Hello at long last! Because the past two months have flown by without me writing my June newsletter, I am combining the two months here. It’s a bit long, but grab a cup of coffee or tea and take some time to relax – Malawi-style.
JUNE: This was quite a busy month for me with visits to several field sites.
Earlier this month I spent the day with orphaned youth participating in a WR Vocational Training pilot program. Apprentices study under mentors as one of the following: bricklayers, tailors, home craft (Home Ec), tinsmiths and carpenters. They work alongside the trainers and as a group, earning money as they are learning their craft. They also learn how to manage money, business and marketing skills. After six months, their work is assessed by a regulating board. If standards are met, the students become eligible for business loans in the form of materials. These young people, due to unfortunate life -circumstances, had very little education and even less hope of ever developing a skill much less an opportunity of owning a businesses. I talked to a young man, Toko, who described his life as an orphan as “the most difficult thing a child can experience” It is his desire that once his business is up and running, he will be a mentor/teacher to other orphans, passing on the blessing with which he was blessed. They are so proud of their accomplishments and so thankful to WR for this opportunity. It is our desire to continue this program, extending it to orphans in each district.In Salima, I attended one of the World Relief Leadership Trainings for church ministry team members. I was asked to contribute to the module pertaining to Cultural Worldview, a discussion focused on how cultural beliefs can be lies that keep us in fearful bondage and prevent progress in individuals, communities and nations. We emphasize that God’s TRUTH will set all people free! It’s wonderful to see the lights come as they make these spiritual discoveries for themselves!
In keeping with World Relief’s self-sufficiency strategies, community members are encouraged to identify and map out areas of challenge within their individual communities and to come up with group solutions and an action plan with material and human resources available locally. Amazing what insights and answers they’ll arrive at when they put their collective heads together for the common good!
June 30th – Women and The Church Ministries became the very proud owners of a property about 10 times the size of our present location where the children will eventually be moved to a new center, TBB (to be built). This new space will allow the children plenty of room in which to learn and plenty of outside space to run and play. It also gives WTCM future growth options. Our present location will be used as a training/meeting center just for the women. When we started in December 2011, we had no idea we would be purchasing property this soon, but God had bigger ideas! I’ve often said that since the beginning of this ministry, I have been running to catch up to all God is doing and how quickly he’s moving. A HUGE thank you to my sister, Heather and to a donor who wishes to remain anonymous, whose very generous gifts matched the grant from God’s Economy!! The rest of the matching grant, $2500 will be used to train our women’s group in tailoring and give them small, group business loans. In preparation for this, the women were trained in a highly successful program, Village Savings and Loan, where they learned about managing, saving, and loaning monies within a self-governed group, acting as their own banking institution. We are so thankful for all that has transpired these past two months and how God has propelled this ministry, “immeasurably more than we could have asked or imagined” Eph. 3:20. We look forward, with great anticipation to what He will do in the future!
July 3rd– the much anticipated arrival of my dear friend, Sandy Boucher and her friend Jill. We had a short, but wonderful time together, packed with showing them around my “world” here in Malawi – ministry with World Relief in Salima, and WTCM locally. We had a precious time of sharing our lives and hearts and things Malawi.
July 4th – my ex-husband Chip, died of what is believed to have been 2 severe strokes. Though he had not been well for years, this came as quite a shock to us. In keeping with his family’s wishes, there was no funeral or service, which left both Dane and Logan sort of in limbo without a means of a final goodbye to their Dad. Dane did go to CO this past weekend to go through some of Chip’s things with his grandma, Betty. Logan hasn’t had that opportunity and seems to be reeling from the news. Of course, I am far away and feeling quite helpless to give or receive good communication or the comfort my presence could bring to them. Please be praying for both boys and for me as this is the hardest time I’ve had being away from those I love.
July 12th – the arrival of the Westwood Community Church team, long-time church partners with World Relief in our furthest district, Chitipa , 10 hrs. from Lilongwe and only a few kilometers from the Tanzanian and Zambian borders. I was blessed to spend 10 days assisting the team as they ministered in areas of Pastoral training, Child caregiver’s training, home visits and memory books for those living with HIV/AIDS. Westwood has been heavily invested in this area, constructing 9 village centers – bringing relief, development and a strong spiritual presence to many surrounding communities. Their team of 7 was very hard-working, effective -and a lot of fun!
I will close with an all-time, life highlight: one of the women who has been very involved with WTCM, had a baby girl on June 9th and named her after me. I am SO honored (of course, she’s beautiful)!