Stella is a Chief, but even Chiefs can face tragedy. She testified during a women’s gathering recently that when her husband died it hit her hard. She couldn’t understand why this happened. It was like she was living in a deep fog, nothing seemed clear anymore. She struggled to feed and provide for her children. With no real source of income, she turned to begging for a few pennies a day and scraps to keep the family alive.
Then a friend invited her to a Y-Malawi Chiefs Ministry Change Me program. In Change Me she heard for the first time that there was a God who loved her. Through Bible study, she heard stories of strong women in the Bible. Stories about women who made a difference in life for those around them through the strength given to them by God. Her learning didn’t stop there. In the Change Me program she learned new skills. She learned how to knit goods she could sell. She learned how to grow a garden using the principles of Farming God’s Way.
Stella’s life has changed from one of a lost soul to a woman of purpose. She has new hope. She is excited for the future and what God has in store for her and her family.
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Think sponsorship is all about giving a little to someone who is poor and needs help? Think again. In her own words here is Sue’s story.
“God really spoke to my heart about the needs and struggles the girls in Malawi have. Things that we take for granted everyday are so hard for the people in Malawi. Just finding enough food and clean water every day is a challenge, but the one thing that broke my heart for the girls is that they do not have the opportunity to go to school like we do in America. The girls end up in child marriages, having children at a young age, and they have no hope for a better life.
After sponsoring a girl, I had the opportunity to go to Malawi and meet her. I cried tears of joy to see her, pray with her, and find out what her needs are. We have built a relationship through the field workers and the emails we share. Through the emails, I enjoy learning about her life and hearing her excitement in knowing that someone cares and prays for her, giving her hope for the future. God has blessed me through sponsoring her and has made me fall in love with the Malawian people.”
So, the question is “Who’s life was changed?”
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His name is Talent and he was sick. The doctors said they could do nothing. Not a Christian, he didn’t know what to do. People told him not to seek help from God because God does not care about your situation. Any remaining hope he had was fading fast. Not knowing what else to do, Talent went to seek counsel from a local church. The Pastor told him that God does care. He told him that God does heal and that he should begin to pray.
Talent didn’t know how to pray, but he decided to try. He climbed to the top of a tall mountain not too far from his home and knelt down. He prayed for a long time. Recounting what happened to him on that mountain he said, “While I was praying a man in bright white clothing came up to me, he touched me on my side. I did not know who he was or what was happening. It was like a dream.” When it was all over, he returned to his village feeling better.
A few weeks later the doctors told Talent he was no longer sick. They could find nothing wrong with him. The doctors were puzzled and amazed, but not Talent. He knew that God had healed him. He knew that God did care about him and that his prayers had been answered. He knew the truth and that the truth had set him free. The truth that God does love us!
Talent made a decision to follow Jesus. He has a new Bible now thanks to Y-Malawi. He is getting Bible training from Y-Malawi too. He is learning and growing in his faith every day. He hopes someday to be a pastor so that he can tell others about this truth. His life is forever changed!
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Do you remember receiving your first letter? Do you remember holding it and seeing your name printed on the front of the envelope? Then carefully opening it, sliding out the contents, and asking your mom or dad to read it to you? Do you remember the anticipation, the excitement? Someone actually sent you a letter!
That’s the same excitement a sponsored woman or girl in Malawi experiences when they receive correspondence from their sponsor in the USA. The Y-Malawi program is different. Sponsors get updates on their woman or girl by email each quarter. They always include a message to the sponsor. Then to communicate back the sponsor just replies to the message. Field Officers in Malawi print out the message, even photos that are included, and hand deliver them to the woman or girl. They even read the message as many don’t read or speak English.
It’s a great way to develop a relationship, and it puts a smile on faces both in Malawi and in the USA. In Malawi these letters are treasured gifts. They often end up pinned to a wall in the house. They are shown all over the village to anyone and everyone. We have even heard that some sleep with the letter under their pillow. In the USA, the emails end up pasted on refrigerators, put into a scrapbook, or shared at Bible studies.
Even more importantly, these emails and letters are reminders to pray for each other. Hundreds in Malawi are praying everyday for their sponsors in America. Sponsors are responding by praying for individuals and families in Malawi. Y-Malawi’s program to empower women and girls in Malawi is changing lives, but not just in Malawi. A recent sponsor letter to her sponsored included these words, “I have been blessed to be your sponsor and hearing from you has enriched my life in ways you cannot imagine.”
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Sarah has been sponsoring in Malawi for several years now. Recently she shared some thoughts with us.
Y-Malawi – What prompted you to get involved in sponsoring someone in Malawi?
Sarah – I knew that God didn’t just encourage or suggest us to care for others but commanded us to do it. He tells us to care for the orphan, the widow and the “least of these”. I do it because I am commanded to by God, to use what He has blessed me with to honor Him. And in doing as He has commanded; I have been blessed beyond measure. I have been changed for the better.
Y-Malawi – So it has been a good experience?
Sarah – It began a journey that gave me a deeper understanding of God’s love for me, for others, and an understanding of the global church, and also a journey that deepened my relationship with God. I began to understand the words from the contemporary worship song “Hosanna” by Brooke Fraser:
“Heal my heart and make it clean, open up my eyes to the things unseen, show me how to love
like you have loved me. Break my heart for what breaks yours, everything I am for your kingdom’s cause, as I walk from earth into eternity.”
I began to truly believe and understand God’s word in Matthew 6:24 and Luke 12:34 which tells us that “Where our treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Y-Malawi – You have been to Malawi, what did you learn?
Sarah – Many of the young girls are at risk of becoming child brides and many of the women are widows or abandoned, vulnerable to abuse, poor living conditions and lack of necessities. My sponsorship of a girl and woman through Y-Malawi allows the funds God has blessed me with to be used to make a significant difference in their lives, showing them the love of God in simple yet profound ways.
Y-Malawi – What would you say to someone thinking about sponsoring?
Sarah – Even as sponsorship can impact the life of those sponsored, I know it can and does profoundly impact the life of the one sponsoring. It has been such a blessing to me to know that with something so simple I can bring hope and God’s love to someone in another part of the world. So simply put, I’ve been so changed by sponsorship that I have traveled three times half-way around the world to personally see those I am blessed to sponsor; I highly recommend it!