Monday, December 29, 2008

outside these walls

I live on the campus of African Bible College and I am very thankful for that. I am surrounded by walls that make me feel safe. I like to feel safe. That is good and right when we're talking about a physical absence of danger kind of safety. The problem that the walls create for me is that I start to feel safe in them, and scared outside of them. Not literally. I mean that I feel safe in my community and my ministry and nowhere else. I shut my eyes and my heart to other things that God may want to use to grow me and use me for His kingdom.

Today I traveled with my friend Lisa and an ABC graduate named Frackson (go ahead say it outloud with a bit of enthusiasm, it's a great name!) to a place a little south of here. She is organizing a team from San Diego to come run a camp for orphans so we went to check out a place. I was struck by the beauty of the country that I've called home for the last year and a half. The sky is so blue, the clouds so white, and the landscape so green. Everything in Malawi is exaggerated. It was a good reminder to get outside the walls. Physically and spiritually.

God takes us out of our comfort zones so that we learn to find comfort in him alone. Please pray for this lesson to take root in my heart.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Merry Christmas from Malawi

Christmas has come and gone yet again. Even though it's 80 degrees and I'm not related to anyone within a few thousand miles, I feel "home for the holidays" as the saying goes. I spent Christmas with the McDonalds again which was a huge blessing and so much fun! I love that family! Here's the run down of Malawi Christmas traditions (it's been more than one year so it counts as tradition).

Christmas Eve: Fried chicken, mashed potatos and corn casserole with the McDonald family, the Jones family and me. Here are the kids getting ready to get their food.

Molly Grace, Sam, Amber Elizabeth, Ford

Sarah Rose, Alice Ann

After dinner we went next door to the Dehnert's house for Christmas carols and wassail. Here is the Robbins family singing away!

Here is the new little guy who has stolen my heart. He was brought to the clinic here on campus when he was about 10 days old. He was born at 32 weeks, they think. He weighed 1 kg (that's about 2 pounds). He is now about 7 weeks old. His name is Clever and is up for adoption. Too bad it's so hard to adopt in Malawi. Please pray that we find him a home and that he doesn't end up being sent to his home village- even though his grandmother already said that she can't take care of him.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


I came across this article on my google home page. The question is: How much worse will it get? What a great example of the depravity of man, and the need for a Savior. Please pray for Zim this Christmas season. They need a miracle.,8599,1867645,00.html?xid=rss-world

Happy Christmas!

We have safely arrived to Christmas holiday. As I look back on the last four months I am so thankful for the way that my class has bonded together and the ways that we have grown to love one another. Here are a few quotes that made me smile.

“Miss Miller, your sound is all gone!” (when I lost my voice)

“God likes all the colors, even pink,” says Michael

“Oh no, my braids will start to stink any minute!” says Lisa after her braids (fake hair) got wet in the rain.

Our memory verse a couple of weeks ago was “The Mighty One has done great things for me, holy is His name” from Mary’s song. The conversation went like this:
Me: Who do you think is talking in our memory verse? It’s someone who is grateful that God has done a miracle for her. It’s someone who is really important in the Christmas story.
Student: Santa!

One of the songs we sang for our Christmas program has a line that says, “without the holy savior’s birth there would be no peace on earth.” One little girl sings it like this, “without the holy savior’s birth there would be a piece of earth.”

Smiles and loves,

Saturday, November 29, 2008

thanksgiving festivities

On Thursday Annie and I made a non-traditional (but delicious) meal to enjoy together. That's homemade pizza, in case you couldn't tell. We also lit pumpkin and apple scented candles to make us feel like it's actually Thanksgiving.

On Friday we opted out of the Thanksgiving dinner with all the other American's on campus to go to "Carols by Candlelight" with a family that we have grown very close to in the past year. This event is put on by a local church. The kids make lanterns and the band plays Christmas carols. Everyone bring blankets and picnics and we enjoy the music. It is such a special time to enjoy living in a truly international community. I spend the evening with a South African family, an American family, and Zimbabwean family.

This is Nya and Kiara. Aren't they beautiful?This is Annie (my roomate) and Kiara.

