Making a Difference in Malawi! Thank you Heather and Sandy!

Dear Family and Friends,

Thank you for sending Heather and Sandy to me! Thank you for the perfect items in their luggage- all the books, CDs, art materials, Jesus materials and chocolate! Thank you Kim Yeager!!! You rock! I feel completely adored that Lakeside would visit me here in Malawi. It is an honor for all the pastors, teachers, and staff here to have my church visit Acts III. I have submersed Heather and Sandy in Malawian culture and all the activities of the ministry here. Each day is very full. They are witnessing the poverty, addiction, and hunger here in my village of Ndirande as well as the joy, peace, and hope that comes with faith in God. They have met the Christian leaders and community development leaders that are committed to making a difference for the orphans and have been inspired. But it is the children of Malawi that will leave an impression on your heart and mind that you will never forget.

Relationships are what God loves and values and through relationships He will fulfill His plan for His children who go to bed with no family, no food, no protection and no proper clothing. Here in Malawi, people will walk by a beggar in the street just like we walk right pass a homeless person on the street in California. Why don’t we stop? Why aren’t we willing to risk awkwardness and embarrassment, to face our fears, to be inconvenienced, in order to do something to love them in word or deed? Do we not have time to say hello, to find out their name so we can pray for them, to give them a sandwich, to shake their hand, to somehow, someway make them feel less alone, less rejected, less frightened? Please plan to stop next time. Plan it out. Carry an extra granola bar an extra coffee and extra jacket. Prepare yourself, gather your courage and deliver it. I have never had a bad response when I have approached someone in this way. It will change your life and change the course of your future. Matthew 25:35-40.
Love, Maribeth

Heather and Sandy Have Arrived! Thank you Jesus!

Dear Family and Friends,

Sandy Listberger and Heather Kreiser arrived safetly on Tuesday evening and the adventure began! I am so blessed by their presence! Do not underestimate the value and power of visiting a missionary! I am greatly encouraged and their visit is spiritually significant to the church of Ndirande. People in our church are so grateful that two women would travel from America to visit their church. By coming here, as representatives of Lakeside Church, and as representatives of all those I love at home, they are saying to these people, “You matter.” “Your burdens are our burdens.” “We care about the things that impact your life and we are interceeding for you in prayer.” This may seem like a small thing to us Americans, but believe me, it is not to the church of Ndirande, the pastors, my teaching partners, and those in the neighboring orphan care centers. You see, here in Malawi, relationship is what they value. A true relationship is better than a five course dinner, better than a expensive car, better than being successful, better than a credential or degree… People are everything to them. And people are what God values most too. Here are a few pictures of our adventures so far! Thank you for sending Heather and Sandy to me!

Love Maribeth

Delivering on the MMP Goals through Partnership

Dear Friends and Family,

Bono, the lead singer for U-2, and a person committed to ending extreme poverty and AIDS in our world (see www.one.org), was interviewed two years ago at the Leadership Summit televised at Lakeside Church in Folsom. He was interviewed by Bill Hybels, Senior Pastor of Willow Creek Church, who is his friend and also a man committed to being Christ in action and word in the midst of the AIDS Pandemic. When Bill Hybels asked Bono how churches get involved, Bono said, Bless what God is already blessing. He was refering to many of the organizations and leaders God had already sent to Africa and other places impacted by AIDS to serve those in need, like the orphans.

The teachers in our recent training are from five orphan care centers that serve orphans, living with guardians within the community of Ndirande. This week I visited two to the three Chifundo Orphan Care Centers run by the Prespretarian Church. These three centers (three of seven in the area) are
serve 70-300 children each, 2-5 years of age. They provide breakfast and lunch, love, Christian teaching and songs, and prepare the children for school. The are community based organizations and they raise their own crops to feed the children and employ those within the community to assist with this. They provide Home Based Care training for volunteers who minister to those who are sick within the community. They visit the children within their homes regularly for accountability and guardian support. They have boards made up of community members and sollict the help and participation of the children’s guardians. What they are doing is working and even though they are working with very few resources, they are very effective. They maximize what God has given them. Their goals are clear and they have healthy systematic ways of meeting these goals in an atmosphere of love, respect and community.

I had the opportunity to spend time at two of the centers this week. The Malawi Montessori Project has two goals: to educate the future leaders of Malawi and to train and resource an educational community. I did not make up these goals for MMP. God put these two specific goals on my heart and confirmed them through my collegues, Kim Yeager and Laura Witwer. God has the most amazing way of bringing people together in relationship to deliver on His agenda. God has brought us into relationship with the Chifundo Orphan Care Centers so that we could expand what is possible for the orphans of Ndirande. Please see the pictures below. You will see the teachers that participated in our trainings. If you want to make a difference for orphans, I know who is doing it and how you can help.
If you are a Montessori teacher (especially the 2 1/2-6 credentialed), come to Malawi to train! If you can’t come send me additional Montessori materials or money to make materials here.

Thank you to my family and friends! It is because of all of you that I am here!!! Please pray for Heather Kreiser and Sandy Listberger who leave SFO on Oct 5th and arrive in Blantyre on Tuesday, October 7th. I have a great schedule for them! Please pray that God will reveal all the He wants to see in Acts III Church Malawi, the Malawi Montessori Project, and here in Ndirande.

Love, Maribeth