Teach Me How to Love Like a Child (Great Pictures!)

Dear Friends and Family,

Another beautiful week! I am blessed to have two outstanding teaching partners, Tisu and Gladys. We teach together, train teachers together, pray together, do outreach together and study the Word of God together. On this Thanksgiving weekend, I am very thankful for them, the pastors and their wives and kids whom I live with and for all of you! And the newest addition to our family here, our cat, Pang Ono Pang Ono, who you will see in a picture. It means “little bit by little bit” or “slowly” in Chichewa. She is my reminder to take it slow. She is our expert mouse catcher!

Because of the age span of our children, we have grouped the children academically and have begun to use the two front rooms of our school for group lessons. Dividing the students for a portion of our instructional time is increasing the amount of lessons we can give, the concentration of the students, and the students’ learning! For our cultural lessons this week, we studied North America! The children love to sing our continent and ocean songs. They enjoy studying the world! We studied and made flags of America and Mexico, studied the animals of Canada and created Monart penguins for Canada (Our children have never felt or seen snow. No one here in our town has a refridgerator so ice is hard to find as well.), examined the money of America and did crayon rubbings of the coins, ate Salsa and had a fiesta on Thursday. There are no tortilla chips here in Malawi so I had to improvise. Yes, for my friends and family, it was salsa toast time!

Pastor Brown came in to our class to give a great Bible lesson about Job! These kids love to sing and often will lead me in all the worship songs. Our parents contributed greatly again this week! And best of all, our carrots and cabbage are beginning to grow in the garden! Yahoo! Malawians are quiet people for the most part, so I feel one of my jobs is to teach my friends here how to get really excited about the great things that are happening. I think it’s catching on. When Weta Weta, who has been diligently watering our garden, saw the vegetables had begun to grow, he looked at me with this wildly enthusiastic smile and gave me two thumbs up. We are all thrilled about the garden.

We continue our outreach and teacher training at the Chifundos. We are preparing for our Montessori Teacher Training of the orphan care teachers the week of January 12th. My pastor from California, Jeff Kreiser is coming to visit the ministry and school here the same week. Cindy Dickson, Pam Loomis and possibly another friend or two are visiting from Lakeside Church in April. And a Montessori Teaching Team is coming in June with materials for another classroom and to hold a teacher training! Yahoo!

And lastly our Ndirande Church is praying about starting a Widow’s Program. Run by widows for widows. Strengthening them with the Word of God and small business training. Let me know if you want to help specifically with this ministry. Rock on Jesus! Who is our continuous source of inspiration, wisdom, and strength! John Chapters 13-17

If you are interested in assisting in making a difference for the orphans of Ndirande, please email me at maribeth@theocean.cc or donate directly through Lakeside Church. Put Attn. Gina, Lakeside Church 745 Oak Avenue Parkway, Folsom, California, USA, 95630. Put Malawi Montessori Project- Maribeth in the Memo Line. If you would like to help us finish this beautiful Children’s Home so we can better minister to the needs of the orphaned population here, please go to www.acts3.org The Children’s Home is designed to have a medical clinic, etc. This facility is designed to be a blessing to the children of Ndirande! Let’s finish it!

Please continue to pray for us here as we seek to follow Jesus and fulfill His plan for the children here!

Love, Maribeth

An Extraordinary Week! My heart is full!

Dear Family and Friends,

This week was full of the most amazing developments! My heart is full. Please read Nehemiah 1:11 (Chapters 1-6 really) and Ezekiel 22:30. God is always looking for people who will commit themselves to “build the wall” and “stand in the gap”. This means that He is looking for those who will commit themselves to serving Him by building His kingdom and interceeding for people through prayer and compassion. We are blessed to be a blessing! And here in Malawi we have had a week of blessings!

Here is what’s happening!

As a community we began 5 a.m.-6 a.m. prayers and devotions! Rock on! God honors those who honor Him and come to Him in prayer. With these pastors around teaching and preaching all the time, it’s like I am in seminary. I love all the learning!

