April 2017 Southern Malawi Ministry Centre Update
Every children’s home at Iris Malawi plants a field. They prepare the soil, plant the seeds and tend the crops, and then they harvest and eat the produce. This year’s crop was disappointing. While we did receive rain, it was inconsistent and there were long dry spells in-between. There was also a pest which ate the maize leaves, leaving the cobs vulnerable. Still, there was a harvest.
[Iris children and parents planting seed in their garden.]
Out in the community the harvest was variable, but there is definitely more food available in the market than last year at this time. Recently we have received a good amount of rain and winter crops will soon be planted. There is hope. In the meantime we continue to support about 3,000 families with what the Lord provides each month.
[Iris food distribution program.]
Looking back over this year, we have much to give thanks for. God is growing his family here in southern Malawi. Four children came home this year, including two brothers, ages 2 and 9, and a brother and sister ages 12 and 13. It has been awesome to see them settle in and find their place. Ganizani is an amazing dancer and, at his first service with us, he danced with great passion as he celebrated being home. There are four more children who have been identified in the community. We are waiting for the approval to bring them home. Presently they are living with an older sibling who cannot provide for them.
[Vulnerable child ready to come home to Iris.]
Our Iris children continue to grow in knowledge and stature. Last year’s Gr. 8 class did extremely well. Everyone passed and 5 were selected to national schools across the country. We now have students at 10 different boarding schools, involving a lot of administrationl, keeping track of visitors days, purchasing different uniforms, PTA meetings, report cards, and transportation schedules. Post-secondary students are finding their way slowly but surely. We have 3 who are working, 2 who are studying at college, and 2 who are in the process of applying. There is no central application procedure or nationwide calendar for schools, so this is an arduous process. We have started a university scholarship fund to help with this next level of education.
[One of our oldest boys, together with house mom Fanny and youngest Iris brother. This young man will be graduating from secondary school in July.]
At the Bible school we were privileged to host a class of 50 women during the month of February. In spite of intense heat the women were thrilled to be in class every day, learning about healthy living, Christian family, Christian business practices, prayer, and purity of heart. As always with our women’s classes, there were many connections made between Iris girls and Bible school students. It was heart-warming to see the girls celebrating with their ‘aunties’ as they received their diplomas at the end of the month. These women return to their lives of intense service after a month of rest and recuperation, perhaps the one and only ‘holiday’ in their lifetime.
[Women’s Bible school graduation celebration.]
Six members of our Iris team were privileged to visit the Mully Children’s Family in Kenya recently. It was an inspiring journey. The Mully family began in 1989 and 12,000 children have passed through their family in 28 years. We enjoyed hearing Charles Mully's vision, expressed by his very dedicated staff and children. We toured their many agricultural projects and met many of the children. It is always good to get a different perspective, and we look forward to much fruit from this trip.
[Our Iris team together with Charles and Esther Mully.]