This is Hannah and I. Hannah was in my class this year. Her family is leaving Malawi in a few weeks. I'm going to miss them so much! They have really taken me under their wing since I got here last year.

Lisa even made a pumpkin pie (from a real pumpkin!) and brought it with her for us to enjoy. From left to right: Lisa (6th grade teacher), Annie, Me, Andy (english teacher).

So, even though I didn't have a traditional Thanksgiving, it was definitely a time to be thankful. I am so blessed by the people here in Malawi.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Happy Rainy Season!

I'm sitting here listening to rain pounding on my tin roof and huge claps of thunder. The rainy season is officially here! Nikita made me this card to celebrate the beginning of a new season. The bugs she is talking about are ngumbi (flying termites). They "attack" after the first rain. Malawians fry ngumbi and eat them. I hear they taste like bacon bits. The bottom picture is from the window in my living room.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


I love myself a toasted bagel with cream cheese. You can get bagels here in Malawi. You can get cream cheese here in Malawi. I've been buying bagels almost every week since I got here in August, but have not been able to find any normal cream cheese. Smoked salmon just doesn't do it for me. So, I stopped buying bagels. Today at the grocery store they finally had cream cheese. I get all excited and go to get bagels. Guess what? No bagels. Neat.

In other news, it is HOT here. The response I normally get to that is, "How hot is it?" The answer to that question is somewhat misleading. I don't think it gets too much above 93-95 degrees which doesn't seem too horrible. The thing about heat here is that it is everywhere. If it is 95 outside, it's 95+ inside the house and probably about 100 in my classroom. It's like the heat gets inside of you and won't get out. Today we rode in the air conditioned car and my skin was freezing cold by the time we got there but it felt like my insides were still sweating. I don't think your insides can actually sweat, but they sure can feel like it.

Enjoy your nice cool fall days and the drizzly Oregon rain. Think of me roasting here in Africa when you get annoyed because it is raining- again.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Mercy in Malawi

We are commanded to be merciful, as our Father is merciful. Everywhere that I go there are people asking me for money. The little boy leading the blind man standing at the window of your car. The little girl with no legs in the wheelchair. The mentally handicapped woman. The vendor who just wants me to buy his strawberries. The list goes on and on. What does it mean to show mercy?

Mr. Dehnert talked to our women's Bible study about this. All the good ideas are his, all the questions and confusions are mine.

How is our Father merciful? In his mercy, God came to earth for us. He shed his blood that we could be forgiven and spend eternity with him. That is the way that God had mercy on us- mercy that leads to salvation. That is not the only way that God has shown mercy to us. He extends mercy to all mankind daily. Every breath and every step are God's mercy toward us, in a way that is separate from our salvation. God extendes this mercy to all mankind so that they may come to a saving knowledge of Him. (It is not his will that any should perish).

Now, we are obviously not called be merciful in a saving sense. Only God can do that. So we are called to be merciful to everyone in a way that will lead them closer to a saving knowledge of him. Or, in other words, in a way that draws them into community. Leviticus 25:35-36 speaks of supporting people so that they may continue to live among you. As you show mercy it should be in a way that allows them to be part of a community.

Giving to a beggar does not really draw them into the community. I have decided that my mercy needs to be extended to those who are in my sphere of influence- the woman who cleans my classroom, the woman who cleans my house, those whom I have a relationship with. But, doesn't that sound like I am casting judgement about who is "deserving" of my mercy? Doesn't that show that I don't fully understand the mercy that has been extended to me?

This whole issue is spinning around in my mind. There are so many questions. I think it's good though. I think that God is pleased when we wrestle with the hard issues.

Let me know your thoughts.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

one thing after another

Please pray for me and the community that I live in. It seems like there has been trauma after trauma for the last month or so. I know that the enemy is most active where the work of God is being accomplished.

First, pray for Nuala and her husband Ben. He is in serious condition in a hospital in South Africa for a brain trauma. We aren't really sure of the exact situation, but they need a huge amount of prayer. Pray for Nuala's strength, their 4 children who are here in Malawi, and of course, for Ben's healing. God is a God of miracles, let's pray for one.

