Tuesday, December 18, 2007
So maybe I won’t be home for Christmas, but...
1) you know you teach in Africa when one of your students lists "electricity" as an ingredient to make milk shakes!
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
So maybe I won’t be home for Christmas, but...
1) you know you teach in Africa when one of your students lists "electricity" as an ingredient to make milk shakes!
Sunday, December 09, 2007
I should be studying the inside of my eyelids, but I was divinely inspired.
Stuff I'm thankful for these days… (I like blogging my thoughts sometimes; it makes them seem official. I realize it's pretty boring to read, though. pepani!)
1. I have some cool friends here, and sometimes we do cool stuff.
2. I love my church here! Worshipping there always makes me grin!
3. It's Ngumbie – flying termite – season, which means that the rainy season is here! I'm not a fan of thunderstorms, but I am happy about the weather deciding to cool off a bit. I got to wear a cardigan to church tonight! Anyway, these bugs (I swear they are so big you could ride them!) remind me that I'm in
4. Connie made me a stocking and it's hanging at the Dehnert house!
5. I have a friend who is always willing to rescue me should I need some man-help, and he texts to make sure that I've made it home safe after get togethers.
6. Paul realized that we were 8 people sharing 2 cars, and he says he'll work on replacing the 3rd car.
7. My kids were GREAT last week! and this week is shaping up to be pretty fun as well!
8. Did I mention who I was going to the
9. Am I a teenager again? I love wasting time on myspace music. Molly and Micah are new favorites!
10. Jack's new single comes out this week!!!!!!! and Tyrone and Colbie have Christmas songs!
11. Santa Clause is coming in to the
12. It's almost my one year in
Monday, December 03, 2007
Just call me Miss. Demeanor!
Court was fine today, very little trouble. -- THANKS for yer prayers!! -- Things are so different here. They write your statement on a blank piece of computer paper, by hand. They couldn't find it when I got there; the cop who said he'd meet me was no where to be found... eventually they found it, we walked back to another section of this old old old run down building where the typist was just arriving to work and changed into her uniform, you know, as we were there! They asked me if I pleaded guilty or innocent, and I said that yes I was in the car, yes I was on my phone, but no the car was not moving; that I was not familiar enough with the law to know what to plead, but that I didn't really care what I pleaded just so long as I could get out of there as soon as possible. We determined that I should I plead guilty, so I did... (what a weird feeling!) and then proceeded to drive the typist, another "felon" and Mr. Blessings, my Malawian friend who came with me to make sure I didn't get the shaft, to another office down the road (real professional, hu, when they ask you for a ride!) where I waited in my car while they magistrate decided how much my fine would be. I got off with a k1,500 fine - $12!
Friday, November 30, 2007
this week’s cop stop...
My roommate put is best: "Lisa, why do these things always happen to you?!?" Well, you know the routine - every week it's some new harrowing experience for yours truly. This week's episode: police stations and a court date!
Saturday, November 24, 2007
thanksgiving shopping, malawi style. :(
Hello blog buddies. I'm writing this on Friday night, but who knows when I'll get to post it – ever since the internet here Malawied all of you by sending my support letter approximately one million times, it's been out, *sigh* there's more to life than connection with the outside world, I guess!
So – Thursday – I think I blogged that morning as I was getting ready to go to school for international day. The big surprise when I got to school a few minutes after clicking "post blog" was this: my camera had been stolen! L-A-M-E!!! Turns out that somebody has been using the locked closet in my classroom as their personal shopping mall… My camera is usually at my house with me, but I had taken it to school on Wednesday to get some shots of my new bulletin board (dorky teacher, I know I know!) and I left it there, knowing I'd want photos from International day the next day. Well, seeing as how I discovered news approximately 2 minutes before all my kids came in, I spent a good part of the morning trying not to cry in front of them! I know it's just a camera, I know it's not the end of the world, but none the less, I felt violated; severely wronged. Arg! Anyway, that, plus the fact that it was Thanksgiving and I was not able to be with my family (as crazy as they are, yeah, I still miss being around them sometimes. go figure!) , made Thursday my second 'I Really Don't Like Malawi Today' day this year. (hey, 2 days in 3 ½ months, that's not too bad, right?)
