An unexpected burden
Beatrice, who lives in Blantyre, Malawi, remembers the time shortly after her husband’s death in 2014 like this:
“Life wasn’t all that promising… I had been left on my own with my four children and my late sister’s daughter, rejected. It was like a bomb thrown at us and I couldn’t figure out what I could mourn for: my husband’s death or the burden of taking care of these children by myself.”
Encouraged by her local church
With no help or family she could turn to for assistance, Beatrice was on the brink of despair. But the encouragement of her local church, Chirimba Evangelical Church of Malawi, gave her a boldness and determination to find a way to provide for her family’s needs.
For its part, the church – overwhelmed by the magnitude of Beatrice’s needs – had no idea how to help… “But we believed God still,” said Pastor Lawrence. Admitting the gravity of the situation, Pastor Lawrence put it like this:
“We saw the state of affairs in the family; such a sorry state — the widow was left with an unfinished house and the kids, but yet we still believed God would work out a miracle, though we couldn’t figure out how.”
The church initially offered a simple gift of blankets. Beatrice recalls the moment when her church stepped in:
“It was an act of a God who sees… It was a cold season and all of our blankets were torn. One of my children said, ‘Yes! We can sleep again!’ It was a relief and I just don’t know how I could have bought them such blankets. God used the church and we have been greatly helped in so many areas.”
Creating sustainable income for Beatrice and her family
As the church got to know Beatrice better, they learned that she had previously participated in a training to learn how to run a business. So the church allocated money from its custom plan (funded by Forgotten Voices) to provide her with capital to get started.
“I didn’t just arrive where I am today selling these plastic bags and salt,” Beatrice said. “I did a survey in this market on what could sell best and fast while making me profits. The plastic bags are the ones which sell fast and give me more profits since I supply to most of those who also do business in the market. Who wouldn’t want their beans, beef and fish wrapped?”
“I think there will be a day when I tell the leadership of my church to stop helping me and go to other struggling, when my business has grown and is stable.”
Beatrice’s business is thriving! She now earns about $10 profit per week – which is twice as much as the average Malawian earns. Together, Beatrice and her church are paying the school fees for two of her children to attend high school.
“Because of what I have experienced, I can encourage so many on how faithful our God is. We had no hope, but He restored it back to us through His church.”
For his part, Pastor Lawrence says of Beatrice’s situation and future outlook:
“You can see that this is one of those stories that leaves us speechless at how God works. We never dreamed He would answer us and her through [Forgotten Voices], but He has and we praise Him for bringing out answers even from unexpected places. We chose her for she was really the neediest of the needy, and we are glad to see her develop and [to see] the life in her business. She has all the reasons to smile and we are happy for her.”