rest of it, so, Trees for Life is integrated into our whole.

 • “Whenever Nature teaches me something I take it as from God.”
 • Intermittent disturbance

 • “”No one leaves home, unless home is the mouth of a shark.” It’s not like people are trying to come and take your stuff. People can’t live where they are. Why don’t we go and see what’s happening to cause this?
 • “I gotta care for my neighbor and that’s basic to our Faith. Love of God, love of self, and love of neighbor are inextricable, and if we’re following the path of Jesus - boy, we better be caring for our neighbor.”

 • 1:20:30 Melody, “Most of the good, the real, deep, good work, goes on under the radar.” 
 • 1:22:45 Sam, “I’ve come to realize, through the help of many wise-people, we really are operating on the basis of a myth of disconnection… A non-dual way of living, one that is about how things are unified in God, is my inspiration.”
 • “What we’re trying to help people who are marginalized have a voice so they can be part of the conversation, so we realize that we’re all in this together.”
 • 1:25:30 Rev. Calhoun, “To keep us mindful of our place in all of this: in my view, it’s something we have to give thought-to. It won’t come naturally. It won’t come from a book. You have to sit around and think who am I, where am I, why am I… why are we? And then reach the conclusion, what part do I have to play? And the answer is, you do have a part of play. Everyone has a part to play.”
1:26:30 Chris Searles, Thank you everybody! 


Thanks for listening. 

Produced, recorded and edited by Chris Searles.

Presented by and

Visit for more content. 
@BioIntegrity Partnerships