Saturday, February 19, 2011

Friday, February 18, 2011

Today was good, nothing exciting happened.  Kelsey and I spent the whole day at the school in meetings.  We had a meeting with the ABC Team, going over what we did the past week and how it was beneficial or needed improvement.  Then we had a meeting with Yamikani and discussed specifics about our project at Queens and what Fred had told him and James.  After that Kelsey and I met with Abigail, we talked a little about Queens and then we started a study we are going to be doing together.  We had lunch with the school staff and then joined them in their weekly devotional time.  After that we came home and had a nice evening.   

 Despite all our meetings, Kelsey and I tried to have fun with it!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Today was great!  Kelsey and I went to the Immigration Center this morning because I had to extend my visitor’s visa for another 30 days.  From our past experience with immigration, it is difficult to get anything done simply with them; thankfully however, it went smoothly for me.  Then we went to Kips for lunch, which was a nice treat because we had not been there in a while. 

Kelsey and I knew God was going to move today, we just did not know how.  We ended up going to Queens in the afternoon and prayed for two hours.  That evening we got a phone call from James saying that he met with Fred and that our project is a go! We can finally start our project!  There are some specific times we can not be in the wards, like when the doctors are doing rounds, because they do not want us to get in the way, but that is not a problem!  We start this Monday and we are both so excited!  We spent the rest of the day singing and praising God! J

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Today we went with the team to Queens.  In the morning we visited one of the wards and taught some kids in the little classroom.  In the afternoon we went to the playroom to play with kids, but there where no kids, so we spent the rest of our time praying in one of the wards.  The ward we were in was sort of the “hard case” ward.  One child came in with a fever and received treatment but after the treatment he became paralyzed on one side.  Another child had a brain tumor and was waiting for surgery, another had meningitis and another had been crushed by a minibus.  My heart went out to these children and their parents because this ward felt so depressing and hopeless. 

James was supposed to have a meeting with Fred to discuss what the board thought about our project, but it got cancelled.  That really discouraged Kelsey and me because we are so tired of waiting.  We both know that God wants us at Queens and all we want to do is go love on those kids and pray for them.  Before visiting the “hard case” ward, I was starting to wonder if God really does want us at Queens; however, after seeing how hopeless the people were, I knew God wants us to be at Queens to bring His hope to the people.  That evening, Kelsey, Maribeth and I spent some time praying that God would open the door for us tomorrow. 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Today was crazy!  Kelsey, Abigail and I went to Queens again this morning and spent a couple hours praying.  We then had lunch back at the school and taught the kids the “Banana” song.  It was a little difficult for them to learn, but they still like it.  Shortly after that the team took us to Mbayani to see some Care Centers they needed to check on and that Kelsey and I had not seen before.  Mbayani ended up being on the other side of Prayer Mountain, so it took us about a half hour to get there.  We walked up hill and down hill, up rocky hills and down rocky hills, up muddy hills and down muddy hills to see the three centers.  Only two of the three centers were open but they both had about 40 kids with only one teacher.  It was nice seeing some other centers, but the team completely wore us out.  It was a hot day and we walked for two and half hours straight.  Toward the end of our journey, the team wanted us to climb this rocky mountain; Kelsey and I were SO exhausted, we laughed!  We thought they were joking, but to our horror, they weren’t!  They explained that it was a short cut and that our house was at the top.  Honestly, if they had not told me our house was at the top, I probably would not have climbed it.  After multiple threats to the team of what I was going to do to them if they were lying where muttered as we climbed the mountain, we eventually made it to the top.  Thankfully, for all of us, they were not lying and we made it home; sweaty, thirsty, and exhausted, but we made it home.  After drinking a TON of water and taking a nice cold shower, we both felt better.  It was quite a day! 

I was too focus on where I was walking to think about taking pictures, but Kelsey took some great ones:

 Some little boys playing.

 The mud between the houses was questionable.

 The children at one of the Centers.

 Throughout our journey we crossed three or four bridges. 
This is the one I hated the most, I could see the river through the slats and as we crossed it shook!