Second, there appears to be an outbreak of German Measles or Rubella at the Academy. From what I understand the sickness isn't too harmful. Except for an unborn child in the first trimester. I know of at least one person in that category on campus and I'm sure many more at the academy.

Just pray in general for God's hand of protection to be over the Academy as we seek to do his work and share his love.

Zikomo Kwambile (Thank you very much)!!!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

I lied...

This is the last one. I forgot to post my favorite pictures from this year so far. Reading Day is an annual tradition at the academy. The kids dress up as a character from a book. I dressed up as Aslan, obviously from my awesome costume.
Last year I had three spidermen. This Tinkerbell was the costume of choice. The Tinkerbell in the middle is Lisa (the one who lost her father in a car accident a couple of weeks ago).

one more...

I think 4 blog posts in one day must be some kind of record. I know that most people like to look at the pictures more than they like to read the words, but I felt like I should give you more of an update on how things are going.

Our first term of school is officially finished. I've been here for three months already! I just finished my report cards a couple of hours ago. The time is really flying by. My theory is because it still feels like summer outside, so I don't comprehend the fact that it's acutally almost November. I'm glad the first term is over, it seems like it's one of the harder ones to make it through because it's so busy. And so hot.

I'm teaching swimming lessons to 4 year olds. It's fun because the kids are really cute and I get a tan, but stressful because there are 14 of them and only two of us. Also, for those of you who know me, I don't really like to swim. Don't ask me how I got myself into that one.

The little time left of my week is spent hanging out with Annie (my wonderful roomate), baking things that aren't healthy for me to eat, watching a lot of movies, and reading.

As always, your support of my is essential to my work here. I couldn't do it without you! Keep me updated on how you are doing as well!

Love and prayers to you.

First Grade One

This is my classroom. It's the same one as last year, it just looks a lot better. Do you see any of the things that you send on the container? The alphabet did. And so did most of the books in the reading corner.
The reading corner.

My name is on the door this year. That is exciting. Ms. Stephens is apparently my assistant. She hasn't come to my class yet. I think she starts in January.

my kiddos

The first grade classes got together to do some baking. We were learning about community helpers so we made scones. Brenda Burg's famous scones, in fact!

We all worked together!

My little darlings. Don't be fooled by their innocent looks.

This picture is a much better visual of what it's REALLY like to teach first grade.

a power cord!

Safari Pictures and thoughts:

1. I love the African sky.

2. Giraffes are still my favorite animal.

3. Monkeys can entertain one for hours. Literally. It was so hot that I could not focus on anything except how hot I was. Until the monkeys came along. This was the tree right outside of our chalet. The tiny baby monkeys were so cute.

4. Giraffes are my favorite, but lions are pretty amazing. They are the king of the African plain. You can also see the Luangwa river in the background. All that is brown and sand is filled with water in the rainy season (all the way to the trees).

5. I like this picture because it is symmetrical. I like zebras because their stripes are all different, but still orderly. They sound like a donkey, in case you were wondering.

6. This picture says safari to me. This is our guide, looking for the lions.

Monday, August 18, 2008

a quick post...

Hey everyone. I've made it safely to Malawi and am currently exhausted. Jet lag is doing a number on me this time. Just wanted to give you a few specific things to pray for in the coming week.

1. The container arrived and all of my stuff on it. Thank you SOOO much for everything that you sent. It has been such a blessing to go through it all.
2. My classroom is coming together much quicker than last year.
3. It's been really wonderful to be back. It really feels like coming home.

Prayer requests:
1. The teachers at the Academy who all have so much to do this week before school starts- including myself.
2. Students returning to school.

Here's a couple pics from my last few days in America.
Friends for 18 years....She's all married now!
The Miller girls. "You said we were taking a serious one!" says Alaura.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Ways to help...

As most of you know, I am technically a missionary. I raise all my support for the year from people like you who believe in what I'm doing in Malawi. I really can not express the amount of gratitude that I have every month when I see the money that comes into my account.

