I hope all is well. I am here again with my confession. Yikes. I have taken things for granted. The very life and breathe of this day. Giving God all honor and endless praise. The Christians here are fully aware of their dependency on God for food and shelter and clothing and safety, and any movement of their day in coming and going.
I have started to help in the skills lab of the Nursing College. I work with an RN in charge and an assistant. I am really impressed with the college’s skills lab, and the amount of simulation equipment, and the competencies of the students who must perform with proficiency before going to clinical.
The assistant in the skills lab name is Patricia. She is a Christian, single mom of three. She struggles daily to meet her family’s needs on 160,000 kwacha ($150 dollars) a month to pay for rent, water, food, clothes, school fees, and a babysitter while she is at work. She has no electricity in her home. I am uncertain of anything else like a bathroom or furniture. Does she have a cement floor or dirt floor? There is a daily struggle for food during the rainy season while the garden of maize is growing. There are days that she does not eat. There is a local bread maker who gets 25 cents for baking delicious whole wheat and white bread and rolls. There are people hustling to work, but the salaries hardly sustain.
With her situation, Patricia, she has a total awareness of God, her need for God and total trust in God for the details of her life and family’s life. She is at peace in knowing that God will provide and she has a spirit of thankfulness. She is a blessing to me daily as she witnesses to God in her life. We enjoy working and talking together daily.
Another remarkable person that we have met is Izekisiya. She was 25 years old on Saturday. Her teacher recommended her as our Chichewa teacher. (We are slowly progressing students). The most predominant thing about her is her love and trust in God. She seeks God in all things and has a sense of praying without ceasing.
Her life is a challenge in that she is one of 9 children. She is in the university to become a teacher, graduating in August. She is already a teacher and preacher to the youth in the area and one of the leaders in the young adult group at church. She has no help from her parents; her dad is not really in the picture. She stays with friends because her home is far away. She is a remarkable, intelligent, faithful, responsible person. She struggles with tuition fees that are $350 a semester.
Frank is a dedicated Christian who witnesses to his faith in how he conducts business and mentors his employees in Christian discipleship. His furniture is known throughout the region despite having a work-stall in the village made of sticks and sheet-metal. He dreams of some better tools and an enclosed workshop to keep his equipment and furniture safe. He is also a chaplain at the hospital as his FT job.
In addition to working at the seminary and at the School of Nursing, Chuck and I are discerning how best to give sacrificially based on two objectives. One objective of our giving is investing in the immediate emergency needs of people we have come to know personally; our second objective is discerning which service organizations are helping the most people most efficiently. There is a Christian nonprofit group here that trains and feeds the disabled in the area. The people who work in this organization have severe physical, vision and hearing deficits. The organization provides their group with meals and teaches them skills. They are known throughout the area for their sewing skills. Given material and an idea, they can make anything. The kind young man who waited on me at the sewing store “walks” with shoes on his hands, and on his knees with while his feet are dragged along. I am amazed at what they do. We would encourage you to prayerfully consider ways to give.
Accordingly, Chuck and I have decided to use any and all additional donations to our year in Malawi exclusively on the needs of individuals in financial crisis and for organizations doing tremendous service with or on behalf of those most in need. We have capped our receiving of personal donations at $20,000 for our year here, and have given $3000 of donations made to us to deserving individuals and organizations. We would love to give so much more, and we will give every dollar donated to us to others from this point forward. We would love to donate to Malawians as much as we have accepted for ourselves ($20,000). If you have yet to donate, please know $5, $10, $25, $50, $100 goes so very far here in Malawi. For more information about Malawi and ways to donate, please see our website at montsmalawimission.org.
One of the chaplains has said to me, “you are an encouragement just being here.” I confess I have a hard time understanding this. It makes me ask, “Is Jesus, the light of the world,” shining through me? Yet, in Matt 5:14 -16, Jesus says we are the light of the world and not to hide our light. May our light, your light and mine, shine so as others might see and praise our Father in heaven.