The Kleven Family; Malawi Missionaries

We would first like to thank all of you, our friends and family for your support during our first year here in Malawi. Your prayers, emails, packages and many other demonstrations of kindness have provided the encouragement needed to remain strong and cope with everyday life in this beautiful and strange land that we now call home.

The past year has brought our family many times of happiness and joy. It has also challenged us mentally, physically, and spiritually like we had never imagined. All along we have spoken about the challenge of learning a new language although we are now able to meet, greet and make small conversation, we still have a long way to go. The majority of the people we live with and encounter each day are simply happy that we continue trying to speak Chichewa. So we will continue to learn each and everyday and pray for the patience to do so.

Our daily lives now have a bit more of a routine. We continue to support the pre-schools and are working with the perish to increase the level of education. St. Ann school graciously gave a large donation this past year and we will use these funds over the coming months to purchase tables, chairs, learning materials and other resources to enhance the education and environment of our students. Thathagoza Kwambiri (we are vey grateful)!!

 We thank God Almighty for the opportunity to spread his love here among the poorest of the poor. Please continue to pray for the health and happiness of the family in the months to come. For more frequent updates and to find out how to support our mission, please visit kleven4@blogspot.com. God Bless All Of You

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Click the link below to see a photo video of our first year in Malawi! We have thousands more pictures but this video offers a good taste of what we see and experience daily. The video is 8 minutes on youtube.

We appreciate your prayers, support and love! Enjoy!!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=__JzCS06lvA

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February 22, 2015

Malawi Disaster Relief Journey

 

About 2 months ago, Malawi was hit by torrential rainfalls which caused significant flooding.  170 lives were lost and over 150,000 are now displaced, they lost their home and all of their belongings as well as corps and livestock. In addition, thousands of Malawian’s lost their crops for the year which means they will not be able to feed their family come June nor will they have corn to sell. This means, many will not be able to plant their annual crop again next December, as they will not have the finances to purchase seed and fertilizer. The flooding which greatly impacted the southern region of Malawi is going to have a long-term impact on the country. This past week, I read Malawi is now ranked the poorest country in the world opposed to the 7th or 8th poorest as it has been for the past several years.

 

We began hearing reports that much help was needed in terms of disaster relief. The government and NGOs couldn’t reach all those impacted quickly due to the scope of the disaster as well as roads and bridges being wiped out and mud making it extremely difficult to reach remote villages. After praying for a few days of how we could help, Jacob and I decided we live close enough to this disaster area that we needed to help. The next day, it was arranged that St. Ann’s School students and the collection they gather on Friday Masses would be assisting us with the financial needs it would take to deliver much needed supplies.

 

We decided to load up our car with as much as we could fit and head south. After packing 100kgs of beans, 450kgs of ufa (staple food, corn flour), oil, salt, as well as some clothing, blankets and a handful of pillows we headed to our Comboni Community which lives right on the edge of one of the rivers which caused the significant flooding damage.  By working with the Comboni Church as well as the man who oversaw relief efforts for this particular district, 55 families from 3 villages who lost everything were identified. In this area there were hundreds of others who needed assistance, though we decided as a group it was best for us to stick with assisting 3 villages along the river that are part of the Parish the Comboni’s run.

 

Saturday afternoon Jacob, Josie and I packed 55 individual relief bags. Each contained enough beans, ufa, salt and oil to feed a family of about 4 for just over a week. As we packaged up these bags, we sang and prayed. Josie also told us that the reason the entire world didn’t flood in these rains is because God promised Noah never to flood the entire world again and he gave us the rainbow as his promise. (I had to share as it was quite beautiful to hear a 4yr old process the idea of flooding and God’s power) Josie went on to tell us that if we pray for the families and if they turn to Jesus, he will provide for them.

 

On Sunday, we went to the primary school, which is located on the church property. All 55 families were asked to meet us there at 2pm. And guess what, almost everyone was on time!!! This never happens in Africa! I’m guessing the coordinator told them an hour before! We noticed immediately the people sitting under the tree were dressed in pretty much rags or strips of cloth. We discussed ahead of time, we would not take many pictures as these people just lost everything, in one instance the family lost their mother. After a short ceremony where a member of the church, a village leader, a member of parliament as well as Jacob all spoke, we began calling family names and distributing the care packages. The desperation in many of their eyes, yet the glimpse of hope as they thanked us for caring was difficult to process. We live daily with some of the poorest; most deprived people in the world, yet this experience showed us an even deeper vulnerability.

 

There was one man who really touched us. We offered him a warm blanket and honestly, you would have thought the man won the lottery! He was so thankful, grateful and promised to pray for all of us (our family and St. Ann’s). This man had been sleeping on the ground, with no shelter for over a week. Now, he at least had a blanket and this meant everything to him.

 

Josie made some new friends as well. She went around to each of the children who came and picked out a stuffed animal or toy. The smiles exchanged between the children and Josie were priceless! (Lily was not with us as she was away with another family this particular weekend)

 

St. Ann’s School and St. Ann’s Church, you truly made a difference in 3 villages of Malawi, 55 families, over 250 peoples lives. Having us use a portion of your Friday Mass donations ($400) for disaster relieve allowed us to not only deliver some meals to those who truly were desperate but also to pray with these people, to share our love with them and to let them know that there is a school and a church in a town called Stoughton, WI who is praying for all of them! So many of these Malawian’s were so grateful to hear St Ann’s school and church were praying for them! It must help one to not feel so alone at such a desperate time, to know someone over 8,500 miles away cares so much they are providing food and prayers to support them. We ask you to continue to pray for those impacted by the flooding in Malawi this past January. As I mentioned, it will be well over a year or two before the country and its people can recover from this disaster.  We thank you for your love, your prayers and your support! Peace and love always, The Kleven Family – Jacob, Tonya, Lily & Josie

 

 

 

 



Much love,
Tonya, Jacob, Lily & Josie