We planted the garden! The pastors, Weta Weta (our guard and sooo much more) and I hoed, dug, weeded, raked, watered, and then planted. Weta Weta gave a lesson to the children on watering without stepping on the plants! It was one of the highlights of my week to see him teaching! We worked on the garden after prayers each morning. The children will take over next week with watering and weeding! Carrots, cabbage, lettuce, onions, and tomatoes. We will plant maize, peas, and beans in a week or so right before the rainy season. Working with these humble and wise men on this project was a complete blessing to me!

We began our Chifundo Orphan Day Center Outreach! This week Gladys served at Chifundo I, Tisu at Chifundo 2 and I served at Chifundo 3. Again, we are blessed to be a blessing and to be serving the orphans and their teachers in this way. All the teachers at the centers were in our Montessori Teaching Workshop in September and now we are going to them to support them right where they teach. We demonstrated more materials and teaching strategies, we donated books and chalk from our MMP school, we made materials for them and with them for the centers, and we encouraged them. The directors at Chifundo I and 2 wrote Tisu and Gladys (the MMP Malawi Staff) letters of acknowledgement. You should have seen Tisu and Glady’s face when they returned the next day after contributing. They know they are delivering on God’s amazing plan. And it is a big plan.

It was our second week of school for the new students and they love their new school! They are demonstrating great responsibility, focus, and concentration. Because of the number of students and levels we are beginning to use the two small front rooms for lessons. We are having extra shelves build so we can expand. Expand is part of God’s plan. Believe me it wasn’t my idea! The expansion of the school is really elevating all of our leadership, organization, and management skills. It also is drawing us together in unity, purpose, focus, and great love. I can’t believe God sent me these women. I am blessed!!!

We had nine parents show up this week to contribute as part of our parent participation program! Yes, we are a parent participation school! I am so pleased with their commitment. We had parents contribute in the following ways this week: working on the garden, assisting the teachers in instruction, bible lessons, organizing purchasing of snack, teaching P.E. lessons, and reading with the children in English.

I met with the Malawi Regional Department of Education to further our school application process. They will be coming in two weeks to observe our school and make recommendations. They were very encouraging of our project!

If you would like to bless the work we are doing here, please email me at maribeth@theocean.cc or you may donate to the Malawi Montessori Project through Lakeside Church. Just send a check to Attention Gina, Lakeside Church, 745 Oak Avenue, Folsom, California, 95630 and put Malawi Montessori Project- Maribeth Leineke in the memo line. The money will be used to meet the goals of the Malawi Montessori Project. The goals: We commit to: educating the future leaders of Malawi by providing this Montessori School for children in poverty and resourcing and training teachers working with the orphans in Ndirande and Blantrye.

Please consider helping us complete the construction of the Acts III Children’s Home. We are blessed to have a home for our school, but it is under construction and I believe God wants this beautiful place to be finished! Please visit www.acts3.org to see how you can help with the construction.

Enough talk! Here are the pics!
Love, Maribeth, Wavemaker, Malawi (That’s for Pastor Jeff Kreiser!)

Great Things are Happening!

Dear Family and Friends,

Amazing things are happening!!! Thank you for your ongoing love, prayers and financial support! I wouldn’t be here without your prayers, commitment and encouragement. Thank you for caring about the things that matter most to me. When my heart breaks because I see a child with no future or a teenager addicted to alcohol on the street, I know that I am not alone.

It is unacceptable to me that any child does not know their value. It is unacceptable to me that given a world full of resources that any child does not have what they need for spiritual, intellectual, emotional and physical development. We do not lack the money, resources, or people in this world to deliver on the biggest of dreams. And given the people that I am blessed to have in my life, we do not lack the compassion, commitment, passion, talent, energy, or courage to fulfill these dreams.

My prayer is that our hearts break for what breaks the heart of God. The orphans of Ndirande, Malawi, have been praying for a family and for a future. God has been busy gathering His team together to answer these prayers. And I wanted to share how He is delivering on it.

