Thursday, December 20, 2007

So maybe I won’t be home for Christmas, but...

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!

2) I am not best friends with my family, but I have found myself really missing them during this holiday season. So... what to do about that? Ok - this is dorky, but here's what I came up with:

* As a single woman, I'm "married to Jesus" right? ha. anyway, when you're married, you split the holidays between the two families, right? So this year, I"m spending the holidays with "His side of the family." See, I told you it was dorky!!

* Hey - what's a life motto good for if you don't ever use it?!? If I say my life is about True Love & High Adventure, I better darned well be facing this current challenge - Christmas away from home - with an attitude of True Love (I love that I am exactly where God wants me just now!) and High Adventure (What could be more of an adventure than Christmasing with a new family in a new country?!?)

So, we'll see how that goes. Also, we'll see how potluck goes on Friday night. It's my turn to plan it, (it = potluck meal for nearly 70 people) so I've decided that this week, the theme will be "Feliz Cumpleanos de Jesus!" Care to join us for some fiesta casserole, churros and more?!? If it goes over as well as the dinner that I cooked for the Moffetts tonight, I'll be a happy lady!

3) I am thankful for the rain, and praying against the return of the mullett!! :) and I miss you... Enjoy a cup of Christmas from your local starbucks for me, ok? because I would if I could! (it's the simple things right?!?)

I should be studying the inside of my eyelids, but I was divinely inspired.

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 Africa, and that new holiday traditions can be cool…

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 Lake with after Christmas?!? hahahahha!

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 Kamuzu International Airport next Saturday! Who knows when his bags will get here, but Ms. Clause is coming too and she's one of my favorites!

12. It's almost my one year in Malawi anniversary. Whodathunk?!? ha!

Just call me Miss. Demeanor!

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!

So here's the kicker: my boss did some research into this while I was at court. He says that there are apparently all these random rules that you wouldn't even guess, like that you can't have an open can or bottle of ANYTHING in the car, even soda! and that the cops are being given bonuses if they bring people in to court, (gotta get those Christmas bonuses somehow!) so it is likely they're on the lookout for azungus (white people) messing up anyway. It seems like I've been the guinea pig for a lot of things around here lately. "Ooh, Lisa's stuff was stolen. Maybe we ought to put better locks on the doors." or "ooh Lisa was taken to court for something ridiculous, maybe we ought to look into what all the weird rules are." So, apparently my job is to be here and make life easier for all the other missionaries by taking all the hits! What's next, a killer case of malaria? I bet I'll miss Christmas from malaria, wouldn't that just top all!

Anyway... your friend is a convicted felon in a 3rd world country, how does that make you feel? ;) love it!

this week’s cop stop...

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!

Know what I learned today? It's illegal to talk on a cell phone when you're in the car. Never mind that everyone here does it anyway, never mind that no one actually knows that it's the law. Never mind that when I was on the phone, traffic was at a COMPLETE STANDSILL and I was answering a call from Mandy, who was worried that I had not found my destination yet... so she heard the cop pound on my window and yell at me to turn up into the police station. (this happened this afternoon, directly in front of the one police station in town, lucky me.) *sigh, here we go again* I thought... We negotiated for like an hour in his office... you've got to understand that cops here can pretty much do whatever they want, there is NO consistency in ANYTHING, and the especially like to mess with the ex-pats, the white people who supposedly have all the money... He wanted to impound the car (sweet then we would be 8 people sharing ONE car in the academy carpool!); he wanted to keep my licence, he wanted to show me that he was the boss, cool.

My night in shining armor ended up being Matt Moffett, close friend and cool-guy extroidinare. (I was on the phone with his daughter when she heard the cop pound on my window, so she knew something had happened and came looking for me.) Once he came, the cop wasn't at so much liberty to mess with me, thank goodness! Matt was able to vouch for me that yes, I would show up at court as promised, and in doing so, convinced the officer to let me leave with my car and my liscence. This is, of course, after we both wrote our statements... not on anything official, but handwritten on a plain piece of paper he had lying around. super official, hu?!? ha.

So now I will spend Monday in court, awaiting a judge to hear my case. I hear crazy things about the Malawian court system, it will be interesting to see it firsthand. There is no telling if they will see me first thing in the morning, or if I will be there all day. There is no telling if they will fine me or not, and how much they'll rip me off for if they do... Love it here! I have a feling I will really miss my kiddos on Monday... man the biggest bummer of this is that now I have to find a sub and write sub plans! agh! And I was gonna be so excited about making it all semester without missing a day...

If you feel like talking to The Big Guy about this, ask that they would see me quickly on Monday, and that the judge would be fair, instead of ripping me off...

*sigh* November it hasn't been my month! but it's OK... if it was easy all the time it wouldn't be Africa, right?!? and this sort of stuff is half the adventure... Here goes nothing!

thanksgiving shopping, malawi style. :(

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 Casa de Somethingrahter, Mexico, with the bride, groom, nephew, and the rest of the fam… I'll be here, waiting for the photos. Cool.

