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!