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.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Gorgeous Mountains, Gorillas, and God's Gift

We hope this blog finds you plump and merry after Christmas.  What a reason to celebrate with friends, family and anyone!  God's goodness in our lives is overwhelming and so we just wanted to share a few highlights from the last 7 days with you.....

Mt. Mulanje Adventure 
Just before Christmas, Luke went to Mount Mulanje (highest peak in central Africa) with 14 key sports ministry leaders to finish up our 1st ever on-going training that we've been doing with them for the past 3 months.  It was an amazing time where they stood in awe at the beauty of God's magnificent creation and heard from His Word. We are so thankful that everyone arrived back safely down the mountain after the 25 + miles they hiked in 2 days. The trip was exhausting but God really met us there so we praise God for it and many of the leaders were encouraged and empowered to take their local church sports ministry to a new level.  It was an adventure we'll never forget and an amazing discipleship opportunity.
Sports Friends coaches at Mt Mulanje

2nd Annual Christmas Tournament
Last year, we wanted to bless the boys of our community by having a football (soccer) tournament and then share the story of Christmas with them.  Becca did a wonderful job explaining how God made a way for us through sending Himself in the flesh as Jesus.  So, as Christmas rolled around again this year, we said to ourselves, "Why not make this a yearly thing?"  We planned it out, told the boys (who would have been here anyway), and then tried to buy a few things for prizes that would bless the boys and their families.  As usual, by 1 PM there were about 100 kids in our back yard and they were ready to play!  They all had a great time and then Jeremy Ricks shared from His life why Christmas is important to Him as well as sharing a personal testimony that God really used to speak to the boys. We should never stop celebrating the coming of the King!
Christmas Tournament on December 21

Lyzee decorating gingerbread cookies
Christmas Day
Our second Christmas in Malawi. This year we were very intentional in how we celebrated Christmas, especially because Lyzee can now understand and remember much more.  We wanted her to have similar Christmas memories that we had as children, watching funny Christmas movies, decorating cookies, special celebrations with friends and decorating the Christmas tree. But, we also want our family to celebrate Christ's birth in special ways because of what He has called us to do in Malawi. We tried to really focus on Christ's birth as we did advent with Lyzee reading her the Christmas story in different children's books like The Jesus Storybook Bible, Song of the Stars, Charlie Brown Christmas, and Who is coming to Our House? (Just to name a few.) As we prepared to celebrate Christ's coming we wanted Lyzee to know what a gift Christmas is.

Christmas morning. 
Christmas morning was memorable! We saved some Christmas boxes that friends and family sent to us and opened them Christmas morning. Also, each of us got a few simple things for each other. Lyzee got Luke a pair of dress socks from a local store that said, "I love Football" all over the socks and we bought her what she's been longing for since our trip to Ethiopia in October: a gorilla suit. We were able to order it online and our American visitor Jeremy brought it out just in time! She loves it and asks to where it all the time and then jump out from behind things and "scare" us and any visitors at the house. Her life is a joy.

Merry Christmas and we hope you have a blessed and joyful New Year!

Luke, Becca, and our little Gorilla

"For God so loved the world that He sent His only Son...."

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

preview and update on Solomon

Merry Christmas!

We hope everyone is enjoying the holidays and the cold weather.

This is just a quick note to let you all know what will be coming up.

Luke will be sharing about his "adventure of a lifetime" camping with some of the key coaches up on Mount Mulanje.

A look at what our Christmas is like in Malawi.

What Sports Friends Malawi will look forward to in the New Year!

So a lot is happening and we are excited to see what God does.

An update on our Solomon. We went to CURE hospital today for x-rays and a doctors visit. The x-rays look great and the doctor said Solomon might be able to have his cast removed in two weeks!! This is great news! I CAN NOT wait to see him walking! (He is hobbling now using a walker frame.) And I know all the boys in Lyzee United will celebrate by playing him in a game of soccer. It will be a great start for the New Year!

