Greetings from Malawi!
Friday marked 8 months since we arrivedin Malawi. Beth continues to be very busy with teaching 2ndgrade and I don’t seem to run out of work doing Finance stuffeither. Things are very busy but our family is doing well. Thankyou for your continued prayers for us as we serve at ABC.
In my work in the Admin office,I am not on the “front lines” of ministry as much as some peopleare but I know that it is important to have good foundational administrativestuff done so that some of the other good work can happen. Let meshare a story here about some of that “good work” that is beingdone by some ABC graduates. I am following that time-honored tradition ofjust repeating what someone else has said. In this case, I am quotingKelly Dehnert, a professor here at ABC. He gave me permission to use thefollowing paragraph which he had used in one of his updates.
Today I took Jonathan Robson (one of the newfaculty members), Dr. Henry Krabbendam (from Covenant College), Shea, an ABCgraduate and his friend to Kachere Prison for Dr. K to preach. Kennedy,the graduate, has formed a new prison ministry with another graduate and theyare moving ahead quickly serving in the prisons in Lilongwe. In the last threemonths they secured chairs, a tent-like covering for the prison courtyard, somebooks, maps and other teaching materials to begin several grades for thejuvenile prison. There are four teachers presently and they are workingon four more volunteer teachers for the prisoners. The prison providedone small room that they could lock all their materials in duringoff-hours. The prisoners, ages 12 to 18, will now be able to be inschool, many of whom have not been in school before! It is amazing howthe prison guards and authorities have taken our graduates in to serve the childrenat Kachere. Kennedy and Yohane spent four years while at ABC developing alove for the prisoners in two prisons in Lilongwe. It is thrilling to seethem continue in this ministry – Pleasepray for them.
Tonight the new headmaster atthe ABC Christian Academy stopped by my house and we talked for a while. It’s interesting to see how God provides. A year ago he was workingbut not doing the kind of work that he really wants to be doing but instead wasdoing whatever needed to be done to support his family. He deliveredpizza, chopped wood, did a little tutoring, and received some help from hischurch but basically he just found a way to make ends meet. This is a manwith years of teaching experience and a Masters of Education and this was notthe way he dreamed of making a living and providing for his family. However, God was preparing his family for Africa (even though he didn’tknow it at the time) and now that they are here, he is doing the kind of workhe wants to do (and that he’s good at) and he’s actually living ina better house now than he was a year ago and God continues to faithfullyprovide for his family’s needs. God is good.
While I was working atCompassion I allowed myself to be lulled into a sense of security. Goddoesn’t promise to give us good employment or a reliable paycheck but Hedoes promise to meet our needs and while things may not go anything like theway our finite minds have them figured out, none of our challenges comes as asurprise to God and He does have it all figured out in His perfectplan. What a blessing to serve the One True God and to know that Heis in control.
Some of you will see this intime and I would ask for your prayers for tomorrow morning as I share in thedevotions for the ABC Community Clinic. Part of what I will be doing isasking forgiveness for my behavior on Friday afternoon. There was a staffmeeting and the leader of the meeting was having trouble getting people to bequiet so that the meeting could proceed and I was getting hotter and hotter andfinally just exploded and shouted at the people for a bit and stormedout. I don’t think I’ve every behaved that way in aprofessional environment before (certainly not in front of that many people). Some of what I said (shouted) may have needed to be said but itcould have been done in a more mature way. I posted something on Facebook about it and a veteran missionary said this:
Culture shock. How many months have you been there now? Hmmm. Ihad a shouting match with my co-worker in a team meeting sometime during thefirst 3 years we were on the field. Couldn't leave - it was our flat we weremeeting in! Hang in there. Do the Matt. 18 thing. Be encouraged. :-)
So, I don’t know if it isculture shock or just my natural sinful self but I will be sharing indevotions. Please pray that God would use this situation for His gloryand that I would have the right words as I speak. Devotions are scheduledto start at 7:30 am local time (11:30 pm Sunday night in Colorado).
Our gardener, Justin, makes about$85 per month. He also gets supplies for tea and for lunch and this isquite a good deal for a gardener. He is the third of 5 sons in his familyand seems to be the only one of the adult sons who is responsible. Fromwhat he says, some of the others seem to smoke and drink away what theyearn. Recently, his mother was sick with what sounds like spinalmeningitis. She was in a public hospital in Blantyre, one ofMalawi’s largest cities, but it is up to family and friends to provide foodto patients. I’m not sure if the hospital provides anything in theway of food, but if they do, it isn’t much. Since there are nodaughters in the family, Justin’s wife was caring for his mother and thefinancial burden fell on Justin. On Thursday his mother died and soJustin has traveled down to Blantyre to take care of matters. It iscommon for employers to provide for a coffin and money to transport the body asfolks don’t tend to have the money to take care of these things (acoffin, body transport, and food for the funeral can all be covered for lessthan $300). Please pray for Justin and his family during this hard time.
Finally, let me correct amisstatement I made in the TOAST message sent out earlier in the month. In the very last picture in that message I indicated that my Dad was readingthe Bible as part of the Christmas 2010 celebration. I understand thatwhat he’s holding in that picture may actually be a hymnal, not theBible. Also, Christmas 2010 hasn’t occurred yet (but is less than 3months away!)…the picture was from December 2009, not 2010.
Please keep us in prayer.
Kids on the first day of school
A couple of new teachers at theAcademy were involved in a car accident a week ago Friday. It happenedright outside of ABC’s main gate. Thankfully they were not hurtbadly. They were in the silver/gray car (note the deployed airbags).
A fun picture of Anny, one ofour cats, on the screen door. The dog is Daisy, the Dehnert’s dog.