Good News in November & December 2022
ELI is passionate about our mission to establish libraries, offer literacy programs for all ages, and promote educational opportunities. Literacy is critical for individual and community development. Our libraries provide literacy resources for all ages at various proficiency levels. A reading culture is developing and a more literate society being created which will benefit generations to come.
We have said goodbye to the year 2022, but ELI excitedly reviews this past year's triumphs and highlights of lives that have been changed forever through adult literacy classes, children’s reading programs, and access to research and development via our libraries. Newly literate adults participated in educational opportunities that taught income generating skills and brought dignity and hope to their lives.
Thanks be to God, who makes a way through these opportunities, for those who hunger for more, to be all they can be. Thank you for partnering with us in this incredible ministry.
Susu Community Library
An average of 200 people of all ages and interests visit the library every month. Though the number ebbs and flows with the agricultural seasons as farmers work all day during planting and harvest. High school and college students come from long distances to use the resource and reference books that are not available in their school libraries. The introduction of the children's story time and the many early education resources draws enthusiastic young learners as well. Pastors and adults also peruse the shelves for Bibles and resources to aid in sermons and personal study. The beautiful and modern library offers a quiet place of learning and study for all.
Mobile Library Program
Once a month, the field coordinator visits 18 different schools (approximately 9,000 students) to exchange books and educational resources as needed. Many teachers use the subject specific books to augment their lessons - especially art and poetry. In addition, students were excited to have art supplies such as crayons and colored pencils to use (for some this was a first experience).
Mr. Benson's Farm Library
Mr. Benson's heart and actions to “bring the library” to the children in his remote community continues to inspire all of us. His dream and ongoing efforts to introduce and encourage a culture of reading has been told in previous newsletters, but there's more.
Every Saturday, Mr. Benson (who is a very busy farmer) opens his "little" library for several hours. Children have been faithfully flocking to the farm to engage with Mr. Benson's lessons, which includes, reading, spelling and storytime. ELI has also provided puzzles and educational games for the children, bringing a fun way to inspire young minds who otherwise have no access to such treasures. Mr. Benson believes his community will reach a greater potential as they embrace a culture of reading and learning. The once reluctant parents, now frequently join with their children to engage in these activities. Mr. Benson continues to seek new ways to engage more adults, so that all the community would benefit.
Brunelli Literacy Class
In early 2021, a group of 22 women asked ELI to consider starting a literacy program in the village of Brunelli, which was granted. The women worked hard and then applied for a small village loan to start an income generating project to continue paying their instructor a small stipend. They successfully grew a bean crop and had a very small chicken project. From the proceeds, they purchased one sewing machine with the dream of establishing a sewing and tailoring project. Thanks to ELI supporters, one more sewing machine and supplies were purchased and a skilled instructor was hired. On December 15, 2022, six very joyful women (ages 23 -49) were awarded a Certificate of Accomplishment by Mr. Kenneth at a ceremony attended by cheering families, neighbors and local dignitaries. Their families and friends rejoice at their hard work and accomplishments and we do too!
Susu Community Farm
The Susu Farm continues to expand and diversify their crops to generate sufficient income to sustain the community library and outreach programs. Like farms everywhere in the world, outcomes are influenced by many factors, such as weather and available markets. Though tomatoes were harvested in abundance this season, the market was glutted, driving the prices down. Director Kenneth says, "We are not discouraged, for we have new ideas for our projects. Next we will plant potaoes, and this has great potential." The ELI farm team did sell many tomatoes door to door in Kabwe, and then donated the remaining tomatoes to rural schools feeding programs.
In the next few months, the orange trees planted three years ago will bear the first fruits and 500 banana trees are growing well. The tractor purchased last year will be used to clear additional land to plant larger maize (corn) and sunflower crops. The Susu farm continues to flourish and one day, with the revenue generated, will completely sustain the Susu Library and its many projects!
