Posts tagged #Malawi

What Our Nurses Have To Say About Grace Clinic, Malawi and Our Kids!

Last May, 4 nurses received scholarships from One Nurse at a Time for their trips to Malawi. Thank you so much, ONAAT! We are so thankful for your help and encouragement for our nurses and our children.

Hannah Yoder, Liesel Ratliff and Lindsey Draper work together in the clinic to care for a child.

Hannah Yoder, Liesel Ratliff and Lindsey Draper work together in the clinic to care for a child.

Karly Glibert, Liesel Ratliff, Linsey Draper and Sylvana Paternite, all RNs, traveled to Malawi in May 2018 to do well-check ups on the children. They each experienced Malawi and Grace Clinic in different ways. They’ve shared their stories through the blog of One Nurse at a Time, an organization that helps send nurses around the world to serve. I wanted you to hear their stories!

First, hear from our Board Member, Karly Glibert. Karly has dedicated her time and energy to get the clinic up and running. She was in Malawi in May, September, and she’s going again in January to get everything set up for the Malawi Medical Council Inspection. We could never have moved forward so quickly without her dedication and love for our Malawian children, and the country of Malawi.

From a medical perspective, we saw approximately 675 people.  We most commonly saw malaria, asthma, pneumonia, otitis media, dermatologic conditions, tinea capitis, and wounds.  For the first time, we had an optometrist and a dentist travel with us. We were pleasantly surprised to find that many of the children did not need glasses or dental extractions. While our men would have loved to be constantly busy with work, we are thankful for the population that these services that are very rare and expensive in rural Malawi are not as desperately needed as we had assumed.  One man commented that even though many did not need these “luxurious services,” we provided the community with dignity just by providing the opportunity to be assessed.  This stuck out to me as one of the many intangibles that we as healthcare workers can provide through our care—dignity.  And everyone deserves that. READ MORE…

Click on the link or picture to read Karly’s story on the One Nurse at a Time blog.

Click on the link or picture to read Karly’s story on the One Nurse at a Time blog.

Next hear from Liesel Ratliff. This was Liesel’s first trip to Malawi.

I was a little unsure of how helpful I would be as I tried to provide medical care in a completely different context than the state-of-the-art pediatric hospital I work at here in Chicago. But, my 6 years of experience as a nurse definitely prepared me well for what we saw in the 675 children we treated. Doing a head to toe assessment on an American child and a Malawian child are vastly similar. The young children are skeptical of a stethoscope and penlight. So, I would have them play with the equipment before I used it on them. READ MORE…

Lindsey Draper has sponsored children through Circle of Hope for several years, May 2018 was her first time to go to Malawi.

On May 12, I began my travels to Malawi – after a couple long plane and bus rides, we arrived at our final destination on May 13. Despite my preparations for this trip, we encountered things we never imagined. READ MORE…

Finally, hear from Sylvana Paternite, this was Sylvana’s 5th trip to Malawi. She has given countless days and weeks to the people of Malawi because of her great love for Jesus and for Malawians!

Something else that was really encouraging to us, was that we felt that the overall health of all the kids was significantly better than last year! This means our kids are taking our education to heart, and we are seeing the benefits of that! We also have been encouraged that the Medical Malawian team we have there, have been teaching in the villages! The goal is to always equip the people to care for their own people! READ MORE…

Even grown ups need a doctor or a nurse! Sylvana gives Pastor Lungah a check-up!

Even grown ups need a doctor or a nurse! Sylvana gives Pastor Lungah a check-up!

We are counting down the days, the supplies, the buildings, the renovations, the staff…everything needed to register Grace Clinic! There is a still a LONG way to go, but if you haven’t checked out the registry or the thermometer, today might be a good time to take a look at how things are going and what we still need to open the clinic!

Click on this link for the Clinic Registry:

Click on this link to check out the Thermometer and make a donation! Make your gift COUNT today!

Posted on November 20, 2018 and filed under Going, Sponsor.

