Author Archives: lukeulrich777

May 2019 Newsletter

The Ulrich Family

Serving in Malawi

As we started seeking wisdom for what the year 2019 would bring us, the word that the Lord continued to show us was “RISE”. The year of 2018 brought lots of amazing growth, change, and promises for the future. With excitement and growth also come challenges and obstacles to overcome. The Lord gave us this verse: “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you. See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you. Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn” (Is 60:1-3). May we continue to focus on the Lord and continue to shine His light in the dark places.


Sausage Business

IMG_8464

IMG_8315 (2)

The sausage business that we mentioned in our October newsletter was launched in November with the name Akazembe Ministries, which means “ambassadors”. The business was started as Luke helped lead a three-day training on how to run a business for the four ladies that will be running the business. This business has been a venture in trust, as neither we nor the Malawians were experienced in making sausages. It took several attempts, but our partners in this business were very persistent and continued to change the recipe until they, and the customers, were happy with the product. They have been selling sausages for six months and the business has continued to grow. Our partners have started paying back their loans with the profits. The profit of this business will go to sustain the future ministry of Hope Home, an orphan and vulnerable child care center.


Hope Home Property

VNMQ9484

In Malawi it is very important to have a fence on your property to ensure the safety and protection of your investment. We are happy to say that with the funds acquired we have been able to start building the fence. We have not been able to build the entire fence but it is exciting to start the building process. Thank you for your prayers. In Malawi almost every property that is purchased has a boundary dispute that comes along with it. We are happy to say that, although there was a conflict, it was easily resolved and we were able to acquire another small, adjacent plot. We have also been offered a larger plot next to the current one. Please join us in prayer about purchasing this plot of land at this time. We still need funds to complete the fence and to start building on the property. Our goal is to build a building in 2021. Continue to join us in prayer. If you would like to join us in this project to extend hope to these children, please contact us.


Sunday School CurriculumIMG_0590

We have six months of curriculum that we had completed. As we started editing the curriculum, we realized there were many additions that needed made in order to make it accessible for the majority of Malawians. These changes have taken several months. But we are happy to announce that the curriculum has been translated and is ready to start to use. We have started organizing the training schedule with the local churches. Continue to pray over the churches, leaders, and children as the curriculum is being used. Many of the churches have not ever had a designated curriculum, so the teachers are very excited to attend the trainings. We are praying that this curriculum will continue to encourage the spiritual growth of thousands of children in Malawi. There is potential for the curriculum to be used in other areas and African countries. Pray for God to give us wisdom to know the direction in which the Lord is leading us.


Women’s Bible Study                      IMG_0260

In October 2018, Jamie–with the help of two other leaders–continued her women’s Bible study in a local nearby village, Chankhungu. The three of us met on a weekly basis to discuss the study. As we prayed for wisdom on which studies would best reach the women, we felt led to study the women of the Bible. We started by studying Eve and have continued through the Bible. We are almost ready to start the New Testament. We have studied the strengths, weaknesses, and growth of each woman. Between the three of us, we continue to teach on a weekly basis. The growth of the women has been amazing to see! On average, we now have 35 women attending, but on some weeks as many as 60, up from an average of eight for the school year of 2017/2018. With donations from specific people, we have been able to pass out more than 20 Bibles and will continue to pass them out. We are excited to see what God continues to do with this ministry. This journey has reminded Jamie to continue ministering and following Him and He will do the rest.


Grace of God Orphanage (GOGO)HOYS9984

The business GOGO Sauces is continuing to expand and grow. We have been able to sell to a few more local restaurants and we have more connections that are being made. It is exciting to see the growth of this business.

This year GOGO has moved from being an orphanage to a community day center and preschool. Jamie continues to work weekly with the preschool and the children continue to learn and thrive in that environment. In November GOGO also opened an afterschool and feeding program. Some of these children have never had an opportunity to go to school and it is a privilege to help them continue to learn and succeed. Jamie gives encouragement and support to the staff in this program as well.

