A letter from Rochelle and Tyler Holm in Malawi
“And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me” Matthew 18:5.
We love living in Malawi because it is not just our work or our ministry but it is also our life here. One feature of Malawian living that has always impressed us is how people always care for those around them, especially the widows and the orphans and the clueless foreigners (that's us!). We may be becoming a bit more Malawian, but we have now been placed as foster parents for a little girl. Actually this has been long on our hearts—we were registered foster parents in Washington State before we left America and have talked with the Department of Social Welfare here in Malawi over the last several months. Currently we are still learning more as the days unfold, but we are very excited to provide a loving home for this child of God who is needing one right now. She is beautiful, growing (4 months old this week) and well loved. We are now in a time of cautious and quiet hopefulness during the Malawian Social Welfare process and praying for a likely adoption by us in the coming year.
Tyler’s work at the University of Livingstonia has continued to change quite a bit over the last few months. In fact, the ‘College’ of Theology is no more—we must now must get used to calling it the ‘Faculty' of Theology. More than just semantics, this is a sign of the growing integration with the larger University structure. We are very excited about all of these changes and the continued growth of the University. Classes started up again January 6. On March 1 the acting principal Rev. Mwakasungula took a post as the registrar for the Ekwendeni Campus, where the College, now Faculty, of Theology is located. Rev. Mwakasungula has been a great guide to Tyler’s understanding of the workings of the school. Rev. Mwakasungula has a great pastoral heart and connection with the students; in his new role we pray for his success. The incoming principal, Rev. Nkoma, has been with the University for a long time and is a very gifted administrator—a difficult role and one that will be of a great benefit to us in the days ahead.
Rochelle’s work has admittedly slowed down since December and the expansion of our family, and she is thankful for the immense support by colleagues. However, one of the exciting developments to share about at Mzuzu University is the addition of a master’s and Ph.D. program in Sanitation, which started in February. There are three master’s students and one Ph.D. student in the first cohort she co-mentors. One of the master’s students, Dan, is a Water and Sanitation Officer for the Church of Central African Presbyterian (CCAP) Synod of Livingstonia Development Department. Rochelle has worked with Dan on a number of projects, and Dan is continuing to work for CCAP while pursuing his master’s degree. This is one of many examples of the strong link between Mzuzu University and the CCAP. The Mzuzu University program is particularly exciting as the first of its kind in Malawi, and it now allows gaining an advanced degree without leaving Malawi. It is especially exciting to be a part of providing further education opportunities to help alleviate poverty through improving the water and sanitation situation in Malawi.
Our service with Presbyterian World Mission helps the church engage with World Mission's three critical global issues, poverty, evangelism, and reconciliation. Thank you for your prayers for this transitional time for our family, often not easy, as we seek the Lord's direction and affirmation as to what may be His plan for our now expanded family. We are learning to adapt to sleepless nights (was chocolate invented for parents with no sleep?) and a baby’s smile and coos that we can’t get enough of as first-time parents.
2014 is shaping up to be a year of joy and change for us, and we have been blessed with so much. Thank you for partnering with us to serve the people of Malawi, and we are grateful for you. There are many ways to partner with us in the coming year:
- Prayer support
- Engage with the mission ministry so that you learn what to pray for
- Consider visiting us and the Church in Malawi to see God's plan around the world
- Financial support for our call to service through Presbyterian World Mission
Sending blessing from the people of Malawi to you and your family,
The Holm Family
The 2014 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 143
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