40 years ago, the area Y-Malawi is working in was declared a “no go zone.” No churches or Christian organizations were allowed to work in this area. That all changed two years ago. Traditional leaders and government officials saw that what Y-Malawi was bringing would benefit the people. They wanted vocational training, food security assistance, education for their children, and knowledge of how to get greater crop yields. They allowed Y-Malawi to come.
One of those who saw the benefits first was a very important Chief. This man has more than 200 other Chiefs who report to him. He is a man of great authority. In the photos above and below he is holding court where decisions will be made that impact hundreds of lives.
When Y-Malawi wanted to buy some land to set up a Vocational Training Center, he had to approve the purchase. Even though he was a devout follower of another faith, instead of allowing Y-Malawi to purchase the property, he ruled that the property should be given to Y-Malawi. This because he reasoned the benefit to his people would far outweigh the small amount of the sale.
He also allowed Y-Malawi to begin holding Bible Studies in his area. While he didn’t care about the Bible, he saw that at Bible Studies people were learning better gardening methods, how to read, about nutrition, and even financial skills. What he didn’t see coming was that one of his wives would make a decision to follow Jesus while attending a Bible Study.
When this happened, the Chief was not happy. He made this wife and her children leave the house and village. He did many other things to humiliate her. Y-Malawi provided some minor support, but on her own with the help of the Holy Spirt, she was bold and became a voice for Jesus in the community. She even started her own Bible Study just for women. At first, the Chief remained angry, but over time he noticed a change in this woman. It wasn’t just that she was saying she was now a Christian. She seemed a very different person. He began to talk with her to find out what was happening.
Eventually, the Chief reconciled with this wife. Then he started attending a Bible Study with her. And then it happened, the Chief himself made a decision to follow Jesus! Almost overnight he became a completely changed man. He has become very bold for Jesus. He has told people there will be no more Mask Dancers. He has taken a stand to end child marriages. He even helped start a Bible Study in a village known to be very demonic. Almost 100 are now coming after just the first few weeks!
In Matthew 22: 37-39, Jesus basically tells us the two most important things we can do in this life are to love God and love people. His ministry was an example to us of how to do that. Jesus cared for people, He healed and helped them, He fed them, He listened to them, and people responded to Him everywhere He went. The formula is simple and this Chief is a great example of what God can do when we choose to love God and love people.
Every year our partner Fishers, Trainers and Senders (FTS) hosts a Bible Quiz and Sport Competition for thousands of children who attend Kids Clubs. That was all before COVID-19. Important government meeting restrictions and good social distancing practices sidelined all the sport components, and nearly caused the entire event to be canceled. But not so fast, COVID!
To ensure the children didn’t miss out on an event they look forward to all year long, the FTS team went into high creativity gear. Instead of one big week-long event, they modified the format to be held at 97 different Kids Clubs locations. At first the task seemed overwhelming. To pull this off they would need the support of 180 volunteers and the full-time commitment of 18 staff members. The events would need to be stretched out over 11 days straight!
Once they derived a plan the work began. There were logistics to solve. More vehicles would be needed. There were thousands of gift bags to assemble. More prizes would be needed because there would now be more winners. Overnight stays had to be planned. Local officials had to be included and approvals all obtained.
It was a massive undertaking. Yet, in this time of COVID-19 challenges, with schools closed, with adults facing depression and other challenges, with more children vulnerable than ever before, the team reasoned that they could not let these children down in their time of greatest need. They didn’t.
When it was all over, they were exhausted. Across the 97 locations almost 7,000 children had attended. Restrictions prohibited sports, but that didn’t stop them from reciting Bible verses, listening to stories, testimonies, and sharing in fun at a safe distance. The best news is that those 7,000 children heard The Word of God. They learned about Jesus; they saw love in action. They realized someone cared during a time when for some, that might seem an impossible reality.
Take that COVID!
Click here to learn more about Y-Malawi or help with a gift
Need more proof that economic empowerment works? Read Samuel Chadza’s story, his own words.
“I and my wife were privileged to benefit from the goat pass-on program. The goat that we received gave birth to an offspring. When the offspring was weaned, we passed it on to another in need. Later our goat also gave birth to a second female offspring. Currently, we have two female goats which are both expected to give birth to offspring soon.
The ministry also assisted us with vegetable seeds, fertilizer, and chemicals. My goal from the profits was to buy a bicycle to ease travel challenges. Unfortunately, it was not achieved because the land that was chosen did not have enough water. I did manage to raise K15, 000 ($20) from the vegetable sales through which I was able to buy 2 ducks, 2 rabbits, and construct a corral for all the animals.
I also used part of the money to hire women to fetch water for me. I used the water to mold 10, 000 bricks. My expectation is that after firing the bricks and selling them, I will be able to use the money to purchase the bicycle I have been longing for.
All this has given me hope on how I will take care of my family. Previously I was only wondering around looking for work in the fields.”
