Guest Blog: One Volunteer’s Story on Working at Mtendere Children’s Village- Erin Clemens

When I was in the 4th grade, my family took a trip to Togo, West Africa to visit some of our friends who were doing mission work there. During our stay we visited both village and international schools. Not long after the trip, I started telling myself I was going to be a teacher and I would move to a country in Africa. Fast forward many years and now I am employed as a teacher in south Nashville. I work at a school with a majority population of refugees and immigrants, and I love it! I get to spend my year teaching, loving, and empowering students from all over the world and then get to spend a few weeks out of my summer in Africa teaching, loving, and empowering students in Malawi while learning alongside their amazing teachers. It’s the best of both worlds.

What are 3 major things you have learnt from travelling abroad to work alongside another ministry?

Any time I am working with another ministry, I am learning new things. I have now been to Mtendere three times and each time the Lord has taught me more about these three things: joy, love, and community. These three are always revealed to me during time spent with the house mothers. A few memories in particular stick out to me where I learned more about joy, love and community. Hannah and I went to visit Mama Alice one day this summer. Mama Alice has a living room full of couches like all the other moms, but she has one special chair. This one chair appears to be very comfortable with a beautiful lace covering over it. Mama Alice watched Hannah walk toward the chair, sit down, and fall straight through to the ground. The entire room erupted in laughter. In fact, we were all laughing so hard we started crying. It turns out, Mama Alice has chosen not to fix that chair because she likes to see who will fall victim to it. She knows it will make everyone in the room laugh and it is the simplest and most hilarious way to bring joy to everyone who visits her. I learn so much about how to love better by spending time with Mama Ruth and her kids. This year, our team conducted home visits in typical education fashion and asked all the mamas what their hopes and dreams were for their kids. Sweet Mama Ruth explained how she hopes for her children to be good people. She told us about how she loves them well by praying for them. Each day they wake up and as a house pray over their days, and you can tell this group of children is especially close because of the way they know each other through the power of prayer. Prayer is such a simple thing for us to do and such a profound way to love each other. Finally, I have learned about the richness of living in community because of Mama Eunice. During my visit in 2017 Hannah and I went to visit Mama Eunice one night after dinner. Of course, she had another full meal for us and insisted we eat. Before we knew it the entire living room was full of people joining us for dinner. Mama Eunice explained to us later that most of the people in the room were not invited for dinner. Instead, they stumbled into a house full of people enjoying each other’s company and wanted to be part of it. We spent the night talking about books, families, goals, music, and everything under the moon. It was a great reminder of what we are created for. Nobody was checking their watches to see what time it was or thinking where they had to be next. Everyone was intentionally focused on the people in the room and nothing else. Often times when I am in America I find myself missing this time. It holds such sweet memories in my mind and serves as a concrete reminder that God intended for us to live in community so that we can share each other’s joy, burdens, love, and so much more. That is the amazing gift that Malawi and specifically Mtendere has given me. I have received joy, love, and community on a much deeper level and I am eternally blessed by that.

Have some of your perspective about education changed as you have worked with children in the education system here in the United States and in Malawi?

Absolutely they have and thank goodness for that! In August, I will begin my 3rd year of teaching and while I still have so much to learn I now have a more realistic perspective of education. Prior to beginning my career, I had an idea of teaching thinking that it would be a lot of sunshine and rainbow moments with tons of cute arts and crafts (thanks Pinterest). However, teaching is hard work-both in the United States and in Malawi. This year, our team started and ended our time working with the Mtendere teachers in a round table discussion. We chatted about our triumphs and celebrations as teachers and also our obstacles and struggles. The funny thing is, our answers were very similar even though we are teaching on different continents. We all struggle with having enough resources for our students and we all celebrate when a student finally understands a concept. However, the question each member at our table was able to answer quickest and with the most ease was, “tell about a student who has impacted your life.” Each one of us has a student that has made a lasting impact on our lives and our career. Many of the stories discussed were of amazing children who we will all remember for the rest of our lives. Therefore, I have come to realize that it doesn’t matter about the cute arts and crafts and it doesn’t matter about having intricate classroom décor, instead what matters is these children. I used to think I might have a great impact on every student who walked in my door. Instead, it is myself that has been impacted by these children (both in America and Malawi) and my life is much richer because of that.

