By his own testimony he was a drunkard. A womanizer too. Chief Zacharia’s life was a mess.
Then one day he stumbled by a group of people sitting on the ground singing. When he asked what was going on they told him they were a Bible study group. He laughed and thought to himself, “These people are useless, what childishness, I’ll have nothing to do with them.”
A few weeks later he saw them again, but this time he looked a little closer. He found there were not just singing and studying the Bible, but they were learning how to make organic fertilizer too. He stuck around and listened. Then went home and tried what he had learned on his own garden. Each week he returned and learned more. He learned that God loved him. He learned that God has a plan for this world. He learned that he could be a part of that plan. And he learned more about farming a new way. The group called it Farming God’s Way.
All of this changed his life. He became a follower of Jesus. He started implementing what he was learning about farming. His crop yields began to increase. He said, “For the first time in my life, I was not worried about what we were going to eat. I grew watermelon, pineapples and many more things I never dreamed of.” His social life changed. His marriage improved. He put a tin roof on his house. He even bought a motorcycle. His family was now living a happy life.
Chief Zacharia’s life has indeed changed. “I used to be a poor and very unhappy man. I was useless myself. Now Jesus has brought joy to my life and that of my family. I am even using this motorcycle to travel to other areas to train them and tell them about what has happened to me. I am completely changed.”
That’s what Y-Malawi Chiefs Ministry is all about. Changing lives by sharing the love of Jesus.
Agogo. In Chichewa it means grandmother. It is a title of respect for someone held in high regard. The Agogo in the photo above is a member of a Mother Group. Not only is she an Agogo, but as a Mother Group member she counsels and helps younger girls to know more about life, their bodies, and sex. These are topics of discussion that are often taboo in the village. Yet, they are so important for young girls to know about.
During 2021 this Agogo decided that God was calling her to learn how to sew. Not so she could make shirts and dresses, but so that she could learn how to make reusable sanitary kits for girls. She reasoned that if she could learn, she could teach others in her Mother Group how to make them too. These kits make all the difference in the world for a girl trying to go to school. Without them it is virtually impossible for a girl to attend school during her monthly cycle. This means girls only get to attend school 3 weeks out of every month. If you carry that out over 4 years of high school, girls only get to attend 3 of those 4 years! This is a major reason that only 3% of girls graduate high school in Malawi.
People, even other Agogo’s told her she was crazy. They said she was wasting her time and that she was being foolish. She enrolled in Y-Malawi’s Vocational Training School anyway. She was by far the oldest student. It was not easy. At first the other students couldn’t understand why she was there. But then things began to change.
She came early every day. She was the last one to leave every day. She worked hard, and even through she had trouble seeing with those Agogo eyes, her work was exceptional. The instructors, and even the other students noticed. They started asking her for help and coaching. Encouraged by this, Agogo decided she could do even more, so she started bringing and preparing meals for students and staff. Now she wasn’t just coaching them on sewing, she began to coach them on life.
In the end, on graduation day, Agogo graduated at the top of her class. The other students had become more than classmates. They had become like family. They looked out for her. They gave her a special place to sit on graduation day to protect her from the hot sun. As a class, they even gave her a special award, just to say thank you for all that she had done for them.
Think there is nothing more you can do with your life? Think again. Agogo is proof that God can use us at any age. God can and wants to use you! Will you surrender your life to let Him?
Its a sinking feeling. In some parts of the United States pipes can freeze during winter. When that happens you turn the faucet and nothing comes out. Now the nightmare begins as you try to figure out how to live life without water. Yet for most, this is just temporary. But what if you didn’t even have a faucet? What if your only source of water was to walk more than a mile to fetch muddy, contaminated water from a hole in the ground? What if you had to do this several times a day just to have water for cooking, bathing and cleaning? Worse yet, after all that work the water can actually make you sick. For many people this is not a nightmare, its a reality of life.
Zikomo means thank you in the native language of Malawi. This summer, because of a couple who gave a very generous donation, Y-Malawi was able to end the nightmare for an entire village of people. On the day of dedication, the whole village showed up. They were so happy. There was singing, dancing, and a drama performed about what life was like before clean water. Then there were the testimonies. The Chief gave one, the local Pastor gave one, women and girls stood up, all praising God for the blessing of clean water in their village. Y-Malawi testified too. We testified about who gives living water.
On the plaque that stands next to the well, there is no donor name, no mention of Y-Malawi. What is there is a passage of scripture, John 4:14. “but whoever drinks of the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” You see the couple that gave this gift understands. The gift wasn’t just about the water, it was about sharing the love of Jesus. Now everyone who comes to get this water will get a gospel message too. Zikomo for the water. Zikomo for sharing the love of Jesus.
Maddie was a young student when she began sponsoring Hawa. She opened her heart to sponsor a young lady with significant mental challenges. She selected her knowing about the challenges. She selected because of the challenges.
That’s just the kind of generous heart Maddie has. When the opportunity came to visit Hawa in Malawi, she learned that Hawa could not even walk. So what did Maddie do? She found the money to buy Hawa a wheelchair. Over the past three years of sponsorship, Hawa hasn’t been able to say even one word to Maddie, let alone a word of thanks. Yet, that’s not important to Maddie. What matters to her is mirroring the love Jesus in her life to others.
Maddie put it this way, “My experience with sponsorship through Y-Malawi has truly been a gift. Since 2018, my household sponsors a total of three women. During these past three years, I have witnessed the impact of sponsorship through increased access to medical resources, home modifications, and other basic necessities. However, I have also learned that sponsorship is mutually beneficial. Lately, God has reminded me that generosity is a reflection of the heart of Christ. In other words, God is generous, and since we are created in His image, we are all called to be generous, whether it be with our possessions, time or finances. As a person living in a culture of consumerism, sponsorship encourages me to keep my priorities in check by remaining dependent on Him rather than my possessions.”
Amen Maddie. In 2021 Maddie will be attending a university with a focus on therapy and rehabilitation. She says that through sponsoring Hawa, God stirred a passion in her heart for people with disabilities. Sponsorship isn’t about giving something to someone in need. It’s about loving as Jesus loved. When you open that door, God will open doors in your life you might never have dreamed about.
Rose is a widow. She had fallen on hard times…literally. During the rainy season her house collapsed. It was turned to rubble. In the first picture below you can see what is left of the house behind her. There is little left but piles of bricks.
During a visit with her Y-Malawi Field Officer, she pleaded for financial help to rebuild the house. The officer shared that he had no money to give, but they should pray. He told Rose, “I have no money to give you, but let’s pray together and see what God does. God owns everything, there is nothing too hard for Him.” So they prayed.
A month later that same Field Officer returned to visit Rose again. He was stunned to see the house nearly rebuilt. The house is in the second photo below. It’s nearly ready for a roof. The Field Officer asked Rose how she had managed to rebuild the house.
She told him, “God is doing it.” She said that after they prayed together she had some workers come to begin rebuilding. She told them to take the bricks from the small pile salvaged from the original house. That’s what they did, the first day, the second day, the third day. Each day they took bricks from the small pile, but the pile never got smaller! Each day they took bricks from the pile. The walls continued higher and higher, and the bricks just kept coming.
When Moses met God, He told Moses His name, “I AM WHO I AM.” (Genesis 3:14) God is more and can do more than our minds can imagine, yet most of us choose to live life on our own. In Romans 8:31, the Apostle Paul said it this way, “What then, shall we say in response to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?” Rose is a widow, but she knows a truth. There is nothing too hard for God.