I’m in the passenger seat of our car, my head is turned, gazing out the window watching people. Our AC is broken so the window is down. Its dry, dusty and hot but at least.…
People are walking on the main road. Between pedestrians, bikes, minibuses, and cars, its never really routine to drive here. Its a pretty quiet morning though. Its Sunday, church morning, and you have many choices for a church service here as there are churches everywhere. Its more a tradition and great fear of God of why people go. Like most people around the world, we’ve met many people on the street that will tell you they go every Sunday, and would say “of course we are born again, cant you see it?” But do they think about God any other day? Probably few of them but many don't know how personal God can be.
And just like that, I'm reminded of why we are really here. To just love people the way they are and where they are at and the way God loves us.
If you love God, you will love people because it is his nature to love people. 1 John 4;19-20
It occurred to me the other day that this month 10 years ago we packed our bags and moved our family of 4 to Africa (Zambia). Before having our girls, we had spent a few years there as newlyweds and were really hoping we would one day go back. Fast forward 3 years and, we were packing our lives into 12 bags (literally) and moving overseas, not really knowing how long we would be gone. Yes friends we had no clue. You see, we didn’t sign a contract and we didn’t know if it would be for a few years or longer. When we decided to move from Zambia to Malawi I knew we were going to be around for longer than I had ever imagined (!!!)
As we travel back to the states almost every year people ask us, “so how long will you be there?” and I would just say and still do “one year at the time” “ and “as long as God has walked before us, we will follow in that direction!”
|Our first prayer card-2009|
But looking back, I can't thing of any better place to be with my family. The overwhelming reason is a simple one - the plan of God. When one is in the plan of God, it is the best place to be on earth. It may not be the easiest, or most enjoyable, but it is the best. When you sense the presence of God with you, you are able to weather so many things.
Just looking at some old pictures, we can see one reoccuring theme - friends. I think that is the treasure that God has given us in our time in Africa: Life-long Family Friends. We see the people that God has placed in our lives and are truly blessed. This happens regardless of geography in the Body of Christ, God's church. For us it just seems that friends in Africa are made a bit faster, there is less of the layers to peel through to find the depth in people. It is not just in relationships, but in many things. There is not a lot of sugar coating on things in Africa, things can be very raw, so with people, they say this is who we are do you still love us. People are very open in many ways. You may meet someone on the street and they will ask for prayer for a besetting sin in their lives.
We are amazed how open they are, maybe like the woman with the issue of blood in Mark 5. She was so desperate that she would do whatever it took to be healed. Many people are in these types of circumstances. We can feel so inadequate at times, thinking that there are so many needs and we feel overwhelmed, but soon come to the realization that we can't meet anyones needs anyway, much less our own. That makes pointing people to God, that much easier.
Our family life has been a treasure too in our time here. Now that our children are in school, it seems more like a normal day to day life. But when our children were homeschooled, there was a lot of time spent together: going on outreach together, visiting church members together, missions trips. Team missions, like was preached by Pr Stevens, has also helped us thrive on the missionfield. Having my parents with us and friends like Pr Matt and Lisa and Pr Albert and Mclean have made the time so enjoyable. We are blessed beyond measure, thanks be to God.
Now 10 years later (and really who’s counting!?) and we are just amazed at what God has done in our lives and the people’s lives here in Malawi.
A life filled with adventures, precious friendships that transcend distance and time, a grand worldview from world travels and living in multiple cultures bring a great appreciation for those that are different. The sweetness of belonging to a worldwide family. These friendships have made our moves and our stay easier.
-Our churches in Salima (East) and Mzuzu (north) have started this past summer.
|Greater Grace Church Mzuzu, church members|
|Greater Grace Church Salima|
-Our western church plant in Chipata (east Zambia) is planned for early 2020
Thank you for your prayers always.
|Greater Grace Bible College Lilongwe registration line -September 2019|