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

Making a Difference in Malawi! Thank you Heather and Sandy!

Dear Family and Friends,

Thank you for sending Heather and Sandy to me! Thank you for the perfect items in their luggage- all the books, CDs, art materials, Jesus materials and chocolate! Thank you Kim Yeager!!! You rock! I feel completely adored that Lakeside would visit me here in Malawi. It is an honor for all the pastors, teachers, and staff here to have my church visit Acts III. I have submersed Heather and Sandy in Malawian culture and all the activities of the ministry here. Each day is very full. They are witnessing the poverty, addiction, and hunger here in my village of Ndirande as well as the joy, peace, and hope that comes with faith in God. They have met the Christian leaders and community development leaders that are committed to making a difference for the orphans and have been inspired. But it is the children of Malawi that will leave an impression on your heart and mind that you will never forget.

Relationships are what God loves and values and through relationships He will fulfill His plan for His children who go to bed with no family, no food, no protection and no proper clothing. Here in Malawi, people will walk by a beggar in the street just like we walk right pass a homeless person on the street in California. Why don’t we stop? Why aren’t we willing to risk awkwardness and embarrassment, to face our fears, to be inconvenienced, in order to do something to love them in word or deed? Do we not have time to say hello, to find out their name so we can pray for them, to give them a sandwich, to shake their hand, to somehow, someway make them feel less alone, less rejected, less frightened? Please plan to stop next time. Plan it out. Carry an extra granola bar an extra coffee and extra jacket. Prepare yourself, gather your courage and deliver it. I have never had a bad response when I have approached someone in this way. It will change your life and change the course of your future. Matthew 25:35-40.
Love, Maribeth

Heather and Sandy Have Arrived! Thank you Jesus!

Dear Family and Friends,

Sandy Listberger and Heather Kreiser arrived safetly on Tuesday evening and the adventure began! I am so blessed by their presence! Do not underestimate the value and power of visiting a missionary! I am greatly encouraged and their visit is spiritually significant to the church of Ndirande. People in our church are so grateful that two women would travel from America to visit their church. By coming here, as representatives of Lakeside Church, and as representatives of all those I love at home, they are saying to these people, “You matter.” “Your burdens are our burdens.” “We care about the things that impact your life and we are interceeding for you in prayer.” This may seem like a small thing to us Americans, but believe me, it is not to the church of Ndirande, the pastors, my teaching partners, and those in the neighboring orphan care centers. You see, here in Malawi, relationship is what they value. A true relationship is better than a five course dinner, better than a expensive car, better than being successful, better than a credential or degree… People are everything to them. And people are what God values most too. Here are a few pictures of our adventures so far! Thank you for sending Heather and Sandy to me!

Love Maribeth

Delivering on the MMP Goals through Partnership

Dear Friends and Family,

Bono, the lead singer for U-2, and a person committed to ending extreme poverty and AIDS in our world (see www.one.org), was interviewed two years ago at the Leadership Summit televised at Lakeside Church in Folsom. He was interviewed by Bill Hybels, Senior Pastor of Willow Creek Church, who is his friend and also a man committed to being Christ in action and word in the midst of the AIDS Pandemic. When Bill Hybels asked Bono how churches get involved, Bono said, Bless what God is already blessing. He was refering to many of the organizations and leaders God had already sent to Africa and other places impacted by AIDS to serve those in need, like the orphans.

The teachers in our recent training are from five orphan care centers that serve orphans, living with guardians within the community of Ndirande. This week I visited two to the three Chifundo Orphan Care Centers run by the Prespretarian Church. These three centers (three of seven in the area) are
serve 70-300 children each, 2-5 years of age. They provide breakfast and lunch, love, Christian teaching and songs, and prepare the children for school. The are community based organizations and they raise their own crops to feed the children and employ those within the community to assist with this. They provide Home Based Care training for volunteers who minister to those who are sick within the community. They visit the children within their homes regularly for accountability and guardian support. They have boards made up of community members and sollict the help and participation of the children’s guardians. What they are doing is working and even though they are working with very few resources, they are very effective. They maximize what God has given them. Their goals are clear and they have healthy systematic ways of meeting these goals in an atmosphere of love, respect and community.

