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Today we share a special e-mail from Brittnia Brandl. Most of you will remember that Brittnia went on a missions trip to Africa last summer and that many of the HeartTouchers readers supported her in prayer and also helped support her financially. I had asked Brittnia to share her experience with all of us... Since we took a five month hiatus last summer and fall, I wasn't able to share this with you soon after her trip.
Brittnia is like family to us and I wanted to personally thank all of you for your prayers and for those of you who supported Brittnia's trip financially. A special thank you goes to Richard from Richmond, MO, Denelda from Indian Spgs, NV, and Judy from Phoenix, Arizona. I will be sending you a special gift in the mail for your generous support of Brittnia...
Be sure to write Brittnia after reading today's article! You can also congratulate her on her upcoming wedding! She will be getting married this July 19th...
From my family to yours,
P.S. For those of you who missed the story about Brittnia in our book, I have included the link at the bottom of today's story. Be sure to visit the link to read just how special Brittnia is to our family....
by Brittnia Brandl
Dear Heart Touchers readers,
I want to thank everyone from the bottom of my heart for their tremendous support and prayers toward my missions trip to Malawi, Africa. I know this trip would not have been possible without your prayers and generous donations. All of your support has gone to a very worthy cause. Eight months have passed since my return from Africa, and I continue to miss being there. It was definitely a life changing experience that I will never forget.
I knew that going to Africa was going to be an eye-opening experience, but I do not think anything could have prepared me for the things I saw during the two weeks that I was in Malawi. Just stepping off the airplane in Africa was a breathtaking experience. The sun was just rising over the horizon into what had to be the biggest sky I had ever seen. You could see for miles without any buildings obstructing the view. However, this experience was quickly altered during our taxi drive to our hotel. Many people were standing along the road begging for food or money. There were also many young children with bloated stomachs wandering around wearing very little clothing. I also noticed that most of the people lived in small mud huts. My heart still aches when I think about the situation in Malawi.
The main focus of our missions trip was to show the Jesus Film every night in various villages in the native language of the area. There was a huge response with crowds of 250 to 3,000 people gathering just to see the film. During reel changes, our group would share testimonies, and at the end of the film, there was an invitation for people ask Jesus into their life as their personal Lord and Savior. During my three weeks in Malawi, I saw thousands of people give their lives over to the Lord. The very first film showing was one of the most memorable nights. The film was set up in a very remote field that did not have another building in site. As the sun began to set, you could see hundreds of people walking from all directions to see the film. By the end of the film, over 3,000 people had gathered to watch the film. More than half of the crowd gave their lives to the Lord that night. It was the most amazing thing that I have ever seen.
Along with showing the Jesus film, we also brought supplies to two orphanages, a hospital, a maternity ward, and went to two soccer games as an outreach program. The first orphanage we visited was called the Mchinji Orphanage, and it had 260 children with 60 of the kids at the age of 2 years or younger. The majority of the children's parents had died from either AIDS or malaria. The orphanage was Christian-run and the children were properly cared for; however, the funds would occasionally diminish and the supplies would run out. The look on the children's faces and the tears that ran down the "head mother's" face as we brought in supplies was priceless. Everyone was very grateful for even the slightest thing, even clothespins. One thing that I learned while being in Africa is that everyone is extremely grateful for everything that they get, unlike the "I need the best of everything" attitude that is very common in America. The Mchinji Orphanage was the highlight of the trip. The children absolutely loved us. They would come up and give us big hugs. They loved to touch our hair because it felt very different from theirs. They also loved to touch our skin because they said that we would glow in the dark. There would be a crowd of kids following every move that we made.
We also brought supplies to the Queen Elizabeth's Hospital while we were staying in the capital of Malawi. Nothing, and I mean absolutely nothing, could have prepared me for what I saw in that hospital. The hospital does not have enough money to feed its patients, so in order for them to eat, their family members had to move onto the hospital grounds. Many of family members would sleep on the floor next to the bed and many others would sleep on the front lawn of the hospital. The front lawn was completely filled with family members who had to give up their jobs to care for their loved ones. If the patient did not have someone to provide food for them, then they would usually starve to death. The hospital was overflowing with people. People were lying in the hallways or in any corner that there was room. In addition to starving patients, there was no way to bathe the patients, so the facilities very dirty. To make things worse, there were very limited amount of supplies in the hospital. My experience in the hospital was absolutely heart-wrenching. I tried really hard to hold back my tears, but I couldn't hold them anymore and continued to sob during the rest of my stay. Although, we brought supplies and food to the hospital, I still left the hospital feeling as if we barely helped. However, I was quickly reminded by my fiance that we presented them with the greatest gift we could ever give them, and that is the knowledge of Jesus Christ. He reminded me to have faith and to pray continually that they will accept the gift that they were given.
The hardest thing about leaving Africa was the fact that there was still so much that I wanted to do there; however, I continue to pray that the seeds planted during my short stay would produce fruit for the Lord and that the people will begin to trust in God for every aspect of their life. I continue pray for Malawi and its people, and ask that you also remember them in your prayers. God made a tremendous move in Malawi this summer, and I am completely grateful that I was there to witness it. God is awesome. Thank you once again for all you support!
Brittnia Brandl is a junior at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee where she is studying elementary education. She attended Clinton High School where she met her high school sweetheart and future husband Jeff. Jeff and her are planning a wedding for this July! She is excited for what God has planned for her and Jeff in the mission field and they are both excited for their next trip.
You can read a special story about Brittnia by visiting: http://www.HeartTouchers.com/022001
MICHAEL T. POWERS
"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." Galatians 2:20
Video Imagery --Michael's Video Production Business
I just wanted to take a minute to thank you for the beautiful video you made for me! It was so special to see both of my parents in tears as they watched their children grow up in pictures before their eyes! I loved the way you made Estania's part set aside from the rest--that was the part that really got them! The music was beautiful. My mom kept blubbering, "What song is that?" I don't know how you did such a beautiful job with the video in such a short time. I really appreciate your doing it so quickly. You have a wonderful gift, and I thank God that you are using it to create such sentimental memories. I hope that I can find my niche like that in an area that I love. Your video gave us one of our most lasting Christmas memories! I hope yours was filled with moments to be treasured forever! Love, Trisha Silverhill, AL
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