May 24th 2011
I have officially been back in the U.S. for two weeks, and this will be my final blog entry as I finish up my time of service with UPI. I left Malawi and the various ministries there with a heart full of hope for the potential of a brighter future for the ministries, and a prayer in my heart that the work I was able to accomplish with the various sites would further their mission and assist in fund development, sustainability, and self-sufficiency. I was able to finish up some final sponsorship details with YouthCare and Safe Haven orphanage, say goodbye to my friends and Malawian family in Lilongwe, visit ChristCares Ministry after school program one last time, pack my things, and take the two-day long journey back to the States.
My last week in Lilongwe was filled with finalizing details for the sponsorship program for YouthCare for the children in the after school program and with the boys from Safe Haven Orphanage. I worked closely with the directors of the after school program to help them select which children would be part of the sponsorship program and to help them fill out their profiles and take their pictures. However, the majority of my last week in Malawi was spent on one exciting project for the Safe Haven boys. There is a
My family in Lilongwe. Gibozi the director of Youth Care, his wife Ester, their baby Isreal, and brother Chimango.
church in New Jersey that is very much involved in the work of UPI in Malawi that has decided to help Safe Haven with the funding of the building of a new orphanage and office facility on the outskirts of Lilongwe. YouthCare purchased a piece of land a few years ago with the idea in mind of building a new orphanage for Safe Haven, but up until now has not had the funding to build the new facility. Their current home and office is very crowded, with 11 boys living in three very small rooms, and two other rooms used for office space. During my last week in Malawi I worked with the Safe Haven orphan boys on putting together some video clips of their stories of their past, the present situation, and the excitement for the potential of a new home for the orphanage. We worked for hours on what they wanted to say, practicing their lines, traveling around Lilongwe filming in different areas, and finally ending up at the site where the new home will be built. The video turned out so well and was shown to the sponsoring church in New Jersey, which has already raised over 90% of the funds needed to build the facility. The boys are so excited for the building of their new home, which will make a huge difference in their lives, as well as providing more space for other orphan boys from the streets of Malawi. You can watch the video that I worked on at this link: http://video.ak.fbcdn.net/cfs-ak-ash4/231731/81/10150177329274327_37304.mp4?oh=64d3ce64e3953e439926ac542d7d7cba&oe=4DDD6300&__gda__=1306354432_fe0c482deea8fac2f120a4b67e22b37b
My last day in Lilongwe I was able to go back and visit the ChristCares Ministries after school program. I missed the kids and leaders from CCM so much, and it was wonderful to spend one last day with them before I left. The kids were so happy to see me, and I was happy to see them. Together we sang my favorite Malawian song “My home is beyond the sky,” danced, laughed, played some games, took our final pictures together, and said our goodbyes. The kids were given an opportunity to say something to me before I left. They urged me to never forget them and told me that they would never forget me, and asked me to always pray for them and to come back to Malawi again someday soon. I absolutely love every single one of them and promised to think and pray for them every day.
Time seemed to have gone by so fast. I stepped into the Lilongwe airport feeling as though I had just gotten off of the plane back in January. Leaving Malawi was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. My heart broke as the plane took off for South Africa, and then on to the U.S. Tears rolled down my cheeks as the reality hit me that I do not know when and if I will ever be back to this amazing country, or if I will see my friends and people that I now consider family ever again. I left a huge piece of my heart in Malawi, but know that I have to return to the States to complete the work which I began to benefit these ministries.
In order to bring this time of service full circle I will be working and volunteering for UPI this summer to complete some fund development projects and finalize and launch the sponsorship program. I began working at UPI on the 11th of May and have been working on getting resources together for a special Malawian festival that UPI hosted in the same church that is going to be sponsoring the new Safe Haven boys’ orphanage. The Malawian interns (Malawian fellows) who are spending a year at UrbanPromise Camden were in charge of putting the event together, and I came on board to help to promote the sponsorship program to those who attended. The event consisted of a walk through a day in the life of a Malawian child, which was about 45 minutes long, and consisted of fetching water, chopping wood, cooking food, hand washing clothes, washing their feet, etc. After the walk, guests came inside the church for some Malawian arts and crafts, games, music, merchandise, and a special program put on by the Malawian fellows. I set
up a table of various sponsorship information, profiles and pictures of children, youth, and Safe Haven orphan boys who need sponsors. I hung up some of their art work and photos and talked to a number of people about my time in Malawi and the new sponsorship program. A few people decided to sponsor a child, youth, and Safe Haven boy, making the commitment to invest in their lives and the ministries in Malawi. The event was a great success, and the sponsorship program is now well on its way to bringing much needed funding to the ministries of UPI Malawi, and to the children and youth who are a part of these ministries.
Malawi and Honduras will always have a piece of my heart, and I am so excited to see what the Lord is going to continue to do through these ministries. The need for programs and ministries like these is so great, and I am blessed to have been able to play a small role in the furthering of God’s kingdom through serving and assisting these ministries. For the next two months I will be finishing up details for the sponsorship program and the other projects I started with UPI. I am seeking the Lord for what He has for my future. I hope and pray that He provides a way for me to someday be back to work with these ministries in Honduras and Malawi.
Please continue to pray for these ministries as they work day to day to help the children, youth, and communities of Honduras and Malawi. Feel free to stay in contact with me. I would love to talk to you about my experience in person sometime, chat on the phone, or answer any questions you might have. My phone number is 570-982-3109, or you can email me at KLMalefyt21@gmail.com.
Also, please pray for the following.
- Praise the Lord for His provision in the partnering of a church for the building of the new Safe Haven orphanage.
- For the success of the sponsorship program, that we are able to find sponsors who will help give to the needy children and youth, and help fund the ministries in Malawi.
- For peace, guidance, and direction from the Lord, as this transition has been very hard, and as I seek the Lord’s direction and will for my future. That He will guide my every step along the way and make my path clear.
- Praise the Lord for the success of my time of service with UPI, and that as I finish up my final projects with UPI in the U.S., that He provides me with strength to complete what was started.
- For the ministries of Honduras and Malawi, that the Lord would continue to provide for them and for the children, youth, and leaders of the ministries.