Thankfully, today was better. I slept till 10:am, thanks in part to staying up late baking bread with the girls, and in part to my best friend, Tylenol PM. I spent the day cleaning up the kitchen then making a mess again. I baked some dinner rolls that ended up being a hit at potluck tonight! Ms. Spencer said "I'm just surprised that a single can bake like this!" as if, what, you only learn this stuff once you've got a ring on your finger?!? ha! Anyway, that, and the fact that we all dressed up (not necessary, but sort of fun, since nice things like this don't happen all too often around here) made our Thanksgiving Potluck pretty swell. There were a few pangs of I-miss-being-at-my-Aunt's- house-with-my-family, but I can't complain. I have it pretty good here, and I knew that being here would mean sacrificing special things like being home for the holidays. Ooh, by the way, my brother is getting married in January. Know where I'll be? Not on the white sands of
So ahh… yeah. Keep me in mind during this holiday season, por favor. I am OOBER thankful that this season will NOT be one of mass consumerism-mania, but I'd like to think that the crazy catholic polish church on
Tomorrow we're venturing to the northern part of
Sunday, November 18, 2007
Identity crisis? no way!
heya! lock in for another random "how it's been" ride, if that's something that might hold your attention for a few.
Thursday, November 08, 2007
long and boring... crazy tidbits of life here lately!
Life has just been a little on the wild side around here lately, so I thought I'd blog about it. Because, you know, thats cool...!
Monday, October 22, 2007
the prayer letter that is brief like...?!?
Friends and family! Blessings, happiness and hello!
Monday, October 15, 2007
big weekending and what I’m thankful for
I was driving out to a swim meet on Saturday when it happened... I'm sorry to report that I was involved in a hit-and-run that killed a small malawian kid. The accident happened just outside of Salima; we hadn't even been driving for an hour yet!
Sunday, September 30, 2007
The Update Letter with all the cool Links!
Another month has come and gone here at ABC, so it's about time for an official "Hello All!" from me to you!
Having completed 5 weeks of school already, it's safe to say that we're in full swing. Highlights from September include an upper school back-to-school game-day bash, a field-trip to the local plant nursery, and tomorrow my students are turning in their first big reports: their Dendrologist Reports! (For those of you who were about to Google that term, a dendrologist is someone who studies trees, so this is just a fancy name for tree reports, ha!) We have memorized the first 16 verses of James, we've begun learning about algebra in math, and we are nearly through our first novel, Maniac Magee.... basically, we're learning stuff and blessed to be here! ;) Feel free to check out the new pictures at http://lalalady911.myphotoalbum.com (a site that rarely cooperates with me, so forgive me because it's a work-in-progress!)
My favorite after-school activity so far has been watching the sunsets from my front porch while sipping cold sweet tea, and hanging out with the neighbors. It has been very windy recently, and there have been a few days that I had no other choice than to take my kite out and and dive-bomb some kids! However, with the official start of after school activities, things have really picked up around here. Please pray that I would be effective not only in the classroom, but in the other areas of my work at ABCCA. I lifeguard at the pool twice weekly, and within the next few weeks we will launch a junior high and high school girl's Bible study, which I will be leading. I am still involved in taking the students out to Chitipi, an orphan home where our students are able to develop relationships and minister to the kids there. We go to Chitipi every other week, and on the weeks we don't go there, I am launching a yearbook club, with hopes of producing something decent by the end of the year! The logistics are still being worked out, but I, for one, am really anticipating what we could do with this!!
I am thankful that it hasn't been too hot yet, but we're entering October, the hottest month in Malawi, so I guess I'm in for a surprise! Another area of surprise around here is what will or will not be working each day. I was so excited to be able to report to you that finally, today has been the first day in over a month when everything (the electricity, the internet, the water and the water heater) have all been working, but alas, when I came home from ultimate frisbee and was in desperate need of a refreshing shower, the water was off once again. Cool. On one hand, living this way keeps you on your toes... you never know when you will be able to cook lunch or when you'll have to bust out the peanut butter for a simple sandwich; you never know when you will get to take a real shower, or when it will be a bucket shower, or whether or not you'll get to flush the toilet. Graphic, perhaps, but I wanted to illustrate the implications of inadequate basics on a day-to-day basis. Generally, these are just minor inconveniences that you come to expect when you live in Malawi, but when you think about the fact that this stuff should be working and it's ridiculous that it's not but you can't do anything about it yourself, you start to pray for patience and endurance! Any prayer for our generator and our water tower to be restored to working order would be much appreciated! I heard that "convenience never produces character," so I guess I am getting a major character work-our these days!
