Friday, June 15, 2012

Sharing a Meal and More!

It was a GLORIOUS day today!!!   The women's hut awoke to about 20 monkeys playing on the roof at 5:30am this morning!!!  They were crawling all over the deck and roof having a wonderful time and we enjoyed seeing them in their natural setting.  Pastor Jim brought his guitar and we had a time of worship with our team praising God as we overlooked beautiful Lake Malawi. We then headed over to the Orphan Village at Pothawira.  We could not have asked for a better day - 100 beautiful children welcomed us with songs and love, 50 of them singing to us as they returned from school in the back of Peter's pickup truck!  Peter led us on a comprehensive tour of the property, from the medical clinic to church and school, to the chilrens' homes and the dining hall - how great to see what God has been up to over the past year!  It was a great blessing for many of our team to see this vibrant village for the first time today.  The Mizzou for Malawi team got to see first hand the fruit of their labor as the toured the school. 

After our tour, we had the great blessing of sharing lunch with the children.  Debi Wolfe humbly served us all and we sat on mats in and amongst the children in the dining hall.  We had a delicious meal of beans and rice. Prior to sharing our meal together, the kids were so excited to see us, but were a little reticent to come and interact with us.  As Pastor Jim so eloquently put it in his sermon last Sunday, there is something about sharing a meal together that makes people open to the demonstration of the Gospel.  We saw with our eyes today the application of this as the children immediately warmed to us.  We started singing songs with them and then went outside to play all day long! 

We also ceremonially presented the blankets that our Colonial Children's program made and donated to the orphan village.  It was our GREAT pleasure to hand a personal blanket to each child, write their names on them as one of their first possessions, and see their smiles as they cuddled up with their new blankets.

We are now sorting shoes and getting ready for our big program tomorrow...once again demonstrating our love for "the least of these."

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Warm Heart of Africa!

It has now been 2 full days since we left the KC airport and we are now at the Safari Beach Lodge in Malawi, Africa!  We’ve been to Dallas, London, Kenya and Zambia on the way. As you can imagine, we are quite drained from our travel, but receiving a warm greeting from our friends, the Maseko Family, refreshed us! 
What a great trip we have had so far!!  We had a 10-hour layover in London and we managed to see some of the popular tourists spots before boarding our flight on Wednesday evening.  Thank you for all of your prayers related to our travel…we all arrived safely, our connections were on time, all baggage arrived and we met Pastor Peter and Emma and several of their children at the airport in Lilongwe. It was a sweet reunion!!  We did make another spectacle of ourselves at the airport with our nearly 30 pieces of luggage and then 17 of us loaded into 3 cars.  We stopped for our usual pizza lunch and made the 2 hour trek to the hotel.  Tomorrow we are off to see the children in the Pothawira Orphan Village tomorrow!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A New Chapter

Today we embark on the newest chapter of the Colonial GO Project at the Pothawira Village.  Eleven of us are traveling to Malawi for the grand opening of the village where 98 children currently live.  It should be an incredible time of celebrating God's goodness and faithfulness to the fatherless!  The team consists of Pastor Jim West, Randall Leonard, Scott and Lynn Platter, Cynthia Lewis, Meg and Lucas Leighton, Nicole Minardi, Celeste Ellis, and Chuck and Debi Wolfe.

You can also follow us on Facebook by "Liking" the Pothawira page.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

God is the Winner

It is 3:30 am and we just got back from the USA-England match. It was a great time. God showed up in so many ways. He provided transporation with a pastor we had met and another guy from LA. We ended up in the right parking lot and on a bus that took us toward the stadium (we bailed with about 6 blocks to go because traffic was stalled). Our seats were great and we found our way back to the parking lot (after a 10K walk-run and ride in the back of a truck). An hour later we were back on the road crawling toward Pretoria in a snake of bumper to bumper traffic.

Oh yeah. He gave us a pretty good match to watch with a 1-1 draw. Go USA and Go God!

