Malawi Day 8 (Thursday)

I have many favorites during out time in Malawi, and this day is certainly a favorite.  

In Malawi there are many children that dig through trash at the dump looking for food for them and their family.  Last year Elizabeth decided that she wanted to host a group of these boys instead of having a farewell meal with other people.  So Chifundo found a group of these boys (12 of them) and invited them to our house for a meal and fellowship.  

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Enjoying a wonderful meal
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Eating all they wanted
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More boys and their meal
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Enjoying their time of fellowship with us

 

He told them the day before to bathe so that they were clean.  To wear their best clothes.  And the details of when he would get them.  When he picked them up, other people yelled to the boys that we wanted to steal them, or take them away and take their blood, etc.  Crazy.  But they told the people they knew this man and it was fine.

They arrived shy.  But once we  brought out the soccer ball, their apprehension melted away.  I was introduced to them, ranging in age from 11-18.  It was a heart breaking day for me.  Throughout our time with them my heart just hurt that this group was more family then their real family.  These boys spent more time with each other than their real family.  One boy did not have any living parents.  Three had a single mother.  So hard.

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So the boys played with them – then we had a time of music and singing.  They seemed to know some songs – they definitely knew how to dance.  And they laughed.  
Next we shared with them for a bit from God’s word.  Encouraged them to follow the Lord, and to trust him.  Then we fed them!  They loved the full plates of food.  They loved the soda!

As a farewell we gave them a Walmart bag with a bar of soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, gloves, and a fidget spinner.  They were elated!!  Then we gave them all empty water bottles – that we were saving to turn in – and filled them with water – again, they were thrilled!

The plan is to continue with this particular group of boys, to host them twice a month to feed them and teach them about the Lord.  In my opinion, this follow up is the most important.  Not the feeding, but the discipling.  Knowing that we started a process that will continue with these boys is very satisfying. 

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Malawi Day 7 (Wednesday)

(Photos to follow)

Today was our next day off to the next village.  This particular day we were not going into one particular village to meet with all sorts of people.  Instead, we met with Daniel so we could encourage his beekeeping club.  He started his club last year.  In this club they try to work together and learn from each other. 
We brought a langstroth hive box to show them and we talked about how to get started and all about bees.  There were about 6 current beekeepers, but about 20 people who did not have bees yet.  

Then, we trekked over to Daniel’s bees and Jacob and Elizabeth suited up with Daniel and went into one of the hives.  Interesting to say the least!  The hive was very strong, and quite aggressive.  When they opened the hive some of the wax the bees built came off, which is very disturbing to them, and we think this increased their anger toward the intruders.

A couple people were stung, but I think they enjoyed the experience.

On our way home we went into town to purchase a bicycle.  One occupation here is to be a bicycle taxi driver.  The men sit and wait for someone to hire them, then they drive them to their desired location.  One man that Chifundo is diciplining is Blessing.  This man borrows a bike to use and has to pay most of his earnings to the owner each day.  So The Elephant wanted to buy this man a bicycle so he can use ALL the money he earns for his family.  A bicycle here is about 60,000 Kwatcha which is about $83 US dollars.

Then we tried again to figure out the visa for Lucy.

We picked up a man, Lawrence, and I was excited to know that he knows many of our friends to include Nathan Lorick and Grant Parker!  He went to the hotel with us to try and help us figure it out.  It did not work – so we had to trust that another day we could figure it out.

It was a busy day and a good one.  Going into bees and teaching about them is one of our favorites.  For the residents in Dowa it was a great time to learn more about what goes on inside the hive and more about the honey bee in general.  We also gifted them some money that a fellow beekeeper in East Texas gave us to help their club purchase a bee suit.

Malawi Day 5 & 6 (Monday, Tuesday)

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This day we were supposed to all head to the hospital to prep & paint the maternity ward.  However, since the weekend was non-stop, Elizabeth decided to leave us at home to sleep a bit while she went with some of the guys here to prep and get everything ready.  Fortunately for us, Chifundo knows a painter and he met them there as well.  They were able to prep and paint the entire room (full of people) in one day.

