Dear Friends and Family,
I am very blessed by all the teaching supplies, books (especially about conservation) art materials, etc you sent and most importantly your prayers, phone calls and love! I cannot believe that I will be landing back in California on June 23rd. This is a time of waiting and a time of action for us here. And I would appreciate your prayers for all of it.
We are waiting for God to direct us to the purpose of this Acts III site and building. Is it to be a Christian Leadership and Training Center? Is it to continue to be a school and training center for teachers? If either of these is the case, it will greatly bless the orphans of Ndirande by training up leaders that will make a difference for the children. Leadership and Discipleship is the key. I believe we are waiting on God’s team that He is calling to fulfill the vision for this building and land. So please pray for people to hear God’s call and respond. We are strategically located on a hill with a magnificent view of Ndirande and the Ndirande mountains. We are strategically within walking distance to multiple centers that feed and provide an educational setting for these 2 1/2 to 6 year olds orphans and vulnerable children. We have God’s chosen location for His purpose. Isaiah 2:1-4. Matthew 28:18-20. But what does God intend? The question is not whether or not this site will make a difference for the widows and orphans. It already is. So please pray for all hearts and mind to be aligned with the vision. Please pray that we will be listening to the Holy Spirit in every decision we make.
I am waiting for God to tell me what is next in my life. So I would appreciate prayers. I am a better doer than a waiter. (smile) We finished the accountability visitations to the seven Presbyterian Community Based Orphan Care Centers this week. They put into action so many of our suggestions and saw the fruit of their labor. They were completely inspired by what they had achieved in two weeks. The positive spirit of the centers, the unity of the staffs, and the tangible evidence of their improvements was easy to see. Mary O’Neill and I were completely amazed. We will be holding another Leadership and Teacher Training the week of March 23rd for additional centers.
Beginning Monday, we are starting a Teacher Training Internship Program, where we have invited the previously trained orphan care workers to come and spend a week with us and the kids at the school. A practical experience of teaching. We hope to hire another teacher for our staff at Malawi Montessori School. We had an inspection/visitation by the Regional Department of Education here in Blantyre and they were delighted with our curriculum and how we are aligning the Montessori Curriculum to the Malawian Teaching Standards. They also were impressed with Tisu and Gladys’s credentials and professionalism. I had the department come out when I was gone. Tisu is the administrator now and Gladys is operating as the head teacher and will train the next two teachers. My focus has turned to setting them up for success when I leave and the orphan care workers and their training. Empowering the existing orphan care centers of Ndirande by assisting them to elevate their standard of care and educational environment is a priority. They are so appreciative for the partnership too!
All that said, the one thing that really brings me great joy and life is looking into the faces of the children. When I look into a child’s eyes, it is as if I am looking into heaven itself. Our children are becoming the leaders Christ intends them to be. We are taking the children at our school to Chifundo III Orphan Care Center on Friday to teach their kids our science songs. We began our Keep Malawi Clean program formally within the town of Ndirande last week, where we marched, chanted, sang, and cleaned up our road and the path to the creek. We read the kids Genesis I and we decided to respect the world God gave us. We started a movement (smile). We are hoping it catches on!
I love you and miss you all!!! I will be home soon!
Peace and Love, Maribeth