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 Rose Drive in Fullerton will miss me on Christmas eve, because I'll miss it… God sets the lonely in families, and we're gearing up for a Dehnert & Moffet & Lisa lake trip for Christmas so it's not like I'll be all on my lonesome or anything.

Tomorrow we're venturing to the northern part of Malawi to check out a campground that I've been hearing good things about… 6th grade camp, possibly?!? Time will tell! Tionana, my friends!

Identity crisis? no way!

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.

In my last "life here is random" letter I failed to mention my door crisis. For the past 4 weeks, the door to my classroom has not been able lock, and for the past 2 weeks it hasn't even been able to close. Lovely. In a country full of thieves, where we have bars over all our windows, that was lovely. I got to play the patience game, and then William (henceforth referred to as My Hero) swooped in to save the day. Rumor has it he might install my white board one of these days too! What more can a girl ask for?!?

So my weekend. Friday was nice, I wasn't as exhausted as I usually am. I have been pondering whether or not I am doing a decent job in the classroom - being real critical of why I do things and how I do them, you know? Those six hours each day just FLY by, and I want to be making the best use of our time... (If anyone has discovered the secret of life in 6th grade, please fill me in!) Fun times at potluck... Jessica came over afterwords to watch a flick, but, being the old ladies, Charisa, Jessica and I all fell asleep by 10:30 and had to save the end of the flick till later.

Saturday... I decided that Saturdays are perfect if you are doing the opposite of whatever you did for the previous weekend. Last weekend I went to Dedza with the ladies, so this weekend I kicked it at the convent. I walked and podcasted, then set up camp on my khonde (porch) and read an entire kid's novel (an accomplishment for me, ok?!?) before noon. Good thing, because I need to start it with my kids MAWA (tomorrow!) In the afternoon, Annie and Megan came up to bake a pumpkin pie!! We baked the pumpkin and made the crust... No Costco and no can-openers for the pie, baby! Finally, I spent the evening watching a High School Musical marathon with Janelle and the Dehnerts for my sweet Janellie's 10th b-day. Love them!

My friend Alex (AKA The Band - apparently I like naming guys around here!) rocked CCBC this morning, and when I got home, A&M came back up for more kitchen time. We did our pie soufflé style (read: YUM) and had leftover pumpkin to make some pumpkin bread. After a picnic on my new bed (2 twins pushed together = a king = plenty of room for all of us to lounge and play!) we sang some Christmas carols and wrote special Life at ABC Lyrics for The 12 Days of Christmas - hilarious, I must say!!

No ultimate today, as bonding with the ladies took precedence, so I made it to chapel on time for once! Sean, who will pastor the Flood Malawi church, spoke about enduring discipline; good stuff! the ladies came back up to the top of the hill for some sufficiently cooled pie - DELISH! yeah man! and THAT'S why you can call me BETTEY now!! Betty, as in, Ms. Crocker! hehe! We watched a flick and I actually graded papers through it - I can never multi-task that way!

After John Nash got the Nobel Prize, the party was over, but I knew of another party... on the 5th try, Global phone connected me with all my extended family at their pre-turkey day bash. It was a regular old "Pass-the-Lisa" and I was thankful to talk to everyone!

So ahh... yes, random and pointless, but here's the thing... I like my life here. I'm thankful for my kids, even when they drive me crazy and I stay up late lesson planning and grading papers. and even when they call my cell phone to find out what page the math homework was on. Sheesh! ;) I like my friends here (though I MISS YA'LL!!!!!!!!) and I must say that rocking the convent is pretty fun. (The convent, by the way, is my house... My roommate is a single 30 year old and we live next door to a 40 year old single woman whose adopted daughter is in my profile pic - Caroline is the most precious 2 year old on the face of the planet!!!! Anyway, I probably committed myself to a lifetime of being a single missionary when I moved in here, but I'm discovering that's not such a bad thing after all... you can't spend 4 hours reading on the khonde and have the girls over to bake all day when you aren't rocking the convent, you know!)

And with that... another arduous week begins in about 4 hours. Why the heck must I stay awake so long on Sunday evenings, anyway?!? Good thing I have imported Dew! ;)

* a new newsletter in your e-mail; send me your e-mail address if I don't have it! You can laugh at what a dork I am along with the rest of everyone! and this one is in a new format so I don't think I can blog it.
*I was excited by a devo from staff meeting a while ago... I'm gonna write it out into a devotional article somethingrather and blog it. tight.
*when I figure out how to, I'll let you listen to my kiddos; I recorded them reading James and it's pretty sweet to listen to! especially because of their accents, hehe! ;)

OK - lesson planning time! Tionana Mawa, my friends!

long and boring... crazy tidbits of life here lately!

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...!

Last Thursday: (grocery shopping w/ Konnie and Caroline day) groceries, yay... excited to go home and cook for some neighbors I was having over! However... dun dun dun... on the way home, at a common Malawian cop stop, they found that the tags on the car I was driving (not mine - it's owned and "maintained" by the academy I work for) were expired... this is a bog time offense around here. So with my limited Chichewa and his broken English, the cop and I discussed for about an hour what should happen. Thank goodness I talked him out of hauling me away and impounding the car! Eventually we got the guy who is in charge of the cars down there to help. I ended up w/ some melted ice cream (first and last time i buy ice cream here!) and no dinner plans, as all my guests had found other means of feeding themselves since I was MIA. Cool advneture.

