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.

Friday, August 31, 2012

CURE + Solomon (from Becca)

Some of you who keep up with us on Facebook may know about Solomon.
Solomon is 8 years old and he comes to our house everyday to play football and hear God's Word. When he was 4, Solomon had surgery on his hip which ended up getting a major bone infection that ate his entire hip away. As a result, he now has a no hip socket, an extremely shortened femur, and no growth plate in his right side, and that's just the tip of the iceberg. Because of this, Solomon is constantly in a great deal of pain, even forcing him to use his hands to move around on all fours.

When Solomon first started coming to our house to play, I assumed he just wanted to watch but I was mistaken. He quickly let me know that he wants to play soccer. I love Solomon. He is beautiful, funny, clever, sweet and ornery. Luke and I decided to ask Solomon's mother (his father passed away a few years ago) if we could take him to CURE (a orthopedic hospital that provides FREE medical care for children) to see if anything could be done. We took him for a consultation and the doctor who saw him thought that this case was so interesting/extreme that all of the doctors at the hospital should examine him. So, today we went back a second time and sweet Solomon was in the hot seat with over 10 international orthopedic surgeons looking and then talking and then looking some more and then discussing again (in a language he doesn't understand: English). After a tense few moments, the doctors tabled the best avenue of care and decided surgery is his best option.

As I waited at CURE hospital with Solomon and his mom, I just kept thinking how his story is a perfect picture of how unfair, unjust and wicked this world is. All the why questions come flooding in, why didn't someone check up on him after his first operation, why didn't his mom have money to take him to the hospital, why are the local government clinics in the slums so underfunded they can't provide for the people who so desperately need help. It's not fair! But we've made it this way. When Adam and Eve decided to seek their own good outside of God the world became unfair, unjust and wicked. BUT, praise God He has made a way for righteousness and peace to come back! I see a picture of redemption at CURE. The doctors there are so sensitive to Solomon and his mom and they want to see Solomon "run and not grow weary and walk and not faint." After two long doctor consolations and a lot of poking and prodding, he has a date for surgery!

In October, Solomon with begin a 2 month healing process. The surgery will be at the end of October and he will spend 2 months at CURE while he heals. This means he will miss a month of school so please pray for his education. Pray for his mother as she prepares herself and her son for this major surgery. Pray that there will be no infection! And please PRAISE God with us for CURE. If it wasn't for CURE Solomon would not be getting the care that he needs. And he needs someone on his side, someone in his corner, someone rooting him on. Please pray for our Solomon.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Njira ya Mtanda "Way of the Cross"

        Wednesday was a great day.  After an expected frustrating morning in the police station trying to get a report from the minibus accident I was in last week, I plopped down on the couch to vent.  Just then, I heard the ever so familiar sound of a little dusty fist pounding on our front door.   It was the boys.  To my surprise, I only found two of them standing outside.  With hopeful expectation in their eyes they said, "Kodi, mukufuna kupita tamanga ku Njira ya Mtanda?" or "Wanna go for a run up the Way of the Cross?" The Way of the Cross is a nearby hike that goes straight up the face of a huge mountain.  It is about 4 miles to get to the top of the mountain from our house so it's no easy trek. At the peak, there is a giant concrete cross, hence the name ;).   Hesitantly, i agreed and off we went.
     On our way there, we passed through the nearby township (slum) called Chilomoni.  This is where all of the kids from our football/Bible club live so it was great to run through town with many of the families and relatives cheering us on.  By the time we got through the mass of people living in Chilomoni, I looked behind me to find over 15 of our boys who wanted to join us on our journey.
Exhausted upon arrival at the top
         After a BRUTAL run up the mountain, we arrived at the top and instantly chugged all of our water.  As our heads lifted, we found an incredible panoramic view of the entire city of Blantyre. It was spectacular!  The pictures don't even come close to how gorgeous it was.  Then, God did something wonderful.  Some of the boys came up with a great idea.  As we looked over the mass of people in Blantyre they had the idea that we should pray.  Pray for the people of Blantyre, pray for their slum of Chilomoni, and then pray for their families and friends.  Next, we had a time of praising Jesus for all that He has done in the past year.  I will never forget it.  God is doing a work in the hearts of these kids.  It's amazing to see.
Praying for the city of Blantyre
     Finally, our prayers stopped and one of the older boys named Luzani had another brilliant idea. He said, "In light of what we've learned on Monday at football/Bible club from Acts chapter 2, let's put our resources and money together to bless people in this community we are in great need."   Then he quoted the memory verse from the soccer practice two days before. He quoted Acts 2:42-47 about how the fellowship of the believers and their willingness to give their possessions and money to the furtherance of the Gospel ended in the Lord "adding to their number day by day those who were being saved."  It was powerful.
     At that practice on Monday, I had challenged them by asking if the Lord was bringing people into the kingdom through their faith and life like He did through the early church.  Most of them were silent and didn't say anything so we thought they were not paying much attention.  But God's Spirit was working.  He was stirring the hearts of His little people here to do something.
     The whole group (which was now 18 kids) loved the idea of Luzani and said we should start something called the "Madalitso Jar" or the "Blessing Jar."  The idea is that they can bring anything and we can pool our resources to bring blessing in the name of Christ to the people of Chilomoni who might be hurting.  I asked them to think about one person who we can pray for and help in this way and they quickly agreed that we should help a local kid named Mphatso whose mother recently died from a preventable disease.  God has set His affections on us and now we are going to set our affections and love on Mphatso for the month of August to bless him and show Him the Savior in this time of mourning and need.  What i love most about all this is that it is totally all initiated by the boys.  Not us. We have poured our lives and love into them and now God has enabled us to see something beautiful come to fruition in their lives.  They are beginning to get it!  The Gospel is taking root and they are getting excited about giving.  This is a work of the Holy Spirit.  Please continue to pray for these precious boys.  We will continue to go up the Way of the Cross to pray and get into shape both spiritually and physically for the glory of the King.

