Good News in February 2022
February is a very important month in Zambia and Malawi. Farmers are praying and hoping for refreshing rains to irrigate their fields and gardens. They pray for abundant crops to feed their families and communities, and hope the coming year brings different opportunities for their lives. Hope is necessary for life. It inspires one to dream big dreams and it supplies the courage to just keep moving despite life’s many challenges. This month, ELI shares two stories highlighting the hope our friends in Malawi and Zambia have been leaning into; knowing that great things are about to happen.
You O God, sent a plentiful rain,
Whereby You confirmed Your inheritance,
When it was weary.
LITERACY HOPE IN ZAMBIA
The success story of the Susu Ladies Literacy program quickly spread to other villages, and three additional programs began. Men and women gathered in front of a blackboard in simple shelters or under a tree to begin learning the alphabet. For some, it might have been the first time to hold a pencil or write a word on a piece of paper, let alone their own name. They are hoping that literacy will provide needed tools for a different life.
In the village of Brunelli several women have a bigger dream. They are determined to work hard, so one day they will be eligible to take the Zambian National School exams and “graduate” from seventh grade. An impossible dream? No, hope and determination are powerful.
Elizabeth is a 30 year old mother of three children. She was born in the small town of Luansha in Zambia’s Copper Belt province. She started her primary school in 2000, all was well until she lost her parents in the 5th grade. This forced her to relocate to Brunelli to stay with her uncle, who could not afford to send her to school. Later, the uncle gave a young Elizabeth into an early marriage saying, "She was just eating my food.”
Elizabeth’s husband was abusive and irresponsible, and has been away from the family for ten years. It has been a very difficult struggle to provide for her three children. There are very few job opportunities for someone who hasn’t even finished primary school.
Her passion to attend school and the desire of an education never left her heart despite the turmoil in her life. One Sunday in early 2020, Elizabeth’s prayer was answered. The church secretary announced a literacy class sponsored by Elizabeth’s Library would soon begin in her village. She did not hesitate to enroll and resume her studies, with the renewed hope of one day becoming a teacher.
In the beginning Elizabeth’s performance was very low, but she did not give up. She was always asking questions of her teacher. Elizabeth also asked the Susu Mobile Library to supply books about science, history, geography, on any and every subject. In late 2021 she requested a place at the national examination center. “With the help of God, I passed” rejoiced Elizabeth!
Elizabeth prays for a way to support her children while she attends eight grade at the local government school. She doesn’t care that she will be the oldest student in the classroom. Her dream of becoming a teacher, which was lost many years ago, has been renewed and she is moving forward with the hope of reaching her goal.
With your financial help, ELI will establish more adult literacy classes in other rural villages. There are many hopes and dreams waiting to be fulfilled.
Thanks to a gift of seeds and fertilizer from ELI Zambia, the Brunelli Literacy class has planted a bean field. They are hoping for a good harvest from their first income generating project.
MALAWI MOBILE LIBRARY
Hope abounds in Dima Village as Director Jacob and his team bring wonderful books and planned educational activities to the children who are eager to learn. A few months ago, the mother of seven year old Dorothy approached Jacob and wondered if there was anything the ELI team could do for her deaf daughter. Dorothy has been deaf since childhood, and without any means for communication with her family and village. Seeing the mobile library engaging with other children, filled this mother with hope, so she asked the team for a way to help Dorothy learn anything. Though no one on the team has experience in working with deaf children, Bertha (a pre-school teacher) gives special attention to Dorothy. She has quickly learned some rudimentary skills, such as holding a pencil and coloring. She is now engaging with other children, playing jump rope and throwing a ball. Dorothy is no longer lonely on the sidelines. Bertha will continue working closely with Dorothy, teaching her additional skills because preparations are underway to further expand her education. God has answered her mother's prayer in a miraculous way, and we’ll soon share the details of this amazing story. You’ll rejoice with us.
Puzzle solving is one of the favorite activities for children of all ages. Solving puzzles is a new experience and Jacob delights in sending pictures of the children developing their critical thinking and problem solving skills, as well as learning teamwork. Their joy with success is evident.
Spiritual hope has also been kindled with gifts of adult and children's Bibles. Like this grandmother, there are many waiting with expectant hearts to hear the Word of God which supplies the assurance of God’s love and faithfulness.
"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope."
Jeremiah 29:11 (ESV)
ELI received a wonderful donation designated toward the Sweet Susu Produce farm to plant 200 banana trees! The new property is irrigated by a small stream, but many hours of hard labor were required to clear and plant the trees. This definitely moves the Susu farm forward in the future hope of an amazing income generating project that will further increase sustainability of the library. In two years time, bananas should be ready for harvest for markets near and far!
Susu has been blessed with the purchase of fertile land where corn, oranges, watermelons and bananas will grow well. Last fall the Susu farmers used hand tools and oxen teams to clear and plant ten acres of corn and sunflowers. These crops have been planted by hand, a huge undertaking to complete before the rainy season begins. The farmers hope to triple the size of the fields this year, but need a tractor and plow.
This high priority need was shared in the January Good News, and we give thanks to all of you who responded. Only $4,000 remains to fully fund this need, and your gift of any amount will be so appreciated. With a tractor and plow, the Susu farmers will be able to clear their land, and also hire themselves out to help other local farmers. Another great income generating project to support the library and outreach programs, such as the adult literacy classes.
It is truly a joy and privilege to share the stories of how God is using your prayers and financial support to change lives and provide skills needed for a different future. Please prayerfully consider a generous one time donation towards the purchase of a tractor for Susu or our adult literacy programs. More faithful monthly supporters are also needed. There are many dreams and hopes waiting to become realities.