September 09, 2016

Malawi Time

It’s so hard to believe that we are beginning our 4th year of being in Malawi, but we are back on African soil God is faithful as usual. I am so thankful for our family, the fact of their adjustment from America to Malawi is a miracle in itself. It’s basically 2 days of travel to get here: 8 hours to Paris, another 8 to Nairobi, a surprise stopover in Zimbabwe to pick up people, and finally arrival in Lilongwe at 1:30am. The great thing about getting to the airport  in the middle of the night is that everyone is tired, even the immigration officer. I was able to talk the immigration officer to giving my son a free visa since he was not included on our work permit yet. I said please help the people of God…you can still do that in Africa without offending people…and he had mercy on us.
After the whirlwind trip, we began the reinsertion into Malawian life (which really is the more sensible way of living- as our Malawian brethren would say). The day begins at 5:30am when the sun comes up whether you like it or not.  You are getting texts and calls that early. “Pastor, when is Bible College registration…Do you know its 5:30 am…Yes, so.” Its amazing looking outside our window in the morning since we live just off of a main road: Cars, Deathly old minivans that should have been scrapped long ago (David Livingstone said that he saw the smoke of a thousand villages…I’ve seen the smoke of a thousand minibuses where no mechanic has ever been), Bicycles, and Pedestrians all moving to begin the day. Even with a very low rate of formal employment, Malawians are extremely hard workers and are up early on the streets to find their daily bread physically. This motivates us to minister seeing the great needs both physically and spiritually.
One learns very quickly what the fundamental needs are for humanity here in Malawi. We used to complain when our internet was not fast enough in the US or when our calls were dropped. Because of the recent drought, there has been water rationing. Water is off for 2 days then on for 12 hours. Thankfully we set up a fairly large water tank in our back yard which we can draw water from when the water is out; but maybe it’s God’s way of identification with the people whom we minister to.  The majority of people in our church do not have running water in their house even in the capital. They go to a common tap to draw water for the day, often having to wait in line;  so walking out to the back yard doesn’t seem so bad. Thankfully our power has been on with very few blackouts, which is great when boiling water to take a bucket shower.

Upon our arrival we had Mindy Stein from Berlin, Germany visit us, and she was put through the crucible of the Malawian welcome. No running water, bucket showers, flushing toilets by pouring water down them, etc. She was a trooper and looked beyond the details to really minister to people. I think Philippians 1:12 describe it best: the hardships that have befallen us have happened for the furtherance of the Gospel. This means that it’s worth it all because the Gospel is preached. Pray for us this year. We have more turnout than ever before for Bible college (over 200 registered), visitation of the cities where we sent the summer missionaries, our National Radio Program, home school of the girls with little Noah in the mix, and the running of the church in visitation, women’s ministries, couples, etc.

More chairs for our church and Bible College

Also pray as my Step mom, Carol Arman, who is receiving knee surgery in the States and will come with my Father hopefully before Christmas.           
Thank you for Your priceless love, prayers, and support; we are nothing without our Spiritual Family,

The Arman Family

Poema's 8th birthday