What have you learnt about being part of a team?

I have learned that in the end, people matter most. This year, we talked a lot about how often times we get more caught up in making plans to complete things for our personal agendas and we forget about loving people. Working in a team forces you to be in community, it encourages you to be vulnerable, and it teaches you to love people who are different from you. I have learned that if we put aside our plans and focus on the people on our team and love them the outcome is far greater than any plan we could have created. Upon returning from Malawi, I was reading Everybody, Always by Bob Goff. In the book he says, “quit waiting for a plan; just go love everybody.” I love this quote especially in regards to being part of a team. Stop planning and start loving the people in front of you. 

What have you enjoyed the most about being a leader? What has been the most challenging part?

As a leader, it is really amazing to see everyone’s gifts and talents coming together for the greater good. I love being able to select members to join the team knowing what talents they can contribute and then to see it come into fruition on the trip. It is always a glimpse into the creativity of God and how he intricately and uniquely created each and every person. Another bonus to being the leader is being able to share about the wonder that is Mtendere all year with the team only to watch them instantaneously fall in love with the place that feels like home to me. The most challenging part, however, is the fact that by nature I am not a leader. I would much rather be a follower so I feel as if I lack many qualities of a leader and I am still learning how to navigate that as I co-lead this trip. However, I have now stepped into three leadership roles in different areas of my life so maybe God is trying to teach me something.

As an educator, what do you think are some of the most effective ways we can continue to advocate for vulnerable children’s education?

In regards to speaking to adults about advocating for vulnerable children’s education I think the greatest thing we can do is raise awareness-awareness for the great things that can become of a person when they are provided with a chance at education. When actually working with vulnerable children I believe the best thing you can do is empower them. Speak to them in a way that affirms in them the amazing things they can contribute to society. Do not speak to them in pity or sympathy because of their circumstances. That is crippling and the message can often be received as we believe they are not capable to amounting too much. Instead, we as educators and human beings need to lift them up in a way that makes them overlook their circumstances and believe in their future. Children in vulnerable circumstances are resilient and hard working. I have been privileged to know and work alongside many amazing adults who were once vulnerable children. They got where they are today because someone affirmed character traits they possess and empowered them to overcome their circumstances. We need to be better about believing in our youth and speaking up for them and speaking into their amazing possibilities.

Guest Blog: Q & A with Child Sponsor, Brennan Boucher

One day at lunch in the Lipscomb University cafeteria 3 years ago, my best friend approached me about the opportunity to go on a mission trip to Malawi, Africa through the Lipscomb Mission program. We had been on multiple mission trips together and if we were going to travel across the ocean, we wanted to do so with each other. At first, I had no idea where Malawi was or what this mission trip would look like. We were both in our junior year of school studying Education at Lipscomb and this was a trip primarily for future teachers. I love working with children and traveling, so I was immediately interested in this trip. After several weeks of researching Malawi and praying, I decided to apply. At this time, I had no idea the impact Malawi, specifically, Mtendere Children’s Village would have on my life.

Q: What inspired you to become a sponsor?

A: I have always been passionate about children. I grew up working in a pre-school and babysitting. Being around children, is where I feel completely whole and where I see God work the most. While in Jamaica several years earlier, I enjoyed getting to know the children and being able to return each year to see them. Whenever possible, I would send Hope for Haiti boxes through my church. For years, I have felt called to love and care for children around the globe. It was the beginning of my second week in Malawi and I had already fallen in love with the people and the culture. I was immediately drawn to the children of Mtendere and knew I wanted to have a connection with them for years to come. I asked about what being a sponsor would look like and began the search for a child who needed one. It was then that I came across a young boy in 4th grade who was needing sponsorship. He was the same age as the kids I worked with back home and he was in primary school where I was training to become a teacher. It was at that moment that I knew I needed to sponsor him and continue to be a part of the Mtendere community.

