November 01, 2017

Smiles overcome any language barriers

We have the coolest job in the world. I know being a missionary doesnt seem like a job, ok I get it. 
It is still what we do here. And we love what we do so it is a plus in our lives. 
I love my children very much and they are such great examples to us.  They are simple thinkers. They see other children, they smile and then,  they start playing. Wherever they are, and I mean anywhere in the world - yes we travel to 3 continents every year- they go and make friends no matter if they speak the same language or not. But it most of the time started with a smile.
 Here in Malawi it can be tricky sometimes, people can be friendly but very curious.  And it's the African children that will come to them and they can get very touchy  with their hair...but every time it will take minutes  for them to make friends..

Malawi is an English speaking country but English is not their primary language, just travel outside of city center or the capital,
and people will not speak English especially the ladies and young children. 

 I have tried and failed to learn the languages in Southern Africa (yes they are many of them) and everyone I mean, everyone tries to force their languages on us.
So I gave up pretty much for now. We still know some of the basics tho so at least... 

I am always amazed at how you can read people by their expressions (and I am sure they can read mine).

Sincerity is so simple, and you can do it anywhere, even if you do not know a word of a foreign language. Just take the time to look at someone and be interested.

When you are with people you know or don't know, smile and try to enjoy their company.

The more I travel, the more I am convinced that we are all alike. We all want the same things: security, good health, to love and to be loved. The only differences are our beliefs, cultures and habits. This is such a simple thing when you travel around the block or around the world.

Smile - Everyone likes to be around happy people. Smiles are universal (and you don't even need teeth LOL). They show warmth and invoke a good feeling among people of all backgrounds. I find it amazing how simple it is to automatically like someone at first impression when the first thing you see is his or her smile. It is just a very comforting feeling, and the simple expression just puts people at ease.

At least in Africa it is and I would say for most places around the world.

Basically, eyes and a smile are a window into someone's personality. You can tell so much about a person with some basic human traits. 

That's what we do here, we are people persons, we sit down, smile (most of the time), shake hands (a lot of them), spend time with them, give them a track, a verse and by doing that we show them the Love of God for them personally. 

1 Thessalonians 5:11 “Therefore, encourage one another and build each other up.”

Matthew 28:40 - As you did to the least of my brothers you did to me.
Best Friends: Two Pastor's Daughters: Pr Victor/Pr Albert

Leadership Seminar with Leaders from Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, and Malawi: Going through Pr Schaller's Booklet: Choosing to Lead

Pray for the Conference in South Africa as 10 from the Church in Malawi travel there.

 Pray for Comfort for Pr. Ray Kosioleck and the GG Carlisle, PA Church as Pr. Ray's wife Brenda went home to be with the Lord.

October 11, 2017

Faces of Malawi

New church member, Gregor, 1 month old

GG Malawi - Area 36 Church

GG Malawi - Chisapo Church

October 01, 2017

He is before all things, and in Him all things are held together.

1 Month Back
It’s been a month now that our family has been back on the mission field after a wonderful summer in Baltimore. A big Thank you to Baltimore Church and all the churches in the US and Canada that we visited and were welcomed like royalty; we were so encouraged.  We would also like to say thank you to all the team at R & B, without you, it wouldn’t be possible to come back every summer.
It is the beginning of hot season again.  We have not seen a drop of rain since last March. The past rainy season was a very good one after two years of drought, so we were praying on our way back to Malawi, that we would find our house with running water without interruption during the week. Thankfully in the past month, we have had only 2 days without water. Praise God!

It is always an adjustment to be back here. We are all getting ready for dinner, we eat early here around 6 or 6:30 and the sun is already down at around 5:30/6pm even in the summer season. So we are setting the table and Julie is just about done with the food and then POOF! No power! No warning and no idea how long it will last! oh Africa! T.I.A. we call it! Thankfully in the last year we had a friend hook up 2 batteries to the main line so when this happens we can at least have some light! Thank you Jesus for the small things!

It’s been a great privilege to have Matt Gehret here with us doing his practicum for Bible College. He arrived shortly after we got back and has jumped right into our schedule and Team life. One of the many blessings that come with people visiting is the opportunity to re-live some of the 1st time experiences again. Even gain some first time experiences of our own.
We were on the way to visit one of the young men in the church, Andrew. To get to his house, we have to take public transportation – a minibus. A minibus is the main form of transportation all over Africa. It is an 8 passenger van that has been modified to take 15 to 18 people all crammed in like sardines. We got on a minibus. We were pulled over for a random check by the police. Usually these checks are for any excuse to fine drivers in an attempt to make money. Unfortunately, in our bus we had the maximum amount of people but we were arranged with one too many people in one row with another row with one less passenger in another. The officer demanded for the driver’s license so the man gave it to him but would not give it back and was demanding the driver to pay a fine. We were all in the bus waiting, praying, for patience and wondering if we would be there all night. After a few minutes, I got out of the bus to see what was happening. The officer was trying to get money for overloading, I smiled, apologized, told him I was a pastor and that he could attend our Bible College for free . His attitude totally changed after that and he finally let us go. I got back inside with the whole minibus cheering “Aboosa” which means pastor. The driver got his license back and we were on our way.

