Thursday, December 11, 2008

Will You Help Me?

Linda [1280x768] (2) How many times do you see a face that speaks louder than words themselves?  In Africa, you see one every day if you just open your eyes.

Her name is Linda, and her plea is the same as those that came before her, and it will remain the same as those who come after her - "Will you help me?"

It is easy to see the faces and hear the cries - then turn a deaf ear with our own words like: "Why can't they help themselves?" or "That is their problem, not mine." or "There is always somebody needing help; we can't do it all!"  I suppose these statements have a bit of truth to them, but then I read where Jesus said if someone asks you for your coat, you should give them your cloak also.  Or something about true religion is when you help the widows and orphans - the ones that really can't help themselves.  Or worse, the words that tell us that when we see someone in dire need and we refuse to help... well, you get the picture.

Linda lives in an orphanage with seven other children.  These children have lost their parents to the AIDS pandemic.  They have nowhere to go, no one to look after them.  If it weren't for the orphanage they live in, they might very well be living on the street, sleeping in a back ally somewhere, and begging on the street for their very existence.

This orphanage is struggling to put enough food on the table for these eight children, not to mention clothes, school fees, medical attention, and school supplies.  Life here is "back to basics", the extreme basic of enough food to live today.  This orphanage receives a small amount of financial assistance on a monthly basis, $300 USD.  This may sound like a lot, but it is the total monthly support for ten people, one house, utilities, food, clothes, school fees, uniforms, and supplies.  Three hundred dollars does not stretch nearly far enough.

The orphanage is fortunate in that they own about 5 hectares of land, which is more than enough land to raise food that will sustain their lives.  But they have not raised any kind of crop for the past 3 or 4 years because there was not enough money to buy the seed and fertilizer to plant.  Hopefully, this year there will be a turn-around for this orphanage because today they are planting enough maize to have food for the coming year, maybe even enough to sell some and thereby generate a small amount of income.Gama (2) [1280x768]

Maize is the staple food of Africa.  With it you can live; without it you will die.  If you miss one planting season, you go hungry all year long.  Thanks to the generosity of one person this orphanage is planting life in the ground today, and with God's blessings they will be filling their stomachs tomorrow!  Most people who are "down on their luck" will tell you, "All I need is a helping hand!"  God has answered their prayer with a "helping hand" today.



Group (9) [1280x768]  Group (12) [1280x768]

Group (14) [1280x768]

With this garden these children have a good chance of not having to go to bed hungry this year.  The only problem is that this crop will not be harvested until sometime in April of 2009, so their struggle is not over yet.  Maybe you would like to help in some way.  Again, we can say that this story is repeated over and over again here in Malawi, and there is always a face that is speaking louder than words ever will!

Monday, December 8, 2008

I Love Sundays!

Each Sunday is like a new adventure for Fredna and me.  We have been in Malawi now for 31 Sundays, and I have preached on 21 of them.  The other Sundays were taken with guests from the USA (teams & individuals), making airport runs, building two churches, and visiting the General Superintendent's church.  Whew! I am tired just writing this!

We have discovered a few things about Sundays that I would like to share with you.

  1. There are FEW smooth roads in Malawi.
  2. According to Fredna, travel time to the church on Sunday is also her amusement park time (bouncing in the car).
  3. ALL Sunday School classes are in Chichewa.
  4. Announcements in church get equal time with the sermon.
  5. Visitors have to stand and give their name, where they are from, and the reason they are in attendance that morning.
  6. Tither's get a special prayer; then those who give in the offering are next.
  7. If you happen to go to sleep in church, someone might just walk up to you with a stick and hit you with it.
  8. If you preach, then you might get a coke or juice when you are finished.
  9. At the end of the service, you get to shake everyone's hand as they leave the church.
  10. People here are hungry for God.
  11. If you preach, they will treat you like a king.
  12. You get to go home with the pastor and his/her family for lunch.
  13. Malawi traditional food is some of the best food you will ever eat.
  14. Churches are so packed that you can hardly breathe or move about.
  15. Did I mention that there are FEW smooth roads in Malawi?

Yesterday we were blessed to minister in Gulliver Salvation Assembly of God Church (aka Gullisa).  Gibson & Irice Sambo are the pastors of this church.  These are three of their children enjoying ice cream after lunch!

Gulliver AG (6) Gulliver AG (5)

Fredna taught Sunday School, using an interpreter.

Gulliver AG

There were not many in the percussion section, but boy, do they have fun!

Gulliver AG (2)

Then it was time for preaching.

Gulliver AG (3)

Sundays are wonderful here; I can't wait until next week!  Buckle your seatbelt, Fredna - time for another ride.