Wednesday night: Since we couldn't decide between going bowling or going to the drive-in (HA) we were entertaining ourselved by hand-making tortilla chips (or our malawian versians of them!) at mi casa into the wee hours...

(background info:) Theres this spider here called a ChopChop - it has 4 fang-like teeth sticking out of the front of it's face, and it's super vicious. A small one will be the size of your pinky, a large one will be nearly double that.)

Anyway, just as we get to the point of chopping some tomatoes for salsa, Ii see something scurry across the floor... ooh it's a bug right? I alert Andy and Heather, and promptly jump up on the counter! I ask Andy to get it, you know, since he's the dude. He chases it around the kitchen and traps it under a cup, then we get it into a jar after some fuss. Cool! We have a chop chop! My kids will love checking this guy out right now, as our classroom is a living terrarium since we're studying bugs in science class. I decide to go outside to look for a beetle to feed it, but instead of a beetle, I found another HUGE chop chop out there! Of course, I holler for Andy and Heather to come help me catch it. Unfortunately, Andy squished this one in the catching it process, but we got it, and then we put the two in the same cage (with some hillarious difficulty, all of which Heather caught on tape!) I tell you - the term CAGEFIGHTING has never been more appropriate! Both the chop-chops were wounded somehow; but the big one and the little one were each trying to bite into each other; rip the other's legs off, etc. it was rad!!! and this all happened in my kitchen!!

Today, Thursday (groceries day) Konnie and Caroline were no where to be found, sad day, so I set out into town on my own. Nothing like atheraputic day battling the streets of Lilongwe, hu? After picking up a b-day present for one of my students who invited me ot her b-day party tomorrow, the car wouldn't start. Hrmmm...

May I depart for a ninute to explain my car situation. 1- I miss Janie. 2- I'm thankful to be so well taken care of here, and to have access to wheels w/o the hassle of owning them. 3- there are three junky cars that any of the teachers who live on campus all share, there are about 9 of us in the carpool. Last night one of the teachers got into a car accident and I hear that she totalled the academy car she was in. She's recovering well; stitches; we're very thankful it was not worse! Details of the accident are still muddy, but anyway we're down to just two cars, fine.

But now this car was not starting! I called AAA... sike! haha! (ps - there are NO bowling alleys or movie theaters in all of Malawi, that part was a JOKE.) I called to be picked up by the girls who had the one remaining car, but I knew it would be a while. So, I became Malawian, and walked to the grocery store and to the outdoor market! yeah I'm cool. After I made it back to the car, I saw some ABC students hanging out waiting for their parents to finish shopping, so we kicked it. I helped AJ with his math, and then his dad helped me with my car! It was just a battery shortage or something dorky, but neither Bonita Vista nor HIU offered mechanics courses, so how would I have known?? Anyway, rad, I could drive off, and the whole ordeal only took about an hour. Amazingly, I was still able to cook the "Fiesta Casserole" as Nate dubbed it, and we had a FUN dinner! homemade tortilla chips w/ fresh homemade guac and salsa; the fiesta casserole and some festive homemade spanish rice... watch out Betty! ;) Ooh - homemade cookies for desert... May I please announce that the only recapie I used for ALL this was for the tortilla chip dough?!? Malawi does cool things to you like this. But don't tell my mom about my new numbchuck skills, because then she'll make me cook next time I'm there! (whenever that will be) agh!

and with that... i'm POOPED! I should be developing book reports and science projects for my kiddos to do; I should be grading their writing; I should be keeping up w/ my other weekly commitments... but for now, my feet are tired so I'm laying in bed, and I felt divinely inspired to blog a little bit about what life here is like! I'm sure this would make more sense if I were writing while I was actually coherent, but ahh, that's overrated! So ahh... keep an eye out for chip-chops, and know that you've got a friend in the M-Dub who loves ya and misses you! but she also knows that she is right where she needs to be, and she's in love with her 6th graders!

the prayer letter that is brief like...?!?

Monday, October 22, 2007

the prayer letter that is brief like...?!?

Friends and family! Blessings, happiness and hello!

The prayers of the righteous are powerful and effective (James 5:16) and since prayer is the shortest distance between you and me (Bonhoeffer), I'd like to send a prayer update this month. Thanks for partnering in the work going on here in Malawi through your prayers and support!


*We have completed our first of four terms at school! The students have been working hard and growing in knowledge. We recited James 1:1-21 to the rest of the upper school students at our last chapel, and WOW! I wish you all could have been there - the kids rocked it!

*I had an optional field trip for my students and their families to hike a local mountain a few Saturdays ago. The invite attracted 18 people, and half of us, including 2 of my 3 students who came, made it to the top! It was a terrific day to be in God's great outdoors! And another praise - it hasn't been sweltering hot here yet! We've only been in the high 80's and low 90s. And the best news of all...? After waiting only 7 school weeks, they have finally installed ceiling fans in my classroom! Now we can face the real heat waves with a bit more courage! (This seems an appropriate time to mention the fires in So Cal; let's be in prayer about that craziness, ok?)