Family and Financial Support           IMG_0090

Our family continues to get more comfortable daily with our home in Malawi. We are so thankful for your prayers for our family and our ministries here. We are thankful that we have been healthy during this last malaria season. In most of Malawi there has been a very healthy crop this year, and we are thankful for that. Pray for the people of Southern Malawi as there were many deaths and losses due to flooding. Many individuals in those areas lost everything and had no harvest this year.
We are very thankful to all of you that have given your financial support for us to continue our ministry here. We are very thankful for all of our very faithful supporters. With the pledges we are funded for 2019 and only need a little bit more support to be able to stay until our next furlough in summer 2020. After our general fund, the building project for Hope Home is the next biggest area of need at this time.

Prayer Needs

  • Continue to pray for the sausage business, Akazembe Ministries, as it is continuing to grow and develop.
  • Pray for all the required permits to be completed with the property where Hope Home will be built.
  • Pray for wisdom and funds to come in if we are to purchase more property.
  • Pray for the upcoming trainings on the Sunday School curriculum.
  • Pray for all the children we work with to continue to learn more about Jesus and grow in their faith and to be able to share the message with others.
  • Please pray for those in Southern Malawi and areas where there was flooding where there were not sustainable or no crops.
  • Continue to pray for our health and safety.
  • Continue to pray for mental health and attitude, as our next furlough isn’t until summer of 2020.

Luke and Jamie Ulrich, Mark, Miriam, and Aaron

P.O. Box 30606, Lilongwe 3, Malawi
luke.jamie.ulrich@gmail.com
https://hoperisestogether.wordpress.com

 

Help on Isle 5

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.

DSCN3468

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.

IMG_5558

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.

WhatsApp Image 2019-03-19 at 11.58.10 AM

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.  

RLSR1935

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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.

NVQS05052

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!

IMG_7445

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.

IMG_7444

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.”

BPTO2861

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.

53349912_10217925643523510_1430596629261451264_n

 

 

 

October 2018 Newsletter

Dear Family, Friends, and Supporters,

img_7805.jpg

In November of 2018 we will hit our three-year anniversary of living in Malawi. The Lord has guided and taught us so many things in these three years. We continue to “stand firm” in the Lord, continuing to do the work to which He has called us, and we thank you for partnering with us by supporting us and holding us up in prayer.

So many of you pray for us on a regular or daily basis, and we couldn’t do our ministry without you. We wanted to start our update with some praises!

  • Our visa has been approved for two more years. Some of our friends have had to wait over two years for their approval and ours was approved in only three months!
  • Mark is adjusting much better and is even calling Malawi home.
  • We are fully funded for 2018. We are 80% funded for 2019.
  • Through special gifts, we now have solar panels in our home and are able to complete our Global Teams ministry work more easily.
  • Additional special gifts allowed us to assist our team in purchasing property and starting an income generating business to pursue ministry among the unreached at the lake.
  • The sauce business, GOGO Sauces, is now fully Malawian run and continues to make a profit and provide for needs at Grace of God Orphanage.
  • We continue to be healthy and not have malaria.
  • We had safe journeys to and from our furlough, and all of our luggage arrived with us.

Furlough

We were gone 13 weeks. We traveled to 11 different states, crossed state lines over 35 times, spent 214 hours in a van (with three children), and drove 8,900 miles (14,000 kms). We visited nine churches, did presentations to Vacation Bible Schools, Sunday Schools, and women’s groups, and updated friends and supporters (too many to count). We recharged a little bit with a full week spent at Camp Tecumseh, a couple of vacations with extended families, and lots of wonderful time with family and friends that we have missed.

We thank all of you who showed us and our family such wonderful hospitality along our journey. We are always so very blessed to meet with all of you, and we are very sorry for the ones that we missed. Every one of you is significant to our ministry and is loved and prayed for.