Note:  the photos were taken 2 days later (yesterday) when we ran the Way of the Cross again.

For His Fame,

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A Day to Remember

August 11th Lyzee United was asked to play with the Malawi National Youth team under 14. This was a huge privilege for our team. The kids we able to play at Kamuzu Stadium, the stadium where the national team plays! This field is not only full sized but it has artificial turf! All the kids were laying on the grass, feeling it and cheering. It was so fun to experience this with them! Here are some pictures from that day.
Arriving at the stadium! 

Inside waiting to warm up

The other team and coaches 

We brought a few of the younger boys to be supporters
The Game

Coach Luke, Coach Shaddy, Coach Wyson

The day was full of fun, smiles and teachable moments. Sadly, Lyzee United did not win but out of the day the boys learned a lot. They acted in a very Christ-like way and we are so proud of them! It was a great day! Please pray for all these boys. Pray that the gospel will be real to them and that the Holy Spirit will open their eyes to follow Christ with their WHOLE lives. 

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Wow when did August get here? July flew and we can't believe it's gone. Here is a short recap of what our last month looked like.

On July 4th we were so happy to welcome Luke's mom and youngest sister Cassie! Their first week here was a chance for them to see what our everyday life is like; full of soccer, women's netball, a trip to Bangwe soccer practice, Sunday church service, Lyzee United practice (our neighborhood soccer team), and our friend's baby naming ceremony.
On the 11th Luke's dad arrived (he had some business and couldn't come out earlier). And things didn't slow down; more soccer, a party celebrating Christ's resurrection (we are teaching the kids chronologically through the Bible and we wanted to have a party the day we taught on the resurrection), more netball and introducing them to our fellow sports ministry workers.

Everyday there was something to do or someone to meet! Not until the 18th did they get a brake. We took this opportunity to show Luke's family Lake Malawi. It was so incredibly beautiful! After a short trip we spent 23-30th of July at our missions conference for SIM missionaries who serve in Malawi. We were so blessed that Nancy, Dennis and Cassie helped head up the children's program. Lyzee loved having Grammy and Grandpa and aunt Cassie close all the time! Of course we hit the ground running when we got home, Luke is helping head up the Church youth camp which started on August 1st and is still going (there are 400 kids).

 Here are a few pictures of our time together.
Our good friend Luka and his family with new baby Lily.

Walking with Luka to his house.

Aunt Cassie and Lyzee at the lake. (please ignore Lyzee's crazy face).

Luke's parents and us at a crocodile farm.

Fostance and Esnart 

Luke and Lyzee under a baobab 
Us and the lake. (again sorry about Lyzee's silly face).

Grammy and Lyzee Best Friends
Thank you all for praying for us. Please pray for our friend Luka and his family as they have a new baby.  His brother is very ill and is staying with them. Please also pray for the youth camp. Pray that the Holy Spirit will open hearts and make a change in this generation. 

We love you all!!!!