October 29th

Good morning and may this day be a day set aside for you to enjoy the glories of our God. I had a big bowl of oatmeal, toast and an egg for breakfast and know this is going to be a good day.

Last evening after dinner Rackson and I were enjoying the cool (subjective) breeze and talking about the church and the membership and how it has changed over the year and who was still there after all these years 2007-2014. There are a number of founding members, I was surprised at how many.

We talked about this year’s conference and he related this story to me, it is a dark story but I am beginning to hear about more things about Malawi other than only the bright side. The story: there is this woman whose family was the recipient of church benevolence a while back. She told her husband about the church and said they should attend. He said he would think about it. Rackson went to visit and found out he was friends with the husband in the past. The wife attended a few times but not her husband. She was very excited about the conference and told her husband all about what was going to take place in just a few days. The husband said he did not want to go. She asked him three times and he said no three times. She asked one more time and the husband left the house and later came back with a Punga knife (a cane machete) and tried to cut off her arm. She is in the hospital and the doctors are trying to save the arm but if they can’t it will be removed below the elbow. Life is hard in the villages. We will go see her and then the family, she has two children. As bad as that sounds I remember reading many accounts of families in America having the same thing happen, wife under cooks the eggs and the husband stabs her to death. I guess none of us are too far from the village.
 More later about this day
 Because of the Cross,
 Bro. Chuck

October 27th Random Thoughts

October 27, 2014

It is late afternoon and Rackson and I have had a busy day getting things done for the ministry. The afternoon has been quiet and has given me time to contemplate on things I see and hear as I move within this exciting country.
This morning started as usual for me. Up to the sounds of the children getting ready for school. The kitchen being readied for cooking and the sound of water being heated for our coffee. Two cups is all I ask but I know there will be more if I ask. Grace fried nsima in bacon fat along with one egg and five strips of bacon. The double portion of nsima she served was enough for the day, I thought. When we finished Rackson and I sat around the table and discussed the day and what we were going to do. But first bible study and prayer.
    Our first stop was to let Grace off at a mini-bus location so she could go into town for her business of the day. We then headed for the Fullford compound in Mapanga about 6-7 miles from where Rackson lives in Manchinjiri section of Blantyre. We stayed about an hour while John was busy getting things on the lorry to head back to Tengani. After much ribbing about my haircut we bid him Godspeed and we were off to see the Chief at Mbulumbuzi. Again we spent almost an hour with her. She is about a 25 minute drive on a good road from John’s. I am not sure why we were there but everyone was happy and I guess that is all you can ask for sometimes.
It was getting close to noon and we needed to shop for the evening meal so it was a good time to hit the Shoprite located in the Chichiri Center, Blantyre. We got what we needed and took time for lunch at the Chicken Cottage. The logo there is of Foghorn Leghorn saying “Luv Dat Chicken” we’re not in Kansas Toto. We stopped at immigration to check on the residency papers for John and his family, however it was not back from Lilongwe. Went to transport office, think DMV but even slower checking on his drivers’ licenses, not back from Lilongwe. Two strikes and I was ready for home and a warm shower in the quiet of the afternoon. 
Malawi is two countries and both are normal yet one does not know the other as they almost never cross. I will tell you what I mean. I mentioned in one of my last writing about the Saturday service, well here is what struck me when I got home that evening. As you seen in the pictures of the village we taught in, how all the building were of mud and grass and a few huts with a tin roofs. Chickens, goats and a few stray dogs running around. No running water. Only a hand pump well for the village. Also no electric power so the only light is fire or paraffin. When we finished service and the following fellowship Grace did not feel like cooking so we went to Chichiri for a meal. As I sat there it seemed very unreal that just 18Kms away or about 30 minutes’ drive there were people who could not imagine what we were enjoying, lights, food cooked by someone else, all kinds of cars in a parking lot and money to spend on things like ice cream which they will never see. The two Malawi’s are separated by several hundreds of years and the ones in the villages will never know about the other. God has called me to a strange and wonderful place of which I have yet to get my mind around. My heart gets it but my mind not yet.  God has made a beautiful country but the poverty of the people has made a mark that has marred the environment. Almost all the trees here flower at some time in their season of growth but the people in their want for wood have cut the limbs in such a way as to make a tree look grotesque to the eye while still trying to bring the beauty of blooms  to a place that lacks the capacity to see it. I thank God for my time here and I pray he has more in store for me. Thanks for your time and letting me run on. Maybe I am a little home sick. Time to listen to Redeemed before I go to bed.
Because of the Cross,
Bro. Chuck