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Malawi 2018, Part 2

August 15 2018
August 15 2018

Last week Pastor Don wrote a great summary of our trip to Malawi, especially of the marriage conferences that were our reason for going. They were exciting times of responsiveness and appreciation for what Don & Steve had to say. We praise God for these answers to prayer!

Outside the conferences, Malawian life was both intriguing and moving. In villages and in the city, meals were cooked over open fires; laundry was washed by hand; bicycles transported huge burdens; women in colorful traditional garb carried heavy loads on their heads; domestic animals were all “free-range” (including one sturdy pig we saw); moms lived their lives with babies slung on their backs; many homes were made of mud bricks with thatched roofs. These glimpses of another culture, so different from ours in Virginia, were continually fascinating to us.

What was especially poignant, however, was the overwhelming poverty. Water supplies are inadequate and often unhealthy. Children can’t attend school because their families can’t pay fees or buy uniforms. Orphans in this AIDS-plagued society are everywhere – around 5% of the population. Drought this year has brought not only daily blackouts due to inadequate hydroelectric power, but also the specter of famine. In discussing it, Pastor Rabson remarked sadly but matter-of-factly, “Oh, yes. In my home village people are starving.” Corrupt officials have stolen foreign aid for personal use.

We had a few opportunities to see this neediness personally.

As we were about to move to the city for the second conference, six children watched us shyly. Someone who knew them mentioned their mother was buried the day before. All we had was packed and loaded into vans, but we found some granola bars. The children were grateful, but how inadequate our tiny gift seemed as they faced an uncertain future!

Sunday after the second church service, two very thin older women approached to ask us to pray for them. A translator helped us understand they were saying they were widows, they were tired, and they were hungry. I could point out that a few minutes earlier they had been joyfully praising God anyway.

A few times we saw firsthand what we had seen in photos from last year – women getting their family’s water from a shallow, muddy stream. This water was for washing, cooking, and drinking. They might be carrying it several miles to their homes.

The most touching to me was our tour of the orphanage Pastor Duncan and others are trying to keep afloat. Twenty-one beautiful children are currently being cared for, with inadequate funding (half still need sponsors) and only one adult living on the premises with them, though two volunteers visit twice daily. They sleep two to a single bed. The only other furnishing in their rooms is a rope line to hang a few extra clothes on. Duncan said apologetically, “I know it’s dirty and it’s not enough, but it’s better than the streets.” Indeed it is. The children are being shown the love of God and being taught his word; they have food, shelter, and – so far – access to education. But their situation is precarious.

Now we are back home, and our question is, what next? What steps should we take to help these brothers and sisters wisely, in ways that provide relief but also potential for self-sufficiency? Please pray for wisdom as we and others consider ways to move forward.


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August 17, 2018 10:24 AM



August 19, 2018 6:51 AM

These guys are not honest with others. We cannot learn many things all those learning review process were we get in all the time. Hence we safe us from those kids whom we saw in this time and also saw in this photo.