Vision is defined as an idea perceived in the heart and mind, with an explanation so others can imagine it also. Vision, perseverance, hard work and lots of prayer moved many small beginnings forward to a larger goal; often requiring greater faith than resources! God delights in meeting the needs of His people; He often uses individuals just like you. This month's newsletter highlights the stories of a tiny storefront library in Malawi that supports a BIG mobile library program, with many educational opportunities for little ones learning English, and adult literacy classes. In Zambia, a farm delivery truck brings produce to further markets providing sustainability and sparked the vision to build a high school. God is on the move and blessing our ministries in Malawi and Zambia. Good news indeed!
MALAWI - A Library in Lilongwe
Last year, EL Malawi opened a small storefront library. Week after week for more than a year, neighborhood residents close to the office watched the EL mobile library load up the car with books and educational resources for the long journey to three very rural villages. The curious people wondered and hoped the doors would soon open to them. After fitting out the small storefront with bookshelves and two tables with a few chairs, Jacob posted a handwritten sign declaring Elizabeth's Library is now open! With great excitement the first library day finally happened and ten people wandered in, but the news went viral. The next day, the library was bombarded with so many patrons, that they overflowed to the street, so that people had to wait for a turn to enter and peruse the books and other resources. To their great delight, children were introduced to beautiful books, puzzles and other educational games. The number of people of all ages awaiting access to the storefront library continues to grow and the search for a larger space is underway. ELI is praying for a larger facility and additional staff to have the library open everyday with longer hours. Jacob reports that library patrons consider these books and educational items "precious" and they rejoice at this unbelievable miracle to enjoy these amazing resources.
MALAWI - Mobile Library Program
Twice monthly, the EL Malawi team travels to the villages of Dima, Mphonde, and Chimutu. The book monitors stationed in each village welcome the exchange of new books and keep careful records of each book borrowed and returned. There is now a "culture of reading" in the villages for adults and children, who previously didn’t have the opportunity to read books; this new culture has been an incredible success. Children flock to story time and the educational activities; learning skills and English so important for their development. English is the language used in government schools. Teachers Grace and Bethel thoughtfully prepare worksheets and art projects, which never fail to delight the children. A special treat awaits the children at the end of the folding table; puzzles to complete and building blocks to create towers and edifices (future architects and engineers in the making)!
MALAWI - Adult Literacy Program
Thanks to ELI supporters, two folding tables and chairs were purchased for the adult literacy class. It was a day of rejoicing when Jacob delivered the tables and fifteen chairs to Chimutu Village for the "handover celebration." Village chiefs and elders gathered for this historic event and heartfelt speeches were given by many with much gratitude offered to ELI supporters and to God for supplying this wonderful gift.
It was difficult for the adult women to do their lessons while sitting on the bare ground, trying to learn to read and write, but they were determined to succeed. Their children were learning to read and now they were interested in attending the village school. As mothers, they desired to help their children with their homework and also find better jobs to support their families.
Jacob left puzzles and crayons for these adult literacy students; colorful crayons to use for the first time in their lives. Just like the children, the introduction of new experiences is life changing. Imagine being more than thirty years old before you have the opportunity to use crayons and create a work of art. A different world has opened for them. Perhaps a master artist lives in Chimutu and another small beginning story is waiting to be told.
ZAMBIA - Susu Farm Delivery Truck
Two years ago, ELI supporters funded the purchase of a much needed delivery truck for the Susu Farm. Over the last four years, the farm has increased in acreage and productivity. Sweet Susu Produce provides food, jobs and contributes to the financial sustainability of the library and many outreach programs. Susu Village is very rural, so crops harvested for market were limited for sale in nearby villages because of lack of transport or the cost of hiring a truck.
As additional land was cleared and planted, the Susu farmers diversified their crops to include watermelons, cabbages, beans, maize, sunflowers, oranges and now bananas and potatoes. The new truck allows them to travel to further markets to sell their produce and bring book box shipments back to Susu without hiring transport vehicles.
In January, the new campaign, Let's Go For Mangoes was launched. The Susu farmers now have the opportunity to purchase an additional parcel of land with 150 mature mango trees. The fruit would be an immediate income generating crop, but EL Zambia has an even bigger vision for this land. It is the prime location to build a Christian high school for 300 students with a girl's dormitory. A high school education (especially for girls), is almost an impossible dream for rural village children. There are very few high schools and the cost for tuition and lodging is too much for most parents to afford.
The exciting news is, only $2,000 is needed to fully fund the purchase of this land. Please prayerfully consider contributing a gift to the Let's Go For Mangoes campaign. Another small beginning to a very big vision.
Fourteen kids recently joined the Susu goat herd.
Adiel Baptist Church, Missouri
Small donations combined with many are the beginnings to accomplish big dreams. Please consider a gift of any amount to support the following projects. Together we can make the difference in the lives of many.