*We have had this past week off as a mid-term break, which has been a refreshing time of rest and fun, but also a strong reminder of why I am here - I really just love being in my class with my kids! I'm excited to get the new term rolling with them next week. Anyway, praise God for the relationships I am blessed to be a part of here on campus, and for the safety he has covered us with as we travel on these dangerous Malawian roads.

*The generator for part of campus that I live on has been fixed, and so has the internet for my home! It's incredible to think that I've had mostly consistent electricity and internet for about 3 weeks now - wow!

Needs and Prayer Requests

*Well, you see... Rachel my Plummer would be proud of me... Lately I've been learning more than I ever cared to know about plumbing and city water and reserve water tanks and bucket showers... This is a problem that has been persisting since long before I arrived, and to be fair, I sort of knew what I was getting myself into. I didn't know how creative I could get with a lack of water, or that convenient hygiene would be a blessing rather than a given. Please pray that a solution would be reached and put into place sooner rather than later!

*It has become apparent that there is a severe shortage of an essential nutritional product on the shelves of Malawian grocery stores. As this product has given me the ability to function beyond my own capabilities at times, I find this news troubling. With much concern, I ask you to keep this need of mine, and the whole continent's actually, in prayer so that we might find ourselves receiving the full benefits of our nutritional supplements. The product of which I speak, you ask? Mt. Dew, of course! How silly of you to even wonder! ;)

*On a more academic note, this week is I am holding parent teacher conferences. I always anticipate the time to focus on each child individually with the people who love them the most. Please pray that these meetings would be effective in connecting with the families and meeting my student's academic needs now, as well as in preparing them to become young men and women who make a difference in the world!

*With a few of our teachers pregnant and due in the spring, we are beginning to look for teachers to come finish out the school year with us. We're looking for a pre-school teacher, and an upper school teacher to cover a variety of subjects. We are adding another 2nd grade class next year, so we're looking for a teacher for that position, too. If you or anyone you know might be interested in joining the ABCCA fun, talk to me!

*Thanks so much for making my time here possible! I am still raising support for $800/ month + the cost of a flight home. Your monthly support and one time gifts are directly impacting the lives of students and their families here at African Bible College Christian Academy. Thanks for making that a priority! Isn't it cool to see God work through you?!?

With that, thanks thanks thanks for being my far-away-friends! You are loved and missed! (Especially on your birthdays, all you who have been celebrating lately!)

Through Him,

Lisa Kowalski
ABCCA 2007 - 2008

How can I contribute to this ministry? -
What am I supporting, anyway? -
I know Lisa's been working a lot, but has she been having any fun there?

video postcards... wish you were here!

Friday, October 19, 2007

video postcards... wish you were here!

Life in Lilongwe has been pretty silly lately. :)

undefined Ostrich Dance

undefined jumping in the sunset

big weekending and what I’m thankful for

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!

We had to keep driving; our car would have been mobbed by angry people if we had stopped. Of course, we were shocked and very saddened by what had happened! After that I was extra, super cautious - anything can happen on these Malawian roads! As it was, I had to bring the car to a complete stop for a broken ox-cart in the road as well as a few other cows and goats who had nothing better to do than to wander onto the only road for miles.

Due to some crazy directions, we ended up taking the scenic route. It was super beautiful, but mega pot-hole-y! The driver's seat was on hydrolics or something, so getting to Club Mak was almost as fun as a day at 6 flags! (Except for the casualty, of course.)

We finally arrived. We told our friends about the adventuresome travels we had already experienced (and it was only 11am!) and they agreed that, though the situation was tragic, we handled it in the right way. We then settled in to enjoy the races! It was the Club Mak Mile, and swimmers from all over Malawi had come to join in. So, after months and months of practicing, my race was finally here! I completed my 1/2 mile race no problem... but just kidding about the months and months of training part - Annie and I joined in the races randomly at the very last minute! haha! Kaitlin, a girl in my class, swam next to me just for fun, but yeah she could have kicked my butt if she wanted to! :)

After a nap on the beach and a nice lunch, we headed out to a cottage on the lake - you think we have money to actually stay at club mak?!? ha! I don't think so! Not this time anyway. The other teachers and I joined the Harthoorn family at a lakeside cottage not far away. We were able to talk about what had happened with the Salima kid the previous day, which was healing because we were still bummed about it.

That, and the fact that I was malawied by the water again (read: sick!)... I had about enough energy to take more naps and catch up on some reading! Highlights from when I wasn't reading or napping were swimming in the lake and being attacked by a SMALL FISH (which was not so much a fish as it was Spawn of the Loch Ness Monster! I survived, though, fear not!) and hiking to the top of the mountain as the sun set behind the bay... Sometimes Malawi is prety stinkin goregeous!