The view from one of the bridges we crossed.

The mountain we had to climb to get home.
(The picture does not do the height or steepness justice!)

Friday, February 18, 2011

Monday, February 14, 2011 – It’s War!!

Today we spent the morning at Queens, praying, reading scripture and singing worship songs.  We decided to seek God in prayer and as well as pray for our project and everyone it will effect, since we can’t start our project yet.  After dropping off some things at the school, we got on a minibus to Queens.  Or so we thought, we ended up getting on the wrong bus and going all the way to Limbe!  We felt stupid.  Thankfully, we managed to get on a bus heading back to Blantyre and it dropped us off at Queens along the way.  We were stressed because it made us a half hour late to meet Abigail, but at that point what can you do?  Once we got there and found a nice place to sit on the front lawn, we settled down and had a time of prayer.  We read about Joshua and the battle of Jericho in the Bible and found the story very similar to our own situation.  Queens Hospital is like Jericho and we are praying (instead of marching), praying that the walls of Queens, not the literal walls, but the walls of spiritual darkness surrounding the hospital fall so we can conquer Queens for God!  The morning prayers and worship time was very, very powerful. 

The afternoon was not so good, random things kept occurring that made running errands more difficult than they needed to be.  In the end, we were frustrated and discouraged.  However, we realized that Satan was retaliating because of what we did this morning.  When you are fighting a battle and shoot at the enemy, they will shoot back!  We are fighting a spiritual battle and the war has just begun! 

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Today was enlightening, breathtaking, and fun.  This morning in church we had an alter call for prayer requests.  One teen girl starting speaking in tongues and I had never seen it before.  I had heard of it and I know it is of the Holy Spirit but it was my first time seeing it in person and it was a little strange.  Then, another woman fainted!  I totally thought she needed medical help but Kelsey could see that she was breathing and the congregation just ignored her.  I was in medical mode and very confused.  Here was this woman on the ground passed out and nobody was doing anything about it!  After a short time the woman got up and walked back to her seat like nothing had happened!  Maribeth explained later that she did not faint, she was struck by the Spirit.  This happens when a person releases a big burden or prayer request, the Holy Spirit comes over their body, causing them to fall to the ground.  Thankfully, in the woman’s case, someone caught her.  Then the person is completely consumed by the Holy Spirit and experiences complete peace.  Other than those two things, church was uneventful.  The sermon was good, it was about how prayer changes our heart, not God’s. 

After church we came home, ate lunch and then climbed a mountain.  We have a mountain in our neighborhood and we call it Prayer Mountain.  Like in Bible times, the people here climb mountains to get as close to Heaven as possible and pray to God.  It was a steep climb up, but I made it!  The top was amazing!  There were other people up there praying and singing to God out loud in Chichewa, it was really beautiful.  And the 360 degree view was amazing, no, it was spectacular!  We met a white Canadian man and had an interesting conversation.  Kelsey and I ended up sharing our testimonies with him.  After taking in the view for a while, we separated and spent some time alone praying and worshipping God.  It was really amazing and refreshing to spend some special time with God while admiring His handy work.  Surprisingly, I managed to climb back down the steep mountain without falling!  What a miracle, considering my perfect balance and coordination skills! ;)

 Prayer Mountain
 (this picture does NOT do the steepness justice)

 Starting the climb


In the evening we roasted marshmallows again, but not with the mbowola, but with candles!  Yes, candles!  We did not want to deal with lighting the mbowola and wait for it to warm up.  Besides, I have always wanted to try using a candle!  Haha! It ended up working well and we managed not to burn the house down! J



Monday, February 14, 2011

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Today was busy but good.  Francis came over this morning and we had our Chichewa lesson.  Then, in the afternoon we did our big shopping trip.  Maribeth needed to get some clothes so we stopped at some stores on our way to Shoprite.  In one of the stores we got harassed by five or six guys.  Even though we did not understand EVERY word they were speaking in Chichewa, we could read their body language and they were definitely patronizing us!  So, Maribeth asked the guys if any of them were married.  None of them were (surprise, surprise!).  She told them that they are not going to get a wife until they learn to respect women and start treating women as well as they treat their mamas.  The boys did not realize how disrespectful they were and sincerely apologized.  The Holy Spirit was definitely working.  The boys straightened out and the rest of the time we were their, they were respectful.  The rest of the shopping trip was uneventful. 