The visit went great. We saw Andrew and played basketball with him and some other children on a basketball court near his house. We played and prayed. Did a short Bible study and were ready to head back. We boarded another minibus and saw the money collector drinking something. At first it looked suspicious, I asked him if it was water and he said it was Petrol. He was drinking on the job. After driving a bit further, it was evident that he wasn’t the only one; the driver was also sharing. We noticed that we were going a bit fast for a minibus. Amazingly enough there happened to be another random police traffic stop (which are really not that random), but that didn’t stop the driver. He calmly drove right around the officer even after being commanded to stop. At this the people in the bus began shouting. We all demanded for him to pull the bus over for all of us to get out. The speed continued to increase and our anger level did also. Finally by God’s grace he pulled over and all of us got out. Thankfully we hadn’t paid yet so we got half of the journey for free. The group of all the passengers walked to the main road to find another bus. It was a great opportunity to tell people the Gospel of how the whole human race is in a minibus headed to destruction, but Christ saved us. It really struck a chord. Matt asked me if this sort of thing happens often. I told him it was a 1st time experience for me too, and visitation is always an adventure. God wanted to make sure we had some good stories for newsletters. LOL

Please pray for us as we are getting ready to go to Livingstone, in Zambia, by bus, to the Leadership conference, with some of our leaders. we will be going in about 2 weeks.
Next will be the Mzazi Conference in South Africa with Pastor Jabu.
Please pray for our orphans in our church family: Innocent, Chisomo, Matthews and Blessings (the one with the jacket in the middle is their school teacher)

Blessings  from Malawi

Our Sunday School with the new markers/colored pencil Box : Gift  from the GG Church of Malta, NY

Pastor Albert and his new family!!!

August 07, 2017

"Delight in the Lord and He will give you the desire of your heart" Psalm 37:4

        One thing that is of great importance but never really is mentioned is the life of missionary children. I think one of our greatest fears as foreign missionaries is that our children will miss out on things. Also that they may miss key elements of family life and education. I truly believe that while those things may happen, that God is faithful to supply alternate sources and make up what could be lacking. 
      This has been particularly true in our family. Since we have been on the Missionfield, we have always home schooled our children. For the most part, it has taken place in Malawi. And when I say "we", I mean my wife has home schooled our children . One blessing that has been so evident is the need for friends that missionary children have. God has given our children many circles of friends that go way beyond their culture and help them develop socially. They started out with having friends in the church. I think of 4 children in particular: the children of two couples who have been in the church from the beginning. Joe Jr., Gloria, Blessings, and Chimwewe (Joy in English), these guys did everything together around the church. We would visit their homes and they would visit our home. In the beginning their English wasn't great but they grew. Also it was a great chance for my girls to learn how to teach others. Children are fast learners and they learn the best from each other.
      God also blessed my wife and two other missionary wives with the idea to start a home school group. Originally it started with 5 homeschool families taking turns once a month to share lessons with the group, now 3 years later there are 15 families and all types of activities shared. Again God gave my children another large circle of friends many of whom are American missionary kids. Also we gained many friends and help from brothers and sisters in Christ.
Friends in Malawi

Homeschool room

Homeschool Co-op in Malawi

Homeschool co-op Malawi - Judo with Chris

       Lastly is the great blessing of coming home to Baltimore every year. In missionary circles, the idea of going back to America every year is unheard of and impractical. Usually they go back on "furlough" ever 3 years. Although the expense is great, we look at it as a faith journey every year. 
God is so faithful to always provide for us to come back to Baltimore and soak up the fellowship. We look at it as a necessity.  The Baltimore experience would not be complete without a visit to Camp Life. Although it delays our trip back to Malawi, it is well worth the extra time to invest spiritually in our children. For the past 3 years, God has used so many precious saints to make sure that our kids go to camp. And they talk about it the whole next year. We are so thankful to the youth leaders who lay down their lives to make this time memorable.

Please pray for us:

-New Church Plant at the end of the year in the Northern City of Mzuzu

-The next school year for Julie and the girls: Julie will continue to homeschool, but we will begin to raise the money for a fund for the girls schooling. By grace
we can raise their tuition money for school year after this.

-2 Great MBCS students will be joining us for the upcoming year, pray for their 
time, protection, and great impartation of the Spirit.

     Our summer continues.... in pictures...

GG Church of Silverspring. Ladies from Malawi that are relatives to some of our church members in Malawi..

Petersen family- Great friends in Maryland

Marlboro, Mass to carlisle, PA, to Montreal, Canada, to Rochester,NY (family) to Malta, NY..  

Carlisle, PA - Missions Day/Volley Ball Day

Montreal, Canada



                                             Malta/Saratoga Springs, NY