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December 2008

Planting Malawi Isaiah 61.3
an update from the VanWoerdens in Malawi

Planting [rain brings transformation to Malawi]

When it rains, it pours! We’re is a huge problem. A lot of it is times the rain takes a holiday,
not sure that clouds can pour the result of excessive tilling as our guard puts it, but usu-
out water any faster. It’s just and mounding that leaves the ally it returns quickly and with-
amazing how much rain comes soil exposed. Presumably Ma- out warning so it’s a mad dash
down. But the rain is a wel- lawians plant their maize on for the clothes lines. But mud
come change. Coming from ridges to protect their crops and laundry aside, the green-
Chilliwack, three months with- from heavy rain and water ness and coolness are well
out any rain just didn’t seem logging (no one seems to worth it.
right. The cooler weather is a really know) but mud doesn’t
relief and Malawi has been tend to stay ridged for long. The rains may have been late
transformed into a beautifully We’re actually experimenting this year, but they have
lush green landscape. Every- with a method of conservation brought about instant transfor-
one has planted their maize farming in part of
and ridges of fresh green our own garden
sprouts line the country. Vari- to reduce erosion
ous flowers have emerged in and increase pro-
more stories & photos on waste places. Out of nowhere, duction. There is toads, super sized snails, and actually quite an
(more than 200 photos so far!) even crabs have appeared. amazing God
Our lawn was reduced to hard story here but
packed dirt in places, more we’ll write about
like pavement than productive that later.
Andre & Alexandra VanWoerden mation. We pray that God
soil, but now it is soft and new
Private Bag 12 Zomba Malawi Mud + kids playing in mud = will bless Malawi with good (Andre) grass is sprouting – amazing. (Alex)
more dirty laundry. Wet laun- rains this year – enough rain But there is mud everywhere dry + heavy rain = wet laun- throughout the growing season and it’s really difficult to dry dry. Our laundry comes on to produce a plentiful harvest
laundry! Ditches and gutters and off the line several times for Malawians but not too
overflow and the roads are a day between showers in much rain to cause flooding.
covered with mud. Soil erosion hopes that it will dry. Some- No hunger and no disaster.

Christmas [Christ brings transformation to the world]

Emmanuel International Canada
Decorated Christmas trees Christmas spirit that we’ve weather. But then again,
PO Box 4050 and houses, carols on the ra- associated with Christmas in what’s the last time you’ve
Stouffville ON L4A 8B6 dio, Santa Claus in every Canada here in Malawi. It seen a manger scene in snow
905.640.2111 shopping mall, snow... It’s hard feels more like Christmas in (other than in your neighbour’s
to believe it’s almost Christ- July – out of place without all front yard)?
mas. There is very little of the the fanfare and such warm continued on next page
Planting Malaw i | D ecember 2008

Christmas [Christ brings transformation to the world] “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
Malawi probably more closely resembles light, his hands and feet, and to see him because the Lord has anointed me to
the setting of Jesus’ birth. Jesus was the transform Malawi. Jesus wants every Ma- preach good news to the poor.
ultimate gift to a tremendously poverty lawian to be able to grow enough food to He has sent me to bind up the
stricken world. With a humble birth in a feed his family, to draw water that does- brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for
mere manger, Jesus was the light in the n’t make her children sick, and to experi- the captives and release from darkness
darkness. Jesus came to earth to trans- ence the generosity of Christ-followers
for the prisoners,
form the world – to reconcile all things on sharing all things.
earth so that he might usher us into His to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
Kingdom (Colossians 1.13-20). “Look, I “He stoops to look down on heaven and and the day of vengeance of our God,
am making everything new” (Revelation on earth. He lifts the poor from the dust
to comfort all who mourn, and provide for
21.5). This is what Jesus is doing all and the needy from the garbage dump.
those who grieve in Zion—
around us. We have the privilege of see- He sets them among princes, even the
princes of his own people! He gives the to bestow on them a crown of beauty
ing Jesus light up the world – not just a
childless woman a family, making her a instead of ashes, the oil of gladness
Christmas tree, but like a Christmas tree
happy mother. Praise the LORD!” instead of mourning, and a garment of
lights up a gloomy winter day, Jesus
(Psalm 113.6-9) praise instead of a spirit of despair.
transforms Canada, Malawi, the world.
Malawi and all it’s physical poverty They will be called oaks of righteousness,
Transformation. That is the Good News
needs Jesus just as much as Canada and A PLANTING OF THE LORD for the
of Jesus Christ, the good news we cele-
all it’s material wealth needs Jesus, but he brate during Christmas. May all Jesus is, display of his splendor.”
has called us here to share in his ministry and all he gives, bless you this Christmas Isaiah 61.1-3
of reconciliation (John 17.18) – to be his and always.

Namasalima [“now we can snore all night”]

“Now we can snore all longings or even essential about being flooded out of
night,” one of the villagers food items before fleeing to their beds. However, that does
said as the dike was nearly higher ground. That’s what not mean that we’re not moni-
finished. As Murphy ’s Law happened last rainy season. toring the dike to make sure
would have it, if it’s going to But as of December 2nd the it’s holding back the water
flood, it will flood at night villages in Namasalima are with all the rain we’ve been
without any warning – people protected again by the dike having. The project was com-
have no time to pack any be- and don’t have to worry pleted not a day too soon. On
the day of completion, various
government officials and the
press were present to commis-
sion the dike and distribute a
50kg bag of maize to each of
the 600 participants who
helped rebuild the dike.
Last month we wrote
about the challenges this
project faced, but with
everyone working to-
gether, the job got done,
and in just in time.
Planting Malaw i | D ecember 2008

Prayer Requests Financial Update

Anastanzia, our housemaid, left for her home village a week early. We have very little exposure to world news here but we’re
She is from Chitipa, in the very north of Malawi. Last week she got feeling the effects of the economic crisis. The exchange rate
news that her father had to be admitted to the hospital, which has significantly impacted international funding of EI’s
around here usually means it’s really bad. projects. Some of our projects are faced with having to
He has cancer. All week she was visibly reduce activities or having to cut projects short. These are
distressed and didn’t eat. We had already not options we like to consider because in the end it means
planned to help her pay for transportation that people in the village will not have food security or safe
so she could visit her family over Christmas drinking water or protection from disasters. So part of
so we decided to let her go up a week Andre’s job is find donors to meet the funding shortfall. Our
early. Her two sons (ages 8 and 5) also personal support is also affected by the exchange rate. We
live with her parents. She hasn’t been have “lost” the equivalent of almost $400/month in our
allowed to have them because she doesn’t living allowance alone. When we were raising support for
have a husband. We have given her extra our mission to Malawi, we thought our budget was way too
money for bus fares for her boys in hopes generous. Why do we need so much money to live in Africa?
that she can persuade her father to allow her to take her sons with We’ve discovered that our budget is really quite tight,
her. Please pray for her father’s health, a good visit with her especially since gas is $2.30/litre and a box of Cheerios is
family, and that she’ll be able to take her boys home with her. $32 (so we don’t eat those – no wonder locals eat nsima for
every meal!). But we’re surviving and learning to budget in
This is our first Christmas away from family and friends as well as our new economic environment. We just can’t be as generous
all the familiar Christmas traditions. We will be spending some time in assisting people with needs that around us every day.
at a tea plantation with other Canadian missionary friends to Please pray that our projects will be able to continue with
celebrate the New Year together. funding and that the exchange rate will not continue to fall.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

From our family to yours, we wish you a very merry Christmas and a blessed new year.
May you witness and experience the transformation of Christ in you and in the world around you.

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