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Sunday, July 15, 2018

Malawi August 2018: Days 2 & 3 by Sophia Pelling

Day 2: Today we built two wells in two different villages. In one village we played corn hole and netball with the women. Then we shared bible stories and made embroidery crafts. The women liked to talk about Jesus and they knew a lot about Him. We shared our testimonies and they shared some of theirs. We all encouraged each other. Anna and Diana shared the gospel at the Jesus Film. We are all tired but enjoyed talking to the people.

Day 3: Today we built 2 more wells in 2 separate villages. In one village, we played corn hole with the women and made a sewing project. Although the gospel bracelets were originally meant for the kids, we had so many left over that we decided to make them with the women as well. They loved them! The women made bracelets for themselves, their husbands, and the chiefs. At the well ceremony one woman explained the beads and the gospel story. Both villages were exceptionally friendly and loving.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Malawi August 2018: "Mark 16:15" by Diana Curry

Leslie, David, John & Javier working on the water pump. 
Wonderful and Javier greeting the village.
"He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creation. "

Today was a living example of doing just that. I am so blessed to be here and part of this wonderful team. Today we started with a great devotion from Wonderful from Luke 24. Then we ate breakfast and headed out to today's village where we were greeted with so much joy and enthusiasm. The women danced and sung and the Chief formally welcomed us. The day was filled with many activities from children's games, to women's ministry. The women enjoyed playing games, sitting and sewing while enjoying swapping stories and testimonies and sharing the love of Christ. And of course the well, which when completed brought the sustaining water of life to this village, Oh the singing and rejoicing was beautiful to witness and be apart of. Our very own Javier brought a wonderful teaching paralleling how Jesus brings life. We finished our time with a delicious traditional African meal of nshima, rice, chicken, and mustard greens offered by the chief. As we left the village the children ran along side our can with a thousand goodbyes. Then we headed to another village and showed the "Jesus" film which we set up in a field. So many people gathered, an the there was such a great response when Team member, Jennifer, shared so beautifully from her heart and Wonderful lead the crowd in prayer. What a glorious day!

We bumped along the road to our first day in the villages. 
Tabitha affectionately calls it “the Malawi massage.”

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

"Guatemala" by Carolee Villegas - June 2018

There are so many stories and experiences that surrounded us in Guatemala; the sights of a variety of lush plants in the jungle, the sounds of children laughing, different tastes in the food and so much poverty everywhere. One story that stood out for me happened when we went up to one of the villages high in the mountains. We had to get out of our mini-bus and ride in the back of a small truck to get there, hanging on as we bounced up the rutted dirt roads. I was glad there was no CHP to give us a ticket.

First we visited a small elementary school. There were maybe four rooms filled with desks. The books for the kids were moldy and crinkled. Outside the “playground” was a small uneven dirt space. There was really no place to really play and no slides or equipment of any kind. They did have a place to wash their hands and a boys and girls outhouse. The view was spectacular and the air fresh.

We went down a path to visit one of the families that lived below the school. Some of the kids were students. The houses consisted of one room built out of adobe with palm tree roofs. The kitchen was a separate space and more open to let out some of the heat and smoke. The floors were also dirt. Food was cooked by wood with some pots and a Comal (a domed pan perfect for cooking tortillas). Corn grains were soaking to be cooked later. A sweet old lady with few teeth was the cook. She welcomed us in while she was cooking some coffee in a small saucepan. I was broken by the experience. This small joyous lady was one year younger than I. She obviously lived in great poverty with little money and yet she wanted us to take a stack of tortillas with us. It was a great gift out of her poverty. I pray that God would give me such a generous heart. Would I be willing to give out of my meager supply? I have so much. Why do I hold on to it? Lord, let me use the abundance that you have provided me to help others and let go of the inessentials. I was reminded of Luke 21 vs 1-4 “And He looked up and saw the rich putting their bits into the treasury, and He saw also a certain poor widow putting in two mites. So He said, “Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all, for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God, but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had.”

Another event happened as we were driving through the small towns. There were so many little rickety stores and cafes thrown up beside the road. They weren’t the nice stores that I am used to. They were built out of tin, branches and posts or poles. No bright colors or flashing windows with lights. I was struck with the thought that there were so many people living in poverty, trying to eke out a living and put food on the table for their families. We can’t help them all. Why should we even try? They are far away and it is a never ending job. They don’t even look like me and they don’t speak my language. How can I relate to them?

