NEWS ... in Malawi ... in the U.S.
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WHY WAIT? in Action with Impact
More than anything else, we want the children in Malawi to know that God’s Word is the light to their path and to their best choices! John C. Maxwell says, “Life is a matter of choices, and every choice you make makes you.” Malawi’s children, like our own children, are being influenced by many voices and are having to make difficult choices.
There is a large organization in Malawi giving family planning methods to primary and secondary school girls with the aim of enabling them to finish their primary and secondary school education without getting pregnant. It sounds like a noble goal, but students have been given access to contraception methods like the contraceptive pills, intrauterine devices and condoms And what has been observed is that many students then feel they are free to involve themselves in promiscuous behaviors—thinking they will not get pregnant.
At Luzi Primary School, after Cathy Cheonga (SAFE staff member) conducted a WHY WAIT? Life Skills training for teachers, they implemented what they learned in their classrooms. Some girls became enlightened about the sexually transmitted Infections that they can contract even if they have avoided pregnancies. This made several girls love WHY WAIT? and many girls stopped attending the other organization’s meetings preferring abstinence as the only way they can finish their studies and realize their dreams.
The other organization mentioned previously started going back into the schools to find out why the girls were not attending the meetings they used to frequent. The answer they received from most of the girls was that they learned from WHY WAIT? lessons that God made them special and their bodies special—and even if they can avoid pregnancies, they can still contract STI’s including HIV/AIDS.
Cathy talked to one of the girls at Luzi Primary School who said, “I realized that I was ruining my own life, because at those other meetings I felt encouraged to involve myself in sexual relationships which I was doing without considering the dangers of contracting STI’s. WHY WAIT? has enlightened me that my body is special and I have to do everything at a right time. This time I am a student, and I have to concentrate on my studies so that I fulfill my ambition of becoming a nurse.” Thankfully, at the schools in this area, the WHY WAIT? clubs and lessons are now being attended more than the other meetings.
A similar story happened at another primary school, where the head teacher (principal) spoke about a 12 year-old girl he met on the road carrying a carton of condoms. He asked her what she was going to do with them, and the girl replied that the officials of the other organization were coming into the community to show the school children how to use the condoms. The head teacher felt sorry for the children, so the following morning he asked his WHY WAIT? teachers to encourage their students to start attending the WHY WAIT? Life Skills clubs.
The head teacher has seen some good changes. He asked one of the girls why she has stopped attending the other organization’s meetings, she said, “I now feel ashamed of myself. I was doing this ignorantly, but now, I am aware of who I am and what I want to become in the future. I have also learned that these contraceptive methods are not for my age, and I was ruining my own body and God was not happy.”
We are thanking God that SAFE’s WHY WAIT? Life Skills teacher trainings are expanding to more and more schools in Malawi. 63 new teachers will be trained this month. This curriculum brings God’s Word into the classroom and provides the wisdom that students need to make good life choices!
Goodbye to Dick Day Sr.
In 2008, the baton of SAFE’s leadership was passed from Dick Day (founder and first Executive Director) to Moira Chimombo, and on July 2, 2018 Moira passed on that baton of leadership to Happy Makala. In God’s providence, on the same day that Moira Chimombo retired and Happy began his duties as SAFE’s Executive Director, Dick Day’s body was laid to rest in Makungula Village where Charlotte began the first preschool. It was wonderful that Dick and Happy were able to spend some time together!
God profoundly orchestrated the passing of Dick to heaven at the same time the baton of leadership for SAFE was being passed to Happy to continue the race Dick and Charlotte Day began. Charlotte continues on as SAFE’s International Coordinator.
The Chief of Makungula Village shared with his people, “Children not yet born will ask someday why this American was buried in their village with the chiefs in the Royal Cemetery. They will be told of Dick and Charlotte’s love for Jesus, the children, the gogos and Malawi.”
In 1990, Dick and Charlotte Day went to Malawi for one year. Dick was to fill in as the head of the religious studies department at Chancellor College, part of the University of Malawi. The AIDS pandemic was hitting Malawi hard, and thousands were dying every day. In 1993 they started a not-for-profit NGO called “SAFE-Africa,” Sub-Saharan Africa Family Enrichment, a program to address the AIDS pandemic through raising awareness with the youth.
