Friday, August 19, 2011

Malawi Update Vol. 4

August, 2011
Dear Family and Friends,
Brian and I celebrated our 11th Anniversary last week (though it was on the 15th of July). We had dinner out (a nice treat) and a long conversation about the Lord and how He mercifully works on us, usually in ways we don’t expect, definitely ways we would not choose. As usual, though, He knows better than to let us choose. He loves us too much. He loves us too much not to give us the experiences that will grow us in Him. I will be honest, this year has not been hard in the ways I expected. I expected to make more material sacrifices. While there have been some, in mild ways here, I think God knew these were areas where I would grit my teeth, bear it and even possibly feel more holy for going without. Instead I have not been allowed to feel holy at all and have been tested in areas most dear, most significantly, my family and my time. As I struggle with these changes I would not have sought, I begin to see their value. I have seen sin in my life that I might not have otherwise. It’s amazing to me that God can use and sharpen tools at the same time. But maybe it’s not so strange--both scrape away parts of the tool. If I sound a bit scraped up, don’t feel sorry for me. (I’m sure I have done enough of that for myself and will again). Right before we left for Africa our dear friend Nicholas Ireland, who spent several years as a missionary teacher in Romania related something his team leader there told him. This is not a direct quote, but it was something like, “God doesn’t take you to a mission field to ‘enrich’ your life. It is His mission to break you, so He can re-make you.” It is my belief that we all have mission fields as Christians. I know that everyone God calls he makes new, and therefore more useful. So, rejoice with me that God is continuing a good work in me. He can do that anywhere, but He’s chosen to do it here for now. Thank you so much for your prayers for us this year. I cannot tell you what a comfort the knowledge of them has been. 
We also celebrated the first anniversary of our coming to Africa. We are thankful to be here, though we have not stopped missing you badly (and will not). We are about to start another school year. It will be different. Brian will continue to be headmaster and will still teach one class. I am going to be teaching 7th, 8th, and 9th  Grade Math. I am excited about this change, but also apprehensive. It will be another busy year. Gwen and Samuel will both be going to school. Please pray for us. Pray too, for other new and returning teachers and students. 
Since our last update, we have had our first--and we trust not our last  (hint, hint)--visitor to Malawi. Brian's mom was here for the month of June. So many things to give praise for about this time. Mom had no trouble at all coming or going. (On the way back she got to travel as far as Washington D.C. with Dan Trumble fellow ABC missionary and financial controller at the College). We got to take her to Lake Malawi and for a one day/night safari to Liwonde National Park in the Southern Region of Malawi.  This was a lot of fun and we still need to post some pictures from that time. It was so nice to get to share life here with someone from home. Mom was around for the last weeks of school and saw us "in action" before things lightened up a bit for the long holiday. (Long holiday is a compromise because I always want to call it Summer Break when it is really Winter Break here. It just sounds too strange to say Winter Break in July and August!)  Mom had lots of Gwen and Samuel time, and she also got to relax and watch them play with their friends. We have been acutely missing home as of late. So, it was nice to have a little bit of home here in Africa. Shortly after mom arrived, so did the first container. I believe this was earlier than it has ever come before. Along with getting Academy supplies that were inventoried and distributed for the coming school year, Gwen and Samuel also got their bikes. This was a blessing too because they have had the whole break to ride them. If there are any reading this that have even the briefest knowledge of my time growing up BMX bike racing, you will know how it thrills my heart to see both of my children riding around on their bikes!  We also were able to open the boxes that my mom, dad, and brother sent us while my mom was here.
During the Long Holiday, there are mission teams that come and stay on ABC's campus to do work here and with other missions in and around Lilongwe. (Since there are always a number of ABC folks that are gone for the "Summer," so things can feel a bit like a ghost town without the College and Academy in session.) One of those teams was from Washington State and they conducted a VBS here on campus and one in the village across the street. Gwen and Samuel really enjoyed the lessons and singing. Two of the girls, Jordan and Gabby, Gwen connected with and cried when they left. Probably the  biggest event to take place on campus was the Evangelism Explosion training that went on for two weeks in July. I am not certain, but I believe there were over a hundred delegates in attendance. While most of the participants were from Malawi, there were over 10 other African countries represented! Many of these worshipped at IBF with us and they greatly enhanced the singing and “amening” during the sermon. 
Another item to give praise for is our new/used gas "cooker" or stove. Brian's mom took up a collection for us to get a new stove because of the decrepit status of our current one. Also, with a gas one, we can still cook when the power goes out, which is happening more frequently. A brand new one would have been very expensive and still relatively poor quality. We found a Bosch stove  on Lilongwe Chat, which is the Malawian version of Craig's List. We were so thankful! Just a reminder of the goodness and provision of God even in the little details of life. 
Brian took some time off in July, but due to the fuel situation we just stayed here in Lilongwe. We are homebodies so that did not bother us much:). 
Well, school starts on Monday. I have been working on bulletin boards and lesson plans. All around preparations are being made-- desks being painted, things being repaired, families coming in to see which teachers their children have, buying uniforms-- there is so much that goes into the start of a school year. Please pray for us to be ready. Brian's been the part-time financial person over the break, which has taken a lot of time. Pray for him as he is teaching on the book of John in his Bible class with older students as well as his work as Headmaster. Please pray for me as I make the jump back to middle school (a bit higher than I have been before). Pray for all of us to have a good year, and also especially for new teachers. 
Brian's administrative assistant, Khambile Msonthi (shown here with Brian--both in “traditional” dress--on International Day), leaves to study in the States for a year at RTS in Jackson, MS. Pray for her safety as she leaves Thursday as well as for her to have a very productive time of study. The arrangements for her replacement have fallen through at the last minute. Pray for us to get someone quickly that will capably fill her position! (Update at posting, position filled today!!!)
Also, Malawi needs prayer. There is still some unrest. Pray for peace, for cool heads so that there can be dialogue, for people to do what they know is right (even in large groups), for wisdom for leaders to lead in a Godly manner. The demonstrations set for August 17 were cancelled because of dialogue being held. We know that God has answered the prayers of so many of His people both here in Malawi and around the world. What a blessing! Thank you for praying.
Love and Thankfulness,
Brian, Scharlie, Gwen, and Samuel

Join with us in giving thanks!                         Please pray for
-Academy has all postions filled                        -Spiritual growth of our family
-Safe travels and visit with Brian’s mom        -Continued peace in times of 
-Good times togehter as a family                       political and economic uncertainty
-Good health                                                          -Gospel work in and around Malawi
-Continued prayer and financial support       -Helathy balance of work and family
-Wonderful staff                                                    -Continued good health
                                                                                  -Soft hearts for new and returning students

Financial Support may be sent to:
African Bible Colleges OR Online at:
P. O. Box 103
Clinton, MS 39060
Please put Carlisles in memo of check

Thursday, August 4, 2011

One Year in Malawi

One year; 12 months; 365 days; 8,760 hours; 525,600 minutes-- Okay, you get the point, we've been here a while. We've not travelled more than 250 miles from our doorstep since we arrived. In our next news letter (yes there will be one, thanks for your patience), there will be more on how we are thinking about our time here, one year into it. But for now, a few pictures of our trip to Lake Malawi, which is the only beach our children have ever seen. Brian re-claimed a day off from a vacation day that he had to work. We asked people at school about places to stay that were not too far and were cheap. A co-worker shared this winner, so we spent one night. It was a great opportunity to spend some time as a family-- play, climb, splash, talk, collect shells, and just be together. We took food and kept things really simple. When we first drove in it looked kind of sketchy, but the cottage where we were was fine, old, but clean. And the beach--well, have a look!