Love as a verb; A Valentines Day challenge

By: Kaitlyn Miller

Red and hearts everywhere I looked: Converation hearts. Chocolates. Flowers. Teddy bears. Cards. Gift baskets. Heart emblazoned everything. Endless baked goods.

I walked into a store on February 1 and was inundated with the things I could buy in the name of love. In our culture, we celebrate love by showering others in possessions and quick, passing ‘I love you’s. It is not necessarily a negative thing but sometimes we mistake this for genuine, Biblical love.

Malawi captured my heart for many reasons but the overwhelming sense of love is what kept me coming back and my heart engaged and needing more. I expected to find a broken country simply waiting to be helped and instead I found a country running towards love.

They had very little but they loved so very much. I saw neighbors giving all they had to help a starving family. I saw real conversations at church not just surface level exchanges. I saw a ministry housing, loving and educating children who wouldn’t have access otherwise. I SAW ACTION.

“Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.”

1 John 3:18

I want to challenge you to make love a verb this Valentines Day. Find something or someone that God is leading you to love with ACTIONS and TRUTH.

At Circle of Hope, we are excited about a new year filled with ways to put love in motion. We were extremely blessed with your partnerships to provide through #FeedMalawi and we are using those donations to take action against the starvation in Malawi through school meals and assistance to families.  We are geared up for a wonderful summer of service as our 2016 teams come to Malawi to be the hands and feet of Jesus. We are focusing on education and excited to improve the future of this country we love by empowering the children. We are continuing to provide loving homes to our children in Timothy’s and Patricia’s Homes.

We are committed to being an action-driven organization; want to join us? Love with us this Valentines by sponsoring a child, praying for our vision and projects, or speaking about Circle of Hope so someone else has the opportunity.

Questions about how to join us in action? Ask! We love to hear from our community members and partner with you on this journey to show love to the people of Malawi!


Posted on February 13, 2016 .

Speak up! Talking With Purpose

By: Kaitlyn Miller

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves;

ensure justice for those being crushed.

Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless,

and see that they get justice

Proverbs 31:8-9

As a woman, I often look to Proverbs 31 for direction but after leaving Malawi I got direction I did not expect; to speak up. I had an amazing time in Malawi but left with a broken heart wanting to do more but not knowing how to do that from another continent. As I was praying on the way back I found this verse.

Goodbyes are hard. I left a portion of my heart in Malawi but God has shown me how to take action and be whole even while I am across the world. 

Goodbyes are hard. I left a portion of my heart in Malawi but God has shown me how to take action and be whole even while I am across the world. 

Right now, Malawi is facing a time of great need and hunger. Floods followed by drought have devastated the crops and the people. The U.N. estimates that 2.8 people in Malawi will be without food this season. We may be on another continent but there is something we can actively DO.

Circle of Hope has decided to take a BOLD step of faith and start serving all the children in our schools hot breakfast AND lunch during this time of hunger and need. We need your voice and your partnership to make that work. We are looking for advocates willing to answer God’s call to speak up.

We often think of advocating as something only some of us are called to do. I have heard, “That is just not my gift” and, “Someone else will say it better” too many times to count. But, I challenge you to read those words at the top again. It does not say some speak up. In this passage we are given clear, inclusive direction: speak up.

How do I advocate you ask? Let’s brainstorm together. The beautiful thing about calls to action like this, I believe, is that God has equipped us to take this action already. He has given us unique talents, passions, and opportunities to answer this call.

Karen Roller speaking at a church about our children. Email her and get information for your presentation!

Karen Roller speaking at a church about our children. Email her and get information for your presentation!

Here are several ways to start your journey as the voice of those in need:

       ·      Share information:

Simply sharing the Facebook posts, newsletters, and basic information about Circle of Hope and our plan to address the need is step one. There are many people who are willing and able to step out with on this journey but they have to know we are going on it first.