Funding Updates

We are humbled by the generosity we receive every time we travel to churches and visit with our partners. We are blessed by how faithful and prayerful our partners are. All of our financial needs have been met for 2018. We are 80% funded for 2019 and 2020, but we do need additional monthly supporters to fulfill the remaining 20%. This is our most crucial need, so we can continue to stay here with Global Teams, ministering to the children of Malawi. Please pray and see if God would have you join us through a one-time gift or an ongoing pledge.

New Business Venture Along the Lake

In April of 2018 God showed us a property to buy along the lake. In this area, there are many ministry opportunities with a particular unreached people group. The Lord has given Global Teams Malawi a vision to build a building where children can come and be loved on in tangible ways and learn about the love of Jesus Christ. Our heart is for this building to be sustainable for decades. The Lord has given us and other field partners in Global Teams Malawi vision for involving local Malawians so it can continue to flourish even if God calls us elsewhere. We are working to start up a sausage making business in this area. Please pray for all involved in this new business venture. So far, we have raised funds to start the business and to secure the property, making it a safe place for the children. To give to this project, go to http://weblink.donorperfect.com/gtfpulrich and add a note that is for the Hope Home Project. We are happy to answer any questions you have – simply send us an email.

IMG_7575

Luke Ulrich on land that has been purchased

Sunday School and Preschool Opportunities

When talking with leaders in the Anglican Church, we have heard that one of the areas of weakness is the discipleship of the young people. For the past two years we have been working on a Sunday School curriculum that will be used in all the Anglican churches in the central region of Malawi. Currently, the first six months of curriculum has now been approved, and we are in the process of translating it into Chichewa. We expect to launch to all churches in January. Please join us in prayer that more and more children will continue to grow in the Lord and learn more about having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ through this curriculum.

One of the challenges here is education. We have discovered that in some areas there are no preschool teachers available. Many children start school in Grade One significantly behind the other children. Over the last two years we have been developing a curriculum to train more preschool teachers. In September, the orphanage in Lilongwe that we have been working with opened a preschool to continue to minister to the community. Jamie has been volunteering once a week to gather resources to add to the curriculum and to form relationships with the children of the orphanage and those in the community.

IMG_8472

IMG_8471

Prayer Requests

  • Pray for the startup of the sausage business.
  • Pray for the finishing and translation of the Sunday School curriculum.
  • Continue to pray for our health as we are approaching the rainy season.
  • Pray for a healthy rainy season for Malawi.
  • Pray for the individuals and children to whom we minister, that their hearts will continue to be open to the Lord.
  • Pray for continued guidance from the Lord for our ministries with Global Teams and that the Lord will give our family strength to complete all that He has called us to do.

Our Prayer for You

“I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:3-6.
We love hearing from you, and in this season of Christmas approaching we love receiving Christmas cards and photos.

Luke and Jamie Ulrich

http://weblink.donorperfect.com/gtfpulrich

 The Dry Season -by Luke

What does it feel like to not have rain for eight months? There is a LOT of dust. The roofs all become one color, brown. The plants all become one color, brown. Most lawns do not consist of grass, just dirt. We mop the house multiple times a week, our feet won’t come clean, and when you blow your nose the snot is dark. (The one on the right has been scrubbed!!)

IMG_5564

One of the things in the midst of Malawi’s dry season that really fascinates me is the mango tree. During the rainy season, it grows some leaves but no fruit. Then during the dry season that follows, it loses a lot of leaves.

IMG_5559.JPG

Then after six months of no rain, it starts to grow leaves again and it flowers.

IMG_5554.JPG

The most fascinating part is that after eight months of no rain, during the hottest months of the year, it grows big juicy fruits. In order for the tree to grow fruit it must have a water source. Last year most of the wells here in Malawi were dry due to two seasons without much rain. The water dam that produces electricity was almost dry and we were without power for 20+ hours per day, and yet the tree in our front yard produced more mangoes than the year before, juicy sweet fruit. Where does the water come from? There must be a root that goes down deep into the earth to find water. It reminds me that God created the mango tree to be able to survive in this climate. And He created all things to survive in the climate in which he placed them. And he Created man and all of our intricacies. And I don’t believe that the creation of man was a one-time thing, it is a continual creation of the person we are and will become.