I've got the pictures to prove that we went to a crocadile farm earlier today, so I finally got to kiss a crocadile! (Now all I have to do here is hug a hippo and I will be set to go!) Anyway, that was a great excursion, and then we were off, headed back to Lilongwe life. We detoured briefly to stop at the teen missions headquarters, since Corey and I are both TMI alums - wow flashbacks!! It was wild!

So now I'm back home with a to-do list a mile long that begins with FINISH GRADES FOR THIS TERM!! and ends... ahh, I don't know where yet! It will be a good week off though, I'm sure! I'm super thankful for it, thats for sure.

Know what else I'm thankful for? I'm thankful that the kid that I hit in the road on Saturday was not somebody's child, but a baby goat. (I got ya, hu?!?) Still tragic, none the less, but it could have been worse!

The Update Letter with all the cool Links!

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 (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 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! 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.

-Isaiah 43:19

"I just saw a big mini-bus!" - Caroline, age 2

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.

and tonight? wow!

I spent some time researching a few projects for ABCCA this evening, and I've got to tell you, I'm just so excited!!

(*ABCCA - African Bible College Christian Academy in Lilongwe, Malawi. We've got about 300 students, including my 17 sixth graders who are some of the most incredible people that you'll never meet, but I get to kick it with them day in and day out!)

The first project is making a school yearbook. ABCCA hasn't had one of these yet, so Annie and I are going to try to make it happen. So much has changed in the yearbook world since I was last in it, as editor of the yearbooks in jr high and high school. You can do all the photos and layouts and copy and submitting ONLINE now (well, assuming you have electricity and an internet connection, which tend to be luxaries around here, ha!) So thats cool. I get to find out prices, pitch the idea to my boss, convince kids to be excited about doing extra work in their free time, and see what happens!

Secondly, I'm trying to bring the idea of 6TH GRADE CAMP to ABCCA! This would be brand new to our school and probably the country. The thought of planning this and being responsible for all my students and our transport and the programs and the learning and all that jazz is quite overwhelming, but I think it will be worth it for the kids!! The thing is, I can't just call up Cuyamaca and get my kids into their own pre-existing program for a week! I've got to scout out all the options for myself and work within the malawian culture to try to make things happen. I'll be visiting a crocodile farm, a few wildlife reserves, a few safari places, and hopefully a Malawian Museum in the upcoming months to determine what the calss could do for a meaningful 6th grade camp. I've got so many ideas swimming around in my brain, I just hope that whatever happens will be awesome. I already know that our guest teacher will be awesome - Jolene is flying out to visit me and be a part of our 6th grade camp too!! SO RAD!! Anyway, my ideas at this point are broad and vague, I just want something awesome for the kids! (feel free to pray that awesome things would happen in this area, if you'd like!)

So ahh... the part about how it feels cool to be doing what God made you to do? I still remember that dorky leadership class at Hope; no, not "F. Y. Die" haha, but the J-term class I took with V and Bethany and Isaiah and Chris and Albert and tons of other people... I remember that class came right when I was in the middle of "The Royal Decree" It was then that I took my first Strengthsfinder test... They say I'm a Maximizer; ha! do you think?!? they say I'm an Arranger and a Developer... Yeah, I guess so.. it's projects like a yearbook and a 6th grade camp that thrill and excite me, though sometimes they also wear me out because I know I'm just asking to be Malawied or super stressed or whatever. But, I'm diving in, so here goes nothing!!

I read recently that God is not limited by our circumstances; that our geographical location does not thwart his will or purpose. That's a rad truth to rest in - God is bigger than the fact that I live on the other side of the world from my previous life, and my current location is IN his plan, not in the WAY OF his plan.

Secondly, I was reminded through a few verses at the end of Isaiah that God won't bring bring the labor pains without bringing forth the new life that makes it all worth it... At times, life here is like "labor." (case in point: my first week back here was awesome, everything was in decent working order all the time. Weeks 2-4, our internet was out. we were told daily that someone would come and it would be fixed. Three Weeks Later, we've got internet again, whew! That very weekend, the power went out all weekend. I nearly lost all the food I had in the fridge! I had electricity randomly in the middle of the night on Saturday, enough to skype with my fam and see Brian holding his new baby,(awww!) but come Monday morning I was getting dressed in the dark! the electricity did come back on that afternoon, yahooiee, however, since then I haven't had hot water and since last night I haven't had running water at all! I took a shower from a bucket this morning! so if it's not one thing, it's another, and thats how it goes! If you think of it, pray that our generator gets fixed and that they will build a new water tank here VERY SOON! Either that, or pray that I'd have a good attitude about this! I usually do, but sometimes it's still a bit of a bother, like when the power goes out when I've decided to cook a decent meal for once! Ahh, the thrill of being Malawied...! haha!) Yes, that was a nice case-in-point! ;) Anyway, God is not going to bring us through the labor pains for nothing; there is a beautiful new life waiting at the end! and then, that new life is just another beginning!

Lately, I have really felt like I'm on the brink of something BIG, that God has got his hands moving and that I can't even imagine how it will all end up. You know, I found some notes from a church sermon from almost a year ago, do you know what I had prayed that night? "God, I want something that is NOT OF ME." and yeah, ahh, can you just see how God answers these crazy prayers??!?!?! I know that I am here in the first place, not because of me and not of me, but through Christ and Christ alone!!

