Greetings from a rainy and beautiful Malawi! We hope you are well and enjoying 2014 so far. This newsletter we've put below is what our fellow co-loaborer in the Gospel, Pastor Fostance Mtolo has written and we've sent it out (the chichewa version) to the churches in Malawi that are involved in sports ministry. This update is specifically for the work that God has done in the Africa Evangelical Church (A.E.C.). Will you read it and join us in praising the Lord for what He's done in the past 6 months? Enjoy!
Wednesday, January 1, 2014
|Happy New Year 2014 from Lyzee and Zeke|
|Our beach bungalow|
|climbing rocks @ Lake Malawi|
|Pete, Jo, Teaghan, Lucas & Caya Ong|
December has been the hardest month of our lives but the Lord has brought us through it for the glory of His great name. Christ has been our strength when we’ve been weak and He’s been our source of joy in the midst of great loss and confusion. The promises of God in Scripture to His people have been truer than ever to us. What is written in God’s Word is trustworthy and we’ve experienced that in a much deeper, new way.
|Beautiful missionary kids|
|the kids in our room at the lake|
Celebrating 6 years of marriage and Becca’s birthday
|kids decorating Becca's birthday cake|
|Beautiful Becca 10 years ago|
Also, we had the opportunity to celebrate our wedding anniversary and Becca’s life while we were at the lake. We got to get away in the morning for a coffee while the Ongs watched the kids, then, we splurged a bit and swam and had a meal at a really nice resort just down the road from the simpler place we were staying at. What a treat! God has done some ver good things in our lives since we met 10 years ago on the training hayfield in central IL before heading out on our first mission trip. For this, we give Him all the praise! I am in love with this woman of God! She is my best friend, partner in ministry, encourager, and wonderful mother. I remember back in high school and college and how I’d pray every night that the Lord would give me someone “exceptional.” Well, I could have prayed for 1000 years and never dreamed of Becca. She far exceeds my wants, needs, and dreams of an “exceptional” woman. She is the best! And now it’s more evident than ever before that God made us for each other. I experience the true and deep blessing of God on my life every single day through this woman. Happy birthday & anniversary babe!
|Happy Birthday Becca|
|This photo was not taken in Malawi|
|Birthday coffee date|
How did the all-important Basic Training go?
|December 2013 Sports Friends Malawi Basic Training group photo|
|Coach Shadreck teaching a character study|
Many of you have prayed for this key sports ministry training that we had from December 17-21 down in the southern village of Ngabu. From the beginning of last year, we have met with church leadership in many new villages, towns and regions of southern Malawi to make sure we did not miss anywhere. It has meant many trips following up, meeting newly elected leaders, discipling them over the past 7 months, and then prepping them and their churches for sports ministry. We expected over 65 people to attend and we ended up getting just over 50. There was a funeral that kept several of our leaders from coming. But, God’s hand was clearly in this. The original plan was for me to go and be a part of the Basic Training, but, as I wrote in the last update, I did not go because I felt that I needed to be at home because of how incredibly difficult this past month and a half has been. Becca needed me so I dropped the leadership team off on Tuesday, Dec 17 and then I was there for the final day of the training on December 21. It was incredible! God did great things and He used Fostance and the other 5 facilitators to lead better than I could have done! It was so encouraging to see how they led and put on this Basic Training. Thank you for praying! On the last day, I had two different newly trained sports ministers come up to me and say, “Thank you so much! This was such a great training! We are ready to go back and start for the glory of God in our village!” This is the goal! Many answers to prayer and I don’t know if we would have seen some of the leadership capacity there is in some of our volunteer leaders if I had not stayed back. God used Chisomo, Alice, Honest, Sahddy and Clement in wonderful ways to help Fostance and make this the training it was for the glory of Jesus! Who knows what is going to happen in Malawi because of this training? We are trusting God to exceed our expectations and transform lives and hearts for all of eternity. By faith, we are praying “God may it be so!”
|Sharing the Word in a practical session|
|Final day of the Basic Training in Ngabu|
Nana is coming!
Lastly, we wanted to mention that Chris Reed (Becca’s mom) is boarding a plane on Tuesday to come visit us in Malawi. We are so excited to see her and pick her up at the airport on New Year’s day.
|Lyzee continues to thrive|
Thank you all for praying for us over the past month. God has heard your prayers and He’s really helped us in every way over the past few weeks. We love you and cannot do this without you. Jesus is mighty.
Have a wonderful New Years! We wish we could spend it with you.
Luke, Becca, Lyzee & lil Zeke