Mo's Reflections

 

 

May 2016

 

Dear friends and family,

 

I want to start off by sending out a huge thank you. Each and every one of you has been a complete answer to prayer. I literally wouldn’t be where I am today without you. Through my time of fundraising, God showed me what it was truly like to surrender all and put my full trust in Him. 

 

I wanted to send out a little monthly update to let you all in on what has been happening in Malawi since I arrived! 

 

I’ll start off by saying that Malawi is beautiful. Mountains line every horizon, with luscious green trees and red dirt that fill the ground in front of them. The skies light up the day with it’s always clear, bright, beautiful blue. At 6pm, the sky floods with vibrant oranges, pinks, reds and yellows. Every single sunset is breathtaking. The amount of peace that comes from just standing there after a crazy day, and soaking up God’s beauty, is one of my favourite things. I adore the laughter of the children, the toothless Gogo (grandma and grandpa) smiles, the fact that my lungs are coated in red dirt, and the sound of the strong voices of African choirs floating through the air. 

 

It has been crazy to be fully immersed into a completely different culture. Everything from family dynamics to the types of food, are totally different from at home. People here are extremely hospitable. Whenever someone is even slightly sick, they have to visit. They always try to make enough food in case someone decides to drop in. The culture here is very community oriented. They live life together. The kids run everywhere, and everyone looks after them. They mean it when they say “it takes a village to raise a child”. Malawi is known as the Warm Heart of Africa, and they certainly live up to it. 

 

Since I arrived, each and every day has been different. This first month has been filled with a lot of preparation for the coming months, establishing programs and checking up on current ones. We are working in a community of villages called Luhomero. For the first couple of weeks, we would do the 45 min trek into the village on the sketchy dirt roads about three times a week. There, we did a variety of things. Whether it was a water filter training session with a small group of beneficiaries, working with the girls sewing program, watching soccer, or planning for the coming months. There was always something to do and we got a taste of just about everything that goes on in day-to-day village life.

 

We have recently started the bulk of our work. We now head into the village 5 days a week, going from household to household, village to village, visiting homes. Luhomero is a community of 42 villages stuck in extreme poverty. Our main goal here is to make self sustainability possible. This is the reason we have started with water filtration, because without clean water, people are constantly sick, unable to work, make a living, raise their children, etc. Water filtration is step one in a longer process that will take years of hard work to complete. The other four steps include food security, girls' hygiene, shelter and education. 

 

Right now we are going village to village collecting data concerning those five areas. We are looking to understand the immediate needs of the community. I am looking forward to hear people’s stories, pray over the sick, and to discover what life is like here. I am super excited to chat about God, to hear how He works in people’s lives, or even have the opportunity to bring the awesome message of love and freedom that comes through Christ. Malawi is very religious and most Malawians are Christians. However, one of the big things that we are noticing is that while there are many who are dedicated followers of Christ, many don’t know of the possible relationship they can have with Him. It seems that those who live in a village far away from any Bible teaching are the ones that don’t have an understanding of what it is to personally know Christ.  To have the chance to share how much He cares and desires a relationship would be super cool. 

 

I have recently learned to see God in the little things; to acknowledge Him even when it isn’t obvious. It’s being made clear that He doesn’t always show up with a bang. It’s often in the most unexpected times, or in the stillness and silence that He makes His presence and works known. “Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth." - Psalm 46:10a. 

 

Some prayer requests that I have include: 

  • That God would show us how He wants us to serve Him in Luhomero. Since a lot of our current work is data collecting, which is very hands on and practical, we are searching for what He has called us out specifically to do in and for His kingdom. 

  • Health. Our health has been sketchy since we arrived. We’ve had numerous visits to the hospital already, and we are only a month in. We are susceptible to a lot of sicknesses here, so please pray for health and speed of recovery when we do get sick. Please also pray for the people we come into contact with in the villages who are already way sicker than we will ever be.  

  • That God would show us where He wants to work here in Ekwendeni, where we are actually living. We have been thinking of a few things, but desire clarity. We are a part of a Bible study here that meets every Wednesday night. Most of the core leadership members are missionaries from the Netherlands, and are just coming to the end of their long term stay here In Malawi. It would be awesome if God would be able to use us girls in this group. 

 

We are here to love a village. To come alongside them and work together. To serve God through this village. Our hope and prayer is that we would continue to see this happen over the next 3 months. It’s amazing to see how this dream is already unfolding.

Thanks for reading! And again… Thank you for your immense support. 

 

Sending Love from Malawi,

 

Moriah

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our driver Mac and I preparing filters before a filter beneficiary training session in the village. 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first time Taylor-Ann and I attempted to carry water on our heads was far from perfect. 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This women came to our of our water training sessions. She is dressed in traditional Malawian clothing made of Chitenge. Chitenge is used for everything here in Malawi. 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

In our free time when we are not in the village, we have been able to explore Malawi a little more. Which involves a lot of hiking, climbing, and swimming in lake Malawi. 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

This is Anna. She is one of the girls in the village that makes me smile everyday. 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This picture was taken in South Luangwa National Park in Zambia. Seeing giraffes in the wild has been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember. I was able to save up for this experience and make this dream come true. 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

We are a crazy crew, who are in LOVE with Malawi. 

 

 

June 2016

 

Dear Friends and Family,

 

I can’t believe that the half way mark has arrived. Two months down, two to go! Time is flying by, as it always does. 