The good news for this year is that I have already purchased my plane ticket. That is a huge chunk of money that does not need to be raised. The bad news is the cost of living has been steadily increasing in Malawi (that's bad for me, and the people of Malawi...). I need to raise the full $800/month to be able to support myself there. I also need to raise enough money to cover things like taxes, student loan payments, and household necessities. I trust that God will provide for every one of my needs, as He always has.

If you would like to support me financially there are a few ways for you to do so.

You can snail mail a check to:
African Bible College
PO Box 103
Clinton, MS 39060

You can go online, see a picture of me, and click "Here for Miller" under donate:

As always, the most important way for you to support me is in prayer. I can not stress enough to you how much of a difference your prayers make in my life. Stay tuned to this blog for more specific prayer requests as the year goes on.

Friday, August 1, 2008 limbo...

CBAP (my summer job) is finished now. I'm really glad, because I was getting really worn out, but that means it's really time to start getting ready to go. This is the worst part though, just waiting and anticipating. I have a lot of things to do and there are a lot of details that need to work themselves out before I'll be fully ready to go. Here are a few things you can pray about:

1. Support- please pray that my support will continue to be sufficient for my living needs.
2. Taxes- I need to get last year's taxes squared away and according to the government I am self employed which means that I pay a lot of taxes.
3. Emotions- Pray that I will be emotionally prepared for leaving home again.
4. Wedding- I am the maid of honor in Chauntelle's wedding on August 11 (that's two days before I leave). Pray for Chauntelle and Geoff, that things will work out and their life together will be blessed.
5. Students- pray for my students as they get ready to transition back to school and start first grade. I've got 21 sweethearts in my class this year!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

summer time

My time at home is flying by. I'm trying to prepare for my return to Malawi little by little so that when it's time to go I'll feel like I'm ready to go. It is with many, many mixed emotions that I'll be returning. I know that Malawi is where I'm supposed to be, and I really do love it there. At the same time, home will always be Oregon, and like Dorothy taught us, "there's no place like home."

Here's a few pictures to show you what I've been up to.

Kristina and I camping. This was before she was done with nature.
Kodiak Bear. The newest member of our family.
Duncan Canyon. Family property in Eastern Oregon.
Oregon coast on a rare blue sky day.
Hiking down to the beach.

Monday, June 30, 2008

New York, New York

Hey, hey!

I made it home and have been busy ever since. I started work the day after I got back to Oregon. I might be crazy, but it's ok. Things are going good so far. Please continue to pray for my transition to the states. It's been pretty crazy to get used to American culture, and all the changes that have taken place in my town, my house, and my family. Just pray that I would allow God to be the center of my life and my heart.

Here are a few pictures from my New York adventure. My favorite was the the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Shopping was also a plus. H & M is my new favorite store. And I liked seeing Kristy. She's the best.
Boat to Statue of Liberty-
Lady Liberty herself...
At the Creperie (MMM)
About to see Rent!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Zim Elections, take two

Please remember to pray for Zimbabwe. They are having their run off election on the 26th or 27th- three months after the original elections. The situation has gone from horrible to horrific in the time since the first election. The governement has now cut of all help from outside meaning the little food that was coming in is no longer allowed. The children who were getting one meal every three days are now getting no meals. The situtation is heartbreaking, and seemingly hopeless. We just have to keep praying and trusting that God has his hand in this situation somehow.

My friends, the Saywoods, are traveling by car through Zim in just a few days. They are from Zim but have lived in Malawi for the last 5 years. They have been planning for weeks what to say at the borders and police stops. They are planning on bringing as many groceries as possible to their relatives, but they have a 70% chance of getting them taken away at a police stop. Please keep them in your prayers in the next few weeks.

Other things to pray for:
1. traveling mercies for myself and others who are traveling (I'm leaving Malawi tomorrow and will be in New York City for 4 days)

2. peace of mind, heart, and body as I travel (believe it or not, I really don't like it!)

3. academy preparations for next year (new staff, supplies and materials coming, etc.)

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Psalm 103

For the last few days I've had the words to Psalm 103 going around in my head.
"Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being praise his holy name."