Q: What does child sponsorship mean to you?

A: Being a child sponsor means that you are vowing to pray for your child daily. It means that you get to be a part of this child’s life, even in such a small way. To me, being a child sponsor means being a way for that child to receive a great education through the school on campus, to ensure that child gets their 3 meals a day and medical attention, and to encourage them to continue being kind, respectful children. Being a child sponsor means making a commitment to love that child from across the ocean.

Q: What is your favorite thing about the volunteer work you do in Malawi?

A: I am extremely lucky to be able to return to Malawi year after year. I have been able to watch my child grow both academically and spiritually for the past 3 years. Each year that I go to Mtendere, I get to strengthen the relationships I have made both with my sponsor child, as well as, the other children in the village. My favorite thing about working in Malawi, is being able to experience academics in the Mtendere Primary School. I love working with and learning from the teachers at Mtendere. Through our partnership with Mtendere Primary, we share teaching strategies, stories, and ideas on how to be a more successful teacher. Both American and Malawian teachers grow in their professionalism during these two weeks. I also enjoy being able to teach in the classes and see my sponsor child grow as a student.

Q: How have you involved your family and friends in this experience?

A: My family and friends have been my biggest supporters. They encourage me to return to Malawi every year and they help make financial donations to get me there. Many of my friends go on this trip with me and together we learn and grow from the people of Mtendere. My family and friends know about my sponsor child and pray for him along with me. I also enjoy teaching my students in America about Malawi. They love to hear stories, watch videos, and see pictures of the classroom, children, and especially, the child I get to sponsor. This past year, students in America wrote to the students in Malawi. It was an amazing experience to learn more about my students, as well as, the students in Malawi.

Q: If you could share one thing with someone considering sponsoring a child, what would it be?

A: Take the leap of faith. You will not regret taking the chance to sponsor a child. They will change your life even from miles away. Being a part of my sponsor child’s life has been a great blessing. He has taught me about the love and the grace of our God. Your monthly donation goes to an incredible organization who cares deeply for these children. They are passionate about making sure all children are cared for. The children are grateful for you and they will make sure they show that to you through letters, pictures, and hugs. Being a child sponsor, is one of the best ways to connect with others around the globe and show the love of our Father,

Will you join us? For more information, please visit our child sponsorship page, or email sponsor@100XDevelopment.com.

Guest Blog: Residing in Clouds, by Rosalie Ruell

Picture taken by : Rosalie Ruell

Residing in Clouds

Roosters Crow
Presence Acknowledged
Fog Lifts
Sun Rising

Fires Kindle
Porridge Simmers
Inhale
Bell Calling

Song of Birds
Foreign Chatter
Native Tongue
Community Gathering

Peaceful Valley
White Blossoms
Thoughts Vacate
Morning Greeting

Spirits Soar
Green Leaves, New Life
Bird Glides
Prayers Rising

Light Fills
Roofs Peek Through
Reside in the Clouds
More Are Coming

Sweet Air
Fresh Breath
Earth Glows
Peace Confirming

Rock Foundation
Single Flower, Forging Through
Dreams Prevail
Lives Linking

Busy lives
Set Aside
Stop and Notice
Fresh Perspective
Heaven Reflecting


I’ve known for a very longtime that I see the world differently than most. While others are seeing the big picture, I’m scrutinizing the details, looking at every color, size, shape and balance; I’m listening to sounds, considering scents, feeling nuances and emotions. I’m just figuring it out, when others are packing up to leave.

As a designer, my gift comes in very handy while I work to create spaces that will bring visual and emotional pleasure. These skills also compliment my ability to teach, helping me to know and recognize talents and tribulations of my students.

Moreover, my trip to Mtendere Children’s Village came alive in my mind and my heart, in ways that one cannot appreciate unless one experiences it firsthand. The people are simple, beautiful and wise beyond their years. The sights, the sounds, and the smells all add to the joy of the journey.

One of my favorite destinations was mornings spent in The Hut above the village. As I sat, I looked out over the valley filled with people I had come to love and appreciate, I noticed how the clouds had settled and were lifting with the sun rise. It was a visual representation of Heaven for me; I had to capture it with photography and words, but truly can only be appreciated in person.

