"Do not despise the day of small beginnings."
Those of us serving with ELI are reflecting on our small beginning, and how God is growing this ministry far beyond what we could have imagined. The library in Susu village started in a small two room school house with just a blackboard and children sitting on the floor listening to the lesson. Simple bookshelves were constructed to hold the new library books, and very soon people were walking miles to check out a book. Today, just a few short years later, a new modern library with solar powered lights sits on the edge of two hundred acres of fertile farm land, growing many varities of vegetables and orchards of oranges and bananas, that are income generating projects for the library. Many adult literacy classes have been established and a mobile library program serves eighteen rural schools and villages. With vision, faith and a lot of hard work, thousands of lives are being changed because you've cared and partnered with ELI.
In this month’s Good News, we highlight a few new small beginnings. We pray your heart will be touched, and you would pray and partner with us, experiencing the joy in the journey to see what God might do!
Zambia - Mr. Benson's Neighborhood
Mr. Benson was one of the first visitors to the new Susu Community Library. Though he had to walk several miles from his farm, he gladly made the journey several times a week. The opportunity to read books about many subjects was for him a miracle. When Mr. Benson learned of the Susu mobile library program, and read the reports about the outreach to villages in Malawi, he dreamed of the same opportunity for all the farm children living near him, because they walked long distances to attend a school with very limited resources. Mr. Benson began borrowing children's books from the library and holding story time in his village. He asked if a small lending library could be established on his farm, and volunteered for the position of book monitor. The word has spread and Mr. Benson's story time has became famous!
Mr. Luwaile, the mobile library coordinator recently visited this outreach and sent this update:
After nine months of holding the position of book monitor for Mapulanga village, Mr. Benson noticed something interesting happening. He compared the lives of both the children and adults before and after they began attending the program. Mr. Benson concluded that life couldn’t prosper in his village without the mini library. He is joyful when he sees the children learning to read and understanding concepts. He remembers reading the book Johnny Tremain for the first time and how it spoke to him. As the children develop a thirst for knowledge and the desire to learn, Mr. Benson smiles. He is confident that future generations will see the value of books. Mr. Benson calls the program a "light in the darkness."
EL Malawi was launched when the world was facing a pandemic and life was on lockdown. For the childen in Malawi villages, daily life became even more difficult without the opportunity to attend school. So Jacob and his team began bringing books and educational materials to the rural communities from the capital city of Lilongwe. It was a small beginning, as the response and interest was unknown. Over the last eighteen months, Good News has reported the amazing success of this program - which exceeded way beyond our expectations. Hundreds of children await the bi-monthly mobile library visit, and they eagerly participate in all the educational activities. Arts and crafts have been introduced and imaginations are growing. This month children created flowers from paper and were surprised by their new skills of cutting patterns with scissors. They were totally amazed at the result. Adult literacy programs are underway and young Dorothy, who was locked in her world of silence, now attends a school for the deaf in Lilongwe.
With joy we report that a new small beginning is underway! A storefront library has opened in the capital of Lilongwe. City children will now have access to books and educational resources in an environment that encourages learning. On the second day of opening, 100 happy patrons appeared and the number keeps growing! What a wonderful challenge to have. Jacob had to organize smaller groups for exploration inside while others waited for their turn as it is a very small facility.
There is great potential for this little library, and many resources will be needed to accommodate the expansion of this project and to reach more rural villages. Will you be the ELI partner that encourages this small beginning, and watch it become a vehicle for change in both communities and country?
As we reflect on the the small beginnings that became amazing triumphs, we know that it was made possible through people like you, who prayed and sacrificially gave. Everything began with an idea or a need that became a passion to make a way forward, and the impossible became possible. Will you please pray and partner with us either with a one time gift or by becoming a monthly supporter of these new beginnings? Your gift will be a blessing and will make a difference. Thank you.