The interesting part of this adventure was that the room was occupied while they painted.  The beds were filled with children.  So first, before prepping started, they had to move beds from one side of the room to the other.  Prepped that side and painted it, then moved the beds back.  Next, they moved the beds from the other side of the room out of the way and prepped and painted that side.  Talk about some back breaking work!  

It was a success though and looked so much better!  They were able to talk with some of the patients as well.  Elizabeth brought over some knit gloves and fidget spinners and she shared some of these with the patients and families who were at the hospital.

Meanwhile back at home, the boys and I got some much needed sleep and a little down time.  We downloaded pictures (lots of them) and I tried to start writing notes on our adventures.

Day 6 (Tuesday)

Today was scheduled to be day #2 at the hospital painting.  However since they were so efficient yesterday we got to play today.  Tuesday is also half price pizza at a pizza place in town.  Last year Jacob enjoyed the pizza here and wanted to take us too.  Nearby is a hotel that has wifi you can pay to use as well.  So that was our day.  We hung out at the hotel and got our wifi fix!  

We also started filling out a visa application for Lucy so she can come to the US to visit and raise support for the Elephant and all that they are currently doing in Malawi.

This is the day I was able to post some photos to Facebook and updates on my blog!  Some evidence of all that we were doing!

Part of my day was going with Chifundo to an internet cafe too – no what I was expecting!  Think closet with dividers and about 4 feet of personal space to sit at a computer.  If a room could hold 4 computers with people comfortably, they had about 10 spots!  It was crazy too me!  Men in suits in there (doing work?), youth (doing school?) and then just regular people.  It was another adventure!!

But we were not able to figure out the Visa application, so we planned to tackle that again another day!

Pizza was fun, and different.  We ordered Peri Peri Chicken, BBQ Beef, Chicken Tika, and Boerworse (meat & tomato).  The fun part was that our driver Cryton experienced pizza with us, for his first time!  The funniest part was he was using a knife and fork!  This is funny because they eat with their hands all the time!!  

After pizza we ordered some ice cream from a restaurant called Steers!  (This Burger King, but they do not do it your way)  This was Cryton’s first Ice cream too.  The sweetest part was he saved some to take home to his 2 year old daughter!  It was a great night!

 

Malawi Day 3 & 4 (Saturday & Sunday)

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Chifundo – our leader on the ground
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Lucy – happy to be in her home village
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Some of the children from Lucy’s home village

There is a reason that Jesus talks about going to his hometown in the Bible.  It is hard to take the message of the Gospel to our hometown.  So often the people who were with us as we grew up fail to realize that we have changed and that we not that person anymore.  

Saturday morning we woke up early to head out to our third village.  This was not just any village though, this was Lucy’s home village.  Her mother and father still live there, along with a brother and two sisters.  Lucy is one of six children.  She has gone back and helped her family by helping to build a house for her mother, and it is a quite a house!

I could tell that this was not just any village, nerves were a little higher than the other two villages and I can relate to the anxiety of going home sometimes especially when you want to share when God is doing in your heart and life.

This was not just a quick trek either – we were told it was a 5 hour drive, in actuality it took about 10 hours with stops for food, snacks, gas, music equipment, a drummer and a variety of roadside fruits and vegetables.  We finally arrived about 8pm, and worked to set up the music equipment so the band could play while we set up for the film.

We finally started the film about 10pm, at that time Chifundo took the four of us to a hotel in town (45 min drive) for the the night.  The Malawi team led by Lucy then took care of the film and the invitation while we settled in for the night at the hotel.  Everyone else slept at Lucy’s village.

After some sleep we headed back in to the village for church.  When we arrived, the band led the church in praise music and songs before separating for Sunday school lessons.  Jacob led the lesson with the children, and Elizabeth led a lesson for the adults. More music followed before I gave a message about how we as believers should speak the universal language of love.  I talked about how the children had charmed my heart and how I love their smiles.  We talked about John 13 when Jesus tells us that we will be known as believers by how we love others.  After the church service, we headed to the river. 