Please drink some hot coco for us, have a big family dinner and enjoy CHRISTMAS!
Much Love,

Solomon and me at our house watching Lyzee United practice

Monday, November 26, 2012

Mpemba sports ministry is motivated and movin' forward!

Many young girls came to watch netball

Many of you prayed for Saturday’s sports ministry tournament we had in the village of Mpemba just outside of Blantyre.  Thank you so much if you prayed!   There were 6 of our sports ministry teams who gathered and it was quite an amazing time. 

The main church leader from Mpemba explaining the rules
Wilson sharing from Romans 3
The whole village came out to watch football and netball and listen to the Word of God.  Over 300 people were present during the time when one of our trained sports ministry leaders: Wilson, preached the Gospel.  This area is known for much spiritual darkness and many traditional initiation practices that are evil and place people in bondage.  There were Muslims, Christians, traditional animists and many others present at this tournament and those who organized it were focused on making the name of Jesus known.  It was such an encouragement to Fostance and Luke because they hardly did any of the planning for this event.  It was fully church-run and it was their idea.  Praise God for them taking more ownership of this effective ministry.  Many people were there who would never step foot in a church building and they had a chance to hear about the greatness of the Savior of the world.
The ladies netball was a hit and all the coaches of these teams were leaders who we have trained in sports ministry so they strategically are coaching their team with the hope of sharing the gospel with the girls and then raising them up and discipling them in the way of the Lord.  The women are often overlooked so it was a huge step for the church to organize something for them too!  They felt deeply loved and cared for by the local church and the church leaders who organized the tournament said, “Many of these girls are un-churched and unreached now but will soon be reached because of this ministry.”  We wish you could have seen the smiles on their faces all day. 

By the end of the day, Luke’s white skin had turned a deep, dark red from sunburn but despite the incredible heat and no water (next time we’ll plan better ;) ) , the Holy Spirit was very present and it was a wonderful time.   Luke and Fostance were exhausted by the end of it but deeply encouraged because they really did not do much in this outreach.  It was the local church doing it from beginning to end!  This is the goal!  That there would be a nation-wide movement of churches who get this vision and run with it. Please pray that more churches would be like the church in Mpemba.  Also, pray for those who heard the message at the tournament and that the Lord would not leave them alone until they find their rest in Him. “The Word of God is living and active. Sharper than any two-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Heb. 4:12)  All glory be to God! He is doing great things!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Lyzee turns 3......Many photos from the party

We praise God that He's given us 3 years with Lyzee!  It has been amazing and this party was just another time to celebrate her life.  She adds so much to this ministry and helps us build Gospel relationships with so many.  Lyzee is loved by many.  Over 115 kids came to her party and we danced, sang, played games, ate cake, and just praised God that He has brought her into this world for this time.   Thank you all for praying for her.  She is flourishing into a little girl who loves the Lord!     Below are some pictures that we took from the day of her party.    It was a day that we'll never forget.  We told the boys to do whatever they can to bless Lyzee and they came with a sound system, food, cards and tons of energy to celebrate Lyzee's life.    Enjoy the many photos!
Wyson and Ethel enjoying their lunch

watching the dance-off

enjoying the local dish: Nsima

getting ready for the games

Lyzee and Lucy chatting it up

Dancing in the rain

striking a pose

sheer joy

everybody run away from the huge white guy!

getting ready for the game: over 100 people were at our house

rain came in the middle of the party:  Can you find Becca?

Pemphero bringing down the house with his sweet dance moves

everybody dancing

Lyzee receiving her gift from Lucy

Our friend Manuel with his family at the party


Lyzee, Lucy, and Smithy

watching daddy do his thing

serving the kids their lunch

running to go cause trouble

Becca and Lyzee eating with the kids

getting the party started

our friend Lesnet and her baby Litta

Happy Girl

Prizes for the games

hey mom! can i eat this leaf?

girls jump rope contest

taking her gift from her buddy Smithy

football juggling competition

watching the games


Lyzee dancing with the kids

dancing in the rain

daddy kissing the birthday girl

Chisomo bringing the house down with his dance moves

Brilliant the Banjo Boy

serving the cake