Rosalie Ruell, 4th Grade ELA Teacher,  Nashville, TN

Lipscomb Education Missions Team teachers and Mtendere Primary School teachers: Malawi 2018

 

Guest Blog: A Birthday

We are throwing it back this Thursday with a story from one of  our volunteer teachers who worked at Mtendere last summer. Our Guest blogger is McCarley Jane Thomas from Nashville Tennessee. McCarley works at Nolensville High School

Day 3: Our first day to work with the teachers. We had visited most of the classrooms and met the teachers briefly on the first day, but we had not had the chance to sit down and get to know them yet.

3 o’clock came around, and one by one the teachers made their way into the classroom. We spread ourselves amongst the teachers, and began a short icebreaker.

The premise of the icebreaker was simple. A list of questions were hung on the bored. Each person answered the questions about him or herself to their partner. The partner would then have the responsibility of presenting their new friend to the rest of the group.

I wound up sitting by a high school Math teacher named Douglas. Let me tell you some things I learned about Douglas. I learned he has been teaching for 15 years, his favorite food is chicken with rice, and he has two daughters. Douglas also told me that he teaches because of the connections the profession allows him to make with his students.

After a good amount of time, we started to come back together to share with the rest of the teachers in the room. Before we left, Douglas grabbed my hand and asked me when my birthday is. I smiled and said, “July, 9th. When is yours?” His is May 5th. I made a silly comment about Cinco De Mayo before realizing the people of Malawi have no idea what that means.

We came back together and shared about our partners before continuing with our first day of training.

Fast forward with me to our second to last day of training with the teachers. I found myself sitting at a table with Douglas. It was the first time we had been at a table together since that first day of training.

We were doing an exercise that required a leader for the table. We determined who the leader was by everyone sharing their birthdays, and whoever’s was closest got to be the leader. One by one we went around the table sharing our birthdays. I was last.

I opened my mouth, but before I could say anything I heard Douglas. “Mac. July 9th!” I looked at him with a similar look to the one I gave the boy with the corn cobs earlier in the trip. I smiled and said, “Douglas, you remembered.” He smiled back, “Of course I did, Mac! You are my friend.”

I was floored. It had been nearly ten days since we had talked about the small details of our lives, and he had specifically asked me about my birthday. But he remembered, and that meant more to me than he will ever know.

I learned two very important lessons from Douglas that day: the importance of being thoughtful and intentional and the incredible impact those two things can have on the people around you.

I miss my friend Douglas along with so many others from Malawi, and I think about them often. This week I celebrated my 22nd birthday. I can’t help but think that as Saturday, July 9th rolled around, somewhere in a home in Malawi a high school Math teacher smiled to himself as he remembered his new, tall, English teaching, American friend. I know one thing for sure: when May 5th comes back around, I will be doing the same thing.

God Bless,

McCarley

Guest Post: Malawi, Summer 2015

After the amazing summer we had in Malawi with the many volunteer teams that visited Mtendere Village, we have loved hearing about how the Lord has impacted the lives of those who served with our children. One of the groups that visited sent us some testimonies from their group about what it was like to serve and love our children through tutoring and facilitating Vacation Bible School. We’d like to share with you what these wonderful volunteers wrote about their experiences:

“Our team leader gave a speech to the children of Mtendere on our first day in Malawi. He said, ‘the people on this team loved you before they even met you.’ I remember thinking how true that statement was. When we finally saw these children for the first time, I was overwhelmed with love that I had felt for these children for months leading up to the trip. I traveled around the world to see them and to show them that love and give these children as much as my heart as possible in two weeks.

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My favorite place to be was in the middle of a group of kids. I loved being surrounded by so many precious hearts. It’s amazing to watch them reflect what God wants us to be like in our faith. They have joy – a joy that can’t be taken from them. Someone from the village said one day, “if you can’t be happy here, where else can you be happy?” They believe in limitless possibilities and they have the most fun learning about new things. Interacting with the children at Mtendere taught me so many things, but above all, they taught me how to love everyone.

