My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Muli bwanji?! How are you?! This month has been exciting for me, in that I have received my first letter from a friend and also a package!! It’s always nice to receive snail mail, and even more so while so far from home. You all continue to encourage me, and some days it’s exactly what I need to hear to get through.
What was once so new to us has become our normal, such as speaking slowly and clearly so our Malawian friends can understand us, waking up to the monkeys galloping back and forth on our roof, running out the back gate to see the crocodile sunbathing by the river garden, continuing on with life in the dark during regular power outages, watching the Bible students slaughter a cow, and so on… This has become our life! Funny how things become the norm over time. Life is simple and slow paced, aside from the occasional cockroach invasion or thievery of our newly bought banana bunch by these nuisance monkeys. Such is life I suppose. 🙂
From April 28th – May 1st, we were able to attend a family camping weekend hosted at the Kuti Wildlife Reserve with the International Bible Fellowship church. This is the same church in Lilongwe that we have visited twice since being here. It was a relaxing weekend where we were able to get away from our regular schedule and have time to get to know others from the church and study God’s word. We had sessions on John 15, talking about the different aspects of abiding in Christ. It was so refreshing for me to study the Bible with fellow believers, it made me miss my home church, Church of the Open Door. It certainly was a blessing! Not to mention camping with zebras walking around nearby is pretty cool too.
A typical day in the life of Emily and me looks like this: Wake up around 5:30 – 6:00AM to have personal devotions with Jesus, have a cup of coffee, maybe make some eggs and fried potatoes. Every Monday and Friday we attend the staff meeting at 7:30AM, then every day chapel is at 8:00AM. I enjoy chapel so much, listening and clapping along to the staff and students worshiping the Lord in Chichewa; I could listen to their voices forever! Each day the staff members and students take turns sharing a devotion for all of us, then we give announcements and pray together. After chapel, Emily and I meet with Mr. Frey to go over things for the day and get our job assignment for the morning, which is anything from hauling water from the river to water all the baby trees, cleaning out a creepy spider-infested closet, or doing different odd jobs around the office to keep things in order. We break for lunch, which is usually a simple delicious chicken and rice recipe prepared by chef Emily for the two of us. Lunch is usually followed by a much needed nap, or Emily and I will read a chapter in a book together. Then we return to work in the afternoon until 5:00PM. Lately we have been going out to the football (soccer) field to watch our students have football practice. It has been so much fun spending time with the students, laughing with them, learning all their names and just joking around. So far that has been our favorite part of being here! Whenever we are able to spend time interacting with the students, our day is made. They are such wonderful brothers and sisters in the Lord, serving Jesus faithfully here. It’s such an encouragement and a blessing to see them grow and know that we are all in the same family of God. I love it!!!
My biggest responsibility right now is that of a teacher in the Bible school here at the base. I have 20 incredible students, 3 girls and 17 guys. I’m teaching the Personal Evangelism class, and it is from 9:50 – 10:50AM every Tuesday and Thursday. I am LOVING every second of it! This past week they had an assignment due of writing out their personal testimony in order to be able to share their story with others. They are learning to understand the importance of their personal testimony as a powerful tool in sharing the gospel, overcoming shame
from their past and embracing how God has given them a new heart and made them alive! No one can argue with what God has done in their life and how they have experienced Him personally. And as I have been reading their testimonies, with each one I find it difficult to read because my eyes keep filling with tears… These precious students have been through so much, some have literally given up their families to follow Jesus Christ because He made Himself so real to them that they could not continue living the same. Others have been delivered from real spiritual bondage to the devil. I feel unworthy to stand in front of them, I feel like they should be teaching me! I am amazed when I actually think about how I am a teacher at a Bible school in Africa; God did it! He’s the one who got me here, because I could never do this on my own.
Well, it has come down to just the two of us, Emily and me. We said goodbye to Lila in April, and on May 10th we said goodbye to Andrew as he finished off his year here doing the gap year program and is now on his way back to the States. We will definitely miss having a brother around to adventure with and protect us from creepy African men. 🙂 Emily and I are excited to grow together in the Lord
and become even closer during this
time with each other.
God has been working in my heart in different ways since being in Malawi. One of those ways has been His reminding me that He’s here. When I am overwhelmed with emotions missing my family, He’s here with me, He’s not far away like my family is. When I get so nervous before teaching my class that I feel as though I may pass out, He’s here with me and He gives me the words to say.
When insecure feelings arise and I fear that I’m alone and I don’t know what in the world I’m doing, He’s here with me, and He knows what He’s doing. When I feel small and helpless and purposeless, He’s here and patiently reminds me that my service to Him is not in vain. He’s here. He is my nearest environment, He is my very breath, my life, my motivation, my help, my very best Friend, my hope, my anchor. He is so very near. He’s here. And simultaneously, He is there at home with all the people I love.
O Lord, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether. You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it. Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend into heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,” even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you. For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the day that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I would count them, they are more than the sand. I awake, and I am still with you. Oh that you would slay the wicked, O God! O men of blood, depart from me! They speak against you with malicious intent; your enemies take your name in vain. Do I not hate those who hate you, O Lord? And do I not loathe those who rise up against you? I hate them with complete hatred; I count them my enemies. Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!
ASK GOD FOR…
- For Emily to be fully supported for the whole year
- That I would surrender entirely to however God wants to use me here
- That I would love the Lord with all my heart and soul and mind
- That we would continue to build relationships with the staff and
students here and with the people in the village
- That the Holy Spirit would keep teaching me through my personal
devotions PRAISE GOD FOR…
- This opportunity to teach and pour into the lives of my students!
- Those who have supported and sacrificed for me to serve the Lord here!
(If you didn’t know, this is a dream come true for me!!!)
- His constant presence with me…
- His word for me to study and know Jesus more!
- His provision for EVERY need since being here
THANK YOU ALL so very much for caring and taking the time to pray for me, read my updates, and write me lovely encouraging words. You are just as much a part of the ministry here as I am. GOD BLESS YOU!!!
Much love in Jesus Christ,