Man in the Mirror

Man in the Mirror

Who do you see when you look into the mirror each morning?  Is your reflection the same person that others will meet during your day?

In April, thanks to the Presbytery of Western North Carolina, Y-Malawi staff were able to coordinate and participate in Man in the Mirror training. Y-Malawi has long been pursuing empowerment of women, but we have not had a targeted development for men.  This new initiative is aimed at helping men engage in meaningful relationships that change lives and build the kingdom of God.  The trainings are designed to help men reflect honesty, while pursuing God wholeheartedly.

This initial training included specific participants who will serve as “Trainers” to take the program out into local village churches.  They will train others who will also become trainers so that the learnings can quickly be multiplied.  We are very excited about this new development.  The men of Malawi, especially those in the village need hope and love too.  Our prayer is that this new initiative will blend with other Y-Malawi programs to build stronger families and communities.

  • Families for Life, for families
  • Change Me, for women
  • Girls of Distinction, for girls
  • Transformation Tree, for churches
  • Man in the Mirror,  for men

God is not just changing women, men or churches, He is changing entire communities.  We pray and we believe that Man in the Mirror will play a significant role as we continue working to open hearts for change.

Why Women and Girls?

Why Women and Girls?

We know what you are thinking, “Another sponsorship program, blah, blah, blah.”  We get it.  Sponsorships have been around for a long time.  Give us just a few seconds to explain.

Women and girls have a tough life in Malawi.  Consider a few statistics:

  • Half of the girls in Malawi are married before age 18, many not by choice.
  • 84% of births are from teenage mothers.
  • Only 3% of girls graduate high school.
  • 40% of women suffer domestic abuse.
  • A recent poll showed nearly the same number of women believe it is acceptable for a man to beat his wife.
  • In the village, a man can leave a marriage or take another wife any time he chooses.

Women work hard in Malawi.  They clean house, fetch water, gather firewood, forage for and cook food, work the fields, plus care for the children and their husband.  Even young girls are expected to be up before the sun and work until night.  In all of this difficulty, challenge and pain, if you look deeper, there is something below the surface.  Something that you might miss.  It is influence.  In their difficult situation, women are in a very unique position to influence the lives of their children, their family, their husband, and even the entire culture.

The Y-Malawi program is different than anything you have seen before.  Unlike others, half of your support goes directly to your sponsored woman or girl in the form of food, supplies, regular visits, counseling and development.  Some of it goes to pay school fees so that girls can graduate.  The balance goes to support Bible studies and programs like Girls of Distinction, Mother Groups and Women’s Change Me Programs.  Sponsors get a quarterly progress update.  They can communicate with their sponsored woman or girl through Y-Malawi by simple email.

Women can change a culture from within.  So can you.  This new concept is working.  More girls are in school than ever before.  More women have started new businesses.  Marriages have been saved.  Not surprisingly men have noticed.  They are changing too.  Women are taking center stage in not only changing their personal lives and families, but their communities.

This isn’t just about sponsorship and more programs.  This is about making a difference for a woman who just needs a little help, a hand up, hope and someone to step in an love them.  Will you be that someone?

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The Church At The Center

The Church At The Center

When Jesus had finished His work in this world, He left us with these orders, “…go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20).  We call those words “The Great Commission.”  But Jesus also gave us other commandments while He was here too.  Once while being questioned about this He was asked, “What is the greatest commandment”?  Jesus responded, “Love the Lord your God with all you heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it. Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37-39).  So then, those of us who follow Jesus, those who make up His church, our orders are simple.  We are to both make share the good news of the gospel, but also to love others as Jesus loved them.

To accomplish this Y-Malawi has partnered with our friends at World Relief to create a Church Empowerment Zone.  The zone is the centerpiece of the work taking place in Malawi.  It is composed of almost 70 small village churches or all denominations.  Their differences in doctrine don’t exist when they come together.  Instead, they are working as one to carry out the commands Jesus gave us.  They are coming together for training, but so much more.  They are doing door to door evangelism, worship and Sunday Schools, but that’s only the beginning.

These churches in the Church Empowerment Zone are reaching out to their communities just like Jesus did.  Working together, they are helping those who are hungry.  They are loving people who are sometimes forgotten, like the sick and disabled.  They are teaching Biblical principles for marriage and parenting.  Even working to improve their communities by building things like latrines and fixing roads.  World Relief has seen the impact, “Working with the local church is not only a good strategy, it’s at the very heart of our work.  We believe that God gave us a plan to save our broken world, and that it begins with his church, and his people leading the way.  We want to see local churches creating and leading change in their communities.”

Is it working?  The answer is clearly yes!  Churches are growing as they share with their communities.  Many have come to know Jesus, even those who follow other religions have noticed.  When people see the church reaching out to love as Jesus did, they can’t help but notice.  Then they want to know why.  This provides a perfect platform to share the gospel message.  We are loving others because Jesus first loved us.  It is really that simple.

The Apostle James was responsible for establishing one of the most important early churches.  In James 2:14 – 17 he gave this direction. “What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds?  Can such faith save him?  Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food.  If one of you say to him, “Go, I wish you well: keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?  In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.”

In this new Biblical model God is on the move.  People are coming to know Jesus, and entire communities are changing.  God’s plan works.  We can change lives, we can change the world, and the church should be right in the center of all of it.

Your gift of any size can make a huge difference.  Click here to help now  Help now!


Generation to Generation

Generation to Generation

“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire,” William Butler Yeats said that.  How then can one generation help educate another?  What can Baby Boomers (1946-1964), Generation X (1965-1980), Millennials (1981-1996), and Generation Z (1997-2010) learn from and contribute to each other?  After all the kingdom of God isn’t just about you and me, it’s about us.  It’s generational.

Mother Groups are a great example of how generations coming together can change individual lives and even generations to come.  Mother Groups are women who come together to help educate and encourage younger girls.  They share life experiences with them.  They speak truth to them in a world that would have them believe lies.  They do practical things too in some cases teaching life skills, in others even providing feminine needs.  In return, the younger girls give these older women respect and purpose at a time of life when these values can be hard to find.

The girls share stories, ask questions, and seek guidance.  The sad truth is that many of these girls do not have mothers of their own.  In Africa 800 die every day in childbirth.  These girls are raised by sisters, aunts, uncles, other families.  They need a mother in their life.  Mother groups fill that void.

Will the women in Mother Groups ever see their invest in these girls provide returns?  Maybe not, but that’s not the point.  The point is that we were made for a relationship with God and to serve others.  Mother Groups are teaching young girls about how to do both.


Off a ducks back!

Off a ducks back!

“It’s like pouring water on the back of a duck,” that’s what Grandma used to say.  What she meant was nothing will stick. Teaching the next generation Biblical principles can be like that sometimes.  But every good teacher knows a secret.  Get the students attention with something they have an interest in first.

Sports can do that.  This year Y-Malawi introduced sports teams as one of our latest learning tools.  Village Chiefs have organized their own teams.  The teams compete with neighboring villages.  They play football (soccer in the USA), netball (a game something like basketball), and volleyball.  Everyone has gotten involved.  Y-Malawi contributed the balls. Some teams got uniforms donated from teams in the USA.  Others made their own uniforms from what they had.  Chiefs dedicated plots of land for the playing fields.  Now some community members are even planting grass!

After the games, everyone comes together for Bible study.  Sometimes they learn about child protection practices or how to avoid gender-based violence.  Sure, the games are fun, but the real value is an investment in the next generation.  These young ones are the future.  What they learn now will determine the future for everyone.