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Jahswel & Cheyenne Mpagaja Newsletter (Winter 2022)

Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Is it really 2022 already?! We have had a very busy couple of months and can’t wait to share with you all that has been happening. 

MATERNITY LEAVE & BOOT CAMP TIME

As last term ended in November here at the Bible schools, Jahswel finished teaching his Speech class and I started maternity leave. Jahswel really enjoyed teaching the students how to prepare and deliver a proper speech and seeing their improvement by the end of the term. After that, Boot Camp took place from November 22 nd  to December 31st,at four locations in Malawi: one at our Rumphi base in the north, one here at the Chipoka base, another at the Mangochi base in the south, and a brand new Boot Camp even further south in Nsanje, close to the border of Mozambique. For over a year, we have been running shorter Boot Camps because the school calendar was thrown off due to COVID, but this time around we were finally able to run our usual seven-week Boot Camp program as the government schools had a long holiday break. I helped prepare the paperwork for the Chipoka and Nsanje Boot Camps, and Jahswel was busy as usual—teaching concrete classes, supervising the Obstacle Course, being the master of ceremony, preaching during rally, interviewing potential students, and being a translator when needed. It is always a busy time for all the staff and students here, and we love to see God work through the program to bring many to Christ. 

NEW POSITION

My position here in the office has changed! Until now, I have been the Administrative Manager of the Matron Units, and I have enjoyed ministering to the girls at our units these past few years, especially visiting them with Jahswel and having girl talks. During my pregnancy I became unable to travel the distances using public transport to properly visit the Matron Units. This made it difficult to fulfill my role to the best of my ability. Then at the end of my pregnancy, I was asked if I would be interested in managing the Teen Missions Malawi social media sites, specifically the Facebook page. This would allow me to work from home and in the office while I adjust to life with Jedi, and I wouldn’t have to worry about traveling. I have accepted the position and I really enjoy it! I am excited to have a creative outlet and interact with people online. I am thankful that another staff lady can fulfill the role managing the Matron Units better than I was able to do. 

MY MOM VISITED MALAWI!

That’s right, my mom has become the first family member to meet my husband! She visited us for three weeks over Christmas, from December 22nd to January 12th. I cannot express how it felt to spend time with her after being apart for 2+ years. Having her here in my “world”, seeing her and Jahswel chatting and laughing together, it felt like a dream! We rented an Airbnb in Lilongwe closer to the clinic, and we had way too much fun together as we awaited Jedi’s arrival: playing card games, introducing Jahswel to shrimp (he struggled to even swallow one bite!), going on walks, showing her around town, and catching up on what I’ve missed at home in the States. It was such a gift, and I kept thinking how kind God is to give us this time together. I love my mom, I love my husband, and there are very few things better than spending quality time with the people you love. For my mom to be there to support me as I gave birth to my first baby was a once-in-a-lifetime chance that God knew I needed. I am just so grateful! 

OUR SON IS HERE

After a difficult 20 hours of induced labor, with no pain medication and Jahswel never leaving my side, our sweet strong boy, Jedidiah Ezekiel Mpagaja, was born at 3:30AM on December 31st, 2021, weighing 8.4 lbs and measuring 22.3in long. “Jedidiah” means “loved by the Lord”, and “Ezekiel” means “God will strengthen”.  He most certainly strengthened both Jedi and me through labor and delivery. After he was born, we found that his chord was gently tied in a loose knot…who knows how long it was like that in the womb, and God watched over him. We are greatly relieved and humbled to have our son safely in our arms. As of today, he is 25 days old, and it has certainly been the biggest adjustment of our lives, in the hardest and best way. I am incredibly grateful to have great friends who have encouraged and supported us through this new journey. Sometimes you just need a home cooked meal, and to hear that things WILL get better!—especially as we navigate breastfeeding, postpartum hormones, the slow healing process, lack of sleep, and being a family of three. It’s been a wild ride, and God has been so kind and caring through it all. Thank you to all of you who were praying for a safe delivery! We ask that you continue praying, for me as I am still healing from giving birth, and for Jahswel as he takes care of us as I recover, cooking and cleaning on top of his other responsibilities. If you are interested in hearing his detailed birth story, you can let me know and I would love to share it with you!

PRAYER REQUESTS

Jedi’s passports—As we understand, Jedi is automatically a dual citizen being our child, and we are hoping to start the process of getting him both Malawian and US passports. It looks like his Malawian passport will cost around $100, and his US passport around $175 which we can get at the embassy here. There is a good bit of documentation we need to gather for these processes, plus the finances to cover them, so we ask for your prayers that God would provide all our needs and open the doors for us. 

Jahswel’s visa—We submitted the petition for Jahswel’s immigrant visa back in August, and still have yet to hear anything about it. Keep praying! We are trusting in God’s timing and it is hard, especially now that we have Jedi, thinking about how my family is missing out on his life as he is growing more every day. Please pray for the Lord’s favor concerning Jahswel’s visa. 


Raising our monthly budget—We are hoping to raise our monthly budget to $1,500. As of now we receive about $1,200/month. Please pray with us for God to raise up more supporters to meet our needs as a family of three, and for our plan to go to the US. Lord willing, once we are able to go to the US, our desire is to remain with Teen Missions for the foreseeable future, and be able to spend time with my family for them to meet Jahswel and Jedidiah. We know that He is in control and has a special plan for us all. We do not put our hope in seeing family again someday, but our hope is in the living God, who cares for us and sustains us no matter where we are. 

UNTIL NEXT TIME

Now we are settling in as a family; I am at home recovering and taking care of Jedi. When Jahswel is not home with us, he is out working with the students around the base, or he is teaching his Doctrine class for this term. Pray for him especially as he works hard to teach his class, on top of taking care of us and doing more around the house. I am beyond thankful for my hardworking husband every single day and his willingness to do everything it takes to care for us. 

Thank you for reading along, for encouraging us and giving to us every month. We are beyond blessed to have such wonderful people in our lives who genuinely care and love us. We pray that God blesses you and your loved ones, and answers the prayers in your hearts. We would love to be praying for any specific requests that you have, please reach out to us! 

Love in Christ,

Jahswel, Cheyenne & Jedidiah Mpagaja