Because of God’s grace and provision,

December 15th – 19th we will be training 15 teachers and 6 directors from the seven Chifundo Orphan Care Centers in Blantyre and Ndirande in the Montessori Curriculum. We will hold a Montessori Teacher Training Intensive to train these leaders and teachers in the areas of practical life, sensorial, mathematics, language arts, and cultural subjects for 2 1/2 to 6 year olds. Chifundo Orphan Care Centers serve orphans, who are now with guardians and their siblings from ages 2 1/2 to 6. They provide two meals a day and an educational setting. These centers do so much with little resources.

My Malawi teaching partners and I will begin to serve at the Chifundos once a week to support the teachers in demonstrating materials and effective teaching strategies.

On, November 13th our Montessori Malawi Project School will add 12 new students from our Ndirande church community. These students will be children of the widows within our community. There are many widows. AIDS has a huge impact on the lives of children here.

The parents of our current students have been volunteering with great joy and commitment. They are serving as reading parents and they are making materials for the school. Thank you for sending the felt. Our parents have been busy sewing felt placevalue charts for addition and subtraction. It is beautiful and inspiring!

Our children are learning with velocity. They are reading and writing in English and Chichewa! They love learning! They love their school. They are growing in responsibility and independence. They especially enjoy cultural studies. We just finished their “Place in Space”. Whenever we can turn information they need to learn into a song, they learn the information overnight. My singing has improved! So has my art! We have been engaged in Monart and I even found oil pastels here!

Tisu and Gladys, my Malawian teachering partners, are expanding in their leadership. They have been lesson planning weekly, creating jobs, learning computer skills, and feeling very confident in their teaching. Tisu has taught the children how to knit too!

Met Mary McNeill, an owner of three private Montessori preschools here in Blantyre, who has been in Malawi for 18 years. She is from Ireland and has a great business mind and a commitment to making a difference. She is going to assist us with the training in December. Praise God for a Malawian Montessorian!

Thank you all for your prayers!
Love, Maribeth

Beautiful Things are Happening – Update on School & Training!

Dear Family and Friends,

I realize I am always thanking you for your prayers, encouragement and financial support, but I do want you to know how grateful I am. The beautiful things that are happening here for these children and the future of this community are only possible through your efforts and prayer. I stay strong and keep building because I remember the people who love me and the people who sent me. These are your accomplishments in Ndirande, Malawi.

We added 20 students to the school, which is now serving students ages 3 to 10 years. It is a remarkable tribute to the power of Montessori Education. The majority of the children of the students we have added have only moms. Being a single mom in Malawi is not the same as the U.S. These widows have no governmental support systems here. A few of the women that I know about have HIV/AIDS. They are surviving on very little, with extended family’s help. Most of them have no training or trade to bring in money for their family. When I asked one mom to sign that she will be committing to volunteering hours for the school, she told my pastor in Chichewa that she didn’t know how to write or sign her name. She never learned. That’s why she wants her children to have this education. As the pastor translated for me and I looked into her eyes and I wanted to tell her so many things to encourage her. I got that not only her children will be transformed by this education, but her as well. Montessori Education is about empowering community. That is why I love and respect this education so much.

Parents have volunteered (because we are a parent participation school (I love it!) to teach P.E. Lessons, Bible Lesson, make materials, supervise before school, be Garden of Learning parents, be in charge of organizing snack daily and to be reading parents.

We are starting a school garden for a learning experience for the children, to supply us eventually with vegetables for a snack and to sell for the school. The parents and pastors are helping us with clearing the land.

We will be providing a Montessori 2 1/2 – 6 yr curriculum training for the directors and teachers from the seven Chifundo Orphan Care Centers on JANUARY 12TH – JANUARY 16TH. Please note the change of dates.

My Malawian teaching partners, Tisu and Gladys, are growing exponentially in leadership and teaching skills. Wait til you see the picture of Tisu giving a Zoology lesson on the butterfly.

We are looking a ways to become self-sufficient in the future by making Montessori teaching materials to sell to private schools. We are looking with the parents on ways to empower them to learn a skill and start a trade.

Well, enough talking. Here are the pictures. Love, Maribeth