November 07, 2013

A little visit to the "Warm Heart of Africa"…

     Jude 1:22 – Some have compassion making a difference.
I asked myself a question the other day…what is the quality that I love the most about Christ. The one that stood out is His compassion. I thought about when He touched the leprous man in Luke 8, or when He looked and loved the rich, young ruler. He identified with each person He saw and had a ministry of compassion to them, even if it was a hard saying. By the Grace of God, that is the spirit we would like to have here in Malawi with every person that comes through the threshold of our personal space.

     After spending a few hours in Malawi you can’t help but have compassion on people with the hardships they endure on an everyday basis without losing their joy. Most Malawian homes have 1-2 rooms. There is the small living room where most everything happens and the bedroom for the parents. The children sleep in the living room on the couches or reed mats, while the parents have their room. Most Malawian homes don’t have electricity or running water, so the cooking is done outside on a small grill with charcoal. That also limits the amount of food they can keep, so people mostly buy their food for the day (no electricity=no fridge). Most people must fetch their water to a nearby well.
The staple food, nsima (a ball of ground, cooked corn; much like grits), is eaten for lunch and dinner everyday with a meat stew or a vegetable on the side. The truly baffling thing is that families will sacrifice the little they have in order to entertain a guest. As many times as we ask people not to prepare us a meal if we visit them, we find it their joy to provide a meal even in their want.

 Most jobs that people have are not formal, they are mainly self-employed by buying and selling things. The one good thing about a Malawian home is that most everyone has a little plot or space to grow crops like Maize (White Corn), spinach…they are very hard working people. We can see every morning women with their babies on their back tilling the land to get it ready for rainy season.

    As people visit our church for the first time we try, in return, to visit every one that visited our church.  We make arrangements to meet with them as most people live in compounds with no street names; it can be tricky for us to find someone’s house, (as they try to give us directions: “Go to the right after the 3 wire pole, follow the 3 wire pole for 1 km and then make a left at the car shop and another left 100 meters at the water well”…lol)
So we make plans, wait for people that do not know “british time” and 1 hour or so later, we go with them to their home!

   As we are here with our family, we try to do a visit altogether with the girls at least once a week, with our car or taking the local transport (mini-buses)! The girls love it, they are very social and after 5 minutes into a visit at someone’s house they are outside playing and have become the “compound kids” as ALL the kids from the surroundings will come and will want to play with them.
     We just had my parents visit us for a month. Being their first time in Africa, they were not sure what to expect. It was amazing to see them jumping right in to our everyday life and adapting. The church and Bible College was deeply blessed to have them and they were a great example. They would see my parents coming every time to evangelism and caring for people as they would be on the street and it was encouraging to them. People in Malawi are very respectful of their elders, so to have my parents here, was a great honor to the church. They came with us to visit church members at their homes, ate local food and sat where people sat.

Poema's ministry 

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