We are so excited to be serving in Malawi. We invite you to take this journey with us. Keep the beautiful people of Malawi in your prayers, and us too.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

We are thankful.....very thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving to all! Although we are in the center of Africa over 10,000 miles away and it is swelteringly hot outside, we can still be thankful.....for a lot of things.  Really, we have so much to thank the Lord for over the past 12 months.  Wow what an incredible journey it’s been!  As we laid awake in bed this morning because the dogs were barking, (we are not thankful for our dogs :), we just praised God for you and what He has done so far to get us here and what He is doing in the hearts of the Malawian youth. 

Thank you for………

1.  Giving Sacrificially.
            -Your time in meeting and eating with us before we left America. 
-Your hard worked for money: that you sacrificially have given to make this work possible. 
-Your love: as we are not always the easiest people to care for. 
-Your possessions: as many of you have donated your things to bless the people of Malawi or sent us gift packages in the mail.

            2.  Praying Fervently.
                        -Being our daily prayer warriors.
-Many of you have calloused knees on behalf of interceding for God to break through in Malawi.
-For Christ to perform miraculous works of power among the people here to show that He is enough and that they don’t have to put their trust in anything else.
-For our family:  as we transition cultures here, learn the Chichewa language, fight sickness, and preach Jesus.

We are so thankful for you!  We honestly could not do this without you and we praise God for your continued involvement in our lives for His glory in all the world.  The hand of the Lord is really doing some awesome things on the ground here in Malawi through you and the lives of giving and praying that you are leading back home.  We are positive that there will be MANY Malawian faces in heaven one day thanking God for His grace for transforming their life through your sacrificial giving and fervent praying.

In closing, we just wanted to give you a little story from yesterdays Bible/soccer club that meets on Tuesday and Thursdays at our house.  After teaching them the story of Abraham and Isaac, Luke prayed with them and then told them to go and begin the soccer training by running.  But a hand shot up in the back of the group of kids.  It was Innocent, an 11 year old who lives right down the road from us.  He has a miraculous story of the Lord preserving his life a few years ago after a horrific fall where he was impaled by a steel pole going through his spine after he fell out of a tree trying to get a mango.  Since then, his family said they can’t and don’t want to take care of him so he lives with his aunt who treats him badly.  But, our house has become a place of refuge and good times for this kid.  He has the most amazing smile and he genuinely enjoys the Bible lessons.  He said, “I’ve never been taught the Bible before.  I’ve heard of Jesus a few times at school but no one has ever told me the story of the Bible.”  He then asked, “Why do we not sacrifice anymore like Abraham and Isaac did?  Why should I not go and get my best goat and chicken to give to God to cover over my sins like they did?”  Incredible!  Rather than going and having fun playing soccer, the kids are really enjoying asking questions about the Word of God to clarify it in their minds. Luke then walked them through a few passages from Hebrews and told them about Jesus and how He was the sacrifice that fully satisfied the wrath of God on our behalf. They had never had this explained to them before. Then Innocent said,  “That is great news!  Now I understand!”  The Lord is doing some awesome things in this little Bible club made possible through you!  We are humbled and so thankful for this opportunity to teach Innocent and many others about the Lamb of God who takes away their sin.

We miss you all dearly but have been deeply encouraged by your giving and praying. Below is a picture of Innocent.

Thank you God!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A Family Outing To Ndirande

The "Uzungus" 
Beautiful mountains in the background
Andrew did a fantastic job of leading and organizing the event
Becca and the kids 
Alice is in the black shirt and jean skirt in the middle
What a day it was!  Last Sunday, we were invited to worship with our brothers and sisters of the Africa Evangelical Church in Ndirande.   As we walked through the streets of this giant mass of humanity crammed together, I asked God, "Why?" Why was I born into a family that loved me and a mother and father who cared if I came home at night.  As i saw kids who were ridden with sickness and the everyday hardships of living in extreme poverty, I asked God why.  Why in the world do these people suffer so deeply?  I know that these sad situations are results of sin entering the world through Adam and Eve but gosh it's hard to walk and smell and see these people who suffer so deeply and struggle so frequently just to live another day.  But, then i was reminded of something i'd read the night before from Francis Chan's book Erasing Hell.  He wrote, "It's not about figuring out all of the mysteries of God, but embracing Him and cherishing Him--even when He doesn't make perfect sense to us." As I stood confused with God at the plight of these dear precious people God reminded me of His hugeness. It's not blind faith that we have but we must submit ourselves under the sovereignty of the One on the throne. We are the clay and He is the Potter.  In a more clear way than ever, I saw the horrible effects of sin being in this world but then i was reminded of the beauty of the cross of Christ. There will soon be a day when there won't be places like this anymore.  But, until that day comes, we are going to go hard to tell these beautiful battered people of a better place and a King who is good in all that He does and is.  This is a good message that we have to give them and it is worth giving our very lives for.

We had an incredible time praising the King of Kings all morning with them amidst immense physical poverty.  But again, i was reminded that you are not poor by the amount of money that you make in a month.  You are poor if you don't know Jesus.  The believers of this church were certainly not poor.  Their praises resounded out of the tiny humid building into the bustling slum of hundreds of thousands of people.  Many children gathered at the entrance of the church building to see why these "Uzungus" were there.  The dusty streets were filled with people, smells, and sounds that still are vivid in our memories.  They are loved by God just as much as we are.

The main reason that we went was to encourage the small church in any way that we could.  Alice and Andrew are the two sports ministry leaders from that Body of believers and their big smiles showed us the face of Christ.  We were encouraged to see Alice taking on leadership roles in her home church as she took the kids outside and taught them Sunday school.  That is the goal!  To raise up a generation of youth in Malawi who go and make disciples through their local church to the ends of the earth.  After the service, Alice and Andrew invited Becca, Lyzee, and myself to attend their first big community sports outreach.  (that's what the pictures are from)  It was exciting to see them take such ownership of the ministry and how they organized everything so well.  There was well over 80 people there for the netball game against a local school team.  Men, women, and children from Ndirande. They all came wondering what all the commotion was about. Alice had prepared a Bible lesson for the group and opened up the time by sharing the Word of God with these people.  Muslims, Christians, and many others from all different walks of life.  It was really a great opportunity to present Christ and she did it well.  By the way, she is 17 years old, still in high school and lost both of her parents when she was young. But she has God.  She has the Holy Spirit. And that is enough to do incredible things on this earth. God used her and will continue to use her.

Please continue to pray for the ministry in Ndirande.  Pray that God would break through in that place in a profound way that would make the nations in awe at how great Jesus is.  It was quite a wonderful day but pray that the work will continue on a weekly basis and that God would empower them daily to live the life of Christ among those they are seeking to reach.  Thanks for praying. God is really doing much more than we expected.  Praise Jesus!