Can you hear the pride in his words? Samuel is an entrepreneur. He has learned the art of business. He has learned that he can do more than work for a few pennies a day in the field of someone else. This is what economic empowerment does. It gives people self-esteem; it gives them hope.
What does economic empowerment mean? It means having the ability to determine your own future. It means not worrying about where your next meal will come from. It means being able to provide for your family. It means feeling value in yourself. It means you have hope.
Veronica is just 19 years old. She finished grade 9 before dropping out of school. It wasn’t that she couldn’t do the work, Veronica is very bright. She simply couldn’t afford the schools fees to continue attending. So, like 97% of other girls in Malawi she was forced out of high school and down a path that usually leads to marriage, children, and a life of back breaking work just to survive.
Then, unexpectedly, everything changed. Veronica was sponsored by someone in America. She started attending a local church, started reading the Bible and became a Christian. It’s not in Veronica’s nature to do anything halfway. She dove into being a Christian like learning to swim by diving into the deep end of a pool. She started participating in a local Youth Club, then began volunteering, before long she was even leading and teaching at a nearby Kids Club. Veronica was fast becoming a role model for other girls.
Although she was encouraged to return to school many times, Veronica didn’t seem to have an interest. Instead, she wanted to start her own business. She given use of a plot of land. That’s all it took, Veronica dove into the deep end again. This time planting rice. Her hard work is paying off.
With just some small financial assistance from Y-Malawi Veronica expects to have a good yield of rice that will provide significant profits. She has big dreams of planting even more and expanding, even to employ others. Now she is becoming even more than a role model. She is helping to feed her family, she is creating her own future, and she is benefiting her community.
Economic empowerment goes way beyond a handout, it offers a hand up. Veronica is living proof of how lives can be changed. Watch for more on this and how you can get involved as Y-Malawi launches a formal Economic Empowerment initiative over the next couple months.
Why do people go on Vision Trips to Malawi? The answer to that question can vary, but usually people go with the intent to help the poor people of Malawi. Often the thinking is that as Americans we can bring knowledge, resources, determination, and encouragement to help the Malawians who have so little. The truth is that people who go with those thoughts in mind most often come back with a completely different viewpoint.
It is true that during Vision Trips we minister to the people of Malawi, but it is just as true that they minister to us. Vision Trips are about experiencing a different culture, land, and people far from the United States. Yet the experience is primarily about relationships. Trip participants spend time and get close with the people of Malawi. We share life. We talk, laugh, sometimes cry, pray, and worship together. At a certain level we become family. The experience is life changing. Trip participants often tell us they have maintained relationships with those they met in Africa for years.
Participants tell us over and over again how they went to Malawi to help those in need, but they returned having been helped themselves. It is hard to explain, but the people of Malawi are filled with an infectious joy for life rarely seen in the United States. There is much we can learn from the people of Malawi about living a life of joy. Most of those we visit have so little materially, yet they have so much of what many of us lack. People come back from Vision Trips with a new perspective on life. The experience gives them new eyes to see the world differently. You might say they return with their eyes wide open.
So, are you ready to go? Now is the time to begin planning for 2021. We have 6 trips planned so far. There is no deposit required to register, so pick one and reserve your spot now. Once registered we even have tools to help you with fundraising!
- Spring Vision Trip – May 15 – 25
- Pastors Vision Trip – May 29 – June 12 (Not a Pastor? You can register too!)
- Azuza Pacific University – Sorry this is a closed trip
- Whittier Area Community Church – Sorry this is a closed trip
- Summer Vision Trip – July10 – 24
- Later Summer Vision Trip – July 24 – 7 August
Click here to learn more about Vision Trips and/or register
Can you imagine your bed being a dirt floor? What if the roof of your home was made of grass and so that spiders and other pests lived just above your head? What if that same grass roof failed to keep water off of you at night while you tried to sleep on that dirt floor bed? Then what if your home had no windows or doors, just some sheets draped over those openings? Would you feel safe from animals, pests and anyone or things that might want to do you harm?
These conditions are a reality to the vast majority of those living in the village in Malawi. The really incredible thing to consider is that having a nice roof, or a good home doesn’t cost that much by American standards. A new tin roof costs about $500, a completely new home only about $1,000. It’s a small investment that can change someone’s life in a dramatically positive way.
Over recent months, Y-Malawi and those sponsoring women and girls have provided funds to build nearly a dozen new homes and roofs for those living in the worst possible conditions. Talk about life changing!
From Veronica, “I am on top of the world, I am today very happy to see things that I never dream of seeing. I have never thought of having a house with the iron sheet roof. May the Lord bless Y-Malawi, may the Lord bless Felix for thinking of me, glory to God!”
From Aisha, “I cannot believe that at my age I will now have a house of my own. I am more grateful to God and Y-Malawi than I can express. It is a miracle.”
From Mdana, “I did not know what it was like to sleep in a good house. May God bless you for what you have done to me!”
Want to help someone have a decent place to call home? Just use the link below. Before you finish the donation, you will have an option to leave us a note. If you want the donation to go to a specific person or need, just let us know. If you have further questions send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
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