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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Amao Orphanage

We've been sending updates about our adoption process, and several of them have included an orphanage called Amao located near Kasungu (the town of Mtunthama) about 1.5 hours north of Lilongwe. So here's a profile of Amao:

Reverend Frank and his wife Eunice were posted to Mtunthama trading center 15 years ago, for Frank to tak the pastorate there in the Anglican parish. In the past 15 years the church grounds has grown to hold a fully functionioning hospital, school (in partnership with the government of Malawi), and the orphanage. How we're connected with it is through Eunice (who graduated from ABC several years ago) and their adopted daughter Rosemary (who is an ABC grad and now works at the ABC Community Clinic). Becca first visited Amao with Rosemary in 2006, and we've been four times now in the past few months.

In our visit last week we got to hear more from Pastor Frank about how the hospital, school and orphanage began. What an encouragement it was! Frank and Eunice lost a child to malaria several years back, mostly because they could not find the medical care that they needed. There were no hospitals in the area that could adequately treat their daughter's advanced illness, and because of that, she passed away. They had known that there was a great need for medical care in the area, but it had now become incredibly personal. They decided to start building the hospital, without knowing where they would get the money to complete it. A church from the UK jumped into help them complete the building and it has been functioning now for about a decade. They are the only maternity care in a 60km radius, and have just completed surgical theaters. The orphanage began out of Frank and Eunice's home, with church members also taking kids in as needed. When the number of kids grew too great, they decided to build Amao, which now houses about 50 kids, ages 3 months to 17 years. The older kids help with the chores and cooking, as well as taking care of the younger kids. There are also several of the orphans who are taken in by church members in the area. The majority of the financial needs of the orphanage are taken up by the church, with just a small portion coming from outside donors. The school started because there were kids at the orphanage who needed a good school to go to. They started with Form 1 (9th grade) and went from there. Now they are producing some of the best students in the area, with Amao kids claiming the top spot in several of the grades.

I was blown away by the faith of the curch community under Pastor Frank's leadership. The challenging circumstances of life presented them opportunities to step out in faith to fill huge needs; medical, educational, social, and spiritual. It is very evident that God has blessed their faithfulness. I believe that what is going on at the Anglican parish in Mtunthama is a model of how the church should be taking an active part in ministering to the community. Pastor Frank has been adamant that the local church be actively and sacrifically invested in the financing, building, and sustenance of the various ministries. We do so appreciate what's going on tehre and look forward to a lasting relationship with their family and Amao.

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