Anyway, thats Lisa in a nutshell these days. I've got to hit the sack now... ShopRite is out of Mt Dew so I had to buy it at the F-dub where it is 109 kwachainstead of k89! So I'll have to curb my Dewage... (Don't worry, I only have like 2 or 3 a week! it's the simple pleasures, ok?!?) Tomorrow my kids have a Bible lesson quiz, a James memorization test, a spelling quiz, a math chapter test, a literature quiz, and one more quiz that I cna't even remember... Anyway, I have to be in a decent mood to carry them through all that mumbo jumbo- what kind of teacher does that to her kids anyway?!? On top of that, they have a "dendrologist report" (tree report) due on Monday; come on! give 'em a rest!! heheh!


thanks for letting me share this cool stuff with you. Thanks for doing whatever it is that you do when you feel like you're in the middle of where God wants you to be, and that you are doing exactly what you were created to do! No one said it was easy, but it's sort of fun hu?!? :)

Tionana... :)

ooh yeah, haha, this is pretty dorky, you can go here and make fun of me: or just see whats up with ABC, etc. cool. (Ask Kevin what ABC stands for these days - HA HA HA!!)

and I miss you... write me! :)

One week down, 35 to go!

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. 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 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.

just a little summer update :)

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...

In June, my students and I said good by to 5th grade and 'tionana', or 'see yousoon' to one another. I had a minor 35 hour commute home from work,and much to the surprise of my family, showed up at home in sunny SanDiego! I slept for nearly a week straight, then got busy withappreciating America!

VBS atPaseo Del Rey was so rad to be a part of this summer!! I was thankfulto be able to be around for it. I accepted Christ 20 years ago at thissame VBS, so I admit that part of it was a bit nostalgic! Visitingwith people I haven't seen in way too long was refreshing andencouraging, and get this: The kids at the VBS helped to raise over$600 for me and my kids in Africa! I plan to use this money toencourage my 6th graders to be involved in meaningful relationalministry with the children at the orphan home we work with. I thinkthe best part of VBS, however, was a chance to talk to the kids there about being in ministry, and what it might look like for them some day. I'm always blown away by how much potential is in a room when kiddos are gathered together!

After VBS, I hit the road! After driving in Malawi, our freeways here are a piece of cake and Iappreciate the rest and relaxation they provided me! Anyway, I feelstrongly about the fact that what I am a part of in Malawi is just ONEpiece of the bigger picture of what God is up to throughout the world. Being able to catch up with friends and family, and be involved intheir lives again, if even for a day or so, has been such ablessing!!! Friends, we know so many cool people!!! It'sbeen incredible to see God slowly provide for various aspects ofpreparing to live and teach in Malawi again, and I'm trusting God thateventually all the little details will be taken care of. One observation I can share with assurance is that the blessed people are the generous people. It's more fun that way, too!

Now, with less than 2 weeksuntil I fly away, I am savoring my car, consistent electricity, thesea breeze, and my the company of family while all this is stillavailable, however, my mind is more and more in Malawi! Curriculum,workshops, supplies, lesson plans, books, activities, and mostly my student's bright faces remind me of why another plane ride and all the challenges of daily life in Malawi will be worth it.

I would like to invite you to makethis adventure worth it to you too. When you choose to support myministry at ABC Christian Academy through praying for and/or paying forthis, you are reaching a community of 250 international students andtheir families. I wish you could meet these families! My student's parents are missionaries, doctors, relief or aid workers,diplomats, ambassadors, and local Malawian business people. Onenoteworthy family is the the Young family, from New Zealand. Jim'swork involves helping churches in the villages surrounding Lilongwe,and Diane is a doctor at the ABC Community Clinic. Robert is theoldest of their three children, and they sent me this letter to share with you:

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 Please be sure to specifythat it is for a missionary, Lisa Kowalski.

Malawi Gone Wild

Monday, May 28, 2007

Malawi Gone Wild

Antecdotes from life around here these days...

Mr. Blessings:
A malawian man named Blessings helps in my class for a little while each afternoon. He is great with the kids and they love him. I appreciate his point of view and the fact that he helps me grade papers! Anyway, last Saturday 15 theives came to his house. Long story short, somehow Mr. Blessings and his wife were able to keep the men out of the house, however, they were both cut up and down their hands and arms by the ponga knives, and Mr. Blessings still has a gnarley gash on his head that isn't healing properly. Their four children saw the whole thing. Whats rad, though, is that it wasn't worse - 15 men against just one? yeah for sure God was there! My students finally got to see Mr Blessings today. We had a powerful prayer time with him, I wish you could have been there!

J & T:
Some people I play frisbee with were robbed recently. Some men broke into their house, tied the husband up and took the wife away to rape her. She told them she had AIDS, and because she has skin problems, they believed her. Thankfully she was not raped, but I'm not sure if they has stuff stolen after all that or not. I bet they're really happy to be returning to America soon, because this is not the sort of thing that makes you glad you live in a country like this!

