Our hope is in God alone. Our dependence is fully on Him. By the power of the Holy Spirit, through no efforts of our own, we are given access to all joy and peace as we trust in God. We come to this new year with great expectancy, because He is our hope, leading the way. Below is but a taste of the sweet fruit of your partnership with us in 2012.
Don Kantel, IMC missionary in Pemba, Mozambque writes to us:
During 2012, about 15 new children came into our Mieze and Noviane village children’s centres as we expanded our facilities somewhat. As a result, we currently have 47 resident children in Mieze and 24 resident children in Noviane.
[A few resident Mieze kids eating together. They are truly among the healthiest and happiest kids in Mozambique!]
[Weekly food distribution to poor Mieze village widows and orphans.]
The residential facilities at Noviane were expanded to provide new accommodation for some older children who transferred from Mieze to continue their schooling at the new Iris secondary school on the Pemba Base. At Mieze, we built two new foster-care homes, one for girls and an adjacent one for boys. A third foster home will be built in 2013.
Our Mieze medical clinic has moved into a permanent facility and is faithfully staffed by visiting and missionary doctors and nurses from the Pemba Base. The same building also serves as the storage and staging facility for our weekly food distribution to 2,500 poor village widows and children. Our Mieze Milk Clinic has expanded from 40 to 60 babies over the past year. We supply powdered formula for babies whose mothers can’t breast-feed them. And we know that in every case, these babies would die without our intervention.
[Village women with their babies at Mieze Milk Clinic. All 60 of these babies would be dead without our support.]
We have also been expanding our child sponsorship program for resident children and village children. In the case of resident children, because their daily needs are being met out of our regular budget, their sponsorship funds are being accumulated in individual accounts to provide for the children’s future. For most, we expect that will mean helping cover tuition costs for them to attend university or college or receive other specialized training to prepare them for adult life. For our village kids, because their basic needs are so immediate, their sponsorship funds are distributed weekly for food and clothing, etc. In every instance, we are seeing a significant improvement in the well-being of the entire family as a result of this extra money every week. And the sponsored kids are radiantly healthy and happy compared to their sorry condition just a year or so ago. We long to see this program expand in 2013 as more individuals and families ‘adopt’ a resident or village child. Information is available on the IMC website.
[Sponsored child in front of her Mieze village mud hut.]
Perhaps one final story from 2012: toward the end of the year, we received funds to improve five village houses. These were typically small, very run-down mud and grass-roofed huts which are ‘home’ to some of our sponsored kids. On average, there were six children living with their mother in these tiny, leaky, dingy huts. With the rainy season about to begin, we were able to re-roof all five houses: some with plastic sheeting stapled under new grass and a couple with ‘permanent’ tin roofs. We were also able to cement the outside of the houses to protect them from the rain and to pour cement over the dirt floors. It is hard to describe the gratitude of these families for this otherwise unattainable blessing. And we are so thankful for the resources provided through IMC which enable the flow of the Father’s love and blessing to continue as such a powerful testimony in the entire region.
Steve Lazar, our IMC agent in Maputo, Mozambique writes:
2012 was another year of tremendous opportunity and breakthrough for our Zimpeto centre. This was made possible by partnering with donors in Canada who support a number of projects essential to this ministry.
A lovely lady from Canada has supported a blind child, Mira, for the past 8 years. Her donations have enabled Mira to be schooled and have helped her family to begin a business. The family is now self-sufficient. Mira's Dad, Joao, was an educator here and now stays at home to help Mira and run the business - a simple story with a wonderful ending.
[Mira and her dad, Joao.]
Reintegration is now a core value of the ministry - getting children back with family. IMC Canada has supported this project over the past years and over 400 children are now back in functioning families.
Arauj and his two brothers came to be with us 10 years ago. IMC helped Arauj (a full orphan) to complete his schooling and build a house on his grandparents land. In 2012 Arauj began to study Engineering at University and has now been selected by selected to study in South Africa, China and Germany, before beginning research in Pemba, Mozambique for an oil company – a great story!
[Arauj at his graduation.]
These 2 stories are repeated over and over again in the widow’s house program, carpentry and sewing programs, community food and milk program, reintegration program, etc.
David Morrison, IMC missionary and director of the Iris Africa Malawi base in Bangula writes:
2012 had a rough beginning with continued fuel shortages, political tension, devaluing currency resulting in a dramatic increase in the cost of living and bare shelves in the shops, and then an intense storm that brought destruction throughout Bangula and surrounding areas, causing thousands of people to flee from their villages and homes, as livestock and crops were washed away by the violent water. Thanks to your help, Iris Africa Malawi came to the rescue of 500 families with emergency food, soap and clothing in the aftermath of the storm, providing them maize and beans for three months while they rebuilt their homes and re-planted crops.
[Mo distributing food.]