Sometimes I feel like I am in a dry season. There isn’t a lot going on in my life, it feels like my life is covered in dust, and I am just dirty. 2015 was one of those seasons. Before coming to Malawi, I had left my job to be able to focus on developing partnerships and we had not raised enough money to move to Malawi. It was a strange feeling not having full time work. And then after arriving in Malawi we were getting our house set up, getting settled and learning the basics of the Chichewa language. We weren’t working with the kids yet. I didn’t understand why God had put me in a place that felt so dry. I heard the term ‘ambiguous loss’ from someone else and it explained exactly what I was feeling. I had lost the regularity of work and feeling like I had a purpose but I had not started the next phase of ministry. It was a season where my work was purely transitioning, for months. Yes, missionaries have ‘dry seasons’ too.

IMG_5557.JPG

But just like the Mango tree, I was in a season where I was losing my leaves. My roots had to go very deep in order to survive. But during this dry time God was doing some preparation work in me and my roots had to go deep. First, the preparations included building relationships with people. This is something that I don’t do well, but without it here, we never would have met the right people to get started with our current ministries. Without relationships, we would not have the partners needed to fund the ministry we are doing.

20160211_103432

Second, my joy for working with kids was rekindled. I longed to just go play games and run. Third, my faith and trust had also increased during this time. I know that the waiting was part of His plan and without the preparation season we would not be where we are with the ministries. I just needed to wait on God’s timing for the fruit. But I put my faith and trust in Him. Now we have begun the ministries and the fruit is coming. We see the children at Chankhungu Orphan Care Center preschool growing in their development and the teachers are using some of the educational tools that we have taught them. We see the relationships we have developed at GOGO orphanage.

dscn6396

Who am I to question God’s timing and judgement? I can’t! I won’t! He is all knowing. His love is deeper than any of us can imagine. Our minds are very finite and cannot fathom His greatness. When I am dry, He will fill my cup in His timing.

If you feel like you are dry, be patient. Keep pushing on and put your roots deep. God is still alive and working in you. Things can get gross, like our feet, and you may feel like it will never come clean. Do not fear. God’s love never fails.

Christmas Letter

Dear friends and family,

We have been in Malawi for over a year now. The amount that we have grown in the Lord is amazing. We are not fluent in the language yet, but we are making huge strides towards that direction.

These last few months have been busy and full of change and new ministry opportunities. The children are back in school now, are doing well, and are adjusting to the changes. Mark is able to be in a swimming club once a week and he is really enjoying it. Miriam continues to attend her occupational therapies and her favorite subjects in school are French and P.E.

dscn6074

Our family is also growing. We are expecting our third child in February. We are so excited about this new change in our lives and we know God has amazing things for this new child. The health of the baby continues to look wonderful and it is very active.

Children Ministries

We are able to go to an orphan care center/preschool once a week. We have been teaching these children English and they are helping us learn Chichewa. We have been sharing a Bible story with them in Chichewa every week. We are also teaching the teachers different educational tools and resources to use in the classroom. It is a joy to continue to show the children God’s love and his power and to work together with the teachers.

dscn6141

During our time here, we are working hand in hand with the Anglican Diocese. We have the amazing privilege to be helping with the children’s programs for all of the central region churches. We have gone to several churches to visit and/or teach the lesson for the children’s ministry. The teachers are eager to learn new ways to teach the Gospel of Christ to the children. They are very excited to learn that we are putting together a resource book to give them a variety of new ideas for each lesson.

dscn5801

Furlough

Our first furlough was scheduled for December. After much prayer, we moved our dates back so that the baby’s delivery could happen in America where we will be surrounded by our families. We will be there from January 1 through April 5. The children will miss the second term of school in Malawi, so Mark is going to be homeschooled in Illinois by his Aunt. Miriam is going to be homeschooled by Mom. The kids will be right on track for the third term starting in mid-April.

