May 20, 2020

God’s leading and Cross-cultural fear.

"Your Word is a lamp unto my feet,  and a light unto my path" Psalm 119:105

    In the days before Covid even arrived to the land of Malawi, we had been touched by it because of it touching our friends and families all around the world. Malawi was actually one of the last countries to get cases.  Our international school was closed early on even before we had a confirmed case.
There were a few conversations about whether to continue to meet as a church. When the first case arrived we decided (along with a few other international churches) to close our churches. It was such a confusing time as we didn't want to be seen as living in fear. 

  On our way to our "Dapp" outing (secondhand store) with our masks on. (We are not required to wear them and we only do it because we want to (and for the picture ;) 

   A few times we have been stopped by the police, questioning us about why we aren't wearing masks and why we were still in Malawi. It's like they have found another opportunity to stop and fine us for something because we are foreigners. It’s ok though because its never stopped us before. 
Unfortunately, we and some of our national friends had concluded that it might not be a good idea  to go in the local areas for a while because we would be seen as the ones who brought the Covid virus to the place. We haven't even travelled at all this past year outside of Malawi. We had just heard from a few of our friends also being seen as possible targets in this country and from other countries around us.
For many weeks, the US embassy had been sending us emails about health updates, and about if we wanted to leave the country then we would have to leave now. After the Malawian borders and airports closed, they gave us one last emergency evacuation US flight. If we didn't take it  we had to be prepared to stay here indefinitely.  We prayed and decided that we would stay here as Malawi has become our home and we would be safer here. And the spread of the virus has been happening at a very slow pace in the country.
Having lived in southern Africa for many years, we understand the fear that any changes can bring.  The people here already live hand to mouth hoping they will find work or food on a daily basis, and they didn't need to hear they wouldn't even be able to do so because of social distancing.  Fortunately, the Malawian government hasn't given people many restrictions. As most people could never quarantine themselves completely. We understood that most people’s fear was more about not being able to feed their families than the virus itself. 

Church Outside and Social Distance sitting on the school ground

It’s been different and hard for us. To decide what we can or cannot do. Chris' parents who have been serving with us for many years, had also decided to stay. As they are elderly, we have to limit our exposure in order for us to keep helping them with groceries and such.

Our churches have been meeting in smaller groups and some Bible studies have even multiplied during this time. We have divided our one main church in the South of the City into 3 parts which are all getting new people. Its amazing how God can turn a seeming curse into a blessing.

Bible College Students are picking up their Final Exams to take at home.

Some Prayer Requests:

-Pray for relationships, marriages and families in this time

-Pray for our marriage and children. God has brought us closer together as a family and as a team. Pray that God would continue to protect us all.

-Pray for wisdom as we are coming to the end of our 7th year in this country. 

-Pray for us as for the first time in 10 years we will not be going to the States for the summer. We are ok with it but its been a bit hard for our girls who every year look forward to Convention and Camp Life.

This is our church plot and the church building being built "pangono-pangono"[little by little] by Pastor Malrone and a church crew.

Pastor Malrone digging the well

With Love from Malawi