And now, the fun part... Last semester, a few guys came out to spend time at the Academy and capture footage for a "come teach at ABCCA" video. That video is now completed, and you can see it at http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-3775214202663584994 Keep in mind, the videographers were here during the my mullet-meets-80's-wave phase, so yes, you have permission to make fun of my horrible haircut. Ahh, the sacrifices...! ha! All mullet jokes aside, when you see this video, not only will you get a chance to "meet" some of my co-workers and our students, but you'll get to see the motivation behind the ministry. I trust that you will get the warm-fuzzies the way I did with the reminder that YES, we are changing the future of Africa here at ABCCA. May this 8-minute video enhance your understanding of ABCCA and your passion for what God is doing in Malawi! Blessings and thanks for those of you who have taken it upon yourselves to $upport and pray for my ministry here! You truly play a vital role in the ministry of ABC Christian Academy!
Recently I have been able to understand new truths from God that have been carrying me through the personal aspects of living far from the familiar. Though I have never doubted that Malawi is where I belong right now, it's not always easy! I am thankful that I get to share life with my students, but on the other hand, I often remember that I am missing out on sharing life with my family and friends back home. For example, I won't get to meet my new nephew until he is nearly walking, and I will be absent from two close friend's weddings in the coming months. I read that "God is not limited by out circumstances; Our geographical location does not thwart His will or purpose," but I would still appreciate a few prayers for the "I'm far from home" aspect of my commitment here. Zikomo! :) And by the way, it is always great to hear from you guys! I'm not the only one who has exciting stories and prayer requests to share! ;)
With that, let's embrace October and all that God has in store for us, shall we?!? Bonhoeffer reminds us that "the
most direct way to others is always through prayer to Christ," so let's continue to keep each other in prayer. Besides the previously mentioned prayer requests, please lift up my financial support to the Lord. Currently I have just over half of what I need to be here for the 6th grade school year. For those of you who want to join in the fun, things just got a little more exciting! You can still send a check with my name on it to African Bible College, Inc. P.O. Box 103, Clinton, MS 39060... OR... check this out! http://www.africanbiblecolleges.org/dir_kowalski_lisa.asp Pretty snazzy, hu?!?
Blessed and thankful,
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up, do you not receive it?
I am making a way in the desert,
and streams in the wasteland.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
"I just saw a big mini-bus!" - Caroline, age 2
Every once in a while I feel as if I'm in the middle of exactly where God wants me, and that I'm doing exactly what he created me - crazy, dorky me, to do. Once in a while summer camp makes me feel like this, and since I have had my own classroom, I've been blessed to be caught in moments like this a little more often.
Saturday, September 01, 2007
One week down, 35 to go!
Hi! Just a note to let you know that I'm back in Malawi and mostly settled in! It was such a joy to see my students again, and I am looking forward to getting to know the new kids better throughout the year. Joining us are Sho from Japan, Geerten who spent the past year in Canada, and Caleb who spent the last year in Missouri.
A silly highlight of these past two weeks has been that when I arrived, I may not have had any furniture, books, or supplies in my classroom, but I sure had coconut trees in there!! A friend of mine painted them in the back of the room, and as you can imagine, that just lights my happy-lamp like none other! There is a whole beach / ocean theme in there which I can't wait for you to see. http://lalalady911.myphotoalbum.com/albums.php I'll be taking more shots as the room gets finished. My bulletin board was just installed the day before yesterday, and I am still waiting for the other white board! Monday is Parent Night so I hope it will look decent by then, but hey, I already knew that living in Malawi teaches you patience…!
On Monday night, one thing I will be sharing with the parents of my students is something I ran across called "31 Biblical Virtues to Pray for Your Kids" I am attaching this prayer guide for you, for suggestions of ways that you can pray for my students as well as kids in your own lives! Secondly, my students and I are memorizing James this year! That translates into memorizing about 4 verses a week, which will be a challenge for all of us, but I am really excited to see how God used these scriptures to grow us. I have invited my student' parents to join us in this quest, and I'd like to extend the same invitation to you. I already know of a few people state-side who are memorizing this book along with us; when my kids found out about that they were really encouraged, and their excitement for this task grew. Let me know if you're up for it, and I'll provide you with info for when we are memorizing which verses. In any case, will you pray that God works in big ways through the book of James in our lives? Thanks!
