(Thank you very much Malawi…)
I am writing this while listening to one of my favorite sounds: the rhythmic clickety clack of a train, slowly but surely moving to its destination. We have entered Tanzania and are on our way to Dar es Salaam. We will probably reach there by tomorrow evening, well, hopefully. (We already had a break down, one hour after departure…)
It was my first time in Malawi and I really enjoyed it. It is a great country with amazing people. I loved the food, the scenery and the culture and I hope to return here in the not so distant future.
We were met at the Lilongwe bus depot by Bishop John Chirwa, our host for our time in Malawi. We got in contact with him while we were doing research on unreached people groups, and out of 70 emails he was the only one that replied. Later when we were looking for places to visit in Malawi to visit, he was the obvious first choice, it is amazing how God’s plans work… this was a great match by Him. Pastor John was a great host and we enjoyed time spent with him.
We spent two days in Lilongwe and stayed with a very nice family. Everything I heard about Malawian hospitality was proven to be true. Our MIA2012 meeting in Lilongwe went amazingly well… people there were really excited about MIA, so excited that there was a time for testimonies after the meeting… here we realised that God may have a bigger plan with these meetings than we ever imagined. The people attending the meeting were excited to take hands and work together, very significant since they all represented different churches and denominations.
From Lilongwe we went to Blantyre and had our first experience with Malawi public transport… my back still hurts… the covers on the piped seats only served as decorations! (What I did not realise is that I should have actually been thankful that there was seats in the first place…)
We stayed one night at the Chirwas and then went with them to a village outside Blantyre called Chadzunda. We had an interesting week! The village is situated in the mountains and there is no power or running water. Offcourse, by now that does not bother us much! We had a few interesting meals which included the following: A freshly slaughtered goat. We had a BRAAI (yes that is what they also call it) with the first part, which was awesome. Then we had off falls (tripe). My grandma often prepares sheep off falls so I was looking forward to it… but this was not nice at all, it had a very strange livery taste. The next day we had cattle off falls, it looked like the lung and it was pretty good. Another interesting meal was the occra, a vegetable that turns into a slimy goo when you prepare it. Even though it looked like something from the X-Files it was quite enjoyable! One of my favorite dishes was the goat stew with vegetables and ground nuts. Overall the food was great and the people of the village treated us so well. We were not even allowed to carry our own Bibles… at first I declined when they offered but I realised the kids really wanted to. I learned something about selfless servanthood in this little village…
Our ministry here included the building of a church, women’s and children’s ministry, preaching and teaching and a youth seminar. The church is now finished up to roof level and they only need R4000 to put up the roof! Lerato and Brumilda, along with Pastor John’s daughters, Mwawi and Patience took the lead with the women and children’s ministry and they really did a good job. If the Lord provides the funds Mwawi will join us as a FTLT student next year. She has a lot of passion and great faith and I look forward to seeing her grow. The youth seminar was a success. I also had my first chance to preach… a great challenge for me. I had no clue what I was going to preach on, so I thought about taking something simple from a well known New Testament book, but through the Spirit the Lord helped me and in the end I preached on rebellion using scriptures from Numbers, Isaiah and Jude (If I had to choose on my own I would not really choose these books..)
Time in the village flew by and it was sad to leave. When we left a “caravan” of about 50 people walked 3km with us to the place where a bus picked us up. It was something to see!
We spent three more days in Blantyre. On Saturday we attended an open air crusade, a new experience for us all, and on Sunday we went to church with Pastor John where Brumilda and Christo got the chance to deliver the message! On Monday we went to Shoprite!! It was nice to experience a little bit of home and Christo and I bought enough coffee and condensed milk for the tent.
The next day we left for Mangochi. The supposedly two-hour trip turned into another five-hour frustration… It was interesting to see how much life next to the lake differs from life in town. We had another great MIA meeting where people from various churches was represented, including Pentecostal, Reformed, the Yao church and Antioch Church of Malawi. It is great to see how God’s body is working together!
After the Mangochi meeting it was time for three days of well deserved rest. We spent one day at Cape Maclear, a secluded beach town next to Lake Malawi. We had a great time! It was amazing to see how God was also using even our off days, we made some great connections for MIA; we met a South African family that left everything to do missions work in a very rural town in Northern Mozambique. They have been living there for five years and are willing to receive teams for MIA. We also met two German missionaries working in the North Eastern jungles of the DRC…
From Cape Maclear we went to Nkhata Bay… here we spent the rest of our resting days. The scenery is stunning here, it is one of the most beautiful places I have seen! Snorkeling equipment was given out freely by the place we stayed at and we had a great time looking at all the different tropical fish!
We will be reaching Dar es Salaam in a few hours and on Saturday morning the oversight team from South Africa will join us. We are looking forward to their visit! We praise and thank God for all He has been doing in and through our lives and we look forward with an expectation of things to come in the second half of our outreach.
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