November 13, 2020

The Power of Perspective



A few weeks ago,  a lot of things in our house seemed to be getting harder. We started homeschooling again and to have our kids with us everyday was definitely an adjustment in our lives again. And it seemed that they were making everything more difficult. The more I pushed the more frustrated I became. Complaints started coming out of my mouth. I would think back to before this whole mess of a virus happened and wished to set back time to when the kids were out of the house and in school.
 

Deep down I knew I had to bring myself back to the present and take time to appreciate the little things in my life. But sometimes it’s just hard to stop the complaints or the frowning.
Today, it’s too hot. There is no water again; the power (electricity) has been out all day and I could go on and on with our daily here in Malawi...
In our house we can say we have a few different cultures going on. The French one, the Greek one (or I will say a very strong European one ­čśé)and a strong American culture. But we’ve embraced a bit of an African one, we eat their food and I will wear a chitenji (African cloth) around my waste when I just want to be respectful.
We meet with people that have different views than us everyday. The culture here is even different than anything I knew growing up. Do I try to change people because they are different than me? Do I get bitter because no one understands my point of view?
I’ve had people criticize the fact that I wear pants and as a missionary I shouldn’t. Will it make me stop talking to people and reach out to them?
Yes we will explain why I feel free to wear or do certain things. But will I try to change the way they behave or what they eat because it’s not how We do it? Certainly not! We will rejoice together in God’s word and finding common understanding. We will rejoice in what God says on a subject. I’m thankful everyday for the many friends I’ve made over the years from many different cultures.

Learning to turn to God and finding gratitude in my heart has been a hard learned lesson.
It’s easy for me to be a situational grateful person. When everything is right in the world.
But sometimes, we seem to never be satisfied with what we have. But what a difference it makes when we realize that everything has been given to us by God.

 “Wealth and honor come from you … We give you thanks, and praise your glorious name … Everything comes from you”
1 Chronicles 29:12-14


And I want to thank God for the People in our lives. It is so easy to take people for granted, or be upset with friends because of different views.
 

How does someone get a daily spirit of thanksgiving in their heart? I'm still learning this and trying to make it a daily habit: by starting each day with a positive thought and a grateful heart.
 

And gratitude is the quickest way to bring my perspective back.

“Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving” Psalm 147:7
“Be thankful” Colossians 3:15

Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours.

 


With Love from Malawi

 XXX   Julie 



        P.S. The following are a few pictures from our weekend in Senga Bay (Lake Malawi) Greater Grace Church along with this incredible story of the Faithfulness of God. One of the women of the Senga bay church waited for her 7 year old son to come home from playing in the neighborhood. As hours rolled by, she began to get worried. By evening, calls were being made and the pastors of the Senga Bay Church, Pr. Matt Sliva, Pr Felix Malute, and Pr Bart Magwaza were putting the prayer chain on alert. We posted the request of the missing boy on our College prayer group and went to work. Ususal circumstances, especially in a smaller community like Senga Bay, would be that the boy was just playing and stayed at a friend's house without notifying his mother. In fact, this is what we were all hoping for, but the outcome was far more frightening and also miraculous as the story ultimately unfolded. Early the next morning, a middle age man brought the boy, unharmed, back to his home. The man alleged that he had found the boy wandering around the market that morning. After being pressed and even some of the other neighborhood children claiming that they had seen the man the day before with the boy, he finalled came clean with the truth. A group of fishermen had hired him to abduct a child and use him for a ritual sacrifice to help their fishing businesses improve. The reward for him would be the equivalent of $800 which would be about a years salary for that people of that area. Miraculously when he brought the boy to the group, they rescinded the offer and said they were no longer interested. The man decided to bring the boy back home, knowing full well he would be beaten and arrested. The Lord's hand could be seen in every step, prayer is so powerful. We met the boy's mother at the church that Sunday and praised the Lord together. Psalm 106:1 O give thanks unto the Lord, for His mercy endures forever

 

         Memories and tribute to Pr Luigi (and family- we love you!)


 

From Chris:
When I first met Pr Luigi, it was on my first trip to Africa as a 19 year-old. I had come to Africa to get away from a broken relationship, Pr Luigi was such a friend without knowing the healing he was giving. He was larger than life, a friend to all, always fun, always joking. He made mission life seem fun. He and his family invited me in their house and made me feel a part of their family, the same way they did for all those around them. I remember their home always had an open gate and a ping-pong table on the back patio. Young people were always coming and going through the gate playing and fellowshipping, not realizing that God was using Pr Luigi to build them up. Just from the few days spent with Pr Luigi and the beautiful people in his church, I ended up moving to West Africa the next year and lived with the Palmeri family for a month. I can say he and his family were a enormous influence of me and my family doing missions in Africa for the past 14 years.


From Julie,
My earliest memory of the Palmieri family and one of our first church services with my family at the Bible Speaks Church (what our church was called in N├«mes, France in the 80s and early 90s) was when the Palmieri family was prayed for when they first went to Togo (1990). I was 12. What great stories we would wait to hear about Africa and the yearly summer visits from our friends. 

My mom was the first one of us to visit them in 1993 then my brother visited a few years later. In all the years it was just a wish and a prayer to go and visit them. It never happened for me until the one year they moved back to France (LOL) in January 2003. Pr Luigi came for the conference while Chris and I were visiting and I remember thanking God he was (finally) there in Togo as it was my first time in Africa and we were the only white people around lol. I remember suffering from the heat and the humidity. We were all staying in their (former palmieri’s) house with Pr Paul’s family and I didn’t want to offend anyone by saying I was hot ­čśé Pr Luigi was finally there and was laughing at my suffering while turning all the fans on and moving my bed directly under the ceiling fan :well duh I said, you just saved my life right here Pr Luigi!”
 

We ended up in Africa as a family and I know they have been a great influences for us as a family with children on the continent. In all the years they’ve both been such an encouragement and examples to us. 

We will miss your many jokes and preaching of the Word. We will miss seeing you Pr Luigi until we meet again.