Wednesday, June 11, 2008


On Tuesday the team drove back from the game preserve in Zambia. This was essentially a rewind of the drive out. 6 hours is a long drive in African driving conditions. And this assumes that there are no mechanical problems with the bus.

On Wednesday the plan is to visit Frederic's Orphanage. I don't have a lot of details on what the plans are at this orphanage. But as with all orphanages in Africa, this is a real issue with the impact of aids. It is truly at a scale so much more massive than what we experience here in the states.

On a different note, Palmer has had a real experience. He had the opportunity to slide down the emergency evacuation slide on his way back to the United States. Mostly because one of the engines caught on fire. Fortunately the plane hadn't taken off yet, so he got away with a real scare only. Please pray for him. Now that he missed one leg of his flight, it will be a real challenge to make up the connections. Pray that he makes it back by Sunday!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Zambia - African Safari

Sunday began a great journey for the Malawi team. They boarded a bus and began the journey from Lilongwe to the neighboring country of Zambia to visit a game preserve. If you've ever thought about going on an African Safari, that's what the team is going to do.

The bus ride is about 6 hours long. And while the bus isn't an open backed truck, it still leaves a lot to be desired for conveniences - as we would expect them here. It is not uncommon for the bus to break down en route - and either perform true "roadside repairs" or have to wait for replacement parts to be brought in from ... wherever they can.

In Zambia the team will be staying at a wildlife game preserve near a river. Rivers mean water, and water means 2 things: Hippos and bugs. Of all the animals in the savanna, the hippo is most to be feared. Weighing in at over a ton, an angry bull hippo is a fearsome force of nature. At night the team will need to stay indoors and not venture out lest they fall astray of a wandering bull. And bugs. Of all shapes, but only one size... LARGE. Bugs of every configuration you could imagine and then more. The team will come to find new appreciation for the mosquito nets.

On Monday they will drive out into the savanna and take the safari. Africa is full of wildlife. And the safari sees it up close and personal. Lions lying beside the roadway. Giraffes eating nearby trees. Elephants wandering around nearby. The team will certainly come back with great photos and stories.

Below is a series of photos from last years team to give you an idea of what it will be like.

Tuesday the team will board the same bus and begin the drive back to Malawi. They plan to reach the ABC campus in time for dinner - At Mrs. Chinchen's house.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Friday and Saturday - Chawango Village

Friday after chapel, the Childrens ministry team set off on a grand adventure. They traveled about an hour outside of Lilongwe (the capitol city) to a village named Chawengo. The most notable feature of this village is that Children of the Nations (COTN) runs an orphanage for children whose parents have died due to the tremendous rates of AIDS in Africa.

The team will get an extended opportunity to interact with the kids and see what life is like at the orphanage. Far from being a sad place, the orphanage is a place of tremendous joy and hope. These kids are rescued out of lives of nothing, given a place to live, stability, an education and essentially a future. Not to mention, they are exposed to the Gospel of Jesus at the orphanage.

The team will spend the night in Chawango and wrap up on Saturday morning. This is a unique opportunity to interact with the people in the village and develop relationships with the kids. Several of the Grove members have sponsored kids from Chawango village.

Following is a slide show of pictures from Chawango. You can see the happiness on he faces of the kids as they greet the team. At the end of the deck you can see the team walking through the African plains, and a sunset over the savanah.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Mgawi Villiage - Thursday

On Thursday the team went to Mgawi village. Last year a team visited there and saw the amount of work and energy expended bringing water to the village. It had to be carried from far away in jugs. Coming back Paul Gunther led a drive to raise money to build them a well.

Below is a slide show of pictures from the village. You can see that the kids thronged the camera every where the team went.

In addition to checking out the well, the team also distributed mosquito nets to the villagers. Going forward, we know that lives will be saved in the village because of this.

Thursday evening the team will get to attend the African Bible College Senior Banquet at the Capitol Hotel. This is a big deal for the Seniors at ABC and it is wonderful that the team gets to be a part of it.

Keep remembering the team in prayer. This is a fun time but also exhausting. Everything is different, and this can wear on them over time.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Mtzilisa Village

Tuesday and Wednesday this week the team will be spending time in Mtzilisa village. This village is practically across the street from the African Bible College campus. To give you a feel for what it is like in Mtzilisa village take a look at the slide show below - taken on last year's trip to the Africa.

The people in the village love it when teams come to visit.

