Sharing God’s goodness and love
Story and photos by Gary Fallesen
Climbing For Christ
Michele Annibal makes a game-changing assist by delivering a basketball to Malawi.
The request was simple enough: the two preschool teachers at the Mothers & Babies Center in Msema, Malawi held up a basketball whose patches had patches. It was a wonder it held air. They asked for a new ball.
We had just heard this remarkable group of about 40 women report about all they were doing – from starting small businesses to help their families to outreach into villages to serve people devastated by HIV/AIDS in a country that ranks among the 10 poorest in the world. These women share one sewing machine, a love for their children, and a passion for Jesus.
The next day we surprised them with something else to share: a new basketball.
It was a small gesture of our appreciation for them. They responded by putting on a “netball” exhibition for us.
(Netball is a ball sport – similar to basketball – played by two teams of seven players. Each team attempts to score goals by passing a ball down the playing surface and shooting the ball through a goal ring. Players are assigned specific positions and their movement is restricted to certain areas of the court.)
“God is at work in Malawi and Mozambique,” Mission: Malawi team member Michele Annibal said on her way back to Philadelphia, PA, USA from southern Africa. “He revealed His goodness and love for this world that He created in a way I never felt before.”
Elaine, center in white T-shirt, teaching the Parable of the Lost Son.
Michele and Elaine Fallesen, on her second visit to Malawi, allowed God to pour out His love through them: for orphans who are sponsored by our Project 1:27, for a couple hundred other schoolchildren, and for the women in the Mothers & Babies program. All of this was done in partnership with Pastor Duncan Nyozani’s Searchlight Ministries.
Climbing For Christ has worked with Duncan, a C4C member in southern Malawi, since 2009. He is assisted financially by C4C, which also funded the building of Searchlight’s church in Milatu, Mozambique in 2013. Our team traveled across the border into Mozambique to visit that church for the first time, rejoicing along with a beaming Pastor Felix Namame and about 50 brothers and sisters in Christ.
Pastor Felix and his wife outside the new church in Milatu, Mozambique.
This was our third short-term mission to Malawi in five years. It was about renewing relationships and growing the ministry that God has for us in southern and East Africa.
I spent time with Damson Samson, a Searchlight worker who C4C put through college the past four years, preparing him to serve with Climbing For Christ as our missionary to this part of Africa. Damson will begin working in earnest for C4C this summer during Mission: Kilimanjaro 2014.
While I was busy preparing for our future work in Africa, Elaine and Michele were working on preparing Malawi’s future with Bible-based teaching. Elaine put together a program for the orphans and primary schoolchildren that focused on the Trinity.
Elaine, Michele, Damson and other teachers at Searchlight taught:
- About the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, using the “3-in-1” book (which draws a metaphor between an apple – with its core, flesh and peal – and the Trinity);
- About God’s redemptive power told through the craft-making of “Gospel bracelets”;
- About from the Parable of the Lost Son;
- About the Feeding of the 5,000 (using pieces of flatbread and the always-popular Swedish fish candy);
- The song “You Won’t Let Go” by Michael W. Smith, which we recorded to make a video for the trip.
“I thoroughly enjoyed loving my orphans and sharing Jesus with 150 schoolchildren,” Elaine said afterward. She felt God used her “to love our orphans by physically going to them. I believe God planted more seeds through our teaching.”
We know by GO-ing to be with the church – from the women at the Mothers & Babies Center in Msema to the kids at the Far & Wide Children’s Home and school in Kambona, Malawi to the body of believers in Milatu, Mozambique – we were used as instruments of encouragement. We serve as His hands, feet, heart and smile. We were blessed to see with our own eyes the love of God being received by many on Mission: Malawi.
Pastor Duncan is thankful to Climbing For Christ for “these wonderful teams trips to Africa – they are so encouraging. We are learning so many things in life.
“For me, it was fantastic for a team to visit the Mozambique church project that was funded by C4C. The orphans also really enjoyed the time.”
"You Won't Let Go," by Michael W. Smith, performed by the children at the Searchlight Ministries Orphanage. Video produced by Kelly Sullivan.
“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 8:38-39