Celebrating 8 years in Malawi

May 20th marked our Malawi-versary. In the eight rich years since our arrival in Malawi, many things have grown: our family, our church, our ministry team, and especially our knowledge of God's grace to ordinary people like us.  

So many significant things have happened in the past few months, we're just glad to finally have a chance to tell you about it!
2017 Family Photo


Appointing our first Malawian elder

For years, many of you have joined us in praying for this! I'm thrilled to tell you that in April, we officially recognized Gideon Manda as both qualified and desiring to serve as an elder at IBF Church. We have known Gideon for several years through his service at CAPA and thank God for the wisdom and pastor's heart he brings to our church.

Stepping down from eldership

I (Matt) stepped down from my role as an elder last month. The Lord used some interactions in the church to make me aware of my impatience with others and a general weariness in doing good. Rather than downplaying these things, the other elders supported me in my decision to take a sabbatical from my shepherding responsibilities for a season. I'm still on staff at the church and CAPA, but the change in role is giving me some space to examine my heart and refresh myself in the love of Christ.

Please pray that this time wouldn't be filled with other things, but that it would be a sweet time of communion with the Lord that revitalizes my thinking, attitudes, and ministry. Also pray for grace for the other elders as they assume extra responsibilities to free me up.


Still better to avoid it.

Another first happened in May: I contracted malaria. Over the years, I've visited dozens of people with malaria in the hospital, and even carried a guy from his hut to our truck to take him to the clinic. After seeing my friends shiver under blankets in the tropical heat, locked in the fetal position, eyes clenched against the light, I've been pretty vigilant about avoiding the mosquitoes that carry malaria. But two weeks earlier, I had run out of insect repellant at church camp...
Having malaria was pretty uncomfortable. In fact, it felt like a million saboteurs were waging war throughout my red blood cells, and blowing them up. The first few days, I couldn't even watch a movie in bed. Thankfully, Rachel was able to drive me to the clinic to get regular injections, which helped me get over it quicker. The nurse said it'll take 120 days for my blood cells to be restored, but I feel great.
I'm grateful to live in a time where malaria can be treated. It gave me great appreciation for the early missionaries to this region. They didn't know what caused malaria or how to prevent it - but the love of God compelled them to come here anyway.


Family visits

Rachel's parents came to visit in May, and Matt's came in June. We were so glad to spend time with them! It was also a win-win to let them enjoy time with their granddaughters while Rachel and I got away for dinner (or at least some malaria injections.)

Rachel walked Hadrian's Wall

To help encourage us to regular exercise, we both set big goals for this year, which we've recently reached.

Rachel trained to walk 86 miles, completely across Northern England, along the ruins of the wall built by Roman Emperor Hadrian (117-138 AD). It's been a dream for over a decade. Our friend Lisa LaGeorge helped organize a trip, so that when Rachel's parents left at the end of May, Rachel went to walk across England!

Matt ran Mount Mulanje

And last weekend, I ran the Mount Mulanje Porter's Race, up part of Malawi's highest mountain. The route covers 14 miles (23 km) horizontally, plus 1 mile (1700m) vertically! I couldn't ask for a more beautiful place to push myself. I was happy with my own time of 4:14, but it's humbling to think that the winner (a porter who's been on these trails since childhood) finished in 2:08!


Got experience with business or IT? Let's talk.

Finally, there are two areas at CAPA where I'm looking for help from people with more specialized knowledge than I have:

Business advisors. We're looking for a handful of out-of-country professionals that I could contact as needed (at most maybe Skype or FaceTime once a month) to ask questions within their area of expertise. Right now, I have questions related to finance/accounting, legal, and HR, and more may arise in time.

Volunteer IT Manager. We’re also looking for someone to come to Malawi (for maybe 6 months?) to help us identify and begin to address our IT needs. Once a system for maintaining these things has been established, this person would train a Malawian understudy to replace him.

If you're interested, send me an email for more information.
Thank you for your ongoing prayers, support, and love! We're grateful for each of you and the myriad ways you encourage us to keep serving the Savior. 

How can we pray for you?
By grace,
Matt & Rachel
Abi & Naomi

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Matt & Rachel Floreen • 13248 Roscoe Blvd. • Sun Valley, CA 91352

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