 

I am watching as the once luscious green landscape gradually turns to red dust that stretches as far as the eye can see. We are coming up to the dry season, which turns a large portion of Malawi into a desert. The streams are drying up and the leaves are falling. The evenings feel like Alberta’s fall nights; cool and crisp. June is one of Malawi’s ‘winter’ months. The air is significantly cooler, but when the sun peaks out from behind the clouds, its ever so strong rays beat down.

 

The sky continues to leave me amazed. There was a night where all the power went out here in Ekwendeni. Its like the earth was completely dark. The sky demanded my attention. It’s crazy how something so peaceful, can scream so loudly. The light of the galaxies flooded the earth.

 

June has been a month full of farming and surveys. At the beginning of the month, we participated in a three day training for Conservation Farming (Farming God’s Way). It took place at a beautiful property on the edge of a mountain. It looked onto a deep valley full of thick rain forest. During these three days, we stirred a lot of chicken poo, dug tons of holes, and learned about the foundations for farming: time, no wastage, standard, and JOY. Six of the local people from Luhomero (the village I work in) took part in the training as well. Our purpose is to bring this brilliant farming technique into the village to enable them to farm in a more sustainable and cost efficient way. 

 

Conducting surveys brings us from end to end of Luhomero. Kilometres and kilometres of walking, up and down mountains, across fields, and into valleys. We strategically jump over rivers while trying to avoid filling our shoes with the sandy muck left behind from the past year’s rains. Doing surveys day after day gives us never ending opportunities to meet so many cool people, and hear their incredible stories. 

 

Meet Arton. Arton is a man in his 80’s who lives alone. Right when I laid eyes on him, something about him screamed at me. He was sad. I could see it in his eyes. His body drooped slightly with his head hung low. I could hear the wheezing of his intense asthma with every struggling breath. It was evident by the wincing that he was in pain. 

 

During the survey I had to stop. Without beating around the bush, I asked him if he was happy. He raised his head and looked straight into my eyes. He then gave me an inside look at his life. “Loneliness stays with me”, he mumbled.  He went on to tell me about his wife's passing many years back due to an unknown cause and his beautiful grandchildren who live too far away. He then explained that whenever they come around, they bring joy along with them. “They are the highlight of my life”. He couldn’t tell me the last time he saw them, because it was too long ago. 

 

When I finished with the formal survey questions, I heard the loudest voice in my head that spoke, “Pray”. This push was too strong to ignore this time. I asked if he would be okay if I prayed with him as I knelt beside him. Without hesitation he nodded as his dry, boney, wrinkled hands grasped mine. I prayed for his chest. I asked God to take his constant pain away. 

 

I then asked that God would fill Arton with HIS joy. That Arton would remember to look to Him for happiness, instead of his surroundings. 

 

As I finished with “Amen", I raised my head to look at Arton. He ever so slowly opened his eyes as tears fell onto his dry, ashy cheeks. I felt like my heart was being squeezed; breaking right there inside me. But Arton. Arton broke out into an uncontrollable laughter. I have never seen a smile so beautiful. It was like his eyes changed colour. Something new radiated from them. It took everything in me not to break. It was in that moment that I truly learned how powerful prayer is, even in the little things. I will remember Arton forever. He is a constant reminder that God does work. He does listen. He can use me. 

 

 

Our prayer requests from last month are still relevant now, but we can be praising God for the awesome health we have been having! Yay :) 

Current prayer requests:

  • That God would show us how He wants us to serve Him in Luhomero. Since a lot of our current work is data collecting, which is very hands on and practical, we are searching for what He has called us out specifically to do in and for His kingdom.

  • Pray that key people would begin to come forward in the community of Luhomero who God wants to use to come along side us in leadership positions. 

  • That God would continue to open doors for new opportunities, and that He would bring clarity to newly planted dreams. 

  • That God would show us where He wants to work here in Ekwendeni, where we are actually living. We have been thinking of a few things, but desire clarity. We are a part of a Bible study here that meets every Wednesday night. Most of the core leadership members are missionaries from the Netherlands, and are just coming to the end of their long term stay here In Malawi. It would be awesome if God would be able to use us girls in this group. 

 

I say again, that we are here to love a village. To come alongside them and work together. To serve God through this village. Our hope and prayer is that we would continue to see this happen over the next 2 months. It is truly amazing to see how this dream is already unfolding here in Malawi. 

 

Thanks for reading! And again… Thank you for your immense support. 

 

Sending love from Malawi,

 

Moriah

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Taylor-Ann and I mixing chicken poop. Enough said. 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

Old happy lady! This Gogo(Grandma) is proof that happiness is a choice. "Don't worry be happy". 

 

 

 

  

  

God has given me the amazing opportunity to experience and serve in Africa with one of my best friends. It has been amazing to work along side her and see our friendship grow through it. 

 

 

 

  

  

Update on little Anna! (My little buddy from the Village who calls me "Oh!" (Moe)) 

Anne fell out of a Guava tree are broke her arm! Sadly, this has stopped her from going to school because it is her writing hand. Yet, this little precious human being keeps on smiling! 

 

 

 

  

  

I continue to fall in love with the beauty of Malawi each and everyday. Ft. God's version of water colouring.

God is cool. 

 

 

 

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