The anticipation for returning to Africa is already growing. Tony and Joe are continuing to establish EchoAfrica on a daily basis. Our missionary house is being prepared for occupancy when we return in March. Two laptop computers, office supplies, bed frames, mattresses and a variety of other goods have been purchased or identified. Praise God for the provision He has made. We are now able to move forward in Malawi with a more defined purpose and resources. This blog report will be used as guidance for ourselves and information for others. Many have begun to ask how they can be involved, so we are identifying needs and opportunities that have been verified to be trustworthy. Due to the amount of deception that we have uncovered already, we will be trying a different approach.
The next several blog posts will explain our plan for operation. We will always be diligently seeking God and looking for directional changes by the Holy Spirit. I will be embedding numbers for easy identification for the team. 1) Bible distribution will be modified to include some memorization effort put forth to receive a Bible. We also have additional shoes and blankets to distribute. These items will be dispersed in accordance with the Holy Spirit’s movement in each situation. I have the confidence that Tony and his team in Malawi will handle the distribution without further guidance. That is why God brought our encounter with one another into being, since he is a trustworthy man.
Establishing the methods and principles that we are moving forward with churches in Malawi. 2) Spiritual overseers develop and implement procedures and material to assist the village churches. This is something that is critical, and will become foundational in seeking first the Kingdom of God. Once the Holy Spirit has given us clarity on how we should do this, we will begin to replicate the process. This is when one of the first opportunities for outside support will be available. We would love to be able to partner with hundreds of godly men and women as spiritual overseers. However, to do this, we need to make sure their basic needs are met. We will be setting up a costing structure that will encompass all aspects of opportunities. In our process of evaluating ourselves and other organizations, we have learned much, and will act accordingly.
Much of the cost for operation in Malawi has already been covered through God’s provision. I will be asking Tony and his team to provide us with verifiable costing. 3) Identify the top five items and where we can purchase them with 12 month guarantees on the cost. We will be purchasing items needed as God reveals them to us. Initially, we will identify vendors that we believe are trustworthy. After identification, we will require a price lock-in for 12 months. During that 12 month period of time, if we want to buy a goat for a family, whatever the cost was locked in for, is what it will be. Unfortunately, I have discovered that there is a lot of unnecessary price inflation and I do not feel that it is justified. As long as God provides us a way to operate in Malawi, we will choose the lowest-priced sources and most affordable way to get the goods to the villagers.
The spiritual overseers will help us identify the recipients of God’s blessing. Direct communication with that family will be required by those in the U.S. in order to follow through with discipleship on both sides. The catalog may include: 4) Sponsoring spiritual overseers, individual village pastors, Bibles, discipleship material, children’s Bibles, substantial food sources (chickens, goats, cows and a fish farm) clothing, shoes, blankets, building materials, just to name a few. Most importantly, all of these items will require some sort of effort on behalf of the recipients. The handout society that has been created by the world must change course and personal effort needs to become the norm, because that will help these people gain a sense of autonomy.
We will be creating a catalog similar to what other organizations use currently, but large administrative fees and hidden costs will not be tolerated. At some point in the future, additional costs may be necessary, and we will honestly report it. Goat: $25 delivery charge: $10 administrative costs: $20, or whatever it may be. The Lord has persistently shown us to seek truth and report what we find. It is devastating to consider how much greed has crept into most aspects of humanity, and we want to turn that around.
We will probably start our own farm as well. Tony’s father may have extra land available to help us kick off. 5) Set up a farming operation to begin to breed goats and raise chickens to be more efficient in our distribution and cost-effectiveness of such things. Accessibility to clean water is vital. We need availability of a good food source. We need to find the proper breed that is resistant to anything biological or ecologically concerning.
One of the team members is working on some different designs for bracelets. 6) Identify potential vendors that could supply 5,000 bracelets in the next few months. A separate catalog will be for products made in Africa to be sold by youth groups or churches. I believe that bracelets, small wood carvings, necklaces, jewelry and other small items could become a viable income stream for the villagers, because like my daughter, many people treasure goods like this! The U.S. does not have any tariffs on products coming from Malawi, which is helpful. Now we need a cost-effective shipping method, and potential conference center locations and an orphanage, but God has it all figured out.
Annie Fletcher, who has her own lodge, has taken great interest in God’s leading of EchoAfrica. I believe God is whispering to her heart, and we shall see where that leads. I am continually amazed how God is moving the right pieces into place for His glory, and I am thankful the Holy Spirit is teaching me how I can improve. An example was when I introduced high-fives to the children, which means being “all in” for Jesus. The Holy Spirit revealed to me I did not actually introduce anything. I was allowed to be in a situation where God’s will was flowing and what’s up with this “me” stuff? It is all about God, and though He is tolerant of my shortcomings, He is challenging me each day to grow as His disciple. His love makes me aware of my mistakes, so all praise and glory to the Mightiest King.