One night our team leader led a devotional in the village on being a light for the rest of the world. He used glow sticks to illustrate this, and every child got one. We continued to worship in the dark after his words because it all took place during a power outage. As I looked around at all the glow sticks and listened to the children YELL their praises to God I found myself in tears. I was experiencing worship with abandon. I was in the middle of a group of people who didn’t care how they looked or sounded. Their focus was on praising their Lord and Savior. I feel like the people of Mtendere gave me so much more than I gave them. But I know that’s how the family of God works, we come together and we are encouraged by one another. I know I have done that for Mtendere, and Mtendere has definitely done that for me.”

– Maggie (first time in Malawi)

 

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“Tutoring the children at Mtendere village was the most extraordinary and special experience I have ever had. This summer was my first time in Malawi and I am incredibly honored to have Although it was not always easy teaching them about negative numbers, sentence structure, about the Bible lessons, it was a truly amazing experience to connect and work with them. I’ll never forget when we were about to leave Malawi and the three girls I had taught hugged me and said, “I will miss you AK.” It meant so much more than they could ever imagine. I know the numerous hours of tutoring each day was not easy for them, but I could tell that they really appreciated us being there and that is an indescribable feeling. It’s been two months since I’ve been back in America, but not a day goes by where I don’t think about the many life and God lessons that I learned from the children at Mtendere village.”

– Alysa (first time in Malawi)

 

“Growing up I would have never thought that I would travel even down my own street to tutor young children, let alone to the opposite side of the world. So, when I was called to go on my first trip a year ago I felt inadequate and unsure even about teaching English and math. But there’s something different about Malawi and the children in Mtendere village which make it easy somehow. The young children I worked with have hearts like no other and a longing to learn more each day. While it is cliche to say ‘you will learn more from them then they will from you,’ I don’t believe that statement could be anymore true. While we can teach them simple addition or how to write an outline for an English paper; they teach us about true joy and how to love with your whole heart. As time passes there, it’s easy to grow tired from waking up early and staying up late every day working on academics. But when you see the joy in a child’s eye who finally understands something he or she’s been struggling with it makes it all worth while. That’s a feeling that you simply can’t compare to any other. This alone is reason enough to draw me to a place so far from where I’ve always called home. I’ve made that long journey two years in a row now, and I can honestly say that I pray every day for my family in Malawi and for God to reunite me with the children I love teaching so much.”

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– Nicole (second time in Malawi)

Natalie’s Story

Natalie“In my country, girls like me disappear into the sex trade and their story ends very differently.  I know Stella’s Voice and 100X saved my life.”

I grew up in the largest orphanage in Moldova.  When I was four, my mom became blind in an accident.  My grandmother looked after me for a while, but it was hard because she didn’t have a job.  When I was seven, she put me in the orphanage.  

Being in the orphanage was not fun.  I had no one.  No one ever told me that I was loved.  I had no hope, and wanted to give up on life.

At 16, we “graduate” and are kicked out of the orphanage.  When I turned 16, I would cry myself to sleep.  The orphanage wasn’t great, but it was all I had.  I was told about the risk of human trafficking, but without a place to go, I didn’t know how to avoid this risk.  I didn’t know who to ask for help.

A few days before I was put out, I was told about Stella’s House. I didn’t believe something like this existed for me—an orphan.  I couldn’t believe that I would be able to continue my studies and be a normal kid.  Stella’s House and 100X taught me about Christ by showing that they care for kids like me—they gave me a future when I didn’t have any hope and the family I’ve always wanted!  In my country, girls like me disappear into the sex trade and their story ends very differently.  I know Stella’s Voice and 100X saved my life.

You can help us reach more at-risk girls like Natalie.  Find out more.

*100X has partnered with Stella’s Voice in Moldova since 2006.

An American Nursing Student in Malawi

Katie Sanderson, recently shared about her perspective on the recent Auburn University trip to Malawi, now, we’re excited to share a student’s thoughts! 