You know those times when you just feel so full of life, joy, peace, love? I think my student, Florence, said it best at Thanksgiving time when she told me she was "enoughed." That is the best word to describe how I've felt wrapping up my first year here in Malawi. Enoughed. God has provided for me in just the right ways at just the right times.

Today I woke up with all kinds of butterflies about traveling and seeing Annie off. I know I'll see her again in a couple of months, but it just means the end of yet another season. After going to the airport I went to the Mackay's for lunch. I had their daughter in my class (did you notice the past tense in that sentence?). It was so wonderful. I left amazed at how God designed us so that we could see him in each other. We are his workmanship, and the work of his hands is so evident in others. The funny thing is, most of the people there are not Christians- and I can still see reflections of who God is by the way he made them.

"Praise the Lord, all his works everywhere in his dominion, Praise the Lord, O my soul."

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Congratulations, First Grade 2!

Wednesday was our award assembly. I was so nervous. I found out about 1 hour before it that I was supposed to have a little speech for each one of my kids, explaining why I chose the award. Plus, the parents of 6 classes of children were there. But, all went well. And I was so relieved once it was over. Once it was finished it really felt like the end. Today we worked on memory books and had a party and watched a movie. Tomorrow is final classroom clean up, field games, and home by 10:00 a.m. I can't believe it's almost over!

I'm leaving Malawi a week from today. Sometime in the next week I have to find time to pack my house, my classroom, and get as organized as possible for the first week of school. Not to mention say goodbye to people who have become very dear to me. School is ending, but the work is most definately not!

I just wanted to share a class picture with you. I'm willing to bet that you've never seen a more precious group of 7 year olds.

I can't wait to see you all in about a week and a half! Love and blessings to you!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Friday in Malawi

There's a few things I love about Friday (besides the obvious).

1. Chapel. Reception thru 1st grades have chapel together every Friday. One class sings a song, one class recites a memory verse, and one class presents the lesson. Mrs. Mpata leads songs and it is such a priveledge to see the little ones lift their praises to the Lord.

2. Art. My class gets really excited about the art projects that I give them. They do really well when I give them freedom. And not so well when I try to restrict them.

3. Crisis nursery. I go every Friday to hold babies at the nursery. It's something I look forward to all week. I have seen miracles happen there, and it's a blessing to be part of it. My latest love is a little girl named Juliette. Her twin brother's name is Julius. Most of the babies there don't really smile or coo. Juliette does. She tells story after story, and has the most beautiful smile. I'm going in a little while, and I'm going to remember my camera this time.

4. Potluck. Every Friday all the ABC missionaries are invited to potluck. I know that you have an idea of what a potluck is like from all the ones you've been to at your local church. Let me tell you, this is not like that at all. Jack and Nell open their home to us, there is a theme every week (Mexican, soup and salad, KFC, etc.). There can be as many as 70 people on any given Friday (including the kids, who make up about half of that number).

5. Scrapbooking. LeAnne and I have started scrapbooking on Friday's after potluck. I started one of my classroom to show to you all when I get back. It's turning out really cute. Although it is picturless at the moment. It costs about $1.00 to print a picture here. No thanks, I'll wait for 14 cents and Costco this summer.

I really need prayer for the next two weeks- there is so much to do!! Here are some specific things:
  • Field Trip- Crocodile farm. Safe travel there and back
  • Packing up my classroom, organizing and trying to be ready for next year
  • One particular student who is really struggling with math, and one with reading
  • Wrapping up my first year in Malawi. It's full of emotions and so am I!
  • Safe travel back to the states
  • Praise: Selah Grace Leboffe has joined us, and so has Elijah Forrest Goodnight Robbins

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Walking on the wild side

For social studies this term we have been studying the continents. It's been a lot of fun to teach, and my kids have enjoyed it as well. Every Tuesday when they come back from PE they pretend that they have gone to the continent we are studying. They tell me all about the animals that they saw, and the places that they went. It's pretty cute. Here are some pictures of the mural that we painted together. They did a really great job!

That's Mr. Guise in the background- he's my assistant. He wanted to wear an apron too.

Putting on the finishing touches. They each got to choose rainforest animals to draw and glue into the rainforest.
The finished product. Sure, bats live in the canopy layer of the rainforest and tocans are as big as trees! Not too bad for 19 first graders though!

