After spending our first year here in Malawi, we have asked ourselves what have we done? On the surface, no we haven’t built any schools, dug any wells, started huge projects or any of the like. What we have done this past year is demonstrated the life of a loving Christian family that is willing to put all trust in Him and spread His love in a land that very much needs it.
We have developed many strong relationships with our neighbors, teachers that we work with and the parish family in which we now pray with. This has been the main part of our work and we are grateful to God for the success in which we have achieved in these newfound friendships.
Over the past months our family (mainly Tonya) has become the neighborhood doctor. We have treated massive infected burns, transported children and adults to the hospital, sometimes in the middle of the night, mended cuts, scrapes, and even some pretty awesome foot fungus. The reason this all started is not because we have more medicine, money or resources than the people around us. Although all of that is true, it started because we showed compassion and concern when we saw that our friends were suffering.
Suffering to many around us is not something new. Many suffer from malaria multiple times a year. Also many suffer from hunger when their pay runs out and they can’t afford to bath or feed their family after working 6 days a week. Although we can’t fully support all the needs of the people around us, we do what we can do. We give a little work to the neighbors that need a little cash to scrape by. We give a few eggs to the family has nothing but nsima for dinner. However little it may be, we show those around us the love that Christ has put in our hearts.
Jacob just finished his first bible study with a couple of great guys. Starting the study seemed to be great idea with some of the young men here from St. Johns. After a few weeks of some of the guys showing up and some not, it ended up being a group of only three including Jacob. At first this was a bit discouraging, but in Proverbs we read: “He that winneth souls is wise.” If any man, women, or child by a godly life and example can win one soul to God, his life will not have been a failure. He will have outshone all the mighty men of his day, because he will have set a stream in motion that will flow on and on forever and ever. -Dwight L. Moody. The whole experience has been very fuitful and he looks forward to the next opportunity to start a new group.
We continue to assist the nursery schools, mostly on an administrative level. We plan to take a trip soon to the CTC to purchase wooden chairs and table to replace the plastic chairs that keep breaking and introduce new styles of learning to the existing program. Which right now mostly consists of rote learning, where the student memorizes the words or statements without really knowing what they mean or understanding the context of the information. The tables and chairs will provide a space where the students can learn more with manipulative action and artistic practice. The funding for these tables and chairs is coming from our home parish St. Ann in Stoughton. We cannot thank you enough for this wonderful gift.
A couple weeks ago we said goodbye to our friend and previous Provincial Superior Fr. Dario. He will be on holiday for the next couple months back in his home province, Portugal. His next assignment after that is not yet known. We wish him all the best during his holiday and pray that we will again meet soon.
Jacob also made a little video of shots from our first year here. Although we have many other pics and God has shown His face in many other ways, it is a good snap shot of the past year.
We thank all of you for your continued support through prayer, emails, Skype, and all the other ways we feel your love and presence in our lives. We ask that you please consider supporting the Comboni Lay Missionary Program directly here. God Bless each and everyone of you. Jacob, Tonya, Lily and Josie
CLM Lilongwe, Malawi Africa