I had the opportunity to spend time at two of the centers this week. The Malawi Montessori Project has two goals: to educate the future leaders of Malawi and to train and resource an educational community. I did not make up these goals for MMP. God put these two specific goals on my heart and confirmed them through my collegues, Kim Yeager and Laura Witwer. God has the most amazing way of bringing people together in relationship to deliver on His agenda. God has brought us into relationship with the Chifundo Orphan Care Centers so that we could expand what is possible for the orphans of Ndirande. Please see the pictures below. You will see the teachers that participated in our trainings. If you want to make a difference for orphans, I know who is doing it and how you can help.
If you are a Montessori teacher (especially the 2 1/2-6 credentialed), come to Malawi to train! If you can’t come send me additional Montessori materials or money to make materials here.

Thank you to my family and friends! It is because of all of you that I am here!!! Please pray for Heather Kreiser and Sandy Listberger who leave SFO on Oct 5th and arrive in Blantyre on Tuesday, October 7th. I have a great schedule for them! Please pray that God will reveal all the He wants to see in Acts III Church Malawi, the Malawi Montessori Project, and here in Ndirande.

Love, Maribeth

Blessings to My Friends and Family!

Dear Friends and Family,

Thank you for your prayers and love! Beautiful things are happening! I look forward to the surprise visit from Heather Kreiser and Sandy Listberger, from Lakeside Church, arriving in Malawi on October 7th. Please pray for their preparation and safety. I can’t wait to cook my favorite Malawian foods for them- including roasted ground nuts! My amazing friends, Annie Holt and Pam Loomis, plus many other of those crazy compassionate women are hosting a garage sale for Acts III Global Ministries, Malawi at 953 Palmer Circle in Folsom, California 95630 on Saturday, September 27th. Please show up to donate items or shop til you drop. 100% of the purchases go to Acts III. Ladies! You completely inspire me and I’m praying!

We finish our last week of the quarter this week! Pics of the kids doing plein air water color are below. We finished session three of four sessions of the Montessori Teacher Training and Material Development this Friday for the orphan care workers. They are deeply grateful for the training and materials. The session was supposed to end at 4 p.m. but they all stayed until 5:30 p.m. to complete their materials.

Peace and Love to you all!
Love, Maribeth

Great Pictures for You All- They are worth a 1,000 words!

Dear Friends and Family,
Thank you for all your love and prayers! I really do feel them all the way over here in Malawi! Thank you for your financial support that is delivering on my dreams and others. We began our first of four Friday trainings for the community development workers at three local orphan care centers: Chifundo I, 2, and 3, right here in Ndirande. I can walk to each center. Chifundo means “Mercy” in Chichewa. At the end of the Montessori training on how to teach Practical Skills, these women said the most beautiful things to Tisu, Gladys, and I. With tears in her eyes one woman said she has been praying that someone would come and teach them how to teach the children and now God has answered her prayers. That made me cry! Their gratitude was so inspiring! The teacher to child ratio at these centers is approximately 40 or 50 to one and the social, academic and spiritual needs of these children are so great. The town of Ndirande is a town of great poverty and addiction. These women are doing the best they can for these needy children with very little supplies. Not only has God called us to train these teachers but to encourage them and express our acknowledgement for their work.

This is a Montessori Material Development Workshop. The teachers are going to make sandpaper letters and numbers, the tabletop number rods, spindle boxes, etc. With only $70.00 we had a carpenter make 770+ 5 x 5 blocks for the letters and 14 sets of the tabletop number rods. Thank you to all my Montessori Teacher Trainers that visited! I want you to know that Tisu and Gladys trained these teachers on Friday and it was beautiful to see them share about the Prepared Environment, the Montessori Materials and Montessori Teaching Philosophy. I was amazed at their knowledge and ability to demonstrate it!