As for life outside of the classroom, well, I haven't had much of one yet, but I do have good news: I have been pleasantly surprised at how well my new living arrangements have been going so far! Sure, this is probably a honeymoon period of sorts, but nonetheless I am thankful to be living "at the top of the hill" with my new roommate Charisa. There are plenty of new teachers and new families on campus that I am looking forward to getting to know, as well.
As I close, I would just like to thank you for the various roles that each of you play in the fact that I'm able to be teaching here. Your prayers move mountains, and I really appreciate the air-time you give my students and me! Secondly, over the summer, a little over half of the money for my term here came in. Thanks, thanks, thanks! Will you continue to pray that the finances would come in as God would have it? If you haven't been a part of what is going on here at ABCCA, I invite you to ask God if joining in is for you. Irwin McManus has said that "passionate people create the context in which the rest of us live." Thanks for letting me share my passions with you, thanks for helping me create a Godly context for my students to learn in, and thanks especially for sharing your own passions in the contexts that you are creating for others in your communities. The Lord's work is so big and I love that we can all fit into it in one way or another!
Praise Him and missing you but loving Lilongwe,
Support checks can be sent to African Bible College, Inc. P.O. Box 103, Clinton, MS 39060, or you can take a Visa or Mastercard to http://www.africanbiblecollege.com/abc_givenow.asp Just make sure that my name is on the check or in the comment box… Zikomo!! And ahh, you already know where to send the prayer requests.
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
just a little summer update :)
Happy August, friends and family! August has always been my favorite month of the year, and this year itpromises to be a crazy August yet again. But silly me, I've alreadyjumped ahead...
We have been so grateful to have Lisa as the 5th gradeteacher since January. Our son Robert had been unhappy since our arrival backin Malawifor our second term of missionary service. Robert was having a hard timeadjusting to being back and was miserable at school. We prayed hard for someoneto come and replace the 5th grade teacher who had to return home dueto health reasons. Well, Lisa was such an answer to prayer. I remember pickingRobert up from school after his first day with Miss Kowowski and he was buzzingwith news of his day. He was really enjoyed school since Lisa took over theclass and has had fun learning this year.
We are thrilled to know that Lisa is planning to return toABC for the 2007- 08 year and will again be Robert's teacher for 6thgrade. We appreciate her input for Robert and the way she has helped him adjustto being back in Malawi.Lisa's coming has really helped our family in our mission service here through her help to Robert.
From the Young family.
As you praythrough the coming weeks, please remember my students and I, and praythat our school year will begin with lots of joy and momentum! Also,please consider being a monthly financial supporterof this ministry. Your support provides for my daily life in Lilongwe,and none of my ministry there would be possible without you. I amgreatly encouraged by those of you who have already committed to makethis next year happen for my students and I, and I'm confidant that youwill be blessed by your giving. As we say in Malawi, Zikomo Kwambire! Thank you very much!
Well, friends and family, tionana, and I look forward to hearing from you! Because of His Goodness, Lisa Kowalski
Please pray: *that travel and adjustment will go well over the next few weeks;*that $800 per month would come in to cover expenses; *that mystudents will grow into young men and women who will make a differencein the world; *for strength and wisdom to make the most of daily lifein Lilongwe!
Please pay: Checks can be made out to African Bible College, with 'Lisa Kowalski'as the memo, and sent to African Bible College, Inc. PO Box 103,Clinton, MS 39060. You can also donate through the link on the rightside of http://www.africanbiblecollege.com/ Please be sure to specifythat it is for a missionary, Lisa Kowalski.
Monday, May 28, 2007
Malawi Gone Wild
Antecdotes from life around here these days...
Monday, May 14, 2007
its like you're riding shotgun!
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
May in Malawi :)
"The great use of life is to spend it on something that will outlast it." - James Truslow Adams
Friends and Family, hello!!
