A team of 10 people arrived back from the EXITE 2015 trip to Malawi this summer and we asked Don Ten Hoeve (Director of Field Operations for GMI) to report on their time there and the ministry that God had for them. EXITE is a program for High School Students from Grace Churches around the USA. To learn more about the EXITE ministry click HERE. It is difficult to share in a short blog post all that they did and saw while in Malawi, but here is a brief summary of their time there.
“Our main ministry was doing Kids Clubs in communities around the Grace churches in Malawi. We did 4 of them in the Lilongwe area and a two-day club in Southern Malawi not too far from Nsanje in a little village called Ntolongo. In every village we were told we would have about 75 kids but we ended up with over 200. We played games with them, taught a Bible story, and then shared the Gospel using the Evangecube. Our translator would give an invitation and almost all the kids would raise their hands. (Only the Lord knows what really went on in their hearts.) We also sang songs, did a craft, and handed out little wooden cars supplied by an organization called “Toys for God’s Kids.” Many retired men and women make these cars in their homes and send them all over the world to put a smile on kids’ faces. Their group (www.toysforgodskids.org) in Holland, MI, donated over 600 cars to the EXITE team. I’m sure that for many of these kids, it was the first toy they ever owned. We also did our kids program in two Sunday church services during Sunday school while Wayne Schoonover Jr. or Don preached to the adults. One important aspect of the EXITE team is that the high school students plan and develop their own ministry. The adult team members help and counsel but in our boot camp at Grace Bible College, the high school students plan their lessons, games, music, and crafts and buy all the supplies to make it a reality. One of their lessons was about David being anointed as king of Israel. For the craft, we were going to have the kids make and decorate a crown. As they were planning how to do that and deciding how much to do in advance and how much the kids would do there, one of the students suggested that we ask Burger King for some crowns. Thanks to the 28th ST SW, Wyoming, MI BK for their generous contribution of several hundred crowns! They were put to good use and were decorated and worn for several days by many children.
In regards to physical work, our team cleared land for a volleyball court for Eric Mango’s sports ministry. We then helped build a sand court that his team, the Grace Strikers, will use for their home games. We also helped Joseph Asong sort, organize, and catalogue the books for the Bible School library. In Ntolongo the church was damaged during the floods this past year. We helped with their roofing project in the mornings before doing the Kids Clubs in the afternoons.
It was great to see how the children responded to our students and adults as they played with them, loved on them, and taught them. It was great to see how the children listened to the Gospel as it was shared with the Evangecube and could tell much of the story when given the opportunity. May God continue to grow these children in their faith as others come behind and water the seed that was planted by the EXITE team.”