April 2022 Sarah Masson-Mkandawire Update
Since our return to Malawi in September 2021, we have been faithfully committed to supporting our friends here at Iris Malawi wherever possible.
[Our blessed family!]
There have been a few changes to my role, seeing that I returned with Buve, our now 18-month-old baby! However, despite the changes, it seems as though I am busy as ever with ministry. Some things are harder to write of and explain than others, as we are here living our daily lives, and it gets difficult over time to write about what seems ordinary. I am reminded by strangers in the city, my friends and family, that how we live our lives here is not normal. It is not quantifiable by 'doing a job'. As we live our lives with our young son, we continue to play with all the children on the base (who love to play). We live life together.
[Buve with some of his buddies.]
[Lemon hunting is an excellent activity!]
Aside from this, my former role of hosting international visitors at the Iris visitor centre abruptly closed down when covid began. It may be some time yet before people start to travel again. I continue to ensure that the visitor centre building and facilities are maintained and well taken care of.
I've had time to reflect on the great impact that past visitors have had on so many lives, both on the base and within our local community. Visitors leave a love that lasts...
When I arrived home in September, the building and the land around the centre were desert-like. Many had given up on the idea and hope of visitors returning to Malawi, so our visitors centre became an isolated place for covid quarantines, and for the house parents to find a respite from the daily 24/7 grind. Since then it has come alive again thanks to a talented gardener and renewed excitement that people will soon start coming again. We are excited to receive visitors this month who will teach and share at the Iris Malawi Bible School.
[The visitor centre - April, 2022]
While it's never been a job duty, I have always favoured prayer and intercession for our community. Since returning to Malawi, we have started up an international prayer support group through WhatsApp. We share prayer requests quickly and efficiently, and as a missions team, are feeling immense love and care through the prayer that has come through this forum. We look forward to continuing to be faithful with sharing prayer requests.
While I have not returned to the position with the post-secondary student's role that I loved so dearly before leaving to give birth, I have come back to a component of the program that I enjoy very much. I have been asked to continue assisting our graduates in finding schools and programs where they can receive a quality education with the best chance of success at getting a job at the end of their education. We discuss and assess their aspirations and interests to understand where they fit in the best possible way. I would love to see all our students into the future with a way for them to be financially independent. My personal goal for our students is to see them thriving in their communities in the future, able to earn for themselves, and being admired for their good character. At the end of it all, to see our young people in a job that gives them independence and freedom to make their own choices about their lives is the fruit that I look forward to seeing. Removed from poverty, shown love and care to shift to a fully adjusted life as a healthy, successful part of society. Escaping poverty is the drive that keeps our young people moving forward. It's a shift that we can see in our older students, who now know who they are and what they want to be.
[A few of our students attending a university fair.]
[Buve is assisting one of our students in preparing a resume for job application purposes.]