Greetings from Malawi! Muli Bwanji? (or ‘how are you?’ in Chichewa, the local language spoken by most Malawians.) We want to express our heartfelt gratitude for your faithfulness to your the people of Malawi and the work that God is doing around our world. We are privileged to be the physical bodies that God has written into this particular chapter of his story; thank you for joining us in working out our faith through the care of Malawian orphans and widows.
The last year at Miqlat has brought about some big things.
Last year’s drought and subsequent floods left Malawi in a terrible food deficit and washed out many of the homes in our village. Thank you to all who were able to give above your normal sponsorship to fund disaster relief and rebuilding. The bridge near our Thuchila Hope Center is finally back in working order after being swept away in the rising river. Although we are grateful that this year we have escaped the destruction of the floods, the short rainy season has once again left Malawi in a food shortage that has resulted in the president declaring a state of emergency. As the food supply stays low, we have chosen to continue what was implemented as our emergency feeding schedule, offering a meal at the Hope Center all 7 days a week instead of taking Sundays off. Our staff have made sacrifices to make this happen and we thank God for their willingness.
While we continue to fight some of the on-going battles, like food shortages and local health standards, we are also seeing God arrange new things for Miqlat. We are growing and the vision is good.
In July, we welcomed a new member to our team on the ground in Malawi. Emma Holmquist, a young woman from San Diego, graduated from Bethel Seminary with an MA in Theological Studies last May and will be bringing her gifts and passions to our staff as our new Spiritual and Communications Director. Expect to hear more from her in the future as she takes photos, pastors our staff and our kids, and writes stories to share the ways God is building hope here in Malawi. One of the primary reasons that we are grateful for this new staff member is that her added presence gives our Executive Director, Sally, more time and energy to focus on our biggest new thing: the Miqlat School.
This September, the Kogoya Hope Center Primary School will open its doors and invite its first class of students to a new kind of learning. Right now, most Miqlat children attend the local government schools with the rest of their neighbors, where they are asked to learn by fact memorization and regurgitation in an environment with a very high student to teacher ration and a very under resourced teacher. We’ve been given a vision to make a change in these education standards, beginnings with the student currently sponsored through our program and potentially expanding in the future to include our children’s neighbors. God has made us a people with growing inquisitive minds, the capacity to reason, and voices that have value. At the Miqlat school we will introduce our students to a Christian education that invites them to exploration, higher levels of engagement with well trained teachers, and critical thinking styles of learning to augment the facts they must memorize.
We believe that God is making a shift in the country of Malawi, that he is creating an opportunity for the people to climb out of the cycle of poverty that has been crippling them for decades. We believe that our children can be part of that movement of hope and growth if they are only given the opportunity, the training, and the love that they need in order to floursih. Our school, in partnership with the continued work of the Hope Center daily programs, will be a major advancement in offering them those things.
This year has also see the installation and introduction of a secure computer lab at the Thuchila Hope Center and an HPV/Cervical Cancer education, screening, and treatment program at our Kogoya Hope Center. The computer lab is a unique gift, allowing our staff and students to build critical technological skills that they would have no access to practice anywhere else in their villages. The cervical cancer prevention and treatment program is one of the ways we choose to follow God’s leading to minister to the community at large, tackling one of the preventable diseases that unnecessarily debilitates or kills Malawian women--the guardians of our children--today.
We rejoice that the love of the true living Christ is taught to our 400 students, that they are thriving in physical health, and that they have found the resources and time at the Hope Centers offer them light in a place where only darkness was projected.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for partnering with us to meet the needs of children like (your child) and to continue following this one piece of God’s greater call to make disciples of all nations. He is good and his love endures. You are an outpouring of his love.
Grace and peace be unto you, The Miqlat Team