A friend of mine rents an appt off the side of the house of a man who owns a local resturant. Crazy stuff with their night guard, he tipped some theives off to let them know the best time to come rob Brian and Hope. When Hope came home, she found her guard and her husband tied up, with knives and guns pointed to them. She was instructed to give the theives all the money, so they made off with about $500 US and some thousand Kwacha. Jessica awoke in the middle of the night to the noises of this, but thankfully was not a part of it. I don't blame her for wanting to spend the night at our place tonight, though! so crazy... so close to home...!

In class today I was asking my Malawian students what their names meant. Limbikani's name means "stong man" or something like that, so, as he is my smallest kid, I had to give him a hard time about that. In the middle of this, Gerald pipes up "My name is Gerald Happy Rainbow!!" and that, being the funniest and most unexpected thing I've heard in a while, sent me lauging for pretty much the rest of the day. I mean, I guess no one could help it if his last name means Rainbow, but could you imagine a name like that at home?!? Ooh man I love that kid!

Person Vs Mini bus:
Dorothy and I saw a person get run over by a mini bus today. Literally. We saw their hand waving from under the bus, as the crowds gathered. The way people drive around here, I'm surprised that's the first time I've seen this happen. But still. Not every day that you see someone get taken out while they're walking on the side of the road.

President's Wife:
The President of Malawi's wife died today, and to show respect, it looks like all businesses in the country will be required to shut down until the funeral, which, they say, will be no sooner than three days from now. If we don't close school, they can take away our TEP's (international work permit-ish things). So, who knows if I even have these last two weeks with my class!

So What?
Well, you sure could pray for us here! I don't know if this is the theif season or what, but it sure makes me thankful for the bars I have across all the doors and windows in my house. Pray that my guard, will remain awake and alert throughout the nights. Yeah, sleeping night guards in the middle of all this chaos, cool hu? I ought to share some Mt Dew with them! Pray for the many people around here who live with this reality all the time, and who have no way to protect against it. Pray for Mr. Blessings and his family, for J & T, for Jessica, Brian and Hope, and the person who lost against the mini bus today. Ooh yeah, come to think of it, one of my students said their dad was atacked by theives when he was in his car this weekend. Where to I live again? Man... And yet, it's rad to see the hand of God moving around here in so many ways...

And...dun dun dun... it's officially Mouse on a Stick season. Could have bought some from a guy on the side of the road today. Maybe I will tomorrow...

I miss you all...!!

its like you're riding shotgun!

Monday, May 14, 2007

its like you're riding shotgun!


so ahh, one of the craziest things to get used to around here is driving!! the roads are crazy, as you'll see. I thought it would be cool to bring you along, so, jump in, here we go! Please excuse the retardedness of my narration and the bumpiness of the videos.

Anyway, the first video was taken as I was driving through a nearby village - no kidding, this is LESS than a minute away from where I live!! The second was taken on some roads that I travel more frequently.

It's not impressive photography or anything, but maybe it will give you a little glimpse of what it's like around here.

(I watched the movie CARS the other day, and seriously, it made me homesick!!)

ok, here we go! Get your seatbelt on!!


Life in Lilongwe

May in Malawi :)

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!!

Well, to begin with, I want to tell you that there's someone on the other side of the planet who is thinking about you often, and so thankful for the ways in which you are supporting her time away! (That's me, in case I had stumped you!)

The days have been beautiful here in the big MW. A silly highlight is that I've worked up the courage to shop in the outdoor fruits and veggie market. I wish there was a way to describe it to you, but just take my word for it that even for someone like me, it takes a little extra courage to go there each week! It's a unique part of the Malawian life that I am thankful to be able to take part in, and, well, nothing compares to their avocados! yum!

As with each letter, man oh man I just wish you could meet my students! They are truly a joy to spend my days with here. I'd like to think they are the best class ever, but I know I am biased. Our new focus this term is MATH...! I'm always surprised by the strength these kiddos show to persevere in their learning, even when things don't come easily to them. We were able to share the song "You Never Let Go" by Matt Redman with the rest of the lower grades at chapel last week. That song carries such an encouraging message about the fact that God's love is right there with us, no matter what we're going through, and we had some great discussions centered around that truth. I tell you, these kids are going somewhere! Each morning, we pray that God would be growing us into young men and women who will make a difference. As I look out on their faces, I truly know they will. Many of my students are currently involved in an orphans outreach. We go to a nearby orphan home run by Children of the Nations and spend time reading and playing with the 30 children who live there. It's a powerful time for all of us!

You know, I often consider the idea that what I'm doing here isn't really a big deal at all. I'm just teaching, for crying out loud, and you can teach anywhere. Why should anyone care that I am teaching in Malawi? The thing is, my student's parents are here in Malawi to make a difference. They are doctors for the downtrodden and they are government officials working to change Malawi from the inside out. The work they do is unique to this country and its specific needs. (By the way, Malawi is one of the poorest countries in the world and over half of the population lives on just $1 a day. One million people here live with AIDS, and they are no strangers to the dangers of Malaria and other diseases.) I feel lucky to be here as a support to the other missionaries, to my student's parents who are making an immediate impact in this corner of the world. Please understand that when you are supporting me to be here, you are not just supporting me! If you have not yet taken the time to do so, I ask that you would please pray about supporting me to be here. (I've included the mailing info for any checks at the end of this e-mail, along with a brief list of a few other things you can be in prayer for!) Thanks lots and lots for those of you who have been praying for me! It is an encouragement and I promise that your money is making a difference here! I pray often that you will be richly blessed for your generosity!