I praise the Lord for his protection and providence to us during these challenging times. When there was no diesel at the service stations for weeks at a time, we had enough on the base to sustain the work of the ministry. When food was in short supply we ate, and had enough to share with thousands of others. In February and March, during the critical period of hunger, the only maize available (the staple food used here to make nsima) was in the northern part of the country. We had no choice but to send our purchasers on the 1,400 kilometer return journey to buy the maize and beans. They were successful and people were satisfied. In April, political unrest within the country came to an end with the appointment of a new president. The international community responded by pouring development dollars back into the economy and there was peace.
[Mother and child grateful for food received at Iris feeding program.]
In the midst of every crisis here there is always joy and hope. Men and women from throughout the country continued to be trained at the Bible school. Joanna was able to travel with a team to the far north of Malawi, stopping along the way to teach and encourage many of our churches. Everywhere they stopped, they were received with open arms and joy. Some of these villages are very remote, and new to the Gospel. God is at work bringing salvation, and freedom from fear.
[Bible school teacher - with class.]
[Pastor with top marks overwhelmed with gratitude at Bible school graduation.]
Our Iris children have the greatest advantage with the high standard of education they are offered at our Iris Primary School. Our older children have been privileged to attend reputable Secondary Schools in the city of Blantyre, thanks to many sponsors. When I survey the needs in this underdeveloped country I am overwhelmed and often struggle to see the visual impact we are having here, for it seems so small. Then I look with faith into the eyes of our Iris children and know with certainty that these are the leaders of the future who are going to be history makers, influencing their people with God’s economy, His Kingdom, and with the love of our Heavenly Father. We rejoice because we know that working together as a team here in Malawi, joined by hundreds of committed supporters around the world, all of our hard work, our prayers, and financial investments will produce a harvest a hundred times what was sown.
[One of our new girls enjoying lunch with her Iris family.]
[Our amazing house parents.]
This year we have been blessed with seven new precious children with great potential and now a hope for their future. Four year old Mishek almost didn’t make it. He came to us in a very fragile condition with multiple ailments. With much care, hospital treatment, and prayers fighting for his life, he pulled through. He’s just one of our 72 children who live here on the base, each with an amazing story of redemption.
[Mo with our youngest Iris boy.]
We’ve been on the ground here in Malawi for almost 10 years now, and it is exciting to witness firsthand the miracles of lives being changed by God’s love and grace. We look forward to the new year with the development of a skills training school for the purpose of equipping young men and women with skills such as auto mechanics, carpentry, welding, electrical, plumbing, fashion design and tailoring, architecture, and agriculture, so that they can work to support themselves.
Iris exists in large part to undergird those who God has chosen and called to serve amongst the poor overseas. We honor their sacrifice, their integrity, and their commitment to love selflessly in the face of constant challenge. In 2012 we were sad to say goodbye to Julie Davis (Dondo, Mozambique) and John and Sandra Ewert (Maputo, Mozambique) who served with IMC for many years. God called them to return to Canada to new things here, and we anticipate with them. We are very excited to welcome Jen Jewett (Iris Cambodia), and absolutely delighted with the arrival of our youngest new missionary, baby Elisha, firstborn to Kyle and Annie (Kathmandu, Nepal). We asked our current missionaries to provide a stand out sentence from 2012. In their words:
• Upon our return to Africa in August, we were blessed to see some of the fruit from our previous labour in the areas of woodworking and sewing. We look forward to returning in the summer of 2013. (Bob & Betty Blanchette - Maputo, Mozambique)
• The faithfulness of Jesus so greatly exceeds our understanding of circumstances. (Kyle & Annie - Kathmandu, Nepal)
• This year I have found more of a niche here and have stepped into more responsibility in the areas of media, photography and creative expression. I have really seen God use my experience and skills for the base and work here. (Anna Burns - South Sudan)
• “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these other things will be given to you." (Matt. 6:33). I have experienced the reality of this scripture this past year. (Linda Currie - Pemba, Mozambique)
• It’s been a year of huge transition for us as God is taking us out of the Iris family and into a new adventure with Him. We're so grateful for the privilege of ministering to His African Bride in Mozambique. (John & Sandra Ewert - Maputo, Mozambique)
• Compelling love. Compelled by love. The source…the end. Keep the main thing, the main thing. (Elizabeth Kantel - Pemba, Mozambique)
• For a fruitful tree to grow healthily, it first requires deep roots, and deep roots require good watering. If we keep going back to the well to drink deep, we can expect tremendous growth! (Sarah Masson - Bangula Malawi)
• We have had great joy in filling two new children’s homes this year. As our family grows, God is growing our hearts to keep pace. (Joanna Morrison - Bangula, Malawi)
• Being a laid down lover of Jesus means ‘Your will Oh Lord, Your will’…even when it’s hard. (Sue Silva - Bangula, Malawi)
• God continues to show His faithfulness through new challenges in Ministry and personally in our soon expanding family. What a blessing! (Matt Smith - Bangula, Malawi).
Thank you for your faithfulness to us in prayer and for your extreme generosity to the poor. We are so grateful!
Joy and peace to you, our Iris family.
Janis (on behalf of the IMC Board of Directors)