Please pray that I can focus on the things I have to do for the rest of the year. I really need to be able to be productive in the time that I devote to working in my classroom. I also have conferneces coming up in a couple of weeks and I'm nervous! Pray also for my students- that they would stay focused and the few who are really struggling would made some significant progress in the next 6 weeks.

Friday, April 4, 2008

monthly support and breakfast

I don't think that I tell you (my supporters) often enough how blessed by you I am. Right now, I mean financially, but you bless me in other ways too. We recieve our financial statement at the beginnning of every month and this month's was very encouraging, humbling, and full of blessing. Not only was it a larger amount that usual, but it is so fun to see the ways that God is working in the lives of people at home to support me here in Malawi. It is an incredibly humbling experience to rely on the generousity of other people as my only means of income. Anyway, thank you for believing in and supporting my work here in Malawi.

A story about my breakfast. I woke up at about 7 a.m. feeling like I'd had a good night of sleep. I had to get out of bed because my mosquito net was touching my face, which is about the worst feeling ever. I was also really hungry. Now, breakfast in Malawi is a little bit tricky. I have been trying not to buy cereal because it costs about $6.00 for 1 weeks worth, plus milk, which costs upwards of $6.00 per gallon (and tastes disgusting). So, that means I spend close to $12 a week on breakfast, seems a little high to me. Anyway yesterday I bought a new hot cereal to try. We had this really yummy cream of wheat type stuff in Cape Town so I thought this might be it.

I went out into the kitchen and started making this new stuff. It's called Mealie Meal. (I guess that should have been my first clue). It smells not so good. I cook it anyway. I see black things in it. I cook it anyway. It starts to thicken, looks gross, and smells gross. I keep cooking. It's done cooking, I put it in the bowl. Taste it. Gross. I'm about to eat it anyway because 1. I'm hungry, and 2. I feel like I haven't given it a fair chance. Upon closer inspection of the black things they are found to be bugs. I start to pick them out and eat it anyway. But I just can't do it. Not today. Sorry Mealie Meal, the South African favourite of families, not for me.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Zimbabwe Elections

Please join me in praying for the country of Zimbabwe. They have had their elections, and as far as I know the results have not been released. The current leader, Mugabe, is nothing short of a tyrant. "Africa's Hitler" is how I've heard him described by people I know. Perhaps a dramatic comparison, but when 80% of people are unemployed, inflation is at 100,000%, electricity, petrol, and food are scarce you really start to wonder. Especially when he throws a million dollar birthday party for himself.

I know a lot of people from Zim, and I can't even imagine what it's like to be completely displaced from your country, and to know that it's in shambles. Please pray for Shelley, Glenda, and Owen, fellow staff at the academy who are from Zimbabwe.

For more information:,8599,1726790,00.html?xid=rss-world (this one's good)

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Cape Town diaries

We stayed in Fish Hoek, a small beach town about 45 mintues from down town Cape Town. It was so nice. It felt like Cannon Beach- cute shops, ocean smell, cool breeze. Wonderful.
Day One: Table Mountain. You take the cable car up (well, we did. it's possible to hike, but no thanks). It rotates 360 degrees as you are going up. A little freaky. One of the most beautiful places I've been. The first pic is the cable car. The second is Cape Town proper from the mountain. The last is Andy at the top.

Day Two: Boulder Beach, Cape of Good Hope and Cape Point. Words can not describe how beautiful. Seriously.

If I continue day by day this will be the longest blog ever. So here's the rest of the pictures I want to show you. We ate a lot of good food, enjoyed the scenery at the wineries, and of course, did some shopping. And saw wild animals- penguins, baboons, dolphins, creepy birds, ostriches. This baboon was trying to break into these people's car. He even took a swat at the girl. Or as Annie said, the gorilla beat up a woman.

Annie and Andy are eating delicious food. Andy is eating crocodile, springbok, ostrich and warthog. Annie's just eating a hamburger. The bottom picture is the three of us enjoying an Easter picnic at one of the oldest wineries in Stellenbosh.