Friday, June 11, 2010


Nate and I are back in South Africa. The country is going crazy for the World Cup which starts today. We went to a German high school with the Willoughby's to watch the opening match between South Africa and Mexico.

Tomorrow, Nate and I will travel to Rustenburg to watch the USA-England match. You can watch it on ESPN/ABC live. It should be an great experience! On Sunday we will go to church and hear Daniel preach in German. This will be quite the weekend.

PS - I was finally able to upload pictures so there are around 150 pictures in the slideshow!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Sunday Night Lights

Daniel Village is located only a few kilometers off the main road from Senga Bay to Salima but it seems like the middle of nowhere. We approached in the dark along a narrow, rutted, dirt road and pulled into an empty soccer field. When we stepped out of the vehicle, we were greeted by what appeared to be zillion stars, including the Milky Way which stretched from one end of the sky to the other.

None of us had ever experienced anything like it. Even the stars at Lake City, Colorado at 4 am on the men's hiking trip two years ago could not compare. It was simply stunning.

But the best was yet to come.

We quickly unloaded the gear and began setting up our make-shift theater. We drapped a sheet over the crossbar of the soccer goal and weighted it down with rocked secured with duct tape. We hooked up the generator, strung some lights, set up the projector and in a matter of minutes were ready for another showing of the Jesus film.

The worship team from Peter's church arrived and set up the keyboard and soon the prehistoric speakers were blasting out some scratch but beautiful worship tunes. The crowd gathered quickly and everyone was dancing and singing.

When it was time for the movie, we realized the audio was insufficient for the crowd size. But we didn't have any audio cables. One of the worship team members quickly took the speaker wires and stripped them bare and attempted to insert them in the projector. Nothing. Then he disappeared and returned five minutes later with some RGB plugs and tried those. Nothing. He left a third time (we are not sure where because there is no Radio Shack in Daniel Village) and returned with a headphone jack. He re-wired the jack and inserted it in the projector. Within seconds, Jesus was speaking Chichewa and the crowd erupted into thunderous applause!

It was beautiful!

We will never forget that evening. It was real missionary stuff. We were honored and humbled to be a part of it.

A Super Sunday Celebration

Live from Malawi - Mizzou for Malawi

More than anything, the experiences of today have left me speechless - and for those of you who know me, that doesn't happen very often. It is hard to put into the words the joy and love and fellowship I felt today. We began today by attending church at Pastor Peter Maseko's church, Salima Baptist Church. His congregation was there to welcome us and we worshiped together for two and a half hours. The service was inspirational to say the least. Although the words were in a different language, you could feel God's presence and the language barrier no longer mattered. Hallelujah and Amen are the same in Chichewa as English. What beautiful words to share in common.

After the service, we traveled to the Pothawira site. Peter invited the entire congregation and they willingly and joyfully packed into trucks to travel to the building. To share today with them was beyond meaningful.

We held a dedication for the school/church at Pothawira. Going into this, we were not exactly sure how we would approach it. All we knew is that we needed to dedicate it and pray over it. At times it is best to acknowledge how little we are in control and to hand it over to God.

Peter opened up by explaining the vision of the village to the crowd. For some, it was the first time they realized this would be a school and a church. After Peter spoke, he asked us to say a few words. I stepped forward and made it through about two sentences before I was emotionally overwhelmed and Kyle had to take over. I enjoy speaking in public and to be rendered speechless was incredibly humbling. The three of us then each read a verse. I read Jeremiah 29:11, Bree read 1 Corinthians 3:10-11 and Kyle read Hebrews 11:1. We felt that each of these verses held a special meaning for the school, the church, the children, and their collective futures. We wanted to remind them that God has a plan and will give them hope and a future.

Following the reading the verses, I led the group in prayer. All the adults stood in a circle holding hands around the main room in the building. The children then formed a smaller circle inside of the adult's. Peter and I stood in the center of the children's circle. Peter held my hand while I prayed and translated. I'm not sure if I have ever felt closer to God than while praying surrounded by such humble believers and holding the hand of a man so filled with the Holy Spirit. There is a peace and a confidence that comes from God through Peter that I know I could not have prayed without.