An 8-year curriculum (that is still being used today) was written and thousands of teachers in the public school system were taught how to use it with children from the age of 8 up through secondary school. As part of this biblically-based, life skills curriculum, Dick Sr. would teach the children and youth about abstinence, that through abstinence, they would avoid contracting the HIV virus that leads to AIDS that leads to death. Dick would teach the kids that they were “worth waiting for” because they are “made in the image of God, both male and female.” He would enter a classroom and yell out “Hi!” And then he would quiz the Malawian children, “What does “Hi” stand for?” The kids would yell back at him, “HIS IMAGE!” He knew how important it is to teach the next generation a BIBLICAL WORLDVIEW!
The Malawi Youth Project
Serving on a mission team does not end when you arrive back home, but instead is the inspiration in moving forward. John Clemente and Tatum Meyer, two youth from Rancho Baptist Church’s fall trip to Malawi, prayed for the Lord to show them how they might continue to serve once they returned home. While in the villages, the Lord gave them a heart for the Malawian youth and Cathy Cheonga gave them a vision for the Safe Life Youth programs where the youth are equipped to be actively involved in serving their communities and better prepared for their future. John and Tatum saw the Lord’s faithful direction in starting the “Malawi Youth Project” to help finance this program. They had people in their church find home projects they needed completed (weeding, painting, cleaning, etc.). Others in the church volunteered to complete each project. Upon completion, a donation was made toward the Malawi Youth Project. New friendships were made, skills were learned and “cups were filled” as over 20 volunteers completed 10 projects to raise a substantial amount of money for Safe Life Youth. This was just the first kick-off… imagine what the Lord will do the next time around!
Cathy Cheonga, our Regional Education Coordinator, has been organizing parenting classes using material from the 6 A’s of Positive Parenting written by Josh McDowell and Dick Day. It is having an amazing impact on the participants! Recently, 19 mothers attended the 4-day classes at the SAFE Haven.
Cathy wrote, “By the end of day one participant shared how the topics covered convicted her about humiliation she caused her slow-learner daughter -- to the extent of not doing anything when her peers would tease her in her presence. She was crying as she confessed that she thought this treatment would progress her daughter’s ability to do better in school. Her testimony opened a can of worms as the other participants started sharing situations in their homes that derailed the progress of unity, belonging and significance for different members of their families.
The topics were so powerful that the participants began emptying their shortfalls. Each day brought smiles and expectation as they testified how they had asked for forgiveness from different members of their families and started down a new path with them.
The participants committed to come twice a week for activities at SAFE Haven to learn and discover new skills. They want to learn sewing, knitting, nutrition, more parenting skills and grow in the Word of God.”
Dick Day is busy putting the 6 A's of Positive Parenting into a small pamphlet with success stories to be translated into Chichewa! What a wonderful tool to reach more families!
Thanksgiving for Fertilizer and Seed
Great thanksgiving has been going on in all our sponsored villages! SAFE staff mobilized to get the money for fertilizer and seed out to 2,287 very needy Gogos and the children who will be blessed by this provision! We are thanking God for the funds beginning to come in that will repay this outlay of funds to buy the fertilizer and seed. The rains came early and the funds had to be sent earlier than usual.
SAFE’s Obedience Impacts Teen Mothers:
The formation of SAFE’s (Sub Saharan Africa Family Enrichment) Teen Mother Support Groups is having a positive impact in communities around the Kawiya group villages. Mkwela village was so inspired by what was being done to bring back good morals and parenting skills to the youth in the Kawiya villages, that their chief asked for the secret behind such development. He was told how SAFE has helped form Teen Mother Support Groups — to counsel and support them during their weekly activities, and to encourage those girls who have dropped out of school to go back.
Later, under a tree, a 2-hour discussion was held with interested parents on the 5 keys of positive parenting. It was emphasized that God has entrusted parents to be the best role models for their children. A challenge was given to the parents to get involved with the girls in a supportive way if they want to see a change in their communities.
The RBC Mission Team Obeys God’s Timing:
Rancho Baptist Church in Temecula has supported the Gogo ministry for 9 years. They have prayed for God’s timing to take a team to the villages of Kawiya, and this year the door was opened for 8 to go.
