Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Check out this new video about out trip to Malawi!

Short Term Trip: Malawi - Supporters' video [Newsong Irvine | 09.27.2010] from Newsong Church on Vimeo.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


I knew that working in the hospital would be difficult, but there was no way to prepare for what I would experience: illness, death, pain, sorrow, smells, lack of resources.

The illnesses most common in the children were pneumonia, malaria and measles. We treated our patients with minimal interventions: medications, IV therapy, blood transfusions and oxygen.
Really what mattered most to the patients was to be seen and heard and loved.

I witnessed organized chaos on a daily basis, and didn’t always feel particularly useful. But I know that sometimes even just a smile would brighten a child’s day. Or a mother would appreciate when I would stop and talk to her and her baby, just to see how they were doing. Even in the midst of pain and suffering, I still felt love and joy from the families in the hospital.

There is still so much to process, and I know God will continue to teach me through this experience. I know forever in my heart I will remember the people and the hospital and be reminded of the things that break God’s heart and the immense love He has for His people.


Jeff has done a fantastic job describing my experience meeting our sponsor child Yoweli.

Here how I describe Yoweli:





full of life.

I will never be the same having met him and experienced his joy and warmth.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Still Not Totally Back

Yes indeed we're back (sort of) and two weeks into "normal" life already! It's definitely strange not to be looking forward to Malawi as I was for so long. And I feel different. It's like I'm hovering over my life and just observing. It's not that things don't feel real, it's more that they seem to hit me less hard, from a distance (through a tunnel?). It's almost like I'm still half-way in Malawi imagining what the day would be like there.

In any event, I feel more at peace. I saw a lot of sad things, I saw a lot of happy things. I got to farm and hang out with kids! I got to make new friends and reflect on life and God. I saw elepants, warthogs, hippos and crocodiles. I got to sing songs in Chichewa with the locals (I tried!). And I was blessed to have the unforgettable experience of meeting my WorldVision sponsor children (worldvision.org if you are interested) - the highlight of my trip.

I'm still in the process of digesting everything. In the meantime, here are my answers to some questions curious minds have asked me:

1) It was actually really nice weather for most of the trip since it's winter in Malawi right now. It did get very cold (for my SoCal bones) toward the end of the trip.
2) We ate well. Too well actually. I was counting on losing 5 lbs! And no, I did not try "mice on a stick" (though I do appreciate that it's a salty snack).
3) Malawi gained its independence from the UK in 1964 and is now a multiparty democracy. Yes, the US does have an embassy there.
4) The bathroom situation where we stayed was just fine (like Girl Scouot camp). The bathroom situation "out and about" was fine too, as long as you don't mind nature (I don't) or a hole in the ground (good enough).
5) Yes, I did get sick. Not too sick though and it only lasted 24 hours. Many of us got sick, but we're fine now!
6) Yes, I would go back. I can definitely see why people fall in LOVE with Malawi. The vitality of the place is so enticing!

That's it for now. Thanks for reading!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Yoweli in Malwai

One of the neatest things about going to Malawi, Africa, is that many people got to meet their World Vision sponsor children! In fact, usually the entire village will come out singing, dancing and celebrating together. Also, part of the funds go to improve the village collectively through education, spiritual training, health programs and more. For all involved this is truly a profound moment and a highlight of the trip. This was especially true for Robyn Baran.

One of Robyn’s children is a 5 year old boy named Yoweli who Robyn has been sponsoring for a year and a half. Robyn met Yoweli and his little brother Fanuel and learned more about their situation. Yoweli’s father left his mother for another woman awhile back. Since divorce doesn’t really exist in Malawi, people just marry multiple wives and abandon their first ones. Not only that but Robyn learned that Yoweli’s mother is not very present in Yoweli’s life. She had gone to town five days before and had yet to return for reasons unknown. This leaves his grandparents to do most of the raising. They are the ones who receive Robyn’s letters and who she got to meet.

In addition, Robyn and Yoweli both exchanged gifts. She gave him some stainless steel bowls, a water bottle, school supplies and pencils. He gave her a live chicken and straw mat made by the family which is an incredibly generous gift. Robyn also gave Yoweli perhaps one of the most coveted items among Malawian children, a REAL soccer ball. Yoweli, to say the least, was a very happy kid that day.