·      Give a presentation:

Are you a member of a small group at your church? A civic organization or club? Have a group of friends you think would be interested? Share with them! We have presentations ready for you and would be happy to help you gather the needed materials and take that leap of faith to talk to others. Email us at karen@cohcommunity.org to get more information on presentations and materials to use when speaking.

·      Host a dinner:

If your gift is being the life of the party then there is a role for you in advocating! Consider hosting a dinner and inviting those you want to hear about the school lunch program in Malawi. Encourage others to come with the money they would spend on going out to dinner and instead donating that to feed lunch to children in need.

·      Take a child to lunch:

We have figured out that it takes $0.50 to take a child to lunch at the Grace Center. How fun would it be to have an adorable lunch date with one of our sweet kids? You can contact us at karen@cohcommunity.org to get a “lunch kit”. We encourage you to set up a table at work, school, church, etc. and give your friends a chance to see their sweet faces and take one of our children to lunch for the day.

·      Pray:

Speaking on behalf of the children does not stop with talking to the people around you. God tells us the prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. (James 5:16) It is time we rise up as prayer warriors on behalf of those we care about! Click the link below to see scripture prayers we are praying over ours kids and download your copy. You can even host a prayer meeting and have others write out prayers for the children and the food shortage.

 

There are a million ways to make your voice heard on behalf of others but none will be effective if the first step is not taken. Now is the time! Do you have a specific talent you want to utilize and include Circle of Hope? Let us know! We love to embrace creativity and continue relationships with those around us!

Do you have a sponsor child? Choose a child and start your journey! 

Posted on October 14, 2015 and filed under Engage.

The Path To Relationship

By: Kaitlyn Miller

Lives matter. Relationships matter.

The first time I went to Malawi I was eager to get to work. I saw so many needs and felt I could find ways to ‘fix it’.  Thankfully; I was surrounded by loving Malawians who wanted me to understand their way of life and culture. They set me on the path to relationship.

I went to Malawi to face a problem I was very passionate about, food insecurity. I desperately wanted (and still do) to see food available to all the world and people with knowledge and resources to never go hungry. I wanted to go full-steam ahead with my research to help as best I could and as fast as I could. I am so thankful they embraced my passion but taught me a new way to harness it. You see there are no faceless problems in this world. Each direction we are called to serve has a face behind it. Jesus called us to love first and foremost and my Malawian friends gently taught me what that looks like, relationship.

A priority of Malawian culture is to value those around you. Step one of EVERY conversation is a greeting. People ask each other how they are, but it is far from the American ‘Hey, how are you?’ with a quick smile and no pause for response. Malawians genuinely tell each other how they are and then take action.  I once witnessed a lady respond, “Oh, I am not well; my shoulder hurts,” and the woman who had asked how she was immediately stopped and prayed with her. What intentional living and loving!

Our Heavenly Father is very intentional with us. He sent his Son into the world so that we could be restored to real relationship with him. We were not left as orphans just as our children in Malawi are not left alone to face their trials.

Finally, we want to grow in relationship with you just as our Malawian friends have taught us to do. Don’t let your passion go unharnessed; tell us your strengths and get plugged in! We want you to know our kids, staff, and other supporters along with their stories so that you can become a part of the conversation. We want you to join us in praying for our friends, projects, joys, and needs. Do you have prayer needs? We want to pray with you for the things on your heart. Join our email list, sign up as a sponsor, or send us a question when you have one. Join in the conversation on Facebook and Instagram. Let’s take engagement to the next step! We value you as member of the Circle of Hope family; let’s grow together!

Posted on September 12, 2015 and filed under Engage.

Dear My Sponsor...I love you, too!

Sponsor Letter CHALLENGE! Take a picture of your letter when it arrives in the mail. Post it to your favorite social media using #cohcommunity!

Sponsor Letter CHALLENGE! Take a picture of your letter when it arrives in the mail. Post it to your favorite social media using #cohcommunity!