Then God gave me the thought that He greatly loved these people too. He sent His Son to die for them, not just for me. He placed me in a country where I never go hungry, where my house has heat and air conditioning. I have a car and a truck. I have access to education and I can read. Did He do all this because I am so special? I think not. He did this so I could do my part to help others. Jesus reminds us ALL THE TIME to reach out to others. He told us to feed His sheep, to give water to the thirsty. He gave us the familiar verses in Matthew, Mark and John: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your minds. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

We hear so much about making out country great for ourselves so that we can grow all our prosperity and abundance for ourselves. I believe that we achieve greatness by reaching out to others to lift them up, to help them gain education, clean water, access to food and healthcare.

Why do I need more pretty clothes while my sister lives where she washes her few pieces in the river? Why do I have to worry about eating too much while my brother searches for food for his family?

Lord, help me to look at others through your eyes and not look down at anyone through the scales on my eyes

This mission trip helped clear some of my vision. We also have opportunities to give to others closer to home. There is a mission trip with Reaching the Hungry to a Tijuana orphanage on Sept 29. You can go, or send items. Let me know if you are interested.

We have a mission team here at Valley Bible. Would you like to come help?

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Mexico Orphanage Trip Video - 2018

Orfanatorio Emmanuel

We are so grateful for the time we get to spend serving this community. Check out our latest trip recap video here:

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Malawi Mission's Trip - April 1-13, 2018 Written by Dr. Eric Langerman

We left Los Angeles at just before midnight on Easter; what an auspicious beginning to my first real international mission trip. Thirty hours later we landed in Lilongwe, the capital of Malawi. We were greeted warmly by the Reaching the Hungry team led by Wonderful Chibisa. 

We wasted no time; stopping only for a quick team picture, before setting out to get supplies for our stay.  Water, peanut butter, and bread. Unfortunately, we had to go to a second store because the first had run out of the single variety of bread they offer. 

After successfully getting our lunch ingredients for the next few days we went to Mosaic house where a local congressman allowed us to stay because he is very excited about the work that RtH does in Malawi, preaching the Good news of Jesus Christ and installing water wells in poor, rural villages. 

We unpacked and everyone quickly went to bed despite it being about 1pm pacific time because we were so tired from the long day-plus of travel. 

Early the next morning we piled into a van piloted by our driver extraordinaire Knocks. We drove over a series of large potholes interspersed with narrow strips of dirt road made of red clay for 45 minutes. 

When we arrived at the villages the women would greet us with song and dance, jubilant for what we were about to do. Children without shoes would swarm us as we exited the van, many never having seen a white person before, or a van for that matter. 

Most of us would set to work straight away on constructing the well. Tabitha or Kate, two of Reaching the Hungry’s Malawian national Missionaries, would split off and entertain the children and women of the village with Bible stories and praise songs. Their singing was melodious background noise as we measured, cut, shoveled and cemented pieces in place. 

The first day seeing the well come together was nothing short of a miracle, and for the people, it truly was a blessing from God, clean water to drink, something we often take for granted. 

Once the well was finished we would break to eat local food with the people, and if there was time we would play soccer or Neti-ball with the children while waiting for nightfall.
With the sun low on the horizon, we would move to a nearby field where the denizens of three or more nearby villages would congregate waiting for us to show the Jesus film. Once it was dark we would turn on the projector and they would watch the first, and possibly last movie in their lives. 

Following the life of Jesus as recorded in the Gospel of John, we see the birth, life, death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, all narrated in the local language Chichewa.  It was like a symphony rising to its crescendo. The labor of the day.  The new relationships we had quickly formed.  The word we had preached. All culminating in this moment, the moment of choice. 

With Jesus still being nailed to the cross, the video would pause. One of us would rise, if we had been able to calm our nerves and remain seated, then join Wonderful in the center of a semicircle of Lost Sheep. All eyes fixed on us, we had five minutes to lay out the Gospel and what knowing Jesus had meant for our lives. When we finished Wonderful or John, another Malawian missionary team member, would ask the crowd if any there felt Him tugging on their heart. If any there had seen and heard about this Christ and now wanted to invite Him into their hearts forever.  Dozens if not hundreds of hands would rise into the darkness. Those who made a decision were led in group prayer.  The sound of their voices in unison pledging themselves to Jesus Christ was hauntingly beautiful. 

By the second or third day, the well construction process had become less magical to us, but had not lost any of its power for the people.  We put in six wells in those three days and for hundreds of people provided not only drinking water but pointed them towards the one who can quench their thirst forever. 

Wonderful, John, Tabitha, Kate, Memory, Knocks, Grace, Zac, Carlos, Eric. Ten people over two weeks were able to change the lives of hundreds of villagers. Malawi has 16 million people, and we touched the lives of only a fraction.  There are many more who need our support.  Who need Jesus Christ.