When Miriam was about three and a half years old we were doing our normal day of grocery shopping. We were just going along shopping and all of a sudden, I notice there is liquid dripping all over the place. A nice man stopped and was helping me. We looked under my milk and juice and we became really puzzled. Then we looked under Miriam and she was peeing all over the grocery store. Then the man just stood up and yelled loudly “Help on Isle 5”, and then very quickly walked away. Years later I can finally laugh at the story.
We live in a world where we are taught to always be independent. Both Luke and I were brought up with single mothers. So we both are very independent and proud of that fact. But when we are so independent, how do we become dependent on God? When is it okay to ask God for help? When do we finally say I can’t do this? I need help.
We had lived in Malawi for 1 month. I had been hand washing our clothes, homeschooling the children, cooking over a charcoal pot and taking care of the house without electricity and water most of the time. I was sitting on the back porch and our neighbor came over to me and starting talking to me. She was trying to be helpful but she said, “I never see you mopping the house, you need to mop the house every single day at least once if not twice a day.” I had been moping occasionally but definitely not that often. I went into the house completely deflated and exhausted and cried for a very long time. That is when I knew I needed help.
When we completely love Jesus and follow the Lord we need to finally learn to depend and trust in the Lord. We need to finally say “Lord I cannot do this life without you, I need your help”. If you are like me there are many times in our lives when we continually try to fix what is wrong and try to do it on our own.
When Miriam first was diagnosed with mild intellectual disability, I was determined that I was going to prove everyone wrong. I was going to do whatever possible to make sure that she was treated right and got all the best care she needed. We spent so much money on therapies (that I will always be grateful for). While all of this was good, I was completely wearing myself out. I was trying to hide the fact that my daughter had severe behaviors and I really didn’t know what to do or how to help her. But in the end, I was faced with the honest fact. I couldn’t heal Miriam only God can do that. We are still praying for healing, and I still continue to strive for her to have the best care she needs to be successful, but I need to trust God that He knows what’s best for her.
Living in Africa where some days life is just plain hard, I have had to realize this very brutal fact. That I need help to do so many things that I used to do independently, otherwise there would be no time for our ministries. But the amazing thing that I have learned over these last few years is that God has put amazing people in my life to help me and I am so grateful for all of them. I have also had to realize that God uses me as a blessing for all these people that help me in all that we do.
I wanted to introduce you to a very special person that we have had the privilege of getting to know since coming to Malawi and she helps us to be able to do our ministry in so many ways.
We need help.
We have been extremely blessed with our very loyal and wonderful house help Christina. At the beginning it was a relationship of someone that helped me part time do our massive amounts of laundry and dishes, all by hand, so that we would be able to get out of the house and do the ministry God has sent us here to do. But now she is teaching Miriam’s schooling 75% of the time. She loves our children so much. God has placed her with our family to help us in all these things and to also become very involved in many of our ministries.
Many of the children that we work with at the preschools, do not have sweaters. In the winter season, when it is cold, they do not go to school because they don’t have a sweater. Christina saw this great need and she came to us and very cautiously asked if we could have some yarn and needles sent to Malawi. Christina took the yarn that was sent and has taught other women to knit. Around 10 women are now helping to knit sweaters for the children. What a blessing to see these Malawian women, who don’t have a lot themselves, volunteer their time to meet the needs of these precious children.
Christina also has joined our passion for the women that we minister with. She plays a very vital role in our women’s ministry and has recruited another woman named Florence (pictured below). Between the 3 of us we are able to make sure that the women are being taught from the Bible every single week. Christina also is a very wonderful translator and communicator for us to our different ministries and helps bridge the gap when our communication is lacking.
There are so many more people that we could introduce you too that help us and come alongside us. Whether it be all the language tutors, translators, therapists, priests, or gardeners that have helped us along the way. But next we wanted to share with you one very special individual that many of our supporters have been able to help.
Others need help too!
When we started our spaghetti business 2 years ago, we quickly learned how much time that it took for us to make all of the sauces that we need to sell. We were aware that there were many high school graduates that were in need of employment. It was a huge blessing to us for them to come to our house and help us. On a weekly basis our house was filled with young high school graduates that needed a little extra money. And we were overwhelmed by all the work needed to start a business.
Many of you heard about our dear friend Chisomo as we traveled around from church to church. We just wanted to share an update with you and fill in anybody that maybe hasn’t heard about him. Chisomo is someone that we met as we worked with Grace of God orphanage. Here is a brief introduction he wrote:
“My name is Chisomo and I am 20 years old. I am one of four children. My mother and father were separated while I was young. I was living with my mother. Living with her was difficult. Sometimes we were sleeping without food and we were also lacking clothes. We became street beggars. In 2004 we moved from the village into town so that my mother could find a job to support us. Three years later my mother died and I moved in with my older brother who had just gotten married. The situation there was worse than before because my brother’s wife was treating me harshly.
God saw my situation and heard my prayers and by his grace I moved to Grace of God Orphanage in 2009.”
Two years ago he graduated from high school and achieved high test scores to help him be able to go to college. Over the last 2 years he has been working for us, helping with the spaghetti sauce business and gardening around our house. He had applied to several colleges and was waiting to here back from them about entrance into the school.
We became aware that he was very talented at making jewelry so we asked him if he could make some jewelry for us to take back with us this last summer when we went. He made many beautiful pieces of jewelry to take back with us that we sold as we visited each church. We are happy to say that Chisomo was accepted into a college of nursing and started in January. With all of the wonderful donations from so many individuals he was able to have his first semester completely paid off by selling the jewelry. He is doing well in college and is so happy for this wonderful opportunity. We have an opportunity to send more jewelry to the states in August. If anyone would like to sell some jewelry at your church or by yourself to help Chisomo continue his schooling or if you would like to donate money toward his next semester of college starting in August, please let us know.
Psalm 121:1-3 I lift up my eyes to the mountains where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.
If I can say if there is one thing I have learned about living in Malawi. It is full dependence on the Lord. He is there to help us when we are broken and in despair. And many times we get the amazing privilege to be his hands and feet and to help and pray for individuals when they are broken and in despair.
Update on the Storm:
Cyclone Idai continued to hit Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Southern Malawi for almost 2 weeks. We were not near the storm and have not been affected, except for lots and lots of rain for three days. Please pray for the areas that were affected by the storm as thousands of individuals have lost there lives or their homes.