We want to say good-bye well to 2016, and welcome in with JOY a new year, a fresh start, a reset! Welcome, 2017! Happy New Year!
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
A time to grieve and a time to dance. Ecc 3:4
Our 2016 was marked with the loss of several children, family members and dear friends. We lost a baby named Ruth, our Yamikani, who had been with us for so many years and at the end of March, we lost our darling girl, Evelini. Even now my heart aches over the loss of these precious children. In November, we lost another infant, Landirani. In addition to losing children, in July, while I was in Malawi, I lost my brother, David, and my mother-in-law, Jeri Roller (Circle of Hope's first donor). Circle of Hope also lost a valued and precious sponsor, Patty Kirkpatrick. It has been a year of grief. I'm ready for a fresh start.
In addition to the loss of friends and family, sketchy rains and a short growing season left many families without food for this year. While the Hunger Season doesn't end with the New Year, the planting season for 2017 does begin. Join me in praying God will multiply food in the cooking pots again at the Grace Center and that he will miraculously provide food for people suffering during this Hunger Season. Pray for a bountiful harvest in 2017.
A time to tear down and a time to build up. Ecc. 3:3b
One really good momentum that came from the loss was our partnering together to raise the funds to get our clinic open! Together we raised $31,000 to finish the registration, renovate the current clinic structure, build a house for the doctor and secure the first year's salary. Thank you to every one who donated! Here is a sneak peek at the doctor's house ready for the roof to go on. We continue to pursue the registration process with the Malawi Government, a long and tedious procedure. Our hope and prayer is to open the doors of our clinic in 2017, our clinical officer is ready to start work and we are eager to begin. (A clinical officer is a medical professional specifically trained to run a rural clinic. This man will be our first hire for the clinic.) Pray for the registration to go through and open doors for this ministry to get going!
A time to heal...a time to laugh...a time to dance...a time to speak. from Ecc.3
Worship and Unity
Our 2016 Summer Teams were perhaps the BEST teams we've ever had. It was as if everyone clicked well together and we experienced growth, unity, worship, fellowship and real ministry as we've never experienced it before! Definitely, one of the highlights of our 2016 year! Thank you to all our team members who traveled to Malawi in 2016. Our 2017 teams are coming together! They are super excited to get to Malawi and can't wait to see what God has in store for this new year! Join me in praying for our 2017 interns and team members as they prepare for ministry.
Coming into the Fall, we kicked off a new decade by celebrating together our 10th birthday! The COH birthday party was a wonderful time of praise and fellowship! Sponsors, team members, and donors drove miles and miles to be together to celebrate our children and the ministry that we've been given in Malawi. We made this video to look back over 10 years of ministry!
Victories and Challenges
One of the more difficult things we've faced this year was having Pastor Phiri suffering in terrible pain and unable to use his right arm. He started off the year visiting doctors in Malawi from North to South looking for a solution to the problem. It wasn't until October that we were finally able to get him here to the US and miraculously find just the right doctors and physical therapists to figure out the problem and work out a solution! He has been telling me on the phone for the past week that he is out working in the fields this year because he is a little short of money to hire enough workers for the fields. I (perhaps not too kindly) laugh with delight that he is strong and able to work...both arms working great, no pain! PRAISE GOD!
We've also faced the challenge of wind damage to the school. The roof was torn off by the wind. Thanks to your generosity, we were able to repair the roof quickly before the rains started and the children are back in the classroom, studying hard! PRAISE GOD!
Perhaps the greatest challenge was faced on our knees as Pastor Phiri met with forceful landowners who were demanding the payment for land which we are still in the process of raising. All our hearts were beating with concern as Pastor met the men and discussed the situation. Our prayers for unity and agreement were answered and the landowners have submitted to the request to wait for us to raise funds for the completion of the Grace Center. PRAISE GOD!
A time to love and a time to hate.
A time for war and a time for peace. Ecc. 3:8
Vision for the Future
We say goodbye to 2016 and welcome 2017 with our Vision for the Future! When we began the ministry of Circle of Hope, we started with 300 children in a small feeding program. Today, 1256 children and staff are engaged in our programs. We have seen the vision on the Father's heart for building the Grace Center to be an epicenter of healing for the nation of Malawi and the continent of Africa. We are still at the very smallest beginning of this vision, the birthing pains if you will, we've yet to make an impact outside of our local community, but we know that as the momentum grows, the reverberations of what is happening at the Grace Center will spread across the land.
2017 we are ready for you! We are ready for all that God has to bring in your days and months ahead. We are excited for the NEWNESS of the NEW YEAR; for the RESET of our smallness to greatness, loss to gain, grief to joy! Happy New Year!