In the evening, after dinner we lit our mbowola (Malawian barbeque) and roasted marshmallows!  We made s’mores and they were so, so, so good!  We even taught Arnold (our awesome guard) how to make it and he loved it!  It was a fun and tasty way to end the evening! J

Starting our mbowola.  Honestly, I have watched the show Survivor way to much, 
I was a pro blowing on the flame, getting it to start!   

Friday, February 11, 2011

Today was amazing!  This morning Kelsey and I had a meeting with the ABC Team.  Then we came back home with Tisu, Abigail and Rhoda and cooked a fabulous Malawian feast for our whole staff from the Montessori School and ABC Team!  Everyone came over and ate food, chatted and hung out.  It was cool to have everyone at the house.  It totally felt like a family gathering; though we are not blood related, we ARE family.  After eating lunch, chatting and enjoying American chocolate chunk cookies, we took a group picture in the backyard.  It turned out really good!

Once we finished posing, the group sat Maribeth, Kelsey and I down and they sang worship songs for us.  It was SO amazing!  Watching them dance and worship God through song was so beautiful; it brought tears to our eyes.

Oh, man! I love these people! It was really great to have them over and it was rejuvenating for the soul!    

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Today was a busy day.  This morning, after it stopped pouring, we went to one of the ABC Centers and helped with designing.  Right now, the Team is busy sketching educational artwork on the walls of the classrooms that will eventually be painted.  Today we sketched out the months of the year.  The first six months were already done, but it still took us a few hours to do the last six.  It was fun.  After a while, the kids joined us in the room and had their class; however, I don’t know how much the actually learned.  I could feel all their little dark eyes on my back as I sketched letter by letter. 

 The kids having class.

The kids were really interested in my camera, so I got them to smile for me and I took their picture:

After we finished, we went back to the school.  Kelsey and I helped Maribeth set up her area for the diploma program class she is teaching and we helped James by making some copies and doing some typing for him.  We knocked off at 2:30 to come home because we had to clean the house for the party tomorrow.  I’m excited, tomorrow is going to be fun!  

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

This morning we went to Queens with the team.  We waited in the school room for the doctors to finish making their rounds in the wards before we could go in.  After a while we were allowed into two of the wards and gave the kids toothbrushes.  It was simple but the kids really like it!  It brought smiles to their faces despite their pain.  We then went to the Pediatric oncology ward and played with the kids in a little play area set up for them in the corner.  I enjoyed playing with the kids and it was good for them to have fun and forget their problems.  After playing for a while, we left to have lunch.  The team acted goofy and kept singing songs.  It was very entertaining!

After lunch we went across the street to check out the Blantyre Youth Center, it was pretty cool, so we chilled there until it was time to go help out in the playroom.  In the playroom only one child came to play and he was not able to stay long.  It was a bummer, but I would rather have kids well and have gone home, than have them still sick and stuck at the hospital.  So, we hung out and played Connect Four.  Before we left the hospital I gave one of the supervising Pediatric nurses the donated medical supplies we brought.  The nurse was happy to get all the different things (except for the expired throat spray, oops).

 Youth Center basketball court.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

This morning Kelsey and I met with Abigail to ask her where her heart is at Queens before showing her our project idea.  It turns out, that her heart is exactly where ours is and she is as excited as we are to start this project! Total God thing, He is defiantly working!  We then met with James and he approved of our plan and arranged to meet with Fred tomorrow to present our idea to him. 