So, in April this church was started by Lucy and Chifundo.  They both were not sure if they were supposed to go to this village and start a church, but after much prayer they both believed God was calling them there.  The group does not have a building, but they are working on that.  However, they meet in an open area every Sunday.  
After this service 19 people wanted to be baptized, so Chifundo rolled up his pants and we all watched as he baptized his mother-in-law as well as nieces and nephews.  It was really a great time!

Immediately following the baptisms we did our presentations about bees and soap making.  (The day kept going and going…)  Once those were finished, we were thrilled that Lucy told us lunch/dinner was ready!!  So we ate a meal of spaghetti, beef with tomato sauce, papaya, cut cucumbers, greens, and cooked cabbage – it was a feast!

It was time for leadership training and talking with the ladies.  Lucy and I spoke with the ladies and explained how they can make feminine hygiene products for their menstrual cycle.  They were very interested and were excited to have a better option that just putting a folded up piece of fabric in their panties.  So often the girls have to skip school during their cycles too.  So these products that they can make will be great for them. 

Then Lucy spent some time speaking with the ladies about general hygiene.  She encouraged them to be good wives and to serve their husbands.  They were captivated by her!

Finally we loaded up the van for our drive home at 6pm – about 7 hours!  It was a long night!!

But what an amazing time we had at the village.  To see God working in this young church and to see them listen to Lucy and Chifundo was a blessing to my heart!

Malawi Day 2 (Friday)

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This young man was so interested in soap making and bees! God is moving in him, I won’t be surprised to hear he becomes a beekeeper!
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The boys teaching a basic bee class, and how bees can be a business.
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adorable faces from our second village
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Gabriel, the pastor in this village, and a church member, listening to the program.
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Our mission leader, Elizabeth.

We woke up early again but not so early since it was a late night.  Got ready, had devotion time and headed out to another village.  This was a new village and they were waiting for us when we arrived.

It was very encouraging to see a number of young men about 22-29 years old.  They were involved with the “Youth Ministry” which is less formal that in the US.  It is a group of young adults who commit to make god choices and avoid things like drugs and alcohol, and they encourage each other.  These men who were at this village were not from this village, but they were going to take back what we taught them to their home village.  They asked lots of questions and were very interactive.  They might have been some of my favorites – they were very funny and curious about us.  They spoke very good English too, so it was fun to visit with them.

We did the soap demonstration again.  There were tons of questions, even one young man said he was going to make this and package it in small bags and sell it!  They are definitely trying to find a way to support themselves!

Then we did a Beekeeping 101 talk, and they LOVED it.  I think we could have talked about bees with them for hours, but we had to cut it off at some point.  I encouraged them to pray about it and see if the Lord was calling them to really learn about beekeeping and research it if He was calling them to that.  We hope to go back to this village next year and maybe get them into keeping bees.

I had my first experience with a bathroom here, I used the one at the school, and in the future will only use ones near the family house.  The school one was pretty terrible.  They have a concrete slab with a hole in the ground.  You have to bring your own kleenex/paper and stand over the hole.  But think  public restroom meets porta-potty meets lots of children used this.  Whew.  It was rough, but I made it and from them on I figured out when to ask for a bathroom and when to wait! 

Then we divided up, Lucy talked to the ladies, while Jacob and Peter played with the children and Elizabeth and Chifundo talked with the leaders.  They answered questions that the leaders had about church processes and such.  It was very good.

As it started to get later, we began the process of setting up the equipment for the Jesus Film.  Chifundo has a time of worship and praise time and then starts the film.  Last year part of the introduction was some music videos in Chichewa.  The man, Japhet,  who was in two of the videos was with us this time, so he sang along with the videos as they played.  It was truly amazing to watch them all praise the Lord!  To see so many men involved in evangelizing was also awesome!  Knowing that they do this every day of the year, not just when we are here, is encouraging to my heart!  

Once the movie was almost over, Chifudo paused it and let Jacob give the invitation.  Then Chifundo prayed with the group and finished the movie.  Then off we went for home.