We plan on making trips to several places in Indiana, Illinois, and Michigan (and maybe more) while we are home to connect with our amazing supporters. Visiting and giving updates to our partners is very important to us. If you would like to visit with us, we would love to arrange a time for this. If there are any churches or children’s ministries that you know of that would like to have us come visit, please let us know, we love sharing with as many people as we can about our ministries in Malawi.

img_4304

We are not bringing much home so we can take lots back to Malawi. We are collecting crayons, pencils, glue sticks, erasers, pencil sharpeners, preschool aged/easy reader paperback books and small preschool learning toys to bring back to Malawi if you have any you would like to donate.

We are in need of some winter clothes while we are in the U.S. We will be in the Lafayette and Paxton areas much of the time. Miriam- size 7 shirts and jeans (must have adjustable waist). Jamie- winter maternity shirts and jeans (size 10 to 12).

Hope Rises Together –

Support us in Prayer

We cannot do this alone. We have over 100 individuals, families, churches, and organizations that are partnering with us. Thank you so much.

Prayer Requests

For a healthy rain season for Malawi.
Continue to pray for no Malaria for all of us and protection for our health.
Pray for continued good health over Baby Ulrich.
For protection over our home while we are on furlough to the states.
Pray that we will be able to find a vehicle to use for the time we are home.
Prayer is vital to our ministry and it is amazing to know people are praying for us daily. If you want to participate in this and do not have a prayer card from us on your refrigerator, send us your physical address and we will send one to you.

End of Year Giving

A significant portion of our income is given in December. Whether you give your annual gift now or a gift to supplement your regular giving, your gift is tax deductible in 2016.

Join Monthly

Monthly supporters are the backbone of our ministry in Malawi. If you would like to be more involved in our ministry, consider supporting us regularly. Click on the recurring gift button on our giving form to set up your ongoing gift (it can be changed at any time by contacting Global Teams).
If you have questions feel free to connect with us via e-mail luke.jamie.ulrich@gmail.com or Whatsapp using the number +265 999 803 162 and continue to follow us on the blog.

dscn5692

We love cards and pictures. They are something that bring us joy on days that are hard. If you were planning on sending us a Christmas card, please send it to:

Luke and Jamie Ulrich
74 N. 400 E.
Loda IL, 60948.

We cannot wait to see what God will continue to do in Malawi through all of you!!!

Merry Christmas.
Luke, Jamie, Mark, Miriam, and Aaron

dscn61583

I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, Phil 1:3-5

 

Cooking in Malawi – by Jamie

Life in a foreign country helps you to really examine and figure out why and how you do everything that you do. One of the things that I have always really struggled with is me. Who am I? What things bring be comfort? What things can I live without? I love food. I love cooking and I love creating things. I love nutrition and I am glad that I can now cook more things from scratch.

I really have to be creative and adventurous and think outside of the box. I now know how to make rolls, tortilla shells, spaghetti sauce, macaroni and cheese and so many other things from scratch. My confidence in cooking has grown and I am glad that I can cook so many more things than I used to be able too. I admit it can be a pain sometimes when you just want to eat and it takes a long time to make things, but I am a planner, so as long as I think ahead, it works out.

One of the main questions that we get asked to all the time is, “What is the staple food in America?” That is such a hard question to answer, so my new answer to that question is ,”Nothing. That is one of the amazing and wonderful things about America is that everybody is different, there is not a mold.”

The staple food here is Nsima, a corn flour mixture. They have it every day for lunch and dinner. With it they have vegetables (a green leafy vegetable cooked with tomatoes and onions) or sometimes a cabbage salad, and a meat, either fish, chicken, beef or goat if they have it. Occasionally people also eat French fries and rice .When we travel and go places this is the main thing that they serve in restaurants. We have been exploring a little bit and have found some different places to eat. But just like kids, Mimi would rather just go to KFC and Mark would rather just order a pizza.

