Christmas Ya Bwino!

Dear Friends and Family,

I love you! I miss you! You are in my heart and prayers this Christmas! Thank you for all your encouragement- letters, phone calls, and packages! Every little thing you do there is magnified 1,000 times here. I am here because of your love, support and commitment! It is rainy and warm here. One hour the loudest rain storm you have ever heard moves through and the next hour it is sunny. For the beautiful team coming from Lakeside Jan. 12th., Stephanie, Leo and Jeff, bring your umbrellas! The Malawian raindrops are huge! But we are very happy because everything is growing in our garden! (Picture below of our garden and the hardest worker in all of Malawi, our groundskeeper and guard, Weta Weta.)

It seems that each week if not twice a week I say, “This is the most important moment!” And then the next day I have to retract that and say, “No, truly this is the most fulfilling moment.” Last Friday and this past Sunday were two of those moments. Our Christmas and end of the year celebration for the children last Friday consisted of a huge pot of bean soup, cheese puffs and an art activity, which may not seem very exciting from American standards, but the children loved it! (See pictures below.) Food equals love here. Feeding people is an expression of love. Jesus knew the value of a good meal. Matthew 14:16 – 21 You don’t need any bling, bling or sparkle here to make a difference, just some food and fun. Each day at school we provide a small snack for the children, that we purchase from two parents, who are widows. They make money to support their families and the children have food for their brains. (smile) We are receiving lots of visitors to our school. There are wealthy parents that would like to pay us to have their child attend. But Jesus said, This will be free. So we are only taking kids of need and our church members children. We cannot expand the school until the school building is constructed. We are praying for the funds to complete the Chidren’s Home and School. We would like to use the school as a Montessori Training College also, so that we can multiply the difference by training teachers and orphan care workers.

The second miraculous moment came this past Sunday . A team of seven of us from the Ndirande church and two of our pastors, Abusa Brown and Abusa Maini began our hospital ministry program. We traveled together by minibus to Queen’s Hospital and visited two wards. We had fasted Wednesday and Saturday as a team in preparation for Sunday. These two wards had about 50-60 patients each in beds and some people on the floor, since there are not hospial beds for all of them. We entered the men’s ward ( in which someone had just died and been removed.)and Pastor Maini introduced our team and explained that we were here to encourage them and pray for him. First we sang praise and worship songs and I watched as the faces full of suffering and despair brighten with hope. In this moment in my mind I heard these words. “And the Light of Hope has come into the darkness.” The patients began to sing and clap with us. Worship here is warfare. These people know how to sing and do battle in the spiritual realm. Then Pastor Maini began the most powerful sermon I have seen him deliver yet. Lead by the Holy Spirit, he spoke the powerful truth of the gospel and the promise of healing for those who have accepted the Healer. These Pastors do not mess around. They know the truth and they share it with honesty, clarity and power. Pastor Brown then asked if there were any people who wanted to accept Christ and at least seven hands went up. We then walked around the room in twos and prayed for the patients. The gift of healing is something you have to be open to receiving. Many people were open. In the women’s ward it was the same. Let me tell you that everything we have done up to now pales in comparison to the ground we took back for Jesus this day. We will be going every other week on Sunday. As Christians we have the most powerful and life transforming gift: grace through Jesus Christ. Why are we not sharing it more boldly?

Peace and Love and Merry Christmas from Malawi, Love Maribeth

May the Peace of Christmas Settle in Your Soul

Dear Friends and Family,
Philippians 4:6-7 and 19. God reminded me this week that I just need to ask Him for what I need. So I keep asking and He keeps delivering. (Great Pictures Below)

Thank you for all your prayers, gifts of love, and financial support! We have one more week of school before we go on Christmas Break (until January 17th). This is the end of our school year in Malawi. The children have been demonstrating the most outstanding leadership and progress within the classroom. Tisu and Gladys are completing report cards and holding Parent Teacher Conferences. These women are simply amazing! God has shown me that these women need the honor and privilege of earning their 2 1/2 to 6 year old Montessori Credential. We have been planning for my departure in June and I have been handing over responsibilities to them: lesson planning, assessment, report cards conferences, etc. These two women do not have a college degree, but God has given them intention, motivation, intelligence, love, creativity and focus.

This past week Glady’s planned all the cultural lessons for Zoology. We studied fish anatomy. She was brilliant! Creating a song and dance to help the students remember the different parts of a fish. We have small classroom fish, but she brought in dried and fresh fish for the students to study. Our cat, Pang Ono Pang Ono, is our classroom mammal. She participated in our study of the fish too. (See pictures.) The kids adore her and she is very gentle. By chance Pastor Kalima caught a very large crab in the creek and the children loved watching it eat part of our fish. Needless to say our classroom smelled for two days, but the learning opportunities were maximized!

The week of January 12th, Tisu, Gladys, Mary O’Neill (a Montessori teacher and owner of three Montessori preschools here in Blantyre) and I will be holding a training for the Orphan Care Workers and Directors of the seven Chifundo (which means “Mercy” in Chichewa) Orphan Day Centers. We would love your prayers! And not that anyone is asking, but here is my Christmas Wishlist:

That you all would know the powerful and gracefilled love of God.
That all of you would know how much I love you and how grateful I am for you in my life.
And finally, that people would continue to come forward saying, “The children of Malawi matter to me too.” and invest in the Malawi Montessori Project so that we can continue to invest in the lives of these children.

If you want to donate this Christmas, please send your tax deductible donation to Lakeside Church. Attention Gina, Lakeside Church, 745 Oak Avenue Parkway, Folsom, California, 95630. Please put Malawi Montessori Project- Maribeth in the Memo line.

I promise through prayer and hardwork to maximize your donation to provide a better education for the orphans of Ndirande. You can count on it!

Peace and Love,
Maribeth