After our meeting, we went to the Malawi History Museum with the Montessori School kids.  It was not like I imagined, but it was fun.  I helped one of the teachers with the younger group of kids.  The tour guide kept it pretty quick because their attention span is so short.  I was bummed because we were not allowed to take pictures inside, but I was able to take some outside.  Once the tour was over we had to sit and wait for the older group of kids to finish with their tour.  The teacher I was helping had to keep taking kids to the bathroom so I was in charge.  At first I was not sure what to do with them, I had twenty pairs of dark eyes staring at me, they do not speak much English and I was completely blanking on what to do.  Thankfully, the thought crossed my mind to play a game, so we played “Duck, Duck, Goose”.  The kids loved it! We played for a half an hour!  After that we sang some songs¸ both in English and Chichewa.  Then we had lunch.  One little girl in our group did not bring a lunch so the teacher asked the class if anyone would like to share some of their food.  EVERY child gave a little bit of their lunch to this girl!  It was SO precious and amazing to see.  It made my heart swell to see the true generosity from these young children.  In the end, the little girl ended up being the child with the most food! It was so sweet. 
On the minibus.

Kids getting tour of a native hut.

Kids exploring inside the hut.

A native hut.

The kids playing duck, duck, goose!

The kids playing duck, duck, goose!
In the afternoon Kelsey and I went to town to do some errands.  Our Chichewa teacher recommended that we get a novel in Chichewa to learn the language faster.  As we headed to town, the idea struck me that I should just get a Bible in Chichewa!  We ended up running into Black Market Joseph, a nice friend of Maribeth’s, and he helped us find the bookstore so I could buy a Bible.  He was very kind and ended up buying a small decorative tapestry and a necklace from him as a thank you for helping us.  

Once we got home, we found that Althea had left more furniture for us, two couches and another chair.  Now our living room feels like home and we got it just in time for the party we are going to have on Friday.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Monday, February 7, 2011

Today was great.  This morning Kelsey and I went to Chikonde to observe the physical therapy done with the kids.  Once we got there Davie got the room set up.  Only one little boy was brought by his sister, so we worked with him and some other kids who attended school there and had special needs.  I worked with a little baby boy with Down syndrome.  He has enough muscle in his legs to be able to stand by himself but he is not walking yet.  I had him hold one end of the standing frame and pulled him around the room so he could work his leg muscles.  After about fifteen minutes he was exhausted and fell asleep on one of the mats.  The teacher explained to us that he has a hole in his heart, so he gets tired easily and sleeps a lot.  Then I felt bad for working him so hard, but I am sure he will be walking soon.

 Sitting frame

 Sitting frame

 Standing frame

Exhausted little boy.

Once the little guy was asleep, I read a book to a little girl.  She really enjoyed it, it was a big picture book and I was able to use it to teach her basic words like ‘box’ and ‘dog’ by pointing to the picture and then pointing to the word, sounding it out slowly.  She caught on fast, which was encouraging to me and really neat to see. 

After that we went back to the school.  I hung out with the kids, we sung “Father Abraham” and then I went with them out to P.E.  It was fun.  During that time, Kelsey went to town to get some things.  While she was out she got some fresh chicken, so had it for dinner.  We were going to barbeque it but it did not work so we ended up frying it instead.  Oh boy, was it delicious!  It was a heart attack on a bone, but it was SO good! 

In the evening Kelsey and I had a great conversation with Maribeth and have set up a tentative schedule for our project at the hospital.  We still have not heard if we are medically qualified here in Malawi, but we have decided to minister the children’s spiritual needs.  We both feel it is very important and we do not need any paperwork, certification, or authorization to pray with the kids!  If we hear later on that we are not medically qualified then we will just continue to address the children’s spiritual needs and if we find out that we are qualified, then great! We can add our medial skills to what we have already started.  So our tentative schedule, I call it tentative because so many things can change between now and when we start, is to go into the Pediatric wards four days a week, in the mornings and play and pray with the kids.  Then we will spend time with the parents.  The lunch hour is when the parents take a break from caring for their sick child and eat their lunch outside.  Our plan is to sit with them, read the Bible, pray and give them encouragement.  We are both really excited to start this project and hope we can start Monday!