Photo: Isabel Monita
In some ways, Love a Village began in my heart when I was a young girl. Back then I followed my father as he shared about the work of World Vision in churches and schools. I helped him with the movie reels - feeding the tape through the projector. I was captivated by the images of children like me. I remember their frail bodies, distended bellies, and the flies that swarmed around their faces. My heart was broken as I looked into the eyes of those children and imagined their lives. God used those movies to turn my heart towards people who suffer on the margins.
As an adult, God has spoken to me through Bible verses that command that God's people care for the poor. I have been stirred to obey with faith that God will provide and that He can work through my life. And I LOVE doing it! Each time I visit Africa, my heart soars and I feel as high as the plane that carries me there! Living with and loving the desperately poor of Africa, while heartbreaking at times, is a glimpse of heaven for me.
I believe that we are each called to live a life of purpose. Finding that purpose is a process, but if we search the Scriptures to seek God's voice, He shows us. As we each read through the Bible, certain verses stand out to us. Also, God has wired into each of us gifts and passions that He invites us to enjoy. As we find them, we can work together as part of His Church and obey His calling on our lives. God has called as I have read in His Word about His love for the poor. My heart has been stirred, and through life's experiences, I have learned to love those who are hurting. I thrive when I'm advocating on their behalf, seeking ways to help them, and empowering them to make a difference. I can only do my part but I also see that as I work with others, we can combine the gifts and resources He has given us to change lives.
From the time I saw the children in my father's movies, I longed to go and meet them. In 2011, I finally got to fulfill that lifelong dream and set foot on African soil. I was bursting with joy and expectation. By the end of that visit, I knew my life could never be the same.
Since 2012 I have led teams comprised of family and friends to serve with community leaders in northern Malawi. Read about our history here. Through 2013 and 2014 a number of people began to encourage me to consider starting my own charity. I prayed about it and decided to follow what I felt was God's leading to do so. As I sat one day with my friend Isabel, struggling to come up with a name for this new organization, I blurted out in exasperation, "All I want to do is love a village!" Isabel stared across the table and calmly said, "That's your name - Love a Village". And so it began.
From the start, I have known that this is something God has asked me to do. It's not something I've planned. I've chosen to obey His asking of me to put my child-like, mustard seed, mountain moving faith into practice. It's been exhilarating to stand back and watch as everything unfolds, as I follow the path God is leading me on. It is out of an expression of the love of Jesus pouring out from within me that I desire to meet the immediate needs I see, encourage sustainability and education, and more!
Founder of Love a Village Mission