Mobile Library Outreach
The number of enthusiastic children waiting for library day continues to grow at every visit. The EL team carefully plans educational activities for all ages, as well as holding story time. Jacob reports seeing many adults sitting or standing on the periphery, but they are also listening carefully to tales of adventure, biographies and all types of good literature. The Bible stories shared with adults and children alike remain a highlight; as well as books with illustrations depicting African life. Seeing their own world illustrated is a marvel to them.
Recently the team has focused on introducing craft activities. Just like children all over the world, they delight in mastering new skills like cutting with scissors, coloring and constructing houses from boxes. The young people were encouraged to use locally available materials to create their masterpiece, but choosing colors from the crayon box brought sheer joy. Their imaginations soared and their joy of accomplishment was obvious and contagious.
Adult Literacy Class
For one year, fifteen women met twice a week to learn how to read and write. They sat on the bare ground, under the shelter of a roof holding their clipboards. Each one carefully using their few sheets of paper and pencil to capture the teacher's words. It was a day of celebration when two students wrote their names for the very first time. Now many of these dedicated students are able to read the early language books available through the mobile library program.
Parents who have been intently watching the reading progress of their children, are now waiting for the next group of literacy classes to begin. It is ELI’s hope and prayer that in 2023 at least one more class can be started with tables and chairs for all the students.
ELI is thrilled to share Dorothy's amazing growth and transformation. One year ago, this precious child born with deafness lived in isolation, unable to participate in daily village life. The miracle story of God providing a way for Dorothy and her mother to attend sign language school is traveling through the villages; affirming that God answered a mother’s prayer.
Mr. Jacob (EL Director) reports that Dorothy is eager to join in all the educational activities and now often smiles. He reported that during the last visit, Dorothy sat at the table and helped the younger children build with blocks and complete puzzles. Amazing!
Malawi Storefront Library
From the second day of opening the EL office as a library, the number of hopeful library patrons was way more than the space can accomodate. The one fold up table is placed outside the door, and children wait their turn to complete a puzzle or play with the educational resources. Mr. Jacob has said, the books, puzzles and games are "treasures" and the children beg him not to close the library. Some children leave with tearful goodbyes.
A too small library is a great problem to solve. Join with us in praying this coming year, that God will provide a bigger facility, fully equipped to serve everyone who visits the library.
A MISSIONARY'S HEART
With joy, I begin this new feature article, A Missionary’s Heart. Though it’s been many years since I served with my late husband (Ted Glauser) on the foreign field, the steadfast hope of the gospel remains. When I write the stories for the ELI Good News, my heart is overwhelmed when I hear of a villager who will walk five miles to read the library Bible, because he or she doesn’t have access to one. I remember in 2012 when my husband and I were leading a conference in Africa, and we gave local language Bibles to the pastors and their wives who attended, many of which did not own a Bible. A young lady at the reception desk timidly approached my husband and asked, “Do you have a Bible for me?”
There remains a huge desire and need for literacy classes in all of the villages served by ELI. Without the ability to read, the Bible remains just a book, unread like any other. One of the primary reasons many adults (who didn’t have the opportunity to attend school as children), pursue literacy classes is to have the ability to read the Bible for themselves. When ELI has the ability to distribute Bibles to both adults and children, it is considered the most precious possession; as it is mine.
I continue to pray that ELI will have the opportunity to bring good tidings of great joy to all people who hunger and thirst for the hope that Jesus brings through THE good news of the Bible.
(Alicia Glauser serves on the ELI Board of Directors and contributes on the Good News writing team.)
ELI ministries are possible because of your partnership with us through your prayers and finacial support. We hear regularly that you’re encouraged by the stories, and blessed by what your investment has accomplished. In 2023, ELI prays to expand these current projects and others, as the Lord leads and provides. Please prayerfully consider becoming a regular monthly donor. One time gifts are always appreciated.
Happy New Year from all of us at ELI!