They took gifts for the gogo men and women and many things for the children, including underwear, handmade wooden cars, cloth dolls, and science lessons. 200 colorful fleece jackets had been made by the RBC Gogo group for the preschool children. They loved them and wore them even on a warm day! (picture of children in jackets)
One objective for the RBC team was to build relationships with the SAFE staff and to encourage and support them and their ministry. Stacy Meyer, RBC’s mission team leader, has been involved in a lot of other mission opportunities and she shared at the retreat, “This was one of the most impressive groups of people I have ever met. The SAFE staff are passionate about their love for the Lord and their love for others and, as a result, our investment into this ministry is changing lives and producing fruit.
Our two weeks in Malawi allowed us to see the scope of the ministry in a way some of us hadn’t really grasped before. One of our biggest revelations is that Gogo Grandmothers in the U.S. supports several ministries under the umbrella of SAFE in Malawi.”
Under Education and Youth Development the RBC team saw several programs:
***SAFE Haven is like an urban village in the center of Zombz. Over 100 youth come to hear the Word and be poured into by Aaron and his volunteers each day after school. Tutoring and fellowship are also part of the “urban village” that is growing rapidly and needs more staff and structures to support this growth. (group pix at safe Haven)
—The Why Wait? curriculum and the Jesus Film are changing lives in the primary and secondary schools. The team went to a school of 3,000 students where Lameck is welcomed to share Jesus as a SAFE staff representative. But he is only one person and the the RBC team saw huge potential here! (Picture at school)
— SAFE Life Youth clubs are active in every SAFE-sponsored community. Cathy Cheonga, Director of this SAFE program, has a desire to set up a program where the youth do specific projects for the gogos. The first project is for the youth to build a fuel-efficient stove in each gogo home at a cost of $1.00 for the bricks. We hope we to raise an additional dollar per stove for their labor. The money the youth earn will go into an account toward further education.
The three youth on the RBC team felt especially drawn to serve and support the youth in the Kawiya villages and this project. They are putting together a plan to enable the youth in their church to assist these Malawian youth.
110 U.S. Gogos "Advance" at the October 7th National RETREAT
“The Other Side of Our Obedience” was the theme as men and women gathered to pray and learn from one another about SAFE’s work in Malawi. Several mission teams reported on their recent trips and shared their remarkable experiences. Gogo Grandmother groups from California were represented along with gogos from New York, Virginia and Louisiana!
One very special guest was all the way from Malawi – Lucy Phiri Nkhata who joined us for the day. Beautiful Lucy is none other than the daughter of our Malawian Director of Early Childhood Development – Mary Phiri.
It was an amazing time – reminding us that we are better serving together and that in Malawi it indeed “takes a village”
Laboring Here for Children There
Villagers in Kawiya Tikondane have labored to mold and fire 35,000 bricks in this outdoor oven which are being used for constructing a new Community Based Childcare Center. They will be able to buy iron sheets, cement, nails and other needed supplies because the Burke Community Church Gogos in Virginia raised funds for this at their Coffee House Concert! What a beautiful partnership of labor for the children in this village!
The caregivers (teachers) of our Community Based Childcare Center in Kondanani are making a fuel-efficient stove in their brand new outdoor kitchen! This was also a joint labor between the Granada Heights Gogos in California who raised the funds and village workers in Kondanani who supplied the labor!
The Mariners Gogo Group has labored to make possible the wonderful programs at our SAFE Haven in Zomba. Aaron, our SAFE Haven Supervisor, and his volunteers labor to tutor and build relationships with the poor children living in the area.
Laboring with Malawi Village Chiefs
Lameck, one of our SAFE staff, labored in prayer together with local village pastors in order to have an outreach meeting with 25 chiefs (mostly Muslim) from the Kawiya villages. They decided to show them the Magdalena film that shows Jesus' love and respect for women. The Muslim men regard women as second-class people in the community, so after the film it was awesome for Lameck to hear the chiefs praying and asking God to forgive them for their wrong attitudes.
One chief commented, "What we saw in the film is what is happening in our communities… so we would love if you would show the film to all the people we are looking after so they would also turn from this behavior as we have now decided to do." Please pray for the men and women in the Kawiya villages this month who will see this film.
Laboring in School
Our 93 orphan students who receive school fees went back to school this September. They face many difficult challenges in their lives just to be able to go to school and stay in school. They often have to labor — not only in their classes — but also in someone's garden just to eat. Thank you for making school possible for them!