July 22, 2018

The path of life..

“You will show me the path of life. In your presence is fulness of joy, at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Psalm 16:11

Hello family and friends, 

Julie here.. I know it has been a while...

I almost forgot about our blog, lol.

And then a lot happens and we forget to write about it, and then more life happens.. 

It has been quite a summer so far… but before that, I wanted to share a few thoughts on here about what I shared during convention...  - you say WHAT now?! ..yes, I was asked (sometimes I get asked.. and say no) to share a little about our life in Malawi  -mothers/ladies session- and I said yes!  -I even surprise myself sometimes-...lol 

ok then… 

Motherhood as a missionfield ..
There is a saying that distance adds intrigue. This is so true. You look at families far away or people in general, and you wonder and it intrigues you. 
Some people ask questions: why do you do it? How do you do it? When did you know? What about money?...
You get asked for news and if we have any prayer requests...

The closer you get to Home, the less intriguing the work of sacrifice seems. When you are a mother at home with your children, the church and everyone around, is not asking you for prayer requests. Your work is normal. You have the Lord and you want to share the Gospel. It is So easy to feel discouraged thinking that the work you are doing is not important. But there is no greater sacrifice than motherhood, whether overseas or back at home. Our children have eternal souls and they are our mission field.

Motherhood on the foreign field ..
Now the difference between you and the life my family and I have, will be in the change of location, moving and adapting to a different culture, packing and unpacking lots of bags, adjusting to different situations that we don't know, learning and trying to understand a foreign language….

I thought I would share on here a few challenges that I have gone through personally in the first few years in Africa.
The first one would be loneliness. Yes I have a husband and children. I am talking more about having to go out there and making new friends with people from a different background and culture. It is a long and difficult process. My husband is usually busy with his own ministry schedule and I am just at home with my children. 

I had prayed for many years for female team members in which God answered and this has helped a lot. We also found a homeschool Co-op and met with many other american missionary families.

The second challenge will be the Culture. Our point of view, the way we live, what we eat and where we live is so different. We are free and have joy but we need to learn to be sensitive and respectful.  We also have 3 different culture going on in and around our family. I was born and grew up in France, my husband is greek american and we live in a third culture with the malawian/african culture. 
My children are loud and cant stay still. Wherever we go we will be a spectacle no matter what we wear or do or what we say will be taken differently or with a different meaning... Malawian children will run to them and touch them or be afraid of them.. they will want to feed them and us too.. 
No matter how many times we can say No to someone who is trying to sell us something, they will not get it, until we tell them, no money or next time or not now ...


The third challenge will be in family and time management. I struggle with it (almost) everyday …
This challenge will be similar to yours at first: homeschooling, prepping meals, planning activities, having a budget, church, homeschool coop… 

It all depends where you live but what a lot of moms have observed is that it takes more time and energy to complete  daily tasks in another culture, especially when we have irregular electrical power and sporadic water supply.
And then comes a time when I have my grocery list ready and arrive at the store and half the ingredients that I'm used to finding are not available (the downside of a landlocked third world african country)… and then I'm finally home getting the food ready and POOOOF, the power is OUT! and we can be without it for a few hours (but we never know)...
and then there are those days when I’m overpowered by the dirty laundry and all i can put in the load is ready and then the water is shut off.. thats when my lady friend/cleaner comes in..I am thankful for her; she comes twice a week now to my house to help me with washing and cleaning! 
No water will mean: being ready -in advance -when we think of it- with water buckets and bucket showers… 
I have to confess that the hardest days are when we have no water and no power at the same time -which will happen from time to time! but out of the two I can live without power but I CAN DEFINITELY NOT live without water. 

The fruits of these challenges: 
I have learned to bring everything to God. And we see God’s powerful and loving hand on a regular basis. We have learned to be flexible early on and to adapt. For the Isolation, I have learn to come out of my comfort zone. I was teaching an English class for the ladies after sunday service. Being involved with the worship team has been so fun too!
For our family, God has given us many friends from all over the world, missionaries or expats that have become dear to us. 
As a family, we try to go on church visitations at least twice a month.  

Now we have been back in America for about a month and half and it is a whirlwind. The time goes by so fast. Convention was amazing: the messages were stirring and carried weight for our souls, the fellowship was short but amazing, and the time for our kids was above and beyond what we could of asked. What touches us is the way that the church family gives to us continuously, we feel so honored. It may be little things, like families taking our kids out for play dates, or little cards of encouragement. We often feel humbled to be part of such a great family. Jesus didn’t choose a restaurant to cater the 5000+ people to feed. He used a small boy with 5 loaves and 2 fish. God uses so many different members from the Body of Christ many times with limited finances to bless people around the world. 

The rest of the summer will be split between visiting family and supporters around the east coast. It will be a lot of driving with small children coupled with a lot of fellowship. We are thankful for your prayers and support. We return to Malawi in a few short weeks. 

