February 14th 2011
I am now at the mark of two weeks here in Malawi. This week will be my final week with Rise Malawi Ministries here in Madisi, and Saturday the 19th I will be moving to the next site, Christ Cares. Christ Cares is located outside of the capital Lilongwe. I will be working at their afterschool programs, with HIV/Aids prevention, and with 10 young women who Christ Cares employs to help them pay for their school fees.
This past week at Rise seemed to go by quickly, as we were busy with program and fund raising efforts. I am beginning to feel more comfortable here; I am able to say the local greetings in Chichewa (the local language). It is a sign of respect and the locals really appreciate it when you are able to greet them in their own language. The kids at program have seemed to get over their shy and fascination stage and are not joking with me, teaching me games, letting me tutor them in English, giving me hugs and showing me love. I am able to help serve food to the kids during lunch time, which I love to do! They are so grateful and pass me by with
big smiles on their faces as they return to their seats with their plates full. Another one of my favorite times during after school program is scripture memory. The kids are split into 6 or 7 groups and each given different versus from the bible to memorize. They take about 15 minutes or so to practice with each other and the youth leaders the memory versus. However, I can barely stay in the small two room school house because the kids are yelling at the top of their lungs the word of God. They make up songs, and beats, and repeat as loud as they can their specific memory verses. After time is up each team must recite their verses, and get awarded points depending on how well they do. It is beautiful to see and hear these amazing kids get so excited about the word of God!
I was able to make some good progress with Za (Rise’s executive director) this past week on fund raising efforts for the ministry. I worked with him to write a proposal and fill out a grant application, which he cannot send in quite yet because they need to be fully registered as a 501 c3 nonprofit organization, which they are in the process of being approved for. Once they are approved for nonprofit status he will send in the application and proposal, which we will complete this coming week, and Lord willingly receive some grant money to help continue with and grow the ministry.
We also worked on ideas for the child sponsorship program and talked about the importance of what a program like this could be for their ministry. Tinashe, Za, and I had a few meetings this week to discuss the importance of development and the potential for different programs and fund raising ideas. I hope and pray that as time goes on that these ideas and programs are able to become reality and allow Rise to not only sustain its programs but grow and expand its ministry to more children and youth of Madisi and the Dowa region.
This week I was able to spend some more time with the youth leaders, helping them with their studies and talking with them. One of the youth leaders named Chikondi has been a youth leader with rise for the past two years, but is not able to help out with program as much recently because he was accepted and received a scholarship to go to African Bible College in Lilongwe. Chikondi and I sat together in the office of Rise flipping through the local news papers to do research for a paper that he was writing, and discussing our opinions of Rise. He asks me of what I think of the ministry and I ask him how he got involved and what the ministry means to him. Chikondi tells me of what his life was like before Rise; he just barely graduated from high school due to financial struggles, it took him longer to graduate then hoped for because he had to take some time off from school to get enough money to return.
After high school Chikondi had no hope of going on to college because of finances, so he decided to follow his passion into ministry, and began to work part time for various ministries in Malawi. After about a year or so of working here and there, Chikondi found Rise ministries. Rise encouraged him to become a youth leader at their afterschool program, and told him that they would help tutor and mentor him so that he could take the college entrance exam and possibly receive financial aid to attend college. He couldn’t turn this opportunity down and began to work at Rise. After a year of working at Rise, studying and tutoring under the guidance of Za and Tinashe, Chikondi took the college entrance exam and was able to score so well that the African Bible College in Lilongwe gave him a scholarship to go to school there. He is now in the middle of his first year at African Bible College studying Christian Ministry.
Chikondi expressed to me his extreme love and gratefulness towards Rise, and believes that he could not be where he is in life today without it. Chikondi is only one of the many stories of the changed and blessed lives of many children and youth that are a part of Rise. I am so blessed to be able to be a part of this ministry, and to be able to assist them in their pursuit to maintain and expand their programs here in Madisi Malawi.
- For my last week here at Rise, that I am able to accomplish the fund raising and development projects that I started to work on with Za. That these projects would start being implemented soon, and will be successful so that Rise can find more funds for their ministry.
- Please pray that Rise Malawi Ministries is approved by the government to be a registered 501 c3 nonprofit organization soon. Their application and information is in and they are simply waiting on approval from the government.
- For the hunger of the families here in Madisi. As it is rainy season, their crops are growing but not ready to harvest until May. They must live off of the remainder of last year’s crop (which at this time of year is not much) to sustain their families until the new harvest.
- For my transition to Christ Cares Ministry this coming Saturday. That the transition would go smoothly and that the Lord would prepare my heart for a new living situation, friends, and ministry.
- Praise the Lord for the wonderful hearts of the people here, for their love and faith in Him.