After our main prayer, we divided into groups and prayed over every room in the school/church. This time together included prayers from our team, from the congregation and beautiful songs. I remember standing in one room while the Malawians sang a song of which I did not know a single word. Tears were streaming down my face and the sun was beaming down on us. God was surely present.

Seeing children running through the rooms that will someday serve as classrooms made every single second of the past two years worth the wait. And to know that this building will provide hope for so many children and will enable them to succeed when others have doubted their purpose is an overwhelming thought.

My words cannot do today justice, but I hope you get a small taste of what we experienced.

Hallelujah and Amen,



Looking over Libby's words above, she speaks for all of us in expressing the unforgettable moments and blessings that took place this afternoon. I wish I could communicate the beauty of seeing a community come together in faith. During the church service, Pastor Maseko briefly explained that we are building a community but didn't go into much detail. It was not until everyone arrived at the location that he explained the vision that God was unfolding in the Pothawira village. That was the beauty of it -- at the point of invitation, these people only had heard that God was at the center of the work that was being done; they did not know of the opportunity that this community was bringing to their village. Thus, they blindly came to praise God for what He is doing in this special place. It was a beautiful unveiling, seeing that this indeed is the exact place where God wants this school to be. Both at church and on the cement floor of the roofless school construction, the community members sang and sang. I distinctly remember the thought crossing my mind, "Do you think their voices ever get tired?" But clearly, the joy and hope of their hearts would never cease their praise. I closed my eyes for a few moments, and without even knowing the words, I felt the presence of God. Emotion took over, and I knew this had to be the sounds of Heaven.

Although video cannot capture it in the same way, I look forward to sharing the clips from today with all at a later date. Please keep their hearts and needs in your thoughts and prayers.

Kyle Kilroy


"But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere." James 3:17

I am happy to follow Kyle and Libby's words about our experiences today, because they did a beautiful job describing what was really an indescribable morning. I'm not sure I would have known where to begin. We could not have asked for a more perfect or joyful celebration to commemorate the work that has already been done by so many for the Pothawira village. Many thanks are in order to Paster Peter Maseko and his wife, Emma, for their inspiring ability to bring people together in God's name.

Stepping onto the Pothawira property for the first time earlier this week brought tears to my eyes. As Libby said, the past two years were definitely worth the wait. Throughout this week, as our group has reflected on how far we've come, and how much more God has planned for the future of this place, every thought came right back to the children who will live here. Of course, for Kyle, Libby and me, our first thoughts are with the school and church facility that has forever given this project a special place in our hearts. As we prayed over the unfinished building during the ceremony this morning, we were excited to be able to provide hope for the children who will find a home here. "Pothawira" means "safe haven" in Chichewa, and that is exactly what this place will be.

As the students at Mizzou have known and worked for all along, this school, this chance for an education that would not otherwise be available, will give the children of Pothawira a stepping stone to better their lives. For many, this will be the first time they have had a textbook for themselves. The first time they have seen a science laboratory, or a computer. Who knows what future business leaders, pastors, doctors, or politicians will graduate from this school. We are excited to provide these students with worldly knowledge.

But this project is so much more. It is visible even in the design of the village; the church is placed at the heart of the school. Above all, we hope to provide these students with the opportunity to know Christ. As the girls mentioned earlier, God's presence was tangible during the ceremony this morning - through the prayers offered up in each classroom of the building, through the joyous songs whose meanings move your soul without having to know the words, and through the conversations conducted only through smiles. I can only hope everyone who enters this facility in the future experiences the joy we did today.

I cannot believe we only have one day left here in Malawi - one more day to travel to villages full of beautiful people living for Him, one more day to spend with Peter, Emma, and their precious daughter Alpha, and one more day for a baboon to steal someone's breakfast off the table right in front of them. Although I will be sad to leave, this trip has only solidified the fact that Malawi will always have a piece of my heart.

For Malawi,
Bree Dunn