Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Today we left Lilongway behind us and headed south to Zomba! After a 4 ½ hour tour we finally arrived and visited a feeding program for street children. We sang a few songs with them and plan to return tomorrow to serve them a meal. We are weary but have found nice lodging. We plan to be up early tomorrow to paint the dining hall for the feeding program. God is good all the time.
On Monday the team visited the RISE Malawi after school program located in Madisi. This is a wonderful and very organized program with amazing children as well. We started our day there by visiting with Za and Tenashe. They then introduced us the Standard 8 teens whom had just sat for the national exam. It was wonderful to hear the testimonies, hopes, and dreams of these exceptional teens. We shared some of our personal experiences and why God has led us to Malawi as well. Next we visited with the 4 street leaders who are wonderful role models to these struggling children. They bless them and their communities by letting each and every child know how special they are to God. During the afternoon we were able to share a meal with the children as well as sit in on tutoring, play games, and do arts and crafts. Becky shared the hidden treasure bookmark lesson (based on the parable of the lost coin), which the children loved, and drove home how important they are to God. Reluctantly we left Rise Malawi but we have a greater sense of what is needed to help make this program even better.
Bryan C., Jon G., Dana S., and Bethany T. landed safely in Washington, D.C. after 25 hours in flight. God has been through every part of our trip and we praise Him for the traveling mercies. There were no delays, no extreme turbulence, and as we landed, it was hard to believe we had left Malawi more than a day before. Thank you all for your prayers, but please continue them for the five amazing team members still serving in Malawi for the next 5 days.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
On Saturday we again split up, one large group went to stack more bricks while another small group went to purchase some much needed supplies for Safe Haven. We bought mattresses, sheets, and pillows and dropped them off at the boys home where they waited with joy and gratefulness! We again regrouped and prepared for the highly anticipated soccer (football) tournament. The attendance at the tournament was staggering (the entire community, 2 teams (the Young Destroyers and the Rocky Stars), and many of the village chiefs including the head chief from many villages). We spent the early afternoon playing frisbie, taking pictures, and dancing with all of the children! We had a blast and were pretty dusty and sweaty by the time the game started. It was a very close game and came down to a shoot out. The Rocky Stars reigned as the champions of the football tournament! During the half time, we also had the opportunity to perform the Thief skit followed by a call to salvation and we believe many came to Christ! To end an amazing day/week, we had a nice dinner at the lodge with many of the Malawians to celebrate the week and send home some of the other team members. It was like Christmas morning when we blessed all of the people who have supported us so far for being our translators, tour guides/Malawian experts, and friends. It was a wonderful way to end an amazing week!
Friday morning the group split up, half tackling the bricks again while the other half tackled the tourist craft market, yikes! The group of shoppers may need some prayer due to the shopping trauma. However, both teams were successful in their endeavors! During the afternoon, we regrouped and went to visit the boys from the Safe Haven orphanage. We shared testimonies and got to know the boys. We also toured their home, which is falling apart. We can’t wait to see the day when the bricks that we helped to stack will be used to build a better home for these amazing boys. As our main activity, we painted a banner based off of Psalm 23. The boys loved it and displayed their artistic gifts!
On Thursday, we began our service with the Youth Cares/Safe Haven ministry by doing manual labor. In the morning, the entire team, plus some of the Malawians, stacked bricks for a few hours. We were stacking bricks on their new piece of property. The bricks will be used to build the new boys homes to relocate Safe Haven (currently in a rented house). We were sore when we were finished but it was worth it. In the afternoon, we visited with one of the Youth Cares after school programs. The children ranged from the preschool age all the way up to 8th grade. We again performed the Do Not Touch Skit, which the children thought was hilarious, introduced the kids to frisbies (thanks Bekah and Randy), and taught many of them how to make balloon animal dogs. It was just precious when the children had their balloon dogs. They were all running around yelling Woof! Woof!