Clinical mornings in Malawi were made up of something different each day—we never knew what to expect when we tumbled out of our bus.  The one thing we could always count on was to be greeted with smiling faces, our Kamuzu College of Nursing (KCN) partner and friends, and things we have never seen or experienced before.

Over the span of four days in clinical, there were never less than a few hundred patients waiting when we arrived on site—all eagerly waiting to receive vaccinations, treatment for sickness, and family planning assistance.  During those four days going all around Lilongwe to different villages and communities, I was exposed to more than I have ever seen.

In our clinics, we offered vaccinations for healthy babies, a clinic for children under the age of five who were sick, and family planning for women.  My favorite station to be assigned to was the under five clinic.  Mothers would come and sit with their child in their lap, and my KCN partner and I would work as a team to evaluate our patient.  She would translate for me and we would work together to arrive at a diagnosis and plan of care.

As an American nursing student, having this much autonomy was exciting and terrifying, but it was very clear at the end of each day that we had made a difference in the lives of hundreds of God’s children in Malawi.  It was very humbling to be the Lord’s hands and feet in this situation—being able to give infants and expectant mothers important vaccines to protect against tetanus and other diseases.

Our trip did not only consist of outer clinical sites, however. We were blessed to be welcomed into the homes of Mtendere Village and get to know the children and the house moms.  Momma Ruth and Momma Naomi took me in as their own child and each night we all met together with the children in their houses to have devotionals and sing together.

Being able to travel across the world and find such strong faith in a country that seems to have close to nothing was something that changed my heart and encouraged my faith in a way that I will never forget. This trip was a huge life-changing opportunity that I feel so blessed to have been a part of.

Ruthie Schaefer is a nursing student at Auburn University.

LEVERAGE: Beauty of Life

As I sit here back at home, all I can think about are my adventures back in Malawi. How truly blessed I am to not only have gone once, but twice. Traveling to Malawi has allowed me to discover the beauty of life. It reminds me that I am not complete without these beautiful people who live half way across the globe. There is nothing like sitting on the porch of the guesthouse, overlooking Mtendere Village, and just spending time with all the wonderful kids. Even the amazing photos I have of the kids do not do them justice. Their beauty is something I have experienced first hand and it is these moments that will stay with me through the rest of my life.

While at Mtendere I had the opportunity to do some tutoring, help out in the preschool, and help out anywhere else it was needed. There were always opportunities to help out. Working in the preschool room was such a joy! I am amazed by how much the preschoolers know! It brought me great joy to watch Lovemore, the preschool teacher, share in his students’ successes. As a first grade teacher, having the opportunity to work with these children one on one is amazing. I had the chance to tutor a lot of the students in standard one, which is comparable to first grade. I have never seen such passion and excitement to learn. When we provided manipulatives and hands on learning materials the students’ eyes lit up. I love seeing such excitement to learn. The students are so resourceful and I know they will continue to work hard on their studies.


Traveling to Malawi has changed me forever. It has shown me to truly care for issues that are bigger than myself. In life, I think everyone has a special issue close to their heart, and I have found mine; those kids who have been left alone in this world. Mtendere Village is a place for some of these children and if you spend even a day there you can see how much love can do for a child. As my professor, Dr. Tony Kline said, “It’s amazing what a year of love can do.” This quote has stuck with me since this trip and I realize how truly profound love can be.  During my trip I witnessed this first hand.  A beautiful, 10 day old girl, named Winnie was given a chance at life in Mtendere Village. She was brought home, and immediately surrounded by family. It was a miracle, a chance for a child to grow up in a world where she is cared for. While there, I also got the chance to meet and spend time with the girl I sponsor, Eneles. At the beginning she was very shy and timid, but as time went on she opened up to us. I cannot even begin to describe her true beauty and joy. She has this smile and laugh that are just contagious. I am so proud of her and can’t wait to watch her grow as a person.

