SPRINT Malawi 2012

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Flight update

Here’s a quick note from the team:

We are on the same flight just 24 hours later. We are leaving Nairobi on June 21st on flight kq 724 at 8:25 and arriving in lilongwe on June 21st at 12:15

We’ll keep you updated!


At the hotel!

Here’s an emailed update. They’re doing well with this change in plans.



Hi Owen,
This is Gretchen on Olena’s phone. We got to the hotel safely and are doing just fine-hotel is entirely free and we get breakfast and are currently having our free (very late) dinner at the hotel.

The info about the flight tomorrow is a little fuzzy but they told us to be back by 10:30 and I think we’ll be leaving around 1. So we’re probably gonna leave the hotel via bus really early like before 8, to be on the safe side. We are doing completely fine other than being slightly tired and frustrated so tell parents not to worry! Thanks!

-Gretchen and the rest of the team

Amsterdam update

The team has been delayed in Amsterdam – the cargo door on their plane wouldn’t close correctly. KLM Airlines has put the group up in a hotel – they’ll fly on to Nairobi in about 12 hours (1 pm in Amsterdam).

I’ll keep you updated.


Goedemorgen from Amsterdam!!

Hallo everyone!  Just a quick update to say that we have safely arrived in Amsterdam and are currently enjoying an 8-hour layover before heading off to Nairobi, Kenya! Our flight went very smoothly, and the people around us were even kind enough to let us all sit together (although they may have realized their mistake soon after takeoff… A few of us had the “travel giggles!”). After a few cheesy in-flight movies and some lukewarm pasta, we dozed off to the sweet sound of crying babies.  It’s currently 3:15 pm here, but 6:15 am in Seattle!  Needless to say, our internal clocks are a little whacked.  Thankfully, we found some free recliners in the airport and we have another long flight to Nairobi ahead of us!

Thanks to everyone who came to the airport to send us off, as well as all of the friends and family who have been praying! We really appreciate it, and I can’t wait to see how God will move through us and within us to change our hearts as we serve the beautiful people of Malawi!


Mariel, Sarah, Bryan, Olena, Gretchen, and Daniel

They’re off!

This afternoon all six members of the Malawi team flew out of SeaTac Airport, bound for Lilongwe, Malawi. Over the next four weeks the team will support a variety of projects around two homes for orphans operated by Children of the Nations.

In the picture the team is joined by Janet, who will spend the next several months in Malawi as a COTN intern.

We’ll post another update when the team reaches their destination! In the meantime, please contact me with questions or concerns: owen@SPU.edu or (206) 427-1296.



Malawi Team Member Bio: Mariel Rieland


Moni (hello) everyone! My name is Mariel, and I’m from Billings, Montana!  I’m now a sophomore (wow, that’s weird to say!) at SPU. My current plan is to self-design a major in Global Health, and go on to get an MPH in Global Health at UW or otherwise.  I have lots of big dreams of living and serving long-term in developing countries, but I’ve never spent more than a few days outside of the US, so I can’t wait to see how God reveals more of His plan for my life through this trip!  I hope to return with a renewed sense of passion for seeing God’s kingdom brought to earth, whatever that looks like in the future.  As for this trip, I can’t wait to see how my amazing team will work together to further that kingdom work in the beautiful country of Malawi.

I’ll continue the trend with my favorite animal: the Narwhal!! Narwhals, also known as the Unicorns of the Sea, have been my spirit animals for a long time now. “Narwhal” even became my nickname for 3 weeks when I was on work crew at Malibu, a Younglife camp in British Columbia, Canada.  Narwhals remind me of myself, because they exotic and mysterious like mythical creatures, only they actually exist! 😉

If you are actually taking the time to read this right now, can I just say: you are AWESOME!! thank you so much for your love, prayers, and support as we embark on this life-changing adventure. We couldn’t do it without you… 

Madalisto (blessings),

Mariel ❤

Malawi Team Member Bio: Daniel Lee


Hi, I’m Daniel Lee and I was a first year student at Seattle Pacific University this past school year. I am studying biochemistry on a pre-medicine track and I look forward to taking part in God’s work in Malawi!

In just three days I will get to meet the people of Malawi and engage in an exchange of culture and faith that I am praying will reaffirm my calling to medical missions. Thank you for all of your support and prayer and I humbly ask that you continue to pray for our team as you follow us on our journey in Malawi. =]

Malawi Team Member Bio: Sarah Kang

Hello! I’m Sarah, a junior going on senior, hoping to graduate early with a biology major and chemistry minor. I’m from Portland, OR and this is my first missionary trip! I’m very excited to go and learn all I can, not only about the culture and how to help, but above all to learn to be humble. I’m also super stoked to play with the kids at the orphanages we’ll be visiting and to hear the stories of the older generations.

Along with Brian, I want to share my favorite animal: the lion! There have just been so many symbols that I’ve grown up with from being a child with the lion representing strength and courage. Whether it be through the Lion of Judah, Gryffindor from Harry Potter, the Cowardly Lion from the Wizard of Oz (who found his own inner strength in the end), or my personal favorite, Aslan from the Chronicles of Narnia (I love Aslan!!), I’ve always admired lions because of what they represented in my childhood.

I’m extremely excited (but also extremely nervous) for Malawi, and I thank you for helping me achieve the opportunity to go to Malawi through your generous donations. Please continue praying for me and my team as we undergo this new adventure under God’s hands! My deepest thanks is for your support in prayers, and I truly appreciate all the donations that you’ve given. Zikomo onse (thank you everyone)!

Malawi Team Member Bio: Olena Tseona


Moni (Chichewa for hello)!
My name is Olena and this is my second year at SPU! I am a Physiology and Chemistry double major, hoping to go into the health care field.
I am originally from Ukraine but I have lived in the Seattle area for 13 years. 

I am most excited to develop relationships with the children and our hosts in Malawi. Also to observe the health care in a developing country.
Thank you for praying and supporting us!

Malawi Team Member Bio: Gretchen Carlson


Hi, I’m Gretchen and I’m a sophomore! I’m from Portland, OR, and I’ll be starting the SPU Nursing Program next fall.

I am most excited about getting to hang out with the kids in Malawi, as well as worshipping with fellow Christians in a completely different cultural context. Additionally, I am looking forward to learning about what health care is like in a developing nation.

I’m trying not to go into this adventure with any expectations, but I would love to see an elephant while we’re there! But either way, I am ecstatic for this trip, and can’t believe we only have three weeks to go. I’m so excited to see how God stretches us, and teaches us through the people we meet. We would really appreciate prayers for safety and for us to be able to do God’s will while we are there. Thanks!

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