One of the most exciting parts of sponsoring is getting a letter from your child. At first the letters are scribbles, but each year as they grow older, the letters become more complex and fun. Then the day arrives when you receive a letter with legible writing! 

Have you ever wondered how we gather all that information on your sponsor child? Here's a little picture tour of how the process goes.

First, we interview your child!

  • What do you like to play?
  • What do you like to study in school?
  • What do you want to be when you grow up?

Then we take a picture for you! SMILE!

While the children wait to see the doctor, they write their letters to you.

Our doctors and nurses check every child over carefully. Check-ups sometimes bring tears, but we want our kids to be healthy!

After all the info is gathered, the check-ups are done, and the letters are written, we bring all the cards and letters back here to our US office. We enter the info in the database, translate the letters and send them to you!

When your letter arrives in the mail, don't forget to post a selfie with it to your favorite social media using #cohcommunity! 

You haven't started sponsoring yet? Now is the perfect time to begin! Here are a bunch of children who still need sponsors:


Patricia's Home Girls Say YES to Jesus!

Written by: Kayla Stine 

Sydney with girls from Patricia's Home

Sydney with girls from Patricia's Home

Prior to going to Malawi, myself and two other team members had prepared to lead a Bible study with the girls at Patricia’s Home.  We had prayed about this and were excited for the opportunity to share our faith with these girls we love so dearly.  Once we got to Malawi it felt like obstacle after obstacle was preventing us from getting started.  Whether it was other projects getting in the way, not having a translator, and so on, it just kept getting pushed back.  

But one beautiful Thursday afternoon, we were finally able to start our Bible study.  

The Bible study began with the 13 Patricia’s Home girls, 4 of us American girls, and Clara, our Malawian translator sitting in a circle on the floor in one of the preschool classrooms.  It was quite hot in the room with very little breeze, and there was a lot of noise from the Grace Center flooding the room. Some of the younger ones were trying to come in, laughing hysterically knowing they were interrupting.  I moved so I could sit in front of the door to help keep some of the distractions out, but inside I was becoming worried that this wasn’t going to go as planned. 

Kayla with Gladys from Patricia's Home

Kayla with Gladys from Patricia's Home

The girls began by singing Malawian praise and worship songs.  It was so beautiful; I didn’t want it to end.  When they were finished singing, we opened up our time together by asking if any of the girls had a favorite Bible story or verse they wanted to share with us.  Right off the bat one of the girls, Gladys, told us one of her favorite verses.  She then asked us to explain another verse to her, a verse that led us right into the gospel message.  We taught the girls about the good news of the gospel and of Jesus’ love for them.  We taught them that Jesus died on the cross to pay the price for their sins. And we taught them that if they confess with their mouth and believe in their heart that God raised Him from the dead, they will be saved. 

These girls live in a Christian orphanage.  They have heard the gospel message before and I assumed many of them already had a personal relationship with Christ.  So at the end of our first Bible study I asked if anyone who had not yet accepted Christ into her life wanted to receive him today. I did not expect every single girl to raise her hand.  We even had Clara ask a second time to make sure it was translated right.  Every single girl made the decision to accept Christ.  And there was no hesitation.  They raised their hands in unison, there was no looking around to see who else was raising their hand, each girl made that decision on her own. 

We were blown away.

We then prayed with the girls and they all together accepted Christ into their lives.  There were tears, hugs, laughter, and celebration.  Trying to put it into words will never do it justice, but knowing 13 girls get to have a personal relationship with Jesus AND get to spend eternity with Him is such a miracle.  

Mickenzie with some of the girls from Patricia's Home

Mickenzie with some of the girls from Patricia's Home

While praying with each of the girls the presence of the Holy Spirit was so evident in the room. I could personally see the genuine desire and hunger on each of the girls’ faces. They wanted to know Christ personally.
— Mickenzie Brownlow

In the days following their decision, we noticed a change in the girls.  They were seeking Him, they were asking questions, they were reading their Bibles… they showed a true desire to know Him more.  Their attitudes and the way they treated one another was different. One of the girls, Karolini, confessed the next day that she had stolen a pencil at school the day before. After giving her heart to Jesus, she was convicted of her sin and returned the pencil to her classmate.