People eat things differently and are used to different things. Does that make their way right or my way right? No. It just makes us different. I have learned to listen to them see why they do things the way they do it. I can sit and eat one of their meals and be content. Do I agree with everything? Not exactly. But living somewhere different just means that we can appreciate people for who they are and accept them for that. People have started accepting us even though we are different and I am so thankful for that.

img_4039

I can’t talk about cooking and food here without talking about the reliability of power. The one thing that is constant is that the power goes off almost every day for 8-12 hours. Most days there is a pattern to things so you can prepare a little, but sometimes it is just unpredictable. We are so thankful for our new LP gas portable stove. This has made life so much easier. Cooking on the charcoal takes a lot of prep and we are grateful to be able to do things a little faster and easier. The other thing that takes getting used to is heating up hot water for baths around dinner time. One thing I have really learned here it is the art of flexibility.

We will show pictures of our kitchen set up so if you have any questions just leave a comment and we will get back to you.

img_4035

img_4041

img_4036

I will leave you with a funny story. Luke is an expert pizza maker and we eat it once a week. Well, Pizza can be tricky here with the power outages. With making the crust from scratch it takes about 2 hours to make. There have been a couple times that the power has gone out unexpectedly in the middle of this pizza process. What do you do at this point? You can’t cook pizza on the charcoal or stove top very easily. We just eat snacks, play games, pray, have lots of patience and then eat the pizza very late that evening.

And we do get the old coke bottles in a crate!

img_4040

And we save all of our containers for something to use with the kids later or for canning.

img_4038

GSIS 20th Anniversary — By Luke

The process of selecting a school for the children was not an easy one. There are many options that are very close to where we live; from government run schools with 50+ per class to private schools that cost more than our University. We needed to find a school that was willing to work with Miriam’s disabilities and yet challenge Mark. After the long process we are very excited we found something that is everything we had hoped for. The school continues to adjust and accommodate for Miriam. Mark says that some of his studies are very easy, he reads better than all of his classmates. To help him not be bored, the school has allowed him to borrow library books even though that is not usually allowed until next year. He is also behind in a few areas, he started cursive and multiplication which he had never seen before.

This year the school, Good Shepherd International School (GSIS), is celebrating 20 years. As part of the celebration there was a special day where each class did a presentation on something that related to black history.

IMG_1876.JPG

The day started with a procession of all of the students according to their home country. There were over 20 countries represented. Of course Malawi was the largest, and most were from the African continent, but they did not leave anyone out. It was really something special to see how they honored the cultures of the students. And our kids, even though they had just been there for 2 months, got their own part in the parade.

The school song was just an ordinary school song that was being sung by the choir. I then noticed that everyone knew it, from the oldest to the youngest, they were all singing. I could feel that the students really took pride in the school that they were attending.

Miriam’s class was chosen to do a presentation on South Africa. Miriam was given the assignment to learn the South African national anthem. Jamie and I did not know it at all, we had to look it up on YouTube to even hear the tune. And then one day, with little practice from us, Miriam was just singing it at the top of her lungs. We asked her how she knew it so well. She responded, “Christina helped me.” A big thank you to our house help who happened to know the song. It also doesn’t hurt that Miriam loves to sing. Miriam was also to tell about a color of the South African flag. She doesn’t do anything small. She took her parts very seriously.

Mark’s class was chosen to present Kenya. Wow, the only other country that Mark has been to! He even got to take in the photo album of our trip as class preparation for the presentation. The class came up with a full presentation and Mark was selected to be the center of the flag presentation by holding the shield. He refused to hold the fuzzy one that someone else brought, so we made a nice cardboard shield. And then found out that it wasn’t big enough. So we made another one for him to hold. Two weeks before the presentation, Mark let us know that the whole presentation had changed and he now had a big speaking part!

In total, from start to finish, the program lasted 5+ hours but was very good. Here are a few other short snippets.

Malawi National Anthem

When Jesus Say Yes (We have heard this song at least once a day since the presentation. Our kids love it.)

Roar