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“Outrageous Joy” in Malawi

by Stephanie Anfinson April 16, 2024

Outrageous Joy in Malawi

John Flippen and his wife, Mary Beth, who faithfully serve in Malawi, shared this inspiring testimony:

“In 2023 Cyclone Freddy decimated the villages and fields surrounding Blantyre. Nine months later hunger, real hunger, was an ever growing and constant reality. Such is life in Malawi, the number four nation on the World Poverty Index.

One year after Cyclone Freddy, Mary Beth and I stood in Mtutile Village’s maize field. We were here by these Malawian villagers’ special invitation. “Come! See our fields!” was their joyously extended invitation to us. The I WAS HUNGRY training twenty Mtutile villagers had attended eight months ago was, for the villagers, a huge success. And, they could not contain their Joy. Showing off their fields was something never before done in Mtutile. Now with just two more months until harvest, Mtutile’s hard work, perseverance and the I WAS HUNGRY transformational training would soon put food, lots of it, back on the menu.

That evening, Mary Beth and I sat at home reflecting on this day’s privilege. “Babe, can you believe it? We got to play a small part in their outrageous joy!”

Just one year earlier I had sat in my car and eyeballed Mtutlie’s destroyed houses and fields. Instinctively I reached for my wallet as if it was a magic wand. Easy-Peezy! Sell a stock from our retirement fund and then throw money at the village’s problems! But I had learned this type of relief effort, although making the donor feel great, would not produce any lasting results. But today, I was witnessing overflowing joy. Smiles were all around. Mtutile’s abundant harvest had been produced from their own hard work.

Today’s joy and smiles are the effects of a marvelous new poverty alleviation tool. The I Was Hungry two-week training is a truly transformational combination of farming, finances, family and faith. Now when I visit Mtutlie village, I exit my car committed to the training, not to charity.

Mtutile’s extreme poverty was the entry point for Crown’s I Was Hungry. Their coming harvest will, in turn, produce a rich generosity. I now see the bit part Mary Beth and I were picked to play. “God, I get it. Everything we had earned and learned in our 35 year long careers is now in play here in Malawi. I no longer build with sticks and stones. God, our good God, has entrusted Mary Beth and I with building into His precious people. This is a new game with a new score book. ‘And God, thank you for true riches!’”


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