Thursday, December 9, 2010

New Taste Treat


Living in a foreign country and culture often offers real surprises, especially in the culinary department. While shopping in the local store today I ran across these small packages of peas. Yes, peas! I couldn’t resist so I purchased one package of each kind offered. Of course I can’t read what is written on them, but I do pretty good with pictures. Anything with a picture of a chili pepper perks this Texans interest.
The peas inside were either freeze-dried, or slow cooked in an oven like beef jerky. The flavor was actually good. The hot ones were better than the garlic flavored ones. Now I wish I had purchased several of these tiny taste treats, because I feel sure the stock will be gone when I return to the store.
Next time you are in the local yuppie grocery store you should ask for, oh my…, I have no idea what the name is.  Just take this picture with you!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

When Little Is Much!

I must admit that when Fredna and I first came to Africa in January of 2005, I was probably a bit idealistic.  I thought I would be coming with many, if not all the answers.  I thought that surely I had much to offer.  Boy, was I wrong!  It seems that I have done nothing but learn since sitting foot on this continent.  I think that one day I should make a list of the these things I have learned.

Probably one of the most important things I have learned is this:  Small offerings can be much if you know the heart that is giving it.  Let me explain.  Most churches in Malawi consider it a great honor and responsibility to give an offering to the minister on Sunday.  No matter what size, location, or social status – they give an offering.  It is a Biblical principle.

In Africa we have received many different offerings.  Money, vegetables, fruit, cloth material, live chickens, and even a live goat.  Today, as usual, the Pastor received a special offering for us at the end of the service.  As the church was singing, some people began to bring baskets full of potatoes, and a few people brought money.  Just before the time of giving was finished, a small-framed woman, who looked to be in her late 50’s or early 60’s, made her way to the front.  She carried with her a small package which she laid in the offering.  It was a package of biscuits (cookies to Americans).  That is all, a small package of cookies.


Tonight I am sitting in my living room reflecting on the days events, and the lessons I was subjected to.  I have a hot cup of coffee on the table beside me, and I am enjoying a really tasty Custard Cream cookie.

This morning I saw the heart that gave it!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

To My Former Malawi Missionary Colleagues

In 1964 Columbia Records released Bob Dylan’s third studio album titled, The Times They Are a-Changin’.  Well, the times are certainly changing in Lilongwe, Malawi.  You would not recognize the former “village” of Lilongwe if you lived here 20 or even 15 years ago, for it is growing by leaps and bounds! 

Thursday of last week brought the grand opening of the newest Game Store, a South African chain store much like Wal-Mart, but on a smaller scale of course.  People turned out en masse to welcome the new store.  The queue stretched hundreds of meters just to enter the store.  Once inside, well, you can imagine.

You can’t imagine what it feels like to know that when you need something as simple as a bolt or washer you no longer have to go to small shops all over the city in your quest!  The times are changing!

Today we had lunch at another new establishment here in Lilongwe – the Chili Pepper Restaurant.  That’s right, a Mexican restaurant here in Malawi! 

Chili Peper

Before you get too excited, it sure is not the same thing as Pappasito’s in Texas!  There were no chips, no hot sauce, they didn’t even have iced tea.  But, just the thought of Tex-Mex in Malawi is pretty exciting.  I ordered one of their specialties, a Burrito with chicken.  When I gave the waiter my order he politely repeated it to me: “One Bu-lee-tow”.  I looked him straight in the eye and said, “Yes, one Bu-lee-tow.”  You see, many Malawians exchange an r for an l, and vise versa.  Too funny, but it was a pretty good buleetow.

I know that my missionary colleagues faced many challenges in times past here in Malawi.  Many modern conveniences were simply not available (many still are not!).  But, The Times They Are a-Changin’.  And we are glad!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Sunday Reflections

A few thoughts about a great day at Jerusalem Temple Assembly of God in Mzuzu, Malawi…

  • Fredna taught School of the Bible (Sunday School), and did a fantastic job!  The pastor announced during the main service that she will come back for a Ladies Seminar.
  • Today I talked about not giving up, because God always has an answer to our problems.
  • I used examples of people in the Old & New Testaments of people that seemed to be down and out, BUT God had a different ending to their story.
  • If things are difficult in your life at this moment in time, don’t forget – God might just have another ending to your problem!
  • At least one hundred or more came to the altar – that never gets old!
  • Enjoyed the 4 hour drive to and from Mzuzu.
  • Especially enjoyed the fact that Fredna was with me this weekend.  For the past two weeks she has been in Nairobi, Kenya helping to develop ESOL curriculum with missionary Loretta Wideman.

