By Danielle Hixt
This past July I had the opportunity to visit Cornerstone Ministries in Salima, Malawi; along with our team from Ladner Baptist Church from Ladner, British Columbia, Canada. Before we had left, I was not sure what we would be experiencing while we were there; what we would see, the different foods we were about to try. After months of preparation, it was so exciting to be able to see first-hand what Cornerstone Ministries was all about. We had been told beforehand that there they focused on building relationships with their sponsors and that made the whole experience that much better. All the faces we had seen in photos before we got there; now we actually had the chance to build friendships with those people. It was such an amazing time to connect with these people who have the same love for God and want to share it with all those kids who come to Cornerstone. During the first week, each morning we had gone to join the Cornerstone staff at the ministry center and had morning devotions. This was such a nice way to start of each day knowing that God will always be with us; and that he will always love us.
During the after-school program, I helped at the elementary school and was a part of a group that would be teaching ‘Life Skills and Coaching.’ During this class, we taught different subjects including Math, Science, English and Hygiene lessons to the kids. During classes I helped teach, I worked with two of the Cornerstone staff, Wongie and Stan. This way for the kids who did not understand English very well, they were able to understand and learn in Chichewa. Each time a new group entered our class, instantly there was so much energy inside the classroom with all the kids. Being able to see and watch just how much they wanted to be there and learn; especially since there was ‘azungu’ teaching. There was this one time during a hygiene lesson, we had been talking about which foods are healthy and which food is not, and I had misspelled Nsima as Sima. All the kids had started to giggle at me because I didn’t know.
We also had the chance for home visitations to the homes of the staff at Cornerstone, and with the kids at the schools. We were separated into small groups to visit a few different families. The first boy we visited had sung us a song and shared about his favorite sports and school classes; he had also been at the after-school program. His mom sat and talked with us as well, she had kept telling us about how grateful she was to God to have us visit her home. At the second home we visited, we sat outside and talked with the boy and his mom. kids in the neighborhood around their house had noticed that we were there and had started to watch us and see what we were doing. I had gone with Jay D to his home where I got to meet his mom and siblings. After the home visit, we went into the market and had met his Dad at his shop and then got to wander around town and see everything.
This was definitely a great experience that I will never forget.