We Are Moving! God is blessing us!

Dear Friends and Family,

Thank you for your love and support!  I have been strengthened and encouraged by your prayers and communications these past two months!  God has called us to move.  We are moving our Malawi Montessori Christian School and Teacher Training Center and waiting on God to give us a new home. Even after four intensive days of training the teachers are returning today to pack up and move.  It is their holiday too!  God bless my people!  I love them so!

I am moving from this site as well together with Aubrey (my pastor) and Madalo Kalima for the first month. Then we will see what God is going to do. Now I am really going to learn Chichewa and be with the people who I trust and love. Rock on Jesus! These are your prayers in action my friends! I will send pictures of the move as soon as I settle in. Next week is still a holiday for the school, so God has granted us much grace to find a new home for the school. Please pray for us because we had thought we found a location this week, but as happens frequently here, the situation was not exactly as it was represented, so I edited the blog message here.  When I am in a better mood about it, I may share the story.

We are praying for a new location where the school and training center can prosper. We are waiting on the Lord.  Our school goes  into storage tomorrow.

If you have time read Joshua Chapter 1: 1-9  That is what we read this morning at our devotions. It was a great encouragement to me.

Love, Maribeth

Beautiful Week of Leadership & Teacher Training! Zikomo Yesu!

HPIM1039

Mary O’Neill & Tisu Translating! Mary made us laugh all week!

HPIM0981

Our Participants Inspire Us Completely!

HPIM0960

Thanks Pastor Kalima! We love our new sign!

HPIM0996

We have a full house at 37 participants!

 

Thank you all for your prayers!

Tomorrow we conclude our four-day Leadership and Montessori Teacher Training.  We have 37 participants and our Malawian staff of seven is providing the teaching and the support.  They are amazing me! I am in awe at their beautiful hearts and leadership skills.  They are working smoothly and joyfully as a team to provide an excellent workshop and they are getting trained in presentation and leadership at the same time. Tisu and James are translating for Mary and I and they have transcribed the teaching, presentation, and leadership documents into Chichewa. I feel so happy to give out materials in Chichewa. Many of our participants, who work with the children at the community based child care centers, never finished high school and do not have strong English skills. Providing materials in Chichewa gives them real access to the concepts. Next time we will have everything- all the notes in Chichewa.

HPIM0936

James Machila sharing his experiences and growth in leadership.  James is our director of the Africa ABC Project. Tisu & James have interpreted all week and translated leadership and educational documents into Chichewa! They rock!

HPIM1005

Tisu explaining Montessori Wordbuilding after her Demonstration! I am so inspired by the people God has given me on this journey of faith!  Tisu shared for five minutes on her own successes and failures as a leader. The participants shouted out for her to keep sharing after her five minutes! Malawi to Malawi! Malawians leading Malawians!  It is so great!

Mary O’Neill is in rare form this week! She has made me laugh uncontrollably a number of times as she shares about her own leadership experiences and interacts with the participants. As she presents leadership and business concepts for education in the morning, I make copies for the next day’s workshop.  With my door open, I hear everything as I get things organized behind the scenes. There has been so much joy, inspiration and laughter coming from the participants.  They are having a great time and learning as much as they can as fast as they can in this short time.

We begin with prayers and seriously loud and expressive Malawian worship and you can feel the Holy Spirit fill the room! Then Abusa Kalima gives a short message. After that Mary presents leadership concepts. In the afternoon our school staff and Africa ABC project staff and myself present the Montessori educational strategies and materials. I was so worried about everything on Sunday.  I wanted everything to be perfect and then God reminded me that it was a “training center”, a place where people get trained and to just love all the participants and have fun.

HPIM0988

Singing & Dancing & Praising God!

Mary and I have been taking every opportunity to demonstrate leadership, courage, and conviction to the participants and challenge them to rise up and lead their nation. I told them today that God has designed them for a big purpose and to begin to discover what was God’s will for their lives. I spoke with them how God puts a “holy discontent” in each person’s heart- a mission to be fulfilled.