Please pray as we continue raising up our newly ordained pastors and plans for a future church plant in the northern city of Mzuzu.

April 30, 2018

Conference Communion - Called out of darkness into His Light - 1 Peter 2 : 9

Thank you for all your prayers for our annual conference it was incredible. For those who don't know, yearly we, as a church, put on an annual conference to graduate our Bible College Students and welcome Pr Scibelli and guests who travel with him. 
This year we had the honor of hosting our brothers and sisters from all Southern African Churches. Usually this regional conference takes place in Zambia,  but was changed to Malawi similarly like the European conference. What was amazing was the amount of visitors who came on such short notice. For many who travelled, they came at great sacrifice since few of them have formal employment. For many, just the ticket is a month or two of income. We had visitors from Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Congo, South Africa, China, France and USA. 

It was amazing seeing the Zams and Zims coming in on their big coach buses to hear great messages and have great fellowship. 

There were so many memorable moments, but two that stood out were the leadership meeting before the conference. It was an intimate time of questions and answers with Pr Scibelli. The second was our ordination service. It was so encouraging to see two Malawian leaders become pastors: Pastor Yamikani and Pastor Malrone. These two men have been so faithful and such a help, we were so happy to see them ordained. 

(Pr. Malrone and Pr. Yamikani are the two with matching shirts at right 1Cor 14:40)

Times of fellowship before and around the Malawian conference 

February 24, 2018

Serving our generation

Hello and thanks for your continual prayers and support,
God said that David had served his generation (Acts 13:36), I thought about what that means for us today. Recently, our beloved evangelist, America’s pastor, Billy Graham went home to be with the Lord. He is a great example of a man who served his generation. As I went on a visit of one of our first time visitors, this principle was so evident. In our church in Malawi, we have a practice of visiting any first time visitor’s home. One of our visitors was a man named Golden. He wasn’t comfortable with us visiting his house right away, so he opted for us to all meet at a local hotel. Upon arrival we found ourselves with Stanley, our church member who invited Golden to church, and two other friends of Stanley. Stanly is a gatherer. He has invited 5 friends to church. Serving your generation is stepping into the plan that God sets before you. God had set before me these 4 men who wanted to hear a Word from God. Anyone can serve their generation, if you are willing, God will put people in your path that need to hear God’s Word. It turned out one of the men was a Muslim, but so open, as many Malawian Muslims are. He always questioned what Christ’s title, “Son of God” meant. We explained to him that it doesn’t mean a physical son but one who is commissioned to do a work, one under an order, like the “Sons of the Prophets”. Also it means the fact that God came into the human race, God as a man to redeem man. This explanation gave great clarity to Somos and he prayed to receive Christ  with us. God put him in our path that day.

God answered two other long standing prayers this month. First was the desire to visit the Muslim stronghold city of Mangoci. We have always heard stories of this city as one intolerant to Christians, which made us want to go even more. For almost 4 years we have mentioned it and finally God brought it to pass. In the past, we have been in other Muslim strongholds and we have found the best way to cut through the uncomfort of the environment is to attack it with putting up the sketchboard and preaching. Of course, we are using the Pauline method toward the Athenians in Acts 17 which caused some of them to hear Paul again.  Amazingly we were met with warmth and great reception. We did sketchboard in front of 30 people in the market, and at the end of the story as we gave the invitation you could have heard a pin drop. No one raised their hands. After the 3rd time of asking if anyone would like to believe in Christ, a 3 year old child tied to the back of a Muslim Mother raised her hand. This released the atmosphere and people started laughing and 20 hands went up. My translator, Raphael, gave his testimony that he was a Muslim that joined our Bible school. After hearing the Word of God, his soul was satisfied and he received Christ. It was the perfect 1-2 punch. We were joined by my Mom and Dad. We rented a taxi of our long time friend and driver, Roger, who is also a believer. Since we hired him we also put him to work. We had him evangelizing with us. He was so excited to evangelize because he had never done it in his church. – Serving our generation.

Our second answer to prayer was to have a marriage seminar. Like everywhere, Marriage is under attack. Its definition and its place in society, are among the things that are challenged; Malawi is no exception. Thank God we had 20 couples from both our churches together for a meal and a message. We took pictures of each couple and many of our singles were the servers so they also could get some wisdom. It was so well received, so much so, that one husband said that it was the best day of his life! Wow!

Lastly, as we started our new Bible College Semester, we were given a great gift. Not only did we have record registration: 225 Students; but we also were informed that our regional Conference, Zamcon, will be held with us here in Malawi. For this we really petition you for your prayers. On April 13-15 we will have close to 200 travel here from 7 different countries not to mention the close to 500 people we had last Malawicon. Please pray for wisdom for us and God’s hand to be on us. Maybe even God will lead you to visit us. The theme is “Out of Darkness, Into Light” 1Pet 2:9.