Eating in Malawi

Eating African food is sometimes fun, and sometimes a challenge. There's always the question... "Do I want to know what it is?" Tonight the Malawi team ate in the homes of the faculty of the African Bible College. This would be the same food that the staff eats on a regular basis.

Following is a sampling of the kinds of dishes that they might get to eat:
  • Fried Crickets
  • N'sima (starchy, pasty staple made from corn - mashed potatoes meets polenta)
  • Stewed pumkin greens
  • Chicken stew
  • Chambo fish (the whole thing, head, eyes and all)
For dessert, they will probably have either a soda or Malawian ice cream.

Note: While these are traditional Malawian foods, the represent a nice meal by Malawian standards. Be sure to ask the team about it when they get back.

One of the other interesting aspects of this evening is that the meal is in the home of the staff, along with their families. It presents a great opportunity to get a feel for how the Malawian people really live.

Keep praying. Much ministry remains.

June 3 Update

We have hit some technical glitches with the live updates from Malawi. But rest assured that we are working on it as diligently as possible. Meanwhile here is the information we have for what is going on today.

Just as every day this week, the day begins with chapel at the ABC campus. As long as the students are here, this will be the start for every day.

Today the team is going out to the village of Mtzilisa with Children of the Nations. Lunch will be a sack lunch - sandwiches and other food that can be carried in with the team. Activities will center around loving on the people in the village and probably distributing mosquito nets.

Some of the people on the team are sponsoring children (orphans) through Children of the Nations. I know it will be a very big deal for them to see "their child" face to face.

Tonight, dinner will be back at the ABC campus. Rather than dining room fare, they will be splitting up and going to the homes of the staff to have dinner.

Stay tuned for more updates.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Monday June 2

Today opens up with Chapel on the African Bible College campus. Our team will be getting to participate with the Students throughout the week (until after Graduation).

For the most part, today is an orientation day. The team will be getting tours of the ABC campus from Palmer and Kevin Kalonga, then into Lilongwe (the capitol city) for a tour and the purchase of Mosquito nets. Pray for the team to do well in negotiations and make the money they took with go a very long way.

Lunch is a local experience at a restaurant called "Ali Babas".

Dinner in the evening will be amongst the students, getting to share in the excitement of the trip as well as the impending graduation ceremonies.

I haven't gotten any updates directly from Maddie... pray that any technology bugs will be worked out.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Sunday's Agenda

Today the team expects to arrive in Malawi. They will spend the night on the ABC campus. One thing all is looking forward to is eating Waffles. Mrs. Chinchen is famous for her waffles.

It is graduation season at the African Bible College. So this evening the team will attend a Baccalaureate service for the graduating seniors.

Day one in Africa is underway. Jetlag adjustment is happening. Excitement is building.

Faith in Action; God in Motion.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Daily Update - May 30

Maddie Shively has set up some technology to be able to send in daily posts and updates from the trip. If you are interested, you can see the updates directly at
Or you can come here to the GroveRedBlog to see them posted as well.

the first of the malaria pills have been taken and the excitment for the trip is increasing. in just a few hours we'll be on our way! Today is the day! We leave in a few hours for the airport. Everyone's energy levels are way up! And we're off! We're going to board our first plane out of the five flights we're venturing on to! Arrived in LA about an hour ago. card games and cell phones occupy our time as we prepare to board our flight to london'

Friday, May 30, 2008

Malawi Team Prayer Requests

The Malawi team is off to Africa today. Before leaving, I got a list of prayer requests from Steve Hosel, the team leader. He asked on behalf of the team that everyone at The Grove would remember these requests during their daily prayers. Feel free to print this list out and put in on your refrigerator or your bathroom mirror. Any place that will keep these requests fresh in your mind.

Please Pray...
  • For safe travels
  • That our supplies make it with us
  • That everyone will completely give themselves to the Lord while on this mission so He can use us the way He wants to
  • Also, prayers that I (Steve) will gain wisdom as the representative and team leader of this awesome group of people as we travel throughout Malawi
We are thankful for our supporters which allowed us ALL to go; no one left behind! Also for our Grove family who will be helping us fight malaria through there generosity of over $3000 for mosquito nets! WOW!!!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Welcome to The Grove's RED blog

This blog is dedicated to the Grove's efforts in Africa under the RED program.

On May 30, 2008, a team is leaving Arizona to go to Malawi East Africa. They will be staying at the campus of the African Bible College and working in many of the surrounding villages. This blog will be posting regular updates of what the team there is doing and seeing. The goal is to have a daily update, so please come back and check in regularly.

The Grove