In joy, Lisa

In the following days and weeks, will you please join me in prayer about these concerns?

* More teachers than usual have been getting sick with the flu and with malaria. Please pray for our health and stamina to finish out these last 5 weeks of school!

* Please pray for endurance and joy for my students as they finish 5th grade.

* Join us in prayer that God will be growing these students into young men and women who people who will make a difference in the world!

* I need $2,300 to be able to come home this summer. This will be my only chance to see friends and family for another year, and I have a lot I would like to do to prepare to teach 6th grade here next year. Please pray that the money will come in, and that my time at home this summer will be restful and productive!

*I need $800 - $1,000 per month to cover my expenses here next year. The money goes to my rent, groceries, insurance, transport (including a plane ticket home for when my time here is over) and other daily needs. Please pray about supporting me once or monthly, and please pray that enough money would come in so I can stay out here!


One time and monthly support checks can be sent to:
African Bible College, Inc.
P.O. Box 103
Clinton, MS 39060

(just mention my name in on the memo. If you are able to donate monthly, please note that on the memo line as well. All donations are tax deductible, so that's awesome! And thanks! )

My mailing address:
Lisa Kowalski
c/o ABC Academy
PO Box 1028
Lilongwe, Malawi
Central Africa

Photos and fun, updated every now and then:

hey, one last thing: Zikomo - thanks. lots. :)

pre-support letter fun, with all due respect to Mr. Buble!

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 ;)

let me go home

"Home" by Lisa & Ari Buble, with a little help from Dorothy

one more Malawi day
Has come and gone away
In this borrowed home
But I wanna go home

Maybe surrounded by
These guarded walls I
Still feel all alone
I just wanna go home
Oh, I miss you, you know

And I've been keeping all the e-mails that I wrote to you
Can't send them anyway
Internet is out today
Well I would send them but wait, the power's out again
So what do you think of that?
My life here just ain't that phat.

Another school day
Another pot luck
I'm lucky I know
But I wanna go home
Mmmm, I've got to go home

Let me go home
I'm just too far from san diego
I wanna come home

And I feel just like I'm living a Malawian's life
Eat the same thing every day,
Watch out for pot holes in the way
And I know just why you could not
Come and visit me
you would go insane
'Cause life here is so mundane!

An ABC day has come
And gone away
In the next borrowed home
And I wanna go home
Let me go home

And I'm surrounded by
A million people I
Still feel all alone
Oh, let me go home
Oh, I miss you, you know

Let me go home
I taught my class,
it went by fast, but
I gotta go home
Let me go home
It will all be all right
I'll be home tonight
I'm coming back home

(by the way - support checks can be sent to me at African Bible College, Inc. P.O. Box 103, Clinton, MS 39060. I really do want to come home this summer! But I'll be more serious about that later. for now, enjoy the silliness!)

hug me? I think not! ;)

Saturday, April 28, 2007

hug me? I think not! ;)

Dear everybody,

On the subject of hugging, I have decided to abstain until marriage. Even then it should be done in the privacy of one's own home, as all forms of PDA are indecent and not proper for Christians to take part in. In our culture, hugging leads to smoking which leads to drinking which leads to card playing which leads to sex which leads to dancing. So, you see, hugging is the root of a multitude of sins including that heinous sin of dancing. 12 hugs a day? I should think not. The nerve of some people.

Incidentally, becoming a missionary and going through missionary training also leads to card playing, so it is obvious that becoming a missionary belongs somewhere on that slippery slope. The is further proven by spontaneous occurrences of salsa dancing and talk of dance parties while at missionary training.
For further information on the physical and spiritual consequences of hugging ask Brittney to forward the informational public service message I sent her on the connection between plague-carrying rats and people who hug too often. Am I the only voice of morality that has made it through the chicanery of missionary training?

(Some guy named Zach wrote this and we refer to it all the time! this is our life...!)

This has nothing to do with anything...yet

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?!? ;)

I know someone who knows someone who knows someone (who is legit!) who is looking for an American private tutor to home school two of their children, along with two Malawian children. This will take place in the southern region of rural Malawi, and the tutor will also have the opportunity to work with the local primary school teachers in the area as a way of improving local education standards. Should you choose this adventure, you will receive a round trip ticket, medical insurance, room and board and $400. per month. (shoot, that's more than I'm making! hehe!) Sounds awesome..! let me know if you want me to put you in contact with the people I know who know the people who want to know YOU. And we could be friends. :)

this isn't an april fool's day joke!

Sunday, April 01, 2007

this isn't an april fool's day joke!

Hello everyone!!

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 . 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
Lilongwe, Malawi

support address:
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. :)