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.

Malawi Day 1 (Thursday)

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A good smile from Peter
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The village Chief enjoying a ridge spinner
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Teaching the people how to stretch a few ingredients to make a cheaper laundry soap
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Giving a message from God’s word
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Lots of children!
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Our crew – Japhet and Joseph and Crighton
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A traditional bee hive – belongs to the chief
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Top bar bee hive – belongs to the chief
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suited up to check out a bee hive (this is Jacob)

(photos to follow when we have internet)

We woke up pretty early, about 6:30 so we could get ready for the day and have time for morning devotions.  Once we were all dressed and ready to head out to a village, we met in the living rooms and had a sweet time of prayer and devotion.

Then we were off.  We headed out about an hour away to a village that the team had visited last year.  We were greeted on the road by a number of ladies and children singing for us!  They followed the van all the way in with their praise songs!

 While at this village we did a soap making demonstration again for them, to refresh their memory and see if anyone had made it from the demo last year.   There were two ladies who learned how to make it last year and they had made it and reported that it worked!  So that was good.  I think they enjoyed it and were more inspired to try it.

This soap making involves taking 2 bars of soap that they get here, a box of this gel like stuff (called Boom) and baking soda and making laundry soap.  The ingredients here cost about 70 cents and it makes two big buckets when it is all done.  What they use for laundry is expensive and hard on their skin, so they are happy to learn about this soap.

After that the boys talked a bit about bees and how to catch swarms.  Then we trekked out to see the Chief of the Village’s bees.  He has 4 hives.  We were thrilled to give him a bee suit that we brought as well!!  In exchange he gave us bananas!

After that we started the journey home, with a stop to get groceries for supper.  Long day and we were happy to climb into bed for the night!

Africa Travels

 

Flying to Africa was not nearly as daunting as I expected.  The flight from DC to Ethiopia went faster than I thought it would.  Jacob told me last year he had a number of movies to choose from to watch and there were.  Watching movies helps make the time pass faster!

They feed you a lot too, so that helps.  The interesting thing is that as soon as you get on the plane they start treating you like you are in the time zone of Ethiopia.  By this I mean, they serve you supper then turn the lights off, then they turn them back on about 8 hours later and serve breakfast.  They are intentionally helping you reverse your clock.  Unfortunately for me I was not able to sleep much.  But the flight was not bad.

We landed in Ethiopia and then had to catch our flight to Lilongwe.  The Ethiopian airport was full of all sorts of people from all walks to life.  There are about 10% of the chairs that there should be, so be prepared to stand while you wait here.  We tried to exercise our legs a bit and walk around a little, but the layover was not too long so it went quickly.

Finally we arrived in Lilongwe and had to go through the Visa process – which was the worst part of the trip.  We stood in a line that hardly moved for about 90minutes waiting to get a visa to come in the country.

Once that was over, we found all of our bags (which I was pleasantly surprised about) and headed out to find Chifundo.  We loaded up and started the drive to the house.

Lucy and Chifundo have a house with 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms.  It is inside a walled courtyard.  It is a nice house and fit all of us very comfortably.  We unpacked the car and got settled in before venturing out for groceries.

All this to say, the trip over here was good and we arrived safe and sound!

DC Day 4 (Monday)

I think we are completely worn out.  All three of us are nursing our tired feet as we pack and get ready to head to Malawi tomorrow.

Today was a great day though!

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We started out on the Metro again, heading into DC.  Next we walked to see the Lincoln Monument (because we saved that for our night tour, that we skipped).  Lincoln was pretty amazing, the reflecting pool was great and the walk was chilly!  At 52 degrees this morning we were trying to stay warm by walking!

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After Lincoln, we walked to the Holocaust Museum.  Another long stroll, but it was fun.  We were able to walk by the Korean Memorial too – and that one was new to me.  Very impressive!

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The Holocaust museum was absolutely amazing as well.  I was so impressed that very few people spoke through the whole museum.  Everyone seemed to value the importance of remembering.

After living in Berlin during the Cold War and traveling back and forth between East & West Berlin, as well as visiting numerous museums that told the stories, the holocaust holds a special place in my heart.  The museum is one that all of us should visit – we all need to remember so that we do not ever repeat that past.

After that museum, we walked some more to grab lunch then head to the Capitol for our tour.  The tour was amazing – the Capitol is so very impressive!  It was my first time here too and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing it all!

Once we were done with that we headed “home” to pack and prepare for our trip.  All that said, we did DC, had a great time and ate more delicious food than we needed to!!  So many great places to eat around here!!

Tomorrow we head to Malawi – thank you for keeping us in your prayers!!