After the workshop ended, Mary and I prayed with a young friend, Sarah. We prayed for each other and Mary O made us laugh so hard as she told God to hurry up and deliver on some things for me.  It was the greatest prayer!  I think she even surprised herself.

Thank you all for praying!

Peace, Maribeth

The Kingdom of Heaven

To My Family and Friends!

Thank you all for your prayers and support!

We are learning a lot about the kingdom of heaven lately. It has been a great week!

HPIM0669

Mikey and his new umbrella!

But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them, for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 19:14)

And Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me.”  (Matthew 18:2-5)

Update on Last Week:

Guthrie Bible School Graduation: Our local church sponsored sending Simon Kambala and Jane Kaonjezere, our teachers of the children’s ministry, for two weeks of intensive Biblical study at the Guthrie Bible School run by the Pentecostal Holiness Church. Pastor Althea Meyer is the director and an outstanding woman of God.  She will be our advisor on our Executive Board of our ministry. God has definitely brought us together for a purpose. The Bible School is providing excellent training and hands on ministry experiences (practical) at a very affordable cost. The school is only a 5 minute bus ride from my current location. We are supporting their efforts.

 HPIM0703

Jane Kaonjezere & Simon Kambala- I love to make my friends smile!

Umbrellas from Ramila: I met Annansa’s cousin at Annansa’s dad’s birthday party this past Tuesday. The party was so warm and fun. She has a great family. I feel honored that they invited me to share the special occasion with them. Ramila’s  sister in law, Eleanor, had passed away unexpectedly a month ago and Ramila, who is Muslim, wanted to give away umbrella’s to children in need in remembrance of her sister in law.  This is a tradition within the Muslim faith when someone passes away. Ramila came to our school with an umbrella for each child. It was a beautiful occasion. The children sang songs to her and it made a huge difference for her. I could feel God’s spirit moving in the event. Our children do not have umbrellas and this rainy season they often get caught in a huge down pour and arrive wet to school or go home wet. This Friday it was sunny with a few clouds, but at the end of Ramila’s sharing it began to rain. The children chose their umbrella and walked home in the rain. This was a precious gift! Thank you Ramila!

HPIM0661

 

HPIM0680

HPIM0662

 HPIM0665

We continue to develop the constitution of Malawi Wa Yesu (Malawi For Jesus):  We continue the process of registering the ministry this Monday.  The staff voted for one representative to sit on the Executive Board in the position of Secretary and in the role of liaison between the Board and Staff. Right on!

The Malawi Montessori Christian School and ABC Project Staff are preparing for the Leadership and Education Training next Monday. Our theme is the Parable of the Sower. We will be training teachers from the private schools, nurse’s assistants on the pediatric floor at Queen Elizabeth General Hospital, teachers from the Malawi Preschool Association and teachers and directors from the local community based child care centers. Tisu Mwanza and James Machila will both be presenting on their experiences and wisdom gained in their leadership roles. All staff will be presenting in the educational sections in the afternoons.

Cure International:  I met with Carla Palmer, Head of Rehab, to design flyer for PT/OTs in Malawi in preparation for our March Team’s arrival. Carla is absolutely lovely and brilliant arranging all the details for us!  

 

This Upcoming Week:

We would appreciate prayers for these things!

This week our staff completes assessments and report cards for our children.  It is the end of our term this Friday. We continue to prepare for next week’s workshop. We are hoping to also recruit another teacher for our staff from the training next week. Our job next week will be to love and encourage and train these teachers so that they become leaders in education, who make a difference for the children and the future of this country. (2 Timothy 2:2)

Tuesday Mary O’Neill and I finish our efforts developing the playroom for children who have been diagnosed with terminal illness at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. What we are doing here is really important to me. Last year our church began ministering to the patients at Queen’s twice a month. We would select a ward each time whether it was the women’s, men’s or children’s wards. We preach and pray over people and sing songs of love and encouragement. We hand out scripture on healing in Chichewa. This is not a place of hope and not a place you would want to find yourself and most likely you would not even want to visit. This is why we go. We are committed to being the light of Christ in all places of darkness. To bring hope and healing to those in need. (Matthew 25:35-36)

Wednesday I meet with staff at Chikondi Center for Children with Disabilities to arrange March’s Team opportunity to visit schools and home of children with physical challenges and the details of the trainings.