Other team members continued the Bible studies with the girls after I left and I am so thankful there were team members willing to pour into these girl’s lives like that.  I am so excited to see how God is going to use these girls to bring Him glory.  Having the opportunity to pray with 13 girls whom I love deeply as they made the decision to accept Christ was hands down the best part of my summer. 

As we followed up with them the next day they were already sharing of testimonies and breakthroughs that they had experienced within the last 24 hours. They wanted to change and become all that God has created them to be, and it all happened with 13 hungry hearts and souls, seeking love that can only be fulfilled through Christ.
— Mickenzie Brownlow

From the Farm to the Table

The theme of World Health day (April 7th) this year is Food Safety. Food Safety is insuring that food is safe from the farm to the table. 

Food is one of the biggest challenges in Africa. Getting food safely from the farm to the table is one part of this challenge, but even more challenging at this time is getting food on the farm! 90% of Malawians are completely dependent on the food they can raise on their own farms.

Inconsistent rains are one of the greatest factors in food shortage. Even though Lake Malawi is one of the largest fresh water lakes in the world, only 3% of farms in Malawi use any type of irrigation. 

This summer our teams will be working with local farmers and through our Primary school to set up greenhouses and increase vegetable production at the Grace Center and on our two irrigated farms. We realize that we cannot feed the whole country, but we can encourage food diversity and food security through our agriculture programs. We will also be extending our goat herds into the village this summer. Three local families will be selected to receive a goat herd from the Grace Center. These families will be trained by our partners from Texas Tech Meat Science. The families will be expected to repay the goats over the next two years so that more families will benefit in the future.

Here is the story of Malawi's staple food

From the Farm to the Table!

Grace Center fields are prepared immediately after harvest in preparation for the next growing season. The dry stalks from the corn are spread over the ground to prevent the escape of moisture, weed growth and to provide mulch for the next growing season.

Grace Center fields are prepared immediately after harvest in preparation for the next growing season. The dry stalks from the corn are spread over the ground to prevent the escape of moisture, weed growth and to provide mulch for the next growing season.

Dark green stalks of corn thrive in the hot sunshine with good rains. This corn is tasseling nicely with heavy long ears.

Dark green stalks of corn thrive in the hot sunshine with good rains. This corn is tasseling nicely with heavy long ears.

Storage bins are built for drying the harvest. This farmer has harvested a bountiful crop of corn and peanuts. This picture was taken a few years ago when the harvest was plentiful. The 2015 harvest has not done so well.

Storage bins are built for drying the harvest. This farmer has harvested a bountiful crop of corn and peanuts. This picture was taken a few years ago when the harvest was plentiful. The 2015 harvest has not done so well.

A mother pulls the husk off the corn before shelling it.

A mother pulls the husk off the corn before shelling it.

Shelled corn ready to go to the mill.

Shelled corn ready to go to the mill.

This mother sifts the dust out of the corn. Every kernel is gathered from the ground and carefully sorted.

This mother sifts the dust out of the corn. Every kernel is gathered from the ground and carefully sorted.

This grandmother uses a mortar and pestle to grind her corn. No easy task. 

This grandmother uses a mortar and pestle to grind her corn. No easy task. 

If the family can afford it, they take their corn to the maize mill for grinding. This is the mill at the Grace Center, one of our sustainability projects.

If the family can afford it, they take their corn to the maize mill for grinding. This is the mill at the Grace Center, one of our sustainability projects.

Ground corn is then cooked into a heavy paste called Nsima. Most Malawians name Nsima as their favorite food.

Ground corn is then cooked into a heavy paste called Nsima. Most Malawians name Nsima as their favorite food.

A tasty pot of porridge bubbles for the children's breakfast at Grace Preschool.

A tasty pot of porridge bubbles for the children's breakfast at Grace Preschool.