Tuesday, May 01, 2007
pre-support letter fun, with all due respect to Mr. Buble!
We were hanging out with our friend Michael the other night, and, well... we just thought his song could use a Malawian-style update. I love it here, i really do! sometimes you've just got to jump on the crazy train, though ;)
Saturday, April 28, 2007
hug me? I think not! ;)
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
This has nothing to do with anything...yet
This has nothing to do with spring break, 2 flat tires, back to school, recent American tragedies, or the outdoor veggie market that I am now a fan of... however, if I wasn't in love with my students, I might jump on this! But, ahh, YOU can! Want to come play with me?!? ;)
Sunday, April 01, 2007
this isn't an april fool's day joke!
Well, as winter approaches here in Malawi, I'd like to wish you all a happy spring! I have completed teaching my first term (quarter) here, and I'm thankful to have two weeks off for Easter Break!! I don't' have big plans other than hiking a mountain (just a day trip, this one is not the 3rd largest in Africa so it should be a little easier than hiking Mulanje!) spending a few days at the lake, and Easter (my first one away from family at home, sad day!). Other than that, I have the last term of 5th grade to plan and prepare for, as well as... 6th grade...!
I found out that ABCCA is restructuring the middle school, and that 6th grade next year will be in one classroom with one teacher, rather than switching teachers for each subject. Let me tell you, when I found out that I could stick around and teach my students for another year, I knew I was in trouble... I prayed about it a ton - "God, what are you thinking?!? I was planning on going home.. how will this ever work out...?!?" But I know that I need to be here, so ahh, 6th grade, here I come! My kids were thrilled about it when I broke the news to them, haha, it was one of my happiest moments here so far, but I wonder if they will still feel that way when it comes time for 6th grade homework, dun dun dun! ;)
With this new decision comes a host of new prayer requests: Join me in praying for how in the world it will work out, financially, for me to be here another year, please! ABC suggests that I raise a minimum of $800 / month to cover housing, insurance, transportation, food, etc, and so far that amount has been mostly adequate for my monthly needs here. It helps that there is no Starbucks around to indulge in grande decaf mocha frappachinos, amafagato style, when it's been a crazy day at school, but still, there are basic expenses involved with living anywhere, including Malawi. Then, well, I'd really like to go home this summer, to see family and friends and prepare to be here for another year. (ok, ok, I want to get a mocha while I'm home, too! It's the little things that you miss when you're away for so long!) I can get round trip tickets for about $2,300, so if you're a fan of helping out with that, I would really appreciate it. Lastly, please pray for my students and I - a year and a half is a long time to be stuck with each other! Pray that I will be an effective communicator of their academic disciplines, as well as the truths of God. I have a wide variety of learners in my class, and I need wisdom for every day that their education is in my hands!
I want to close with heartfelt gratitude for the ways in which you have made the first leg of this adventure possible. I feel blessed to be in a position where I can support missionary families in their work by providing a quality education for their children! Also, as I am living in the 4th poorest country in the world, poverty is not something that is only on the TV screen for me (wait, what TV?!? haha.) Anyway, people live drastically different lives from you and I just minutes from where I live. I love that I am able to meet some of these people and develop meaningful relationships with them. Just this week, I found out that all the clothes that a family I know here owned, save what was drying on the line, were burned in a fire that thankfully didn't take their whole home. Well, through the money you have sent to support me here, I was able to take Dora and Jackie to the market and let them pick out their new wardrobes. It was a morning well spent, so here's a big THANK YOU from Dora and I. It meant a lot to her, I know. :)
I've got new photos up on myspace as well as at
http://lalalady911.myphotoalbum.com . They're mostly of my students! (That jumping castle, oddly enough, is about a fifth of the price to rent here as it would be in the states! Of course, my students really enjoyed their surprise class party!) Feel free to check them out anytime, I think they're awesome, but then again, I'm biased! And with that, please keep in touch, enjoy Easter, pray for me when you think of it, and, if I get a flight home for the summer, maybe I'll see you then!
Because of His goodness, Lisa#2
snail mail address:
Lisa c/o ABC Academy
PO Box 1028
Please include my name in the memo of any one time or monthly support checks, and send them to
ABC Home Offices
5343 Clinton Blvd.
Jackson, MS 39209
By the way, thanks. a lot. :)