Monday, October 18, 2010

On The Road Again

It was a very full weekend of ministry.  Friday, I drove to Zomba in the afternoon.  Early Saturday morning, Chiudza Banda and I drove to Thucila to visit a church in the trading center.  Abusa (Pastor) Banda is the Divisional Director of the Southeast Division of the Malawi Assemblies of God, and pastors the Zomba Assembly of God Church. 

Abusa Jeamy M’bwana pastors Dunamis Temple Assembly of God in Thucila, and has been asking for me to visit there for many months.  Thucila will be the site of one of the new extension centers that we are building in Malawi.  Pastor M’bwana was expecting us on Saturday morning – more so then we thought!  It was market day in Thucila, which means that everyone was either selling or buying.  But not the members of Dunamis Temple.  They were all gathered at the church waiting for our arrival.  The small church was packed, and the excitement was overwhelming.  The District Superintendent was there, the Deputy Divisional Director was there, the Divisional Director was there, and the missionary was there.  It truly was a humbling experience for me, since it seemed that we held some special celebrity status to the members.


Special presentation 

The District Superintendent opened the service with special introductions.  He was so excited to introduce all the “dignitaries”.  The Divisional Director spoke first, giving an encouraging word for the congregation.  Then the church had a special presentation from the ladies group called the OMC’s.  The pastor then gave a summary of the church’s outreaches, dreams, and vision for the next several years.  After this, I was introduced.  I too left them with a word of encouragement, and told them that we should be able to start construction within a short time.  We left a very happy group of people that morning!  They were shouting, dancing, praising God in every way imaginable. 

We drove back to Zomba in order to conduct a leadership seminar at the church.  I love investing in church leaders.  The rewards are great.  After the seminar, Abusa Banda and I visited two more churches in the area, then visited another of the local pastors.  It was a great day!

Sunday morning I preached at Pastor Banda’s church to a group of at least 500 – 600 people.  The service was wonderful, and the presence of the Lord was very real.  Hundreds came to the altar at the end of the service and that never gets old to me!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

What Happened?

A few months ago we erected a tabernacle for a church in a village named Matapira.  The church was meeting under a thatch roof, with only one wall, so they definitely needed a structure of some type.Matapira (1)  A few days ago I received some bad news concerning the tabernacle.  The pastor phoned me to tell me that it had fallen.  It seems that it fell during the night when no one was close by.  We are grateful for that since there were no injuries.

When I travelled to the village to inspect the fallen tab, I discovered that four cross-pieces had been removed from the structure.  These cross-pieces are used to strengthen the structure, being removed only when a brick wall has been constructed.

Matapira (26)No one is sure how this happened, but it did.  The cross-pieces were not stolen, and they were not damaged – indicating that they were removed before the tab fell. 

The damage was quite extensive as you might imagine.  All eight legs were destroyed, and all four trusses were damaged on each end where the legs attach.  The legs will have to be replaced and the trusses will have to be brought back into the shop where we can cut out the damaged areas, and rebuild them.  Fortunately, nothing else was damaged.

Tab Down (16)

Tab Down (17) 





Tab Down (44)

I have no idea as to why someone would remove the cross-pieces.  It could be that they wanted to steal them, or that they wanted to steal the bolts, or they wanted the tab to fall.  The church members are all a bit scared, because this area is known for powerful witchcraft.  I did what I could to explain what happened and encourage them to trust God.  The pastor told me that an elderly woman came to his house on Saturday before the tab fell on Monday.  She wanted him to prayer for her, but he refused to because she was not born-again, and had no desire to convert to Christianity.  He said that since her departure from his house, “nothing has worked” there.

The sad part of the story is that this church has no resources for rebuilding.  If you would like to help with the repairs and reconstruction, please contact me. 

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Another Tabernacle

Msaliza, Area 47 is the site of the latest tabernacle to be built.  The church has been meeting in a classroom at the school.  Renting a room at a school is both good and bad.  It is good in the sense that a church is able to find housing.  It is bad because the classroom severely limits the number of people that can attend a service.  In other words, the growth rate of the church is hampered when it is housed in a school classroom.

Construction Pastor looking on

Pastor Maclean Banda and the congregation of Msaliza Revival Center desperately needed to move from the classroom of the school and get their own

building.  The church was able to purchase land to build on and donors from the USA provided the funding to purchase the tabernacle.  Construction began on Monday and was completed by noon the following day.  The church will begin to mold bricks in order to brick in the walls.

Pastor & Mrs. Maclean Banda School classroom

Today the church held their first service under the new tabernacle!

Almost completed tab