Somebody have a garage sale and buy me some more wood, would you? (smile) May Jesus rock your world in the BIGGEST of ways this week. May He challenge you to love beyond your capacities. James 2:14-17 He said it, now go do it! Love, Maribeth

Love and Learning: Acts III Montessori School

Dear Friends and Family,

Thank you for your prayers and love! The children are learning respect, responsibility, and how to care for themselves and the world around them! We are a Christian Montessori School here at Acts III and the children are being taught to love people beyond their own capacities. Galatians 5:23 They made watercolor pictures for two sick women in the community and we delivered them on Friday. One of the women in particular was so touched by the children’s gift. This is what Montessori education is all about. And this is what it is to love God.

Here are some pictures of our learning! Music is a huge part of the culture of Malawi. The children’s favorite song is “This Little Light of Mine”. I make up songs for everything, which brings great humor to my teaching assistants! The Malawian National Anthem is beautiful. We sing it each morning. It goes like this: “Oh God bless our land of Malawi. Keep it a land of peace. Put down each and every enemy: hunger, disease, envy. Join our hearts together each and everyone so that we will be free from fear. And bless our leaders each and everyone and mother Malawi.”

Every time I sing this I am so moved, because I am committed to this. Our teacher training begins September 5th and run for four consecutive Fridays. We will present Montessori materials and philosophy to orphan care workers and teachers. We will have them make materials to bring back to the children they serve here in the community of Ndirande. Please pray for us. There are many threats to children here. Sickness, poverty, and people who would take advantage of them. Ndirande is a town with many bars and people escape hunger and sadness in various ways. Children are in danger in many ways. Please pray for the completion of the Children’s Home. Construction is ongoing, but if we do not finish before the rainy season (mid November) construction will be halted. Continued funding is needed to finish. Please go to www.acts3.org to see the construction pictures. I’d love to see children have a safe home for Christmas.

Seems like that would be the biggest gift of all. At our school we continue to lay the foundation of the larger school that will exist when the 96 orphans are living here. Our first class of students will be the leaders as we add new children to the school. They love school!

Thank you for all you are doing! I feel your prayers and love all the way in Malawi

I am truly blessed!

Dear Friends and Family,

I am truly blessed! Thank you to the beautiful and powerful Malawi Acts III Impact Team that demonstrated such bold love and unwavering commitment to travel with me to Blantyre, Malawi. My heart is full of gratitude for your love in action! The Malawi Montessori School has been established and will begin teaching children in two weeks. I hope to hire two women, Tisu (as a teacher) and Gladys (as a teaching assistant) this week. I observed them teaching the pastor’s children at our school yesterday and I was overwhelmed by their love, gentleness, and true effectiveness as teachers. Team! They remembered even the smallest nuiances and details of Montessori teaching. You all would have been so proud! We begin with the pastor’s children (15 students) and then begin to add children who are orphaned. Many of the pastors and members of this community have adopted children, both their relatives children and other children off the street. That is the spirit of this community. They see a need and they seek to make a difference, even with the smallest amount of personal resources.

Due to the effectiveness of our teacher training, there is a great demand for continued training. Teacher and orphan care center workers would like teacher training, English Language Development Instruction, and computer instruction. I am actively recruiting! Let me say this again. I am actively taking names of those committed to making a difference here in Blantyre, Malawi and the beautiful township of Ndirande. Dates to consider: October, Dec-Jan, March-April or mid June.

We accomplished the establishment of the school and six intensive days of teacher training because of partnership, team, and lots of prayer.

There is a beautiful song that plays on the radio. It is my favorite. It goes like this. “I believe that love is the answer. I believe that love will find the way.” Love in action is the key to making a difference for the future of these children and this community.

Thank you to my beautiful team and to all of our sponsors! Thank you to my amazing friends and family that remind me of who I am. Peace and love from Malawi! I promise pictures of our new teacher and assistant soon. Meredith, the team has pics of our teacher graduation and the team upon completion of the project. Can you add one or two?