Plates of porridge cooling for the children.

Plates of porridge cooling for the children.

Yum!

Yum!


Posted on April 9, 2015 and filed under Food.

Meet our New Board Members

Tad and Karly Glibert on their wedding day!

Tad and Karly Glibert on their wedding day!

We are very happy to introduce our two new members on the Circle of Hope Board of Directors. At our board meeting on Monday, March 23rd, we elected Kaitlyn Miller and Karly Glibert to our Board of Directors. Karly and Kaitlyn bring many gifts to the table, however here are our top five reasons for choosing these incredible young women to join us in leading Circle of Hope!

1. Youth: Young people today think differently than past generations, we welcome a fresh voice to our board discussions! 

2. Communication: Both Karly and Kaitly are capable speakers and can share from their personal experiences in Malawi.

Markus and Kaitlyn Miller on their wedding day!

Markus and Kaitlyn Miller on their wedding day!

3. Training: Kaitlyn's strengths are in animal husbandry and nutrition, two very important areas for our programs. Karly is an RN and will be promoting our health education programs and assisting our Community Health Evangelists.

4. Perseverance: Both these young leaders have the tenacity to stick with a project and see it through, not matter how difficult the circumstances. 

5. Present and Future Leadership: More than any of the above, we have felt the importance of leaning into the next generation to prepare leadership for the future by helping them lead now.

One more fun fact about these two amazing ladies. They were both married on July 12, 2013!

Karly and Kaitlyn, welcome to the Circle of Hope International Board of Directors! We are glad you have joined our leadership team! 

I think I fell in love with Malawi the moment I arrived. I remember the overpowering urge to breakdown and weep as I stepped out of the van. My love grew deeper and stronger as I got to know the beautiful people of Malawi, and even more so as I had to leave them and return to America.
— Karly
Malawi captured my heart. I was looking to teach animal husbandry and food safety and hopefully read scripture in the villages and so much more happened; I was blessed by the joyful, selfless passion of my Malawian friends and my life is forever changed.
— Kaitlyn

Posted on March 25, 2015 and filed under Circle of Hope Board.

Make It Happen!

As we approach International Women's Day (March 8th) people around the world are celebrating the lives of women. In Malawi, though gender barriers have been overcome to an extent, there is still an incredible amount of gender inequality across the nation. I celebrate the fact that in previous years Malawi saw its first female president… but I mourn the fact that so many girls are still dropping out of school because they are forced to get married, forced to be house servants, or forced to work in the fields.

It is in the moments when I am overwhelmed by the lack of hope for a Malawian woman that I am encouraged by the International Women’s Day theme for the year “Make It Happen.” Because the life of a Malawian woman should not be hopeless! They should not be bound to the gender specific role of caring for a household. A Malawian girl should have the opportunity to stay in school, attend secondary school, and college! So how do we “Make it Happen?” How do we encourage and empower the women of Malawi to stand up for their rights and desire something greater?

The women of the Grace Alliance church are taking the first steps to create change this week. In celebration of Martyr’s Day (March 3rd) in Malawi it is common for church groups to collect money and spend time volunteering at hospitals and prisons. In previous years the women of the Grace Alliance Church have just sat back and followed the lead of the local Presbyterian group. This week however, the Grace Alliance woman are gathering together, and making it happen within their own group. Friday the women from all 30 churches will be gathering together. They have prepared skits, dramas, and songs to perform to share about Christ. The women have made plans to take up an offering and raise money to be used as they go and minister to people within their community. This is how a woman can “Make it Happen!” To recognize a problem and then follow through with planning and action steps to make it better.

This month as we focus on women in Malawi we will be sharing different pieces of what it means to be a Malawian woman. What do they go through? What does their day look like? What is holding them into these gender specific roles? We will also be sharing stories of women, our women, who are a part of the Grace Alliance Church and that work at the Grace Center, stories of women who are “Making it Happen” within their own lives. 

- Jackie Weavill