So much so that after an hour and a half, when it was time for Robyn to leave, he refused to let go of her. Robyn hugged him again and tried to leave yet he refused to let go a second time as well. Robyn, who was almost moved to tears, finally gave him one more big squeeze and pried him off of her.
Climbing into the truck she waved again and as they drove away she watched Yoweli run after them, waving good bye in the dust. It is a moment she will treasure forever.

Meeting a sponsor child is a powerful thing. It takes those who seem so far away and distant and makes them real. Now when Robyn prays for Yoweli or writes to him, he is no longer just a picture on her refrigerator door but an actual little boy who she has met and held and who values her love and support. In the end visiting a sponsor child isn’t about going to someplace exotic or giving them gifts. It’s about meeting a new family member and that is something worth far more then $35 dollars a month.

-Jeff Jordan

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


So one of the things that I participated in while in Malawi was something called "Farming God's way." I learned alot about this farming method while I was in Malawi, and spent about four days supporting the amazing people who have already been teaching this to the people of Malawi for years. They do an amazing job of demonstrating this method, as well as tying in how we need to rely on God for our spiritual food as well as physical food. There are alot of resources online where you can learn about this in depth (http://www.farming-gods-way.org/FGW.htm), but I will attempt to give a brief overview.

This was taken from the site I listed above:

"Farming God’s Way has a proven track record of 28 years & was initially designed by Brian Oldreive of Zimbabwe, on the commercial farm Hinton Estate (3,500ha). The farm was ultimately the second largest commercial farm in Zimbabwe. The technology was thereafter made available to surrounding predominantly subsistence farmers, & many success stories abound where farmers have adhered to standards, & lives across the continent have been drastically improved with results of radically improved yields, provision, profitability & restoration of farmers self worth."

The main staple crop grown in Malawi is corn, or "Maize." Most people who farm are sustenance farmers, which means they farm purely to be able to eat and feed their families. This really shows the importance of agriculture, and any way to be able to grow more food and prevent starvation is huge. The goal is to show people a better way to farm, prove that it works, and hope that they will break away from the traditional way of farming and take a risk with something new. Sometimes this can be hard, especially when you are used to something that you know will produce some food, even if its not enough. Risking your food source on something totally foreign to you can be a challenge. This is why there is usually a sample garden planted on a small plot of land owned by a local church. People can see for themselves how this way of farming works without having to take any risks. The goal from there is to have people try it on a small part of their own land, and eventually on their whole property once they see its benefits.

Four principles:
-Do everything on time (According to the optimal season and rainfall)
-Do everything to a high standard (Measuring out the field and planting stations)
-Don't waste anything (leave dead plants on the ground instead of burning them)
-Do your work with joy (God gave us farming as a blessing, not a curse. Adam was told to work the garden of Eden and take care of it, this happened before the fall.)

When you look at the forests and the places where there is no need to work or tend the plants you can see that the dead plants have fallen to the ground, sometimes covering it. There is no one there to clean up, yet the plants grow just fine. Apparently having this dead plant layer helps protect against soil erosion, and gives nutrients back to the ground.

The traditional way of farming requires:

-Tilling the ground and making ridges, which is very labor intensive.
-Gathering and burning the old plants

Farming God's way has been shown to require much less labor, making it more time efficient. It also has been proven to grow healthier, larger quantities of plants. Thanks to Cathey, Mcnell, Wonderful, and the rest of the FTS guys, you are amazing.
Here are a few pictures of what I was involved in:

Monday, August 23, 2010

We are back!

So after 17 intense days (4 of those being travel) we are finally back! This experience has been amazing and challenging at the same time. After being back it almost feels like a dream or another completely different life. I have been trying to process everything that I experienced and figure out what the next step is. I will post more in the near future about what specifically we did as a team, what we saw, as well as pictures and video. Its good to be back, and I want to thank all of my supporters for contributing toward me and the team I went with. Thank you for all of your prayer and funding support, I am excited to share about what God has been doing in Malawi.