I would appreciate continued prayers for wisdom around decisions regarding the ministry and workshop next week. I know you all are praying for me, because all of a sudden I would think of something I needed to add or a particular way things needed to go to create excellence or ensure good administration.  These ideas would seriously drop from heaven into my brain (smile). Thank you!  With God’s wisdom we prosper in the most important things!  Thank you also for praying for great people for me to work with!  The prayers are working: Althea, Winston (registering our ministry), Carla, my buddy, Annansa, etc, Good people are the best blessing ever!

HPIM0591

Annansa and her fiance Daniel!

HPIM0606

The Maru Family is Always Full of Shenanigans! God bless them-they are so fun!

This week I put up pictures of my family and friends on my wall to encourage me. It really makes a difference to see you all looking at me and knowing I am loved.

 Love, Maribeth

Peace to You All!

HPIM0422

Madalo Kalima and I &  Rabecca Brown (10yrs), with a big beautiful smile!

Peace To You All!

Missing you all! Working though the issues with wifi here at the project.  Now I am beginning to respond to all your emails so please give me time to catch up. I have so much to share so this is a long update!

It is tropical and rainy here.  It is a beautiful time of year, but I have to watch all the time for incoming clouds or my laundry will get a second rinse cycle on the line. When it rains here the heavens open up and the sound of the rain is like a freight train.  It can rain this hard for an entire day.  It always amazes me at how we do everything here in flipflops- run, hike, jump over creeks, climb hills, wade through mud. We definitely break all shoe safety rules in these flipflops.

Our maize is almost ready for harvest. Mangoes and avocados are in season and plentiful. I am eating better because my new American missionary friends, James and Claudia, who are living on site, keep inviting me to dinner after we practice Chichewa.  They really are a blessing to have around. They are very calm and patient, easy going.

There were many beautiful highlights from last week. I am learning Chichewa. I am surprising myself and my friends. I sat in the gazebo with our guard’s granddaughter, Shakila, who is three years of age and talked with her for 30 minutes or more. I think she really thinks I can speak Chichewa. She decided to hold a church service with just her and I and had me get up and sit down and repeat “amens”.  She told me when it was time to pray and I had to sing a chorus and dance too. She was so beautiful as my little pastor for the afternoon.

My real pastor, Abusa Aubrey Kalima, and I continue to discuss details around the church and ministry. We are in one accord about all of it. I am blessed to have the friendship of him and his wife, Madalo.  They are exceptional people. Aubrey is an outstanding leader and a wise man of faith. He has the respect and trust of people in the church and our community.  He is the lead pastor for the ministry we are committed to registering here in Malawi.

God has definitely had me still in a waiting zone about establishing the ministry. We definitely do not have all our ministry team yet. So we wait. I am uncomfortable in this place. He has given the “green light” on so much, but keeps asking me to wait about this. Establishing a ministry will take four to six months once the paperwork is submitted. It isn’t a difficult process, but it will take money and time to do it well. With an official ministry, I will be able to reapply for a 2 year visa and also have a legal entity with which to purchase property. Please continue to pray for me as we have a number of programs running (school, Africa ABC, trainings, etc.) and no official Malawian ministry yet.