The world is a beautiful place, full of works of art. Throughout my entire trip, I experienced these first hand. Mtendere Village is a piece of this. There is nothing like walking the kids to school on the dusty African paths. Watching kids study and work so hard. Teaching the kids new things. Staring off at the mountains in horizon. Swinging at night and gazing at the stars. Laughing and being a kid. Hugging kids every single day.  Singing and praising God, who has given us this wonderful life. Seeing the smiling faces of kids who have gotten a second chance at life. This is my life, my chance at getting to know the world and some of the magnificent people that fill it. I can’t wait to go back again.

Maura Sawicki graduated from Ball State University in 2011 and is in her second year teaching 1st grade.

LEVERAGE: The Warm Heart of Africa

The Warm Heart of Africa

by Blair Brendle 

The “Warm Heart of Africa” is this country’s nickname

The beauty in the faces has given it its fame

A place of peace, jokes, and constant smiles

A place of strength, endurance, and perseverance for the miles

But most importantly to me, this country holds a special place

A village full of children that could have easily been erased

Because though this country is beautiful, it is struggling all the same

Not enough food, too much disease, poor education, a cyclic game

But this one special village is trying to make a break

To the cycle of helplessness, loss, hunger, disease, and mistake

This village has a dream to empower and equip

The next generation to get out from under injustice’s grip

This dream is big and lofty, of course this much is true

But one day at a time, they’re doing all that they can do

Within this village resides almost 200 of its nation’s best

Whose pasts are full of darkness, but whose futures can be blessed

This village’s name means peace; in Chichewa it’s called Mtendere

But it’s more than just tranquility or resting for the weary

It’s a place where within the peace, true restoration occurs

Where what was, is replaced with what can be; where true redemption stirs

Where acceptance, adoption, and forgiveness are part of each day

Where The Truth and The Life are ever exposing The Way

It’s a tiny little village in stark contrast to a great big earth

But to all who step foot on it, it grants a chance for new birth

It’s a slice of kingdom on this side of glory

And I’m so thankful that for three weeks I got to be a part of its story

Blair spent three weeks at our orphan care program in Malawi this summer.  She drafted this poem shortly after her return.  We are always very excited to see people leveraging their talents for good!  

IMPACT: From Dasa

We received the following letter from Dasa, and wanted to shared how your support has impacted this young girl’s life.  It is YOUR support allows us to reach children with stories similar to Dasa, so we believe this letter is for you as well.  Thank you for your partnership!

Dear 100X Development Team,

My name is Feodosia Rosca but everyone calls me Dasa Cameron.  When I was born, my father rejected me for not being a boy, and at two years of age, my mom abandoned me too.  I stayed in my uncle’s house for a few years, where his wife started each day by telling me that I was a mistake.  She would tell me that I was going to grow up and became “nothing” like my mom.

After a few years, my uncle sent me to the largest orphanage in Moldova, a place with 850 children—my “home” for the next seven years.  I hated the world.  I hated myself.  All I knew at that moment was that I wasn’t wanted, accepted or loved.

Being an orphan is not easy no matter where you are in the world, we all feel the same, we all have the same questions inside our hearts, we all share the same fears, and we all shared tears for years and years.  We have no hope.  When kids think of themselves as nothing, they never dare to dream.

In my country, when you turn 16 you have to leave the orphanage and manage in life on your own. Most of the kids never make it.  Life is so rough on us that most give up even before they start.  When you go into the world, everyone sees you as a thief, liar…you are the worst there can possibly be.

When my time came to leave the orphanage, I thought my life would end.  I had nowhere to go, but I am thankful to Jesus that he had a plan.  Through 100X’s partnership with Stella’s House, I was given a place to live.  I learned that Jesus is real, that he loves me like no one else, and that has a great plan for my life.  Most of all, I learned that I was not a mistake.  God doesn’t make mistakes.

I want to say thank you to 100X for giving me the opportunity and honor to study in America.  It means a lot that you believe in me—that you don’t look at me as an orphan.

I never dreamt when I was an orphan, but since I have Jesus in my heart, He has allowed me to dream…and dream big.  He took me from an orphanage school desk to a university in America.

100X, you are amazing.  You give kids like me hope; you take us in your arms and don’t let us go until you are sure we can fly on our own.  I want to say thank you for being His example on earth.

–Dasa Cameron

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