Now about the Acts III property acquisition and the Christian Leadership Training Center development. There will be more clarification and details this week to sort out as the director from Acts III Georgia, Randy McEwen, meets with the lawyers, planning commission, etc.  Please pray for him.  He is confident that all the legal issues can be sorted out which would make the property free and clear for a purchase. I know God wants us to build on this hill. If it is His will, He will make a way. Isaiah 2:1-4

I am spending half of my time at the school- advancing and updating the curriculum and materials and training the staff and the other half designing the next series of workshops and the next phase of the internship program.  Feb 22nd-25th Leadership and Education Training, March 8th-11th Training for Pediatric Nurses, March 22nd our Lakeside Team will be training parents and specialists working with children with physical challenges, and we are planning a Parenting Workshop for April.  I love the work and our team. Every day the staff gets together to sing and pray and then we let the children in to begin their day. At our staff meeting last Friday, after I had everyone list each other’s personality strengths and gifts, each of us shared two areas we wanted God to develop us in.  I definitely asked for more trust and patience as well as for God to make me more gentle and soft. As my brother in law, Cort, says, “Take five deep breaths, Mary.” The great thing about Malawi and the people here is that they have a way of making you gentle, sweet, and more patient.

God continues to confirm the vision for the Christian Leadership Training Center here. It is up to Him to make it happen. This is a site that could house multiple ministries and bless the children and people of Ndirande in a multitude of ways. And also be a great landing zone for international missionaries and those called to make a difference here.

 Thursday, I went to the government hospital to pray over one of our teacher’s brother in law who was dying of AIDS. He was so thin, barely taking shape under the blanket. He had lived a life of drinking and infidelity and no longer could speak or move. My heart was breaking as we prayed because little by little with every choice we make it would be easy for any of us to end up just like Kenson. I felt a sadness that he had been so deceived by darkness.  It made me angry too. Who was there to bring him back- to go after him when he went astray?

After Abusa Kalima read scriptures to the man’s father and we prayed, I said that we must claim him for Jesus. His eyes were closed and his father said he couldn’t hear, but I didn’t believe it. I said that even though he could not speak for himself, we would carry his faith for him. We would intercede for him, speak on behalf for him, and surrender him into the hands of God, who is so merciful and forgiving. I place my hands on his head and others his small body and we prayed.  After a minute or so he regained consciousness and opened his eyes. I spoke to him in Chichewa and then I sang to him about heaven in Chichewa as he kept his eyes on mine. I told him of the promise of heaven and that he belonged to Jesus. His eyes never left my face.

I know that this is what I was designed to do. To claim back the territory, to redeem what has been broken, and to love people into the kingdom of God. Nothing will ever take more importance that this. How will people know that our God is good, unless God’s people show them? One person at a time. 

Friday, February 5th, at this moment the staff of the Malawi Montessori Christian School is having a parent appreciation tea, where the children will demonstrate their learning and the parents will be recognized for their service to the school. I have forced myself to stay in my room, even though I want to see all the wonderful things that are happening. I can hear the children singing praise to Jesus in Chichewa through my window. I know the parents must be so proud.  My heart is filled with pride for the staff. I am hiding here in my room, in charge of making the tea, so that my staff will see yet again, that they do not need me. If the parents see me, they will think this school is happening because of me.  Let me assure you it isn’t. My Malawian brothers and sisters in Jesus are doing it! This is yet another opportunity to practice the leadership skills they already possess. I know they can do it, this is to make sure they own their own leadership and accomplishments.

Our Income Generating Activities (I.G.A.s) :  Anyone who has had the patience to listen to me talk about Malawi for five minutes has heard me talk about IGAs. Foreigners developed  a culture of Malawian dependence upon their outside funding.  Malawi is rich in resources and in motivated people, who just need a little training and encouragement.  And then my friends, Watch out! God told me that I cannot ask Malawians to develop their own IGAs to support their own ministries and community based child care centers unless I AM WILLING TO DO SO! Lead by example.  So we are. Our workshops are provided for both a scholarship and private paying clients. And God just downloaded a fantastic idea to fund the Malawi Montessori Project in Malawi and at the same time increase early childhood literacy.  There are no books in the homes in Ndirande. Not one. Yet. More later on this project.

A special peace to my friends coming back from World Mandate!  I was up all night on my Malawian Friday night thinking of you all and praying for you!  To Scott and Laura in Mozambique too!

And a special thank you for my family and friends.  I miss